I may or may not have recently re-watched a lot of House of Cards.
After (maybe) having watched many, many episodes of this successful political drama–and constantly trying to convince my mother how interesting it is that Robin Wright was Princess Buttercup way back when–it has come to my attention not only that my mother has never seen The Princess Bride, but also that binge-watching certain shows creates certain symptoms.
I knew this to some extent before. When I watched Make It Or Break It, I was obsessed with gymnastics. When I watched Lord of the Rings, I tried to learn Tengwar. Although I now have plenty of seemingly random knowledge about everything from artistic gymnastics to hobbits, which could be seen as a good thing, it is apparent that every show we follow has a potent effect on us. House of Cards is no different, but its symptoms are the dangerous, leading-to-social-awkwardness kind.
Prepare yourself for the following.
Symptom 1: Speaking in maxims. As Dan Egan said on VEEP (another, more comical political show), “He who speaks in maxims…can sound wise.” Frank Underwood uses a LOT of maxims and metaphors on House of Cards. Which means that you’ll start talking like that after just two episodes (Seriously. You will.). You’ll take to it like a cat to milk*. But that’s just the way the tide turned. Because you put too many eggs in one basket.
Symptom 2: Everything is a conspiracy. Everything. So your roommate offered to put some toast in the toaster for you while she was using it. So she burned it. Guess what?
She’s definitely in talks with China. Say good-bye to reelection. And your toast. (And your roommate, if your symptoms continue).
Symptom 3: You want to act like a bad-ass. Part of you now is eager for someone, anyone, to try to mess with you, because now, after hearing Underwood and his wife deliver completely awesomely cruel lines, you feel like you yourself can do so. Now you can’t wait for someone to forget to pay you back, just so you can plot their demise for years and store up plenty of tough lines besides “Come at me bro.”
So there you have it: the reason for binge-watching at home (besides getting to avoid real clothes). And the reason for avoiding social contact until you get onto a show with more charming symptoms, like the Big Bang Theory. Or get heavy sarcasm from VEEP. Or feel really really smart from The Newsroom.
So carry on. Watch with caution. “Welcome to Washington”.
(Or maybe just read a book. The symptoms are diluted that way.)
*Milk’s actually not great for cats. Pass it on.