Adam Ruins Everything
Jake and Amir
A Frank Underwood Guide to High School English Vocabulary Words
March 6, 2014
Life can full of difficult decisions: you want to learn, retain valuable information, and generally evolve as a person, but mostly you just want to watch "House of Cards" on Netflix. But luckily, using this handy Frank Underwood guide to English vocab words you learned in high school, and then unlearned due to a combination of irresponisble drinking and mindless silly cat video consumption, now you can do both!
Governor: "That's all sir?"
Frank: "[to the governor] That's it, short and sweet... [to the camera] or at least just short."
Whether he's making an overextended comparison between himself and a Greek mythology figure, justifying multiple homicides, or just being kind of a dick to a Governor at a Civil War reenactment, every time Frank Underwood speaks directly to the camera and delivers dialogue understood only to be heard by the audience, it's an aside. Unless the other characters actually can hear him all the time, in which case "House of Cards" is the story of an insane person who everyone is way too nice to.
"Can you hear me? Are you even capable of language, or do you only understand depravity? Peter, is that you? Stop hiding in my thoughts and come out. Have the courage in death that you never had in life. Come out, look me in the eye and say what you need to say."
A monologue is long speech by a character, usually giving insight into their psyche as they reveal their thoughts aloud. In this particular monologue, Frank reveals his distaste for religion by taunting God and apparently calling out Saint Peter for being a pussy. Interestingly, some of the world's most popular monologue's are about vaginas.
"That's how you devour a whale Doug, one bite at a time"
Here, Frank Underwood uses a metaphor - an assertion that one subject is another to strike a comparison - to describe the nature of making slow progress. The carcass of a hypothetical whale represents the barrier between Frank and progress. Unless he does actually eat whale. Which would be a great way to end Season 3. Frank taking the last bite of a whale. Writers sometimes call this "coming full circle." I digress.
"I love that woman. I love her more than sharks love blood."
Similes and metaphors: like Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman, they seem to be eternally fighting an unholy which-one-is-which-and-who-
really-cares-anyway battle in your head. But there's a simple rule. See a comparison using "like" "as" or "than"? You're in simile country.
In this simile, Frank Underwood describes his love for his wife as more powerful than a shark's taste for of its prey, making for what is the least romantic declaration of love short of cutting off all of your hair, handing it to someone and screaming "I did it for you!"
"There are two types of vice presidents: doormats and matadors."
Today, most people understand a "quibble" to be a minor point in a greater argument. Others still believe "quibble" to be a board game popular at yuppie dinner parties (it's not), or a portmanteau for "quiet nibble" (it should be). But back in Shakespearean days, a quibble was a bit of wordplay.
In the quote above, Frank Understood uses a delightful quibble to demonstrate to the audience that he isn't going to be the type of Vice President to lay down before his adversaries, but rather the kind that will drug them before slaughtering in front of an audience in a tradition that most now consider to be barbaric but others defend as a vital Spanish art form.
'I have often found that bleeding hearts have an ironic fear of their own blood,'
Frank clearly has a better grasp of irony than your favorite angsty, Dave Coulier-fellating '90s pop songstress. Far more than it raining outside, or not having the correct dinner utensil, this quote describes a situation where things work out the opposite of how you'd expect to darkly comedic effect.
Over the last decade, "irony" has increasingly become associated with hipsters, who do everything from eat Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos to support Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election via t-shirt ironically. It's not touched on in the show, but I'm sure Frank Underwood hates hipsters.
"Cry 'Havoc!' said he who fought chaos with chaos, and let slip the dogs of war"
An allusion is an indirect reference, usually to literature. Frank Underwood's quote here is a reference to Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." It's unclear exactly what this quote means, as Shakespearean dialogue is comprised of words that sound badass but under further inspection don't mean anything in particular.
In general, allusions are useful tools for making you feel more cultured than the people around you. Feel free to use your own allusions in everyday conversations to cultivate a feeling of superiority. But don't do Poe, 'cause I'm doing Poe.
"Every Tuesday I sit down with the speaker and the majority leader to discuss the week's agenda. Well, 'discuss' is probably the wrong word... they talk while I imagine their lightly-salted faces frying in a skillet."
Hyperbole is an exaggeration for dramatic effect. This passage may or may not be an example of hyperbole.
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