Claire and Frank Start Fantasy-Murdering Each Other on House of Cards
With Claire and Frank Underwood now adversaries rather than allies, there’s a whole world of potential being built with their previously demonstrated capacities for cruelty. This season, it looks like we’re going to get to see them destroy one another — either figuratively or physically. In the first episode, Frank dreams of punching Claire in the stomach, throwing her against a mirror, and choking her, but then his own dream turns against him, as Claire stabs him with a shard of mirror and then begins gouging out his eyeballs. Is the show trolling, or foreshadowing? Either way, it’s fun to see this campy fantasy manifestation of the show’s never-really-subtextual subtext.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Sam Smith at the Oscars
The Oscars this year were wildly uneven and thankfully uncomfortable. While Chris Rock’s hosting had its tone-deaf moments, the very fact that he ensured #OscarsSoWhite remained at the forefront the whole, shellacked spectacle: this wasn’t the boring, expensive celebration it usually is, so much as a dissonant series of self-congratulations continuously undermined by needed criticism. An expensive, four-hour cringe was what this needed to be, and it was.
Beyond the mere cringe factor, though, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs powerfully confronted the issue in her speech. “Our audiences are global and rich in diversity, and every facet of our industry should be as well,” she said. “Each of you is an ambassador who can influence others in the industry. It’s not enough to just listen and agree; we must take action.” As Flavorwire’s Alison Herman put it, “the symbolic value of the Academy’s public face validating and even encouraging serious criticism is real.”
Meanwhile, in contrast, Sam Smith’s incorrect acceptance of the first Oscar for an openly gay person revealed the awkward, self-congratulatory flip side of the Awards, a compensatory desire to make them relevant despite the general air of criticism.