March 21, 2015

'House of Cards': In Power With

Real power couples give each other what they need and want.

Each makes it their business to know what the other person wants and needs. If it comes to it, straight-up asking what that is. Of course, each has to be in-tune enough with themselves to know what they want. Each has to be honest and able to articulate this to the other. Power couples are able to have the tough conversations and leave with a better understanding rather than contempt for each other. 

This is why viewers (men, women, and me included) are enamored with Claire and Francis Underwood of the pop culture sensation. These characters exist without swallowing each other. They are totally separate individuals whose business is each other. Their relationship is a third entity that is a combination of them incarnate. This entity is more powerful than the high offices they hold, than the money they have, than the power they wield, it is more powerful than they are individually.

As ruthless, murderous, and lacking in moral decency as they are, we are drawn to the Underwoods. Not because they will do anything to succeed at getting what they want. We are drawn to them because, existentially, we wish we were fearless enough to share the honesty and trust they have between them—we want a relationship that close.

The Underwoods possess all that they have because their third entity harnesses what is most powerful from each of them, and yet, permits them to be individuals.

They are in power with, not over the other. Most individuals strive for the latter, and those couples lose.

Art not imitating life, perhaps.

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