Saturday, 2 July 2016
the next form of liars poker?
All the recent UK political twists and turns are being compared to the US Version of House of Cards and Game of Thrones.
In House of Cards Frank Underwood's revision of Francis Urquhart has that line 'Democracy is so overrated' and the U.S. show exposes the whole power trip politics of appearance. Then in Game of Thrones we get spoilt brats playing with power at the expense of their people.
Both have resonance although the multiple betrayals and instabilities in current UK events still manage a 'you couldn't make this up' quality.
There's a couple of interesting differences that I've noticed across a few of these American TV series compared with British behaviour.
The first is the way that 'hard-hitting' American series swear. They have a limited number of approved words which are inserted into the scripts. It somehow doesn't have the richness of Brits in a similar situation. I noticed it recently in Billions, when during the first 2-3 episodes, a small selection of four letter words seemed to have been reverse engineered symbolically into the script.
It struck me as along the lines of 'You are paying to watch this on expensive cable, so here's a way to differentiate this as hard hitting'. It came across as crowbarred in rather than edgy. It did't have the humour that, say, 'In the Thick of It' would use in similar situations.
The second difference is the way that passive-aggressive behaviour is used. It's there in spades in House of Cards, Billions and I've also recently been watching Damages, where it is used almost psychotically. It seems far more over-stated in these power-trippy American dramas, compared with the subtler way that the same effect plays out in Britain.
However, at the moment the British politicos may need to take a lesson from America.
The old Roosevelt saying was "Speak softly and carry a big stick" - the Brexit debate seems to be the other way around.
Everyone is shouting but there's nothing clear to use for the negotiation.