Man I Love House of Cards

Bo Xilaiby Bo Xilai

Bo Xilai was the former party chief of Chongqing. He is currently serving a life sentence in Qincheng Prison.

I’ve had the chance to watch a lot of television in the past two years and I have to say that besides Two Broke Girls, the American political drama House of Cards is without a doubt the best show on television.

For those who haven’t seen it, House of Cards traces the political career of Frank Underwood as he rises through the American political hierarchy thanks to deceit, cunning, blackmail and murder.

It’s a feel-good story in all the right ways.

I can’t remember the last time a show made me laugh so hard. The look on people’s faces when they realize they’ve been cheated, manipulated, lied to or otherwise abused is just priceless.

Remember when Underwood urged Peter Russo to get his act together and run for governor in season one? And then, after all the pep talks and AA meetings, just as Russo was pulling his life together… whoops, banana peel! Cracks me up every time.

As you might have guessed, watching House of Cards makes me more than a little nostalgic. I see a lot of myself in the darkly charismatic Frank. Claire, Frank’s ruthless and power-hungry wife, also reminds me of a certain someone. Watching the two of them sharing cigarettes as they plot against political rivals and allies alike—well, I get a little misty.

It takes me back to the halcyon days with Gu Kailai in Dalian. Just two crazy young cadres in love, planting rumors about superiors, doling out apartments for political favors, tapping phones in our off-hours. We had our whole lives ahead of us, and many others to ruin on along the way.

I won’t lie, when I watched Zoe get pushed off a subway platform, I choked up a little. I asked myself: could I have done the same? Could I have convinced her to delete all my contact information from her phone before pushing her in front of a train? Would I have remembered to stand in the blind spot of the security cameras? Would I have found the courage to send veiled death threats to her nosy newspaper colleagues?

The sad truth is, I may never get to find out.

But Frank still has a chance. He isn’t burdened by a spineless police chief who runs to the American consulate every time a dead body turns up, or a good two-shoes premier looking to divert attention from his ineffectual decade in office. No, Frank can still make it.

In fact, Francis J. Underwood continues to inspire all of us in Qincheng Prison. We will keep watching and learning and hope that he may succeed where we have failed.

I speak for all of us when I say, we’re rooting for you, Frank.

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