Friday, February 27, 2015

A How-To Guide For Watching "House of Cards" And Not Spoiling It For Your Friends

*This article was originally published on February 18th, 2014. Different season, same rules apply*

The highly popular political drama House of Cards returned to rave reviews on Valentine's Day- when they released chapters 14-26 of Francis Underwood's quest for the Presidency of the United States at 12:01 am on Netflix. Surely it was a better present than one typically receives on the Feast of Saint Valentine, but unlike that box of chocolate that was gone before morning, this particular box of Cards gets eaten at a different speed depending on your availability and appetite. Below I've posted a "how-to" guide for enjoying, and discussing, the blackest heart in the White House.

What makes House of Cards different than normal TV shows?

House of Cards is a Netflix original series which, unlike typical television series that air new episodes once a week, makes a season's worth of episodes available for streaming at the same time. This makes for great binge watching sessions, but also makes discussing the show, especially in online forums, virtually impossible.

But isn't having access to all the episodes at once a good thing? 

It is a good thing, it just has some bad side effects.

Since everyone gets to consume the show at their leisure, its difficult to have conversations about it with friends or followers until you've both completed the series. But that hasn't stopped people from taking to Twitter to post their initial reactions to various happenings without any forewarning.

So the real issue here is spoilers?

Yes! If you're reading this post, then chances are you're already painfully aware of our society's impulsive instinct to post every thought, reaction or question to some kind of social networking site the second it crosses our brain. We saw it with Game of Thrones infamous "Red Wedding" episode and we saw it for pretty much the entire final season of Breaking Bad. If something big happens on a major television show, the internet is going to be buzzing about it. But what happens when that bee stings the masses at different times? What you get is chaos. From the time you start that first episode, up until the time you finish the season, you must treat your timeline like a mine field.

So you're saying its never going to be okay to tweet about House of Cards?

That's not what I'm saying at all- what I'm saying is, be mindful to those who weren't able to sit motionless on their couch for thirteen straight hours last weekend. Give it a little time to marinate. If you would like to tweet about a major event that happened in the show (character death, revelation, pregnancy, etc) give the public at least two weeks to catch up. Though in all fairness, a month seems more appropriate.

If you want to tweet about something that doesn't directly affect the plot (nudity, sex scene, epic one liner) then by all means go right ahead. Like I did, with the lovely Kate Mara's brief ass shot in the first episode of season two.

Okay so no tweeting about major plot spoilers- got it. But what about real life conversations?

When it comes to real life convos you must make it perfectly clear what episode you're on before mentioning anything that has happened so far in the show. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that 50% of all human interactions I've had since about 10 am on Friday have started off with "So what episode are you up to in House of Cards." Tread lightly, because any overzealous, premature spoilers could lead to the completely justifiable loss of a friend.

So you're advising something like a real-life Scarlet Letter, only instead of having to wear a "A" for adulterer on your chest, you should be forced to publicly display what episode you're up to? 

That's EXACTLY what I'm advising.

-fresh (@danye33)

tl/dr: Don't spoil House of Cards on Twitter, always make sure your friends are as caught up as you are before talking about the show. 

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