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‏@BarackObama Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please
February 18, 2014 7:19 AM   Subscribe

On Valentine's Day, Netflix released the second season of House of Cards. 16 percent of Netflix users on one particular Internet service watched at least one episode of the show over the weekend, and shares of Netflix hit an all-time high of $439.49 on Thursday. But when, exactly, Does Watching a Lot of Netflix Become a 'Binge'?
posted by roomthreeseventeen (112 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I got a headcold on Friday so this was perfect for my brief moments of lucidity inbetween Nyquil naps. You know what they say, binge-watch a cold, starve a fever.

That being said episode ten is really weird.
posted by The Whelk at 7:21 AM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I watched it over the weekend. It's way more satisfying to watch a series like that rather than dribbled out over months.

Spoilers aside, I thought the first season was better but the second wasn't bad at all.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:25 AM on February 18


We binge watched Breaking Bad, mostly, watching one or two episodes every night. We finally caught up right before Ozymandias, I believe. It was excruciating waiting a whole week for new episodes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:28 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Binge-watches forgive weaker episodes in a series and allow for more coherent arcs (or at least being able to see all the set up and payoff )

Maybe I was listening for them but there seemed to be more verbal foreshadowing and on-the-nose lines going on "All you have is Ethics (the chair appointment), which no one wants." elicited a groan.

I'm enjoying it of course, but it still puts these people on a pedestal, all swoony power-fetish Federalist glam with amoral schemers. Veep is a fair more subversive and radical show, not "what if they're all power hungry monsters" but "What if they're all vain idiots?"
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 AM on February 18 [9 favorites]


There is a non-zero chance I will finally get Game of Thrones Season 3 tonight as the DVD has just been released in the UK, and I intend to make myself sick.
posted by biffa at 7:31 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Finished s02 yesterday! Loved just about every outrageous minute of it.
posted by planetesimal at 7:31 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Also is the President supposed to be so bland and malleable on purpose? It's like he has negative charisma. If he stops talking you forget he's in the room.

I also like how Claire tetters between sympathetic and outright Disney Villain In A Pixie Cut. I'm kind of in love with her and her monochromatic outfits.
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 AM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I tried out episode 1 of season 2 on Friday, wasn't terribly impressed, but for some reason, dutifully sat down late Saturday afternoon and stayed up until 3 AM to watch the whole thing. Ear infection + inertia = bad choices.
posted by maudlin at 7:37 AM on February 18


Binge watching is like cats. More than three is where you cross the line into sweatpants and crumbs.
posted by maryr at 7:38 AM on February 18 [35 favorites]


But when, exactly, Does Watching a Lot of Netflix Become a 'Binge'?


As long as you don't binge watch all of Battlestar Galactica until you lose your friends and your job, forget to pay your bills, and then, when it's over, go find a random old guy who happens to be named Ron Moore and harangue him into writing more episodes for a table read, then you're not doing all that bad.
posted by Naberius at 7:39 AM on February 18 [22 favorites]


Binge-watches forgive weaker episodes in a series and allow for more coherent arcs (or at least being able to see all the set up and payoff )

Not always. There were a few classic Doctor Who episodes I originally saw two 30 minute episodes at a time on PBS that were much worse when viewed later in an uncut movie format on VHS.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:39 AM on February 18


Veep is a fair more subversive and radical show, not "what if they're all power hungry monsters" but "What if they're all vain idiots?"

I don't really think that's a subversive or radical notion at all. In fact, it seems rather like the common wisdom—even among political types themselves.
posted by enn at 7:40 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


But when, exactly, Does Watching a Lot of Netflix Become a 'Binge'?

I'd say once Comcast notices the traffic and throttles-back your pipe to a slow crawl.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:42 AM on February 18 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I really love being in on The Thing that everyone is talking about -- and that's double plus good if The Thing involves Kevin Spacey because yum. Being seven weeks pregnant and sick as a dog is le perfect excuse to binge, I started with season one this weekend and now I'm halfway through season two. Deliciously evil.

I'm interested in the business implications of this, Netflix seems to be trying to disrupt everything and it's awesome! The show is not THAT good (though it is fun) so is the real story here about the future of programming?
posted by polly_dactyl at 7:43 AM on February 18


Naberius: ... then you're not doing all that bad

Listen, I need you here. Now get outta here.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:44 AM on February 18


In fact, it seems rather like the common wisdom—even among political types themselves.

I think there's a huge difference between the kind of "aw, shucks; close enough for government work; the opposite of progress is Congress; both sides are just as bad" common wisdom of politics and the reality of spiteful, unnecessary bridge closures.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:47 AM on February 18


In fact, it seems rather like the common wisdom—even among political types themselves.

I mean something like HoC, even when showing reprehensible characters, is still playing into and supporting the glamor and desirability of government and statecraft and power. Showing an evil court still shows how attractive it is (cause otherwise who would want it?). Veep is anti-glamour, everything is petty, everything is stupid, and every fight is a teakettle storm over inanities. The people in power aren't amoral Machiavellian demons, they're impatient idiots.

And I don't that's as common wisdom as you think.
posted by The Whelk at 7:48 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


But when, exactly, Does Watching a Lot of Netflix Become a 'Binge'?

I don't really give a shit what Slate or The Atlantic - or their hypebait link headlines - think about my entertainment habits, frankly.
posted by aught at 7:48 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


There was a period when I was jobless and schoolless and probably depressed and just Torrented every goddamn thing I could think of. I think I watched all of Futurama (then 4 seasons), Scrubs (6 or 7 seasons), Jeeves & Wooster, Vicar of Dibley, and The Fast Show within a week. I think that qualifies as a binge.
posted by kmz at 7:49 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


Yup, that really was an article that tried to define "binge-watching," without addressing why they cared to define it. Should people avoid binge-watching? Should we do it more? And now I have thought about the topic more than they did, and I feel dumber for it.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, Netflix commissioned a Cards Against Humanity cardset to promote the show and CAH wrote about the process:
We submitted about 41 cards to Netflix, and they rejected the ones they didn’t like, like “Binge-watching 12 hours of House of Cards while wearing an adult diaper,” because they “didn’t like their brand being associated with adult diapers.” (They also rejected a lot of other amazing cards, but they told us we weren’t allowed to say them in this blog post).

Then Netflix announced the pack Monday morning on their Twitter account and sold out 10,000 packs in about 45 minutes, and we wrote this contractually-obligated blog post, which went through one week of revisions and arguments in which Netflix stripped out many of the interesting things we wanted to tell you.

...

Netflix paid us a lot of money to write the pack (they won’t allow us to say how much they paid us). It’s not really our business model to get paid by a big company to write jokes, so we donated an amount of money that is more than $49,999 and less than $50,001 to one of our favorite non-profits, The Sunlight Foundation.
posted by kmz at 7:53 AM on February 18 [40 favorites]


Releasing an entire season at once also messes up spoilers. Some have seen the entire season by now, others only various parts. It makes talking about the show very different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:56 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


There were a few classic Doctor Who episodes I originally saw two 30 minute episodes at a time on PBS that were much worse when viewed later in an uncut movie format on VHS.

I was going to say that I'd never binge-watched a show, but if you count a full six-parter of Classic Who, guilty as charged, officer. (I watch them on DVD with the info text on.) I tend to consider it the equivalent of a long movie with bathroom break points built in.

With dramas, I rarely manage ore than two in a row.
posted by immlass at 7:56 AM on February 18


What annoys me about HoC, having watched S01, is that Kevin Spacey is SOOO clever and can SOOO easily outsmart everybody. No one else has a brain in their head. He's like an evil Superman, but more self-congratulatory. Tiresome.
posted by shivohum at 7:57 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Man can narrate though.
posted by maryr at 8:00 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


What annoys me about HoC, having watched S01, is that Kevin Spacey is SOOO clever and can SOOO easily outsmart everybody. No one else has a brain in their head. He's like an evil Superman, but more self-congratulatory. Tiresome.

So Lex Luthor, basically?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:02 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Binge-watching 12 hours of House of Cards while wearing an adult diaper

Other people don't just carry the laptop into the can with them?
posted by jessamyn at 8:03 AM on February 18 [27 favorites]


*eye ball twitch*
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


It's so maddening that just about everyone still thinks that @BarackObama belongs to the president or his staff. The media knows that it's controlled by OFA but couldn't care less because they want their story.
posted by acidic at 8:11 AM on February 18


Incidentally, Netflix commissioned a Cards Against Humanity cardset to promote the show

DAMN IT! I have GOT to start stalking the CAH blog. I miss out on all the good promo sets!

At least I can download it for free. Off to Staples!
posted by magstheaxe at 8:11 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty much done with Netflix. There's more (the same crap plus a bunch of good stuff) stuff on Hulu for free than I'm paying Netflix for, and Hulu Plus just blows Netflix out of the water. I really don't know why I bother anymore.

At this point I'm debating whether I should hold out until June (OITNB S2) or just ditch now. I'm leaning heavily towards the latter.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:12 AM on February 18


It's so maddening that just about everyone still thinks that @BarackObama belongs to the president or his staff. The media knows that it's controlled by OFA but couldn't care less because they want their story.

Actually, any of the tweets signed -bo (not the House of Cards one!) are actually him.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:13 AM on February 18


Netflix's stock price makes me want to vomit.
posted by phaedon at 8:21 AM on February 18


Sys Rq: if you have a higher tolerance for commercials, maybe Hulu Plus works for you. But I'm not going to _pay_ people to force unskippable commercials at me.
posted by tavella at 8:22 AM on February 18 [20 favorites]


My favorite thing about House of Cards is that Frank Underwood says so many things that would look awesome embroidered on a throw pillow.
posted by palomar at 8:30 AM on February 18 [10 favorites]


Actually, any of the tweets signed -bo (not the House of Cards one!) are actually him.

Actually, no. He hasn't signed tweets -bo from that account in months if not years. He now tweets from @WhiteHouse as -bo.
posted by acidic at 8:30 AM on February 18


HoC2 is next on my list. I've been watching the Amazon pilots recently. Anyone else on those?

Transparent is freaking terrific. I'm kinda anticipating an FPP on that one very soon. The After is vintage Chris Carter goodness, though I give it a 40% chance of turning quickly to shit. Bosch was uneven but had some promise when they let him go about the business of being a detective, and I love the Michael Connelly books its based on, so I'll be on board. Mozart in the Jungle (Jason Schwartzman's "sex, drugs, and classical music" thing) was funny, even if it doesn't have its pacing sorted out yet. The Rebels was a yawner... an uncredited remake of that 80s HBO comedy 1st and Ten.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:32 AM on February 18


everyone catch up to episode ten with me so we can discuss the brief flash of sexual power play that is nearly exactly how one republican lobbyist hit on me in DC like back in 2002
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Me, more so, phaedon, given that I bought it at ~$22 and sold it shortly later at ~$34. *Sigh*
posted by mbatch at 8:32 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


tavella: "Sys Rq: if you have a higher tolerance for commercials, maybe Hulu Plus works for you. But I'm not going to _pay_ people to force unskippable commercials at me."

For me, Hulu Plus occupies a space where the content is grudgingly worth the price and ads. There are only a handful of things I watch on it - Arrow, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Brooklyn 99; Netflix only has one of those and it's about 2 seasons behind right now. And Hulu Plus runs on the Playstation 4, so it's already hooked up to the TV without having to invite the frustration and usability problems of a PC set up that way.

But I've also got a Chromecast, a smart TV, a Netflix subscription, and a PC that streams media, and I'd greatly like to simplify. Every time Hulu invites me to "choose your ad experience" or tells me that the video's "web only" I get that much closer to simplifying it right out of my setup.

I prefer to pay to access content legitimately, but at this point some sort of automated torrent setup on the PC would probably let me access everything I want from Hulu without supporting the also-ran platform that just furthers the need for more hardware, more subscriptions, and more fragmented ways to access media.
posted by Vox Nihili at 8:35 AM on February 18


Vox: XBMC.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:36 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Hulu has ads, and is therefore useful only for things unavailable elsewhere.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:39 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


What annoys me about HoC, having watched S01, is that Kevin Spacey is SOOO clever and can SOOO easily outsmart everybody. No one else has a brain in their head. He's like an evil Superman, but more self-congratulatory. Tiresome.

I'm not super far into Season 2 (I limited my binge to 3 episodes on Saturday), but I really think that House of Cards needs to be taken in as a two-season arc. Season 1 was the Underwoods building their house. Season 2 is where it all starts to come down (I hope... kind of... I spend every episode hoping that Frank gets caught out at something because he totally deserves it yet on the other hand I love seeing his ridiculous schemes work every damn time).
posted by sparklemotion at 8:40 AM on February 18


A binge is when you block out the Saturday on your calendar months in advance, and then when the Big Day comes you tell your eighth grader that yes, you will take him to his basketball game at 2pm, but otherwise do not disturb Mom and Dad, because beginning at 8 a.m. they will be catching up on the last season of Homeland, and that includes bothering about meals and medical emergencies, because you're perfectly capable, and will you please walk the dog because one day your parents will be elderly and these will be your responsibilities.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:43 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


I do wonder if they plan on following the broad outlines of the UK series cause

uh, the ending.
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


The thing I've noticed about binge-watching broadcast TV shows on Netflix (I'm looking in Chuck's direction right now) is that the build-up to mega-drama right before the commercial break seems so artificial and disruptive. You don't (or at least) I don't notice it when I'm watching shows on TV because even if I'm DVRing and skipping commercials, at least there is a few second pause where I have to do something other than keep watching.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:44 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]


People, people. Politics is big, and politicians are numerous and diverse. We should only expect to find power-hungry monsters and vain idiots among them, and every shade in between.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:44 AM on February 18


The White House has apparently asked for advance copies of True Detective and Game Of Thrones in addition to the (perhaps joking?) no spoilers request on HoC.
posted by sparkletone at 8:48 AM on February 18


I prefer to wait until series are completely done so I can binge-watch from beginning to end with no interruptions. Currently on Breaking Bad S4. Of course this means I have to be very careful about the Internet I see, spoilers abound!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:48 AM on February 18


Everyone knows that Obama is twitter user Darth.
posted by drezdn at 8:51 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


What annoys me about HoC, having watched S01, is that Kevin Spacey is SOOO clever and can SOOO easily outsmart everybody.

I see that as a feature, not a bug!
posted by jeremias at 9:24 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, it's like the minute Netflix's service model becomes doomed and their CEO makes it clear he is a babboon's ass, their stock skyrockets. Oh yeah, we're trading at $400 because of House of Cards. Reasonable people that sold NFLX too early need their own Downfall video.
posted by phaedon at 9:26 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Marketplace: What happens at Netflix when House of Cards goes live. About Netflix analytics. "There was one person who finished with just three minutes longer than there is content. So basically, three total minutes of break in roughly 13 hours."

The release-all-at-once definitely has changed the discussion on Twitter. With most episodic drama there's a sort of understanding of "no spoilers for a couple of days", and then everyone relaxes and talks about how Darth Vader is actually Luke's father or how the Smoke Monster never did make sense or whatever. But with House of Cards it's not clear how long one should politely wait until spoiling things. Clearly longer than a couple of days, and I thank everyone for their restraint.
posted by Nelson at 9:32 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


There was one person who finished with just three minutes longer than there is content.

I think "person" may be a bit of a stretch. I assume those are "tapers" because the whole thing was on Usenet by the next day.
posted by jessamyn at 9:35 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Hulu's ads wouldn't be too bad if they didn't show the same 3-4 commercials over and over again to the point where it's impossible not to have every line in them memorized by the time you've watched a show. Most commercials these days rely on simple gags that really aren't funny the third or three-hundredth time you've seen them. The commercials often don't seem to buffer well, either, so an ad break that's supposed to be 90 seconds sometimes takes five minutes.

I watch a probably unhealthy amount of TV and movies, and I still find shows to binge watch on Netflix most weekends. Spent Sunday watching all of the Bates Motel season one and really enjoyed it. Some of them really just serve as mindless entertainment, like that Canadian show featuring a succubus, but some of them are fantastic, like Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad. It's well worth the $7.99/month to me.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:35 AM on February 18 [7 favorites]


The characters in House of Cards are so vile that I am fast approaching not caring about them at all.

At some point it will be revealed that Claire is an alien being who is going to slaughter all humanity instead of going for her morning jog.
posted by maggiemaggie at 9:39 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Claire Underwood is going to devour the sun and plunge DC into eternal winter.
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 AM on February 18 [6 favorites]


I still think Netflix should have doled out an episode of HoC every few days, and given their audience more suspense and anticipation. But I'm avoiding the reviews and taking my own time with it. Got around to the season's first episode last night, and Fincher is in rare form, and I am SO GLAD it wasn't spoiled for me!
posted by Catblack at 9:42 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, it's like the minute Netflix's service model becomes doomed

Smart money isn't betting that way. Chromecast is a thing that exists in this world, right alongside all-you-can-eat plans from Sprint (and ain't it funny how data caps from the other carriers got a lot higher since that Net Neutrality debacle, as if they were anticipating a good foot-shooting from a previously unassailable competitor. My wife has a 4G unlimited plan from Virgin for $35/month!)

Someone is doomed if the big cable company ISP's throttle Netflix. It ain't Netflix.

(Everyone's known since they tried to spin off the disc-by-mail cash cow he was a baboon's ass. Oft is better to be lucky than talented.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:46 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Catblack: I still think Netflix should have doled out an episode of HoC every few days, and given their audience more suspense and anticipation. But I'm avoiding the reviews and taking my own time with it. Got around to the season's first episode last night, and Fincher is in rare form, and I am SO GLAD it wasn't spoiled for me!

I really think it damaged the new Arrested Development season dramatically to come out all at once. There was no buzz, no discussion, no anticipation. I know it wasn't a very good season anyway, but I think the bulk distribution format really amplified just how flat it was.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:47 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


also it was front loaded with weaker episodes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


Amazon is doing the timed trickle with its Alpha House. I hate waiting, though.
posted by planetesimal at 9:58 AM on February 18


He now tweets from @WhiteHouse as -bo.

[ExasperatedSeanConnery] We named the dog Bo! [/ExasperatedSeanConnery]
posted by Naberius at 10:00 AM on February 18 [5 favorites]


About 2/3 of the way through HOC season 2, and so far I think season 1 was stronger. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy seeing George Hearst Ray Tusk and Alma Garrett Jacqueline Sharp on screen (I still hold out the hope they'll share a scene at some point), but the whole China/trade drama is nowhere near as compelling as the press/Zoe story arc from the first season.

Still, it's a strong show, and well worth watching. I just find the machinations a bit hard to follow this season, and I don't find myself caring about the characters as much.
posted by evil otto at 10:09 AM on February 18


Binge watcing... it's not new.

8 hours of Monty Python - a rather flaky 4h VHS tape on long play - from 3am to 11am at a party, my place, mid-80s.

We held it together for about five hours, I guess. By then, as far as we could tell, the acid had peaked.

And then.

Can. Never. Forget. (even watching that clip just now has, um... well)

Thirteen hours Netflix HoC? A mere dalliance. Mention it not.

I'm going to lie down now.
posted by Devonian at 10:25 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]


I watched HoC season 2 in two sittings. That's a binge. Not too hard to know when you're doing it, really. As for a hard and fast definition, like porn, you know it when you see it.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:30 AM on February 18


It's not binging if you're sick. it's "taking it easy".
posted by fshgrl at 10:41 AM on February 18


exactly! It's vital to my health.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on February 18


I don't understand the difference between watching 3 hours of different TV shows and watching 3 hours of the same show. Who cares how people spend their down time.
posted by Twain Device at 10:51 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


> I don't understand the difference between watching 3 hours of different TV shows and watching 3 hours of the same show. Who cares how people spend their down time.

> 8 hours of Monty Python - a rather flaky 4h VHS tape on long play - from 3am to 11am at a party, my place, mid-80s.

What's being discussed here is the release of new material all at once where traditionally it would be broadcast over the space of several months. It does make a difference in numerous ways, as has been discussed already in this thread.
posted by planetesimal at 11:11 AM on February 18


Not only did we get all the episodes, they also released this bonus footage of Kevin Spacey in character!
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:38 AM on February 18




I forget who said it but I always liked the description of the show as "Richard The 3rd and Lady MacBeth are married."
posted by The Whelk at 11:54 AM on February 18 [9 favorites]


Yes, it's Shakespearian campery. Totally enjoyable. I don't need to learn lessons about politics from TV. I do like to look at the clothes, and the beauty of the people. I liked this season better because the trajectory was clearer. Didn't like the late introduction of the deus ex machina last season.
posted by feste at 12:00 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


It's enjoyable fiction, well produced, directed, and acted. Fairly obvious what was going to happen so no surprises, which was a bit of a surprise in itself, but so much better than most network television shows (which frankly doesn't take much). It's nice to see the effort though.
posted by juiceCake at 12:02 PM on February 18


I bet you could re-cut whole scenes with new music and make an arty Brooks Brothers commercial
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 PM on February 18


(sticks note to laptop to remind self to NOT re-cut House Of Cards clips into a Restoration Hardware commercial.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:06 PM on February 18


That AV Club review very nicely summed up my reservations about HoC. I've been watching one per night, but perhaps you have to watch it so fast you don't have time to think about whether you want to watch anymore, or what the hell the whole point is anyway.
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:13 PM on February 18


Binge watching is like cats. More than three is where you cross the line into sweatpants and crumbs

My Saturday was 19 (short) games of rugby league, 25 episodes of Community and too much chocolate.

Three? Ha.
posted by vbfg at 12:34 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Three? Ha.

Indeed. Not that I have to catch myself before I say 'frell' or refer to arns in front of other people at the moment, because that is apparently a side effect of binge-watching Farscape. (Also, I had forgotten what a pure joy Ben Browder in leather is. Also also, good to know that 'What if every single character makes the worst possible choice every single time' as a writing guide predates Game of Thrones.)

In conclusion, don't you judge me, Netflix.
posted by kalimac at 1:44 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


For me, actually, it's Netflix itself that has set the definition of binge-watching. At this point, I know I've binged (on a TV series, at least, which these days accounts for much of my Netflix time) when, suddenly, my show freezes and is replaced by a dull, gray little dialogue box. I forget the exact wording within the box—I think the profound shame that washes over me when the box appears has prevented by brain from storing the specifics—but it says, pretty much, "Whoa there! We've noticed that you've been watching this show for a really long time, friend. Are you sure—really sure—you want to keep watching?"

This, this, exactly this. I know I'm binge watching when I get that little "please confirm you are still alive, because as far as we can tell you have not so much as lifted your arm in the last two and a half hours" dialog box of shame.
posted by payoto at 2:28 PM on February 18 [7 favorites]


I can't seem to get that excited about political shows anymore after The Thick of It; without Malcolm Tucker, everything just seems so flat and bland now.

That said, I'm sure I'll get sucked into this show soon. Maybe after True Detective.
posted by dialetheia at 2:36 PM on February 18


I assume those are "tapers" because the whole thing was on Usenet by the next day.

Whoa whoa whoa. Are you telling me there's people still pirating movies on Usenet? Did the BBS they were swapping VHS copies on get shut down?
posted by PMdixon at 3:00 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


This, this, exactly this. I know I'm binge watching when I get that little "please confirm you are still alive, because as far as we can tell you have not so much as lifted your arm in the last two and a half hours" dialog box of shame.

I hate this message because it tends to pop up in the middle of an episode whose predecessor I manually skipped the credits of.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:02 PM on February 18


There's many aspects of the new format I enjoy: the change of pace from the standard ten-minutes-and-change before a commercial break cliffhanger; the lack of any "previously on" and "next on" prerolls. House of Cards is one of the rare shows that treats me like an intelligent, attentive person.

I watched the entirety of season 2 over the long weekend: one of the clear themes is that no-one comes off better from being touched by Frank Underwood. It's going to lead to an interesting setup for season 3: FU (loved those cufflinks!) strikes me as one of those people who is utterly driven by competition, but has no idea what to do with success.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 3:37 PM on February 18 [3 favorites]


Regarding maddening genius Frank Underwood... I guess the point is he is the smart guy and everyone else are "vain idiots" like the veep characters but dramatic instead of funny. Note: never watched Veep, guess it's time. What I hate about Frank is the tactics he engages with at the end of season one. Just be a Machiavellian mastermind dude, keep your fucking hands clean. That was some shark jumping shit to me but I'll be watching more...
posted by lordaych at 5:51 PM on February 18


I mean something like HoC, even when showing reprehensible characters, is still playing into and supporting the glamor and desirability of government and statecraft and power. Showing an evil court still shows how attractive it is (cause otherwise who would want it?). Veep is anti-glamour, everything is petty, everything is stupid, and every fight is a teakettle storm over inanities. The people in power aren't amoral Machiavellian demons, they're impatient idiots.

I dunno, takes all kinds.

Personally, I think upper level government is pretty glamorous. I also don't think the people in it are a bunch of smallminded twits -- just the opposite, usually (for better or worse). I think the real flaw in a lot of those big shots is that many of them are incredibly arrogant, and it makes them callous. So in that sense, I think that HoC is actually more realistic than Veep.

Also, if anything, I think that painting government and statecraft as glamorous is more subversive than painting it as "just another bunch of schmucks down at City Hall," because the idea that the government is something that we, the regular people, have no real knowledge or understanding of, and that the people in charge of it see us (maybe even *rightly*) as a bunch of peons, is anti-thetical to a lot of American ideals, not to mention belies the (Tea Party/"Yes We Can"/etc) rhetoric that a lot of politicians like to feed us.

It's also frightening to me that, in HoC, we're watching the story of a dictator come to power, and even though the show takes no pains to paint Frank as anything but a vile human being, it's also clear that there aren't really better alternatives on the field. Frank might actually be the best man (for the job of statecraft), even though he's an awful man. Not because everyone else is a petty, brainless twit, but because (at best, if it's not a larger structural problem) top-level statecraft is such a shatteringly big job and the amount of focus, ambition, and brains it takes to be in the position to do it probably precludes a lot of morality or empathy.

Anyway, I liked this season better than the first, because it was more focused on the people who actually work in/for/with government, which I think is the heart of the story.

I watched the entirety of season 2 over the long weekend: one of the clear themes is that no-one comes off better from being touched by Frank Underwood.

Clair does. I loved her S2 arc, it made the season for me: I loved watching Clair and Frank fall in love (?) again, and to see Clair get the "child" she wanted in Meghan.

She's made of tephlon in a way Frank isn't, too. Frank had better watch out, because if he starts going down, he's not going to be able to take her with him. If that happens, I think jealousy might cause him to turn on her.

For anyone that watched further into the season: who got you-know-who's Senate seat when he got his "promotion"? I wish/hope that Clair eventually gets it. I wish and hope they model her more after Libby Dole altogether.

Do you guys pay attention to Frank's machinations? I want to find them interesting, but all the old guys kind of blend together in my mind and so it's meaningless to me when he plays them off each other. I have no idea if the president and so many of his inner circle are supposed to be so amazingly bland, but they are.

Anyway, the one storyline I really wish they'd dug into a bit deeper into was Jacqueline Sharp's. I like the character, but I felt like her story lost moment about two thirds of the way through. Maybe it was all the focus on the "romance" between her and R***?

At this point I'm debating whether I should hold out until June (OITNB S2) or just ditch now. I'm leaning heavily towards the latter.

Just ditch it and pick it back up in June? There's no penalty. Plus, if you drop it for a few months they'll probably try to coax you back by offering a month free.

Netflix = Blockbuster/Redbox for me, and HuluPlus = Cable. I like both of them but have dropped both of them at various times because of the apparently unlimited number of people who can use either account -- I just merge my account with other people's, and it's basically like getting unlimited TV for a dollar or so a month (though maybe for HuluPlus that only works if nobody else who uses your account happens to be watching when you are?). The only problem I've run into is the bizarre stuff that comes up on the "Recommended for You" queue. It is NOT ME who watches endless Bollywood and serious documentaries. Though probably the other people I share my account with are irritated that Arrow and Gossip Girl are constantly being recommended to them because of what I do watch.

Anyway, yes, I did binge. I binge everything TV-related, I have no self control. I think it's actually a lot easier to get through a few crummy episodes or even a whole crummy season when the episodes are only airing one at a time (gave up on Arrested Development's most recent season, for example). Also, I tend to have the TV (or radio) running all the time, so I'll just put a show on and have it running for hours while only catching snippets here and there as I do whatever else. I like when networks(/Netflix?) air shows one episode at a time, because I personally get a lot more out of them. If the show's only on for an hour a week, I actually spend time watching each episode instead of having episodes play one after another in the background while I'm talking on the phone or cleaning the bathroom or whatever, and I like all the build up between episodes when you get to talk about them with everyone else who's following along. But not everyone is a TV-o-holic like me, so I don't know if that's generalizable.

I don't really know why Netflix has decided to do it this way, but I guess it's working? Maybe it does help with hype/water-cooler talk to have a big show-dump, I don't know.
posted by rue72 at 5:52 PM on February 18


Whoa whoa whoa. Are you telling me there's people still pirating movies on Usenet? Did the BBS they were swapping VHS copies on get shut down?

Somebody's out of touch and it ain't the USENET community. Last I heard we also use electricity to power computers instead of Transhumanist Collaborative Brain Wave Magic too -- I know, right.

That's the empire of all things licit, illicit, holy and unholy and all things, all of them, retained for potentially hundreds of days with no "seeders" and "leechers," just big massive pipes downloading content to you at 10+MBps. Not exactly easy or free to get attached to one of those fat pipes though, but it ain't nothin' to sneeze at...certainly has a sketchy cachet to it all, but most of the providers are adamant about clearing their logs quickly and you're not connecting to 100 people to get your goodies.
posted by lordaych at 6:18 PM on February 18


At some point it will be revealed that Claire is an alien being who is going to slaughter all humanity instead of going for her morning jog.

Heh, my partner regularly gets mad at me for making comments like this. I ALWAYS wish shows would actually follow through and just do some crazy dusk til dawn twist like this.

Amazons "the after" actually followed through and did it though, and it was if anything completely flat and disappointing. I was like "finally, a "world ending apocalypse" show without nuclear bombs or zombies"... and then they had to go and blow their load as to what the cause was RIGHT IN THE PILOT. I get that it's a pilot and they're trying to sell it, but that kind of thing lends itself to a slow burn like lost. At the very least, they should have shown the viewer a hint of what it was and not the characters.

I guess it really is one of those things that's funnier and more interesting as a concept than it is in practice. Like, it's always better when you're imagining it than they could ever pull off on a real show.

Oh, and i really don't see where HoC is going to go from here. It's already run its own version of the entire plot of the UK HoC at the end of season 2(is that a spoiler? i mean, it's vague). They drop some hints, but it ends with there only being essentially one tiny threat to Frank.

Apparently S3 is already in production and i'm curious to see what they're gonna do.. because..uh.. i don't get it.
posted by emptythought at 6:18 PM on February 18


I hate this message because it tends to pop up in the middle of an episode whose predecessor I manually skipped the credits of.

I've noticed this too...maybe in the aggregate a few hundred thousand inaccurate nag boxes strategically placed keep their "all you can eat" streamers from spending all day in the restaurant.
posted by lordaych at 6:26 PM on February 18




AHAHAHAHA WHAT THE FUCK ACTUAL THREESOME AHAHAHAHA
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


STFU with the spoilers, dude. We're well within the statute of limitations for them.
posted by planetesimal at 7:12 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


It's the president and Snape and Castiel
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 PM on February 18


What is the statute of limitations for spoilers on this show? I assume that no one who doesn't want to be spoiled would still be reading this thread.
posted by donajo at 7:31 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]


My sister dropped cable recently after I showed her how to get Netflix Canada, US, Mexico, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Brazil, Denmark, Norway, and Argentina with Unblock Us (which also gives on access to the BBC iPlayer site and other online content world wide), as well as the free Hulu, an HD/Digital Antenna, and subscription to a football (soccer) channel.

She doesn't miss regular television except HBO, but it's not worth the price. HOC and other content were a major selling point. I hope this model can survive. People are willing to pay for content if the price is reasonable, and they're finding the value of traditional content through cable/satellite to be rather expensive, even those with money to spare.
posted by juiceCake at 8:03 PM on February 18


STFU with the spoilers, dude. We're well within the statute of limitations for them.

That's another pretty major problem with the all-episodes-at-once model. It really muddies the already murky waters of spoilers. With a weekly show, you have the pretty universally recognized "no spoilers for episode 6 at least until episode 7 airs" thing, but when they all come out at once, how long do you have to wait?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:30 PM on February 18


AHAHAHAHA WHAT THE FUCK ACTUAL THREESOME AHAHAHAHA

I'm still REALLY confused as to whether or not that's supposed to be a dream sequence, or something? like, that entire scene after francis shows up is so incredibly surreal and such a misnomer from the rest of the entire show that i just kept going "WUT" out loud at my tv.

It's on that same level of "totally absurd thing your brain bullshits up as a joke to spice things up" as if claire turned out to be an alien.
posted by emptythought at 3:50 AM on February 19


What is the statute of limitations for spoilers on this show? I assume that no one who doesn't want to be spoiled would still be reading this thread.

I wouldn't assume that. I'd maybe wait for spoilers until a thread that doesn't have (however non-contextually) "No spoilers" in the title. But this is just me-jessamyn not me-the-mod speaking.
posted by jessamyn at 5:57 AM on February 19 [3 favorites]


Did the A.V. Club drop their one-episode-at-a-time spoiler-free reviews for this show? I went looking, and could only find a super spoilery full season review, and a (mostly) spoiler free "this is how the themes of the season made me feel" general review.

I really appreciated the comment spaces of the episode at a time reviews because they created a community where I could ask questions like:

*EPISODE 2ish SPOILER BELOW*

The baby thing... did Claire really just go to the doctor so that she could figure out some ammo to use against the crazy idealist chick?
posted by sparklemotion at 7:11 AM on February 19


The AV Club will review two episodes a week starting next week, according to a note at the bottom of this.
posted by maudlin at 8:23 AM on February 19


*EPISODE 2ish SPOILER BELOW*

The baby thing... did Claire really just go to the doctor so that she could figure out some ammo to use against the crazy idealist chick?


Ooh, I hadn't thought of that. I thought she was seriously considering having a kid, and then dropped it when Frank became the VP. I bet you're right, though.
posted by donajo at 8:43 AM on February 19


I thought she was seriously considering having a kid, and then dropped it when Frank became the VP.

It's been a long time since I watched season one, but I recall she was seriously considering a child late in that season. So in season two it becomes both a finalization of that plot element, and as mentioned a leverage point against the other woman.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:57 AM on February 19


I agree, it seemed like she really wanted the child, but I couldn't figure out her motivation for just dropping it. It seemed like such a big deal to her last season so I don't understand the change of heart and can only explain it in terms of her being the Blonde Maleficent.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:18 AM on February 19


*EPISODE 2ish SPOILER BELOW*

C'mon. It was requested politely that people not do this.

Already the replies have lost the spoiler warning. Start another thread if you want to do this, please.
posted by aught at 9:27 AM on February 19


My bad -- I figured the thread was spoiled already (what with the mention of characters that I -- 7 episodes in-- haven't even seen yet mentioned further up).

As someone who is usually in the position to be spoiled (no cable, I wait for things to be available on streaming to watch, for the most part), my take on spoilers has always been that if you aren't going to watch [pop culture thing] right away, then it's your own responsibility to avoid the relevant media for the 48hrs-half a week, because people who did watch it want to (and have a right to) discuss it and spoiler warning everything is pretty annoying. After the first week or so though, spoiler warnings should be employed (because those of us without cable can't be cyber hermits forever).

Of course, these season blasts do kind of change things a little -- I personally wouldn't mind if Netflix decided to go with a one episode per week release for Season 3, as long as all of the previous episodes were always available for those who want to binge/catch-up partway through.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:44 AM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the spoiler talk. I've started a new thread.
posted by donajo at 3:11 PM on February 19


I think that it's ridiculous to read a thread about a show where all of the episodes are already available to watch with the expectations that there will be no spoilers. There's plenty of internet to explore and plenty of ways to get accidentally spoiled in the process. A conversation about the show is probably a good place to avoid.
posted by lordaych at 11:08 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


To answer my own question above, The AV Club is doing their one episode a week reviews, the first one just hadn't posted yet.

Here is Chapter 14.

Now you can choose your rate of spoilation.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:17 AM on February 21




So all the fuss about season 2 and my new chrome cast got me curious, and I've watched the first two episodes of season 1. And holy crap, all my anxieties, this show knows them and makes them bigger. I'd like to keep watching because Underwood is so, well, watchable, but I don't know if I'll be able to. Watching Claire fire her partner nearly had me under the sofa.
posted by PussKillian at 9:44 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]




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