How House Of Cards Are You?
You’re probably more like Frank Underwood than you think – take our quiz to find out
Mr Kevin Spacey in House Of Cards. Photograph by Mr Nathaniel E Bell/Netflix
Season 5 of House Of Cards launches later this month on Netflix, and while you’ve had ample time to catch up on the first four series by now – you have watched it, haven’t you? – we should stress, for the avoidance of doubt, that SPOILERS LIE AHEAD.
In the new series, Mr Kevin Spacey’s US President Francis Underwood once again stalks the corridors of Washington, doing his Machiavellian best to hold on to power, with or without his scheming first lady by his side. We all know Underwood is a murderous, devious psychopath, but how like him are you? Take our quiz to find out. You may not be happy with the result, but at least you haven’t killed anyone… Have you?
Messrs Lars Mikkelsen and Kevin Spacey in Season 3, Episode 6. Photograph by Mr David Giesbrecht/Netflix
Which of these comes closest to the manner you adopt when in company or meeting new people?
a) I am what I am. Take it or leave it.
b) I tend to overdo the bonhomie and the jokes and make a bit of a hash of it.
c) It’s good to make those around you feel comfortable, whether they are millionaires or miners – you wouldn’t wear a three-piece suit to a barbecue or booty shorts to Buckingham Palace. There’s nothing wrong with adjusting your mode of speech, your apparel (slip off that tie) and even your accent to big up similarities and minimise differences to grease the social wheels.
Messrs Kevin Spacey and Lars Mikkelsen in Season 3, Episode 3. Photograph by Mr David Giesbrecht/Netflix
When it comes to vices or indulgences such as illicit sex, huge plates of ribs and tumblers of whisky, your attitude is closest to:
a) What vices? Your body and mind are a finely calibrated machine programmed to succeed at all costs, and anything that would impair its running, physically or mentally must be ruthlessly discarded.
b) Most of the time you are sober and well-behaved, but occasionally you go off the rails – on cocktails, on champagne, on Tinder, or Grindr – and once you start, you just can’t stop. You’ve been known to turn up to work with a crushing hangover or miss social engagements because you are under the weather.
c) Everything in moderation. You strive pretty hard at what you do and deserve to let your hair down now and again. Besides, booze – and sex – can be useful social lubricants.
03. Social Occasions
Mr Kevin Spacey in Season 4, Episode 7. Photograph by Mr David Giesbrecht/Netflix
You get home, fuming that some schmuck has been promoted over you at work, but console yourself that a friend has invited you to the hottest restaurant opening in town, only for your partner to remind you that it’s her aunt’s birthday that night. Do you:
a) Go to the aunt’s birthday party, but sit there stony faced, give your partner the silent treatment all day on Sunday and treat the asshole who is now your boss to a display of chilly, supercilious professionalism on Monday.
b) Have a blazing row with your partner, go out with your friend, get hammered and on Monday tell the asshole who is now your boss that you quit.
c) Go to the aunt’s birthday party with a thoughtful present – there’s an inheritance in the offing, right? – having fixed your friend up with someone he has always desired, and charm the pants off the asshole who is now your boss on Monday. In other words, make capital that you can call in later.
04. Your fellow men
Messrs Paul Sparks and Kevin Spacey in Season 4, Episode 11. Photograph by Mr David Giesbrecht/Netflix
Do you regard any of the following as a sign of gender fluidity: bromances, locker-room horseplay, a broad appreciation of the way Mr Idris Elba carries himself?
Mr Kevin Spacey and Ms Robin Wright in Season 5, Episode 2. Photograph by Mr David Giesbrecht/Netflix
Your relationship with your partner is closest to:
a) A two-seater sports car. You are side by side, one in the driving seat and one navigating, forward-focused on a shared goal.
b) A mud-wrestling match. Good fun for you, more fun for spectators, with each of you occasionally getting the upper hand amid moments of acute embarrassment, hilarity and discomfort.
c) The sea. A landscape of shifting loyalties and priorities that can change at a moment’s notice; sometimes tempestuous, sometimes tranquil, but always changing, which is what keeps things interesting.
Mr Kevin Spacey and Ms Robin Wright in Season 1, Episode 1. Photograph by Ms Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix
If you found out something about a work rival that would damage or embarrass them in the eyes of your mutual boss would you:
a) Tell the boss.
b) Have a good laugh about it with your partner, then tell everyone.
c) Discuss with your partner whether it would be more useful to let the person concerned know that you know, rather than telling the boss.
07. Work/life balance
Mr Kevin Spacey in Season 4, Episode 11. Photograph by Mr David Giesbrecht/Netflix
Which of the following most applies to you?
a) I think about work 24/7. I’m always coming up with new angles and strategies, even when I’m at the gym. (Peak physical fitness is also important. Healthy mind, healthy body and all that.)
b) I work to live rather than live to work. It’s not a question of switching off at the end of the day, but switching on at the beginning.
c) It’s good sometimes to veg out in front of crap telly, play with toy soldiers, do jigsaws, look yourself up on a genealogy website – something engaging and distracting that nonetheless helps the batteries recharge.
Mr Kevin Spacey and Ms Robin Wright in Season 1, Episode 5. Photograph by Mr Patrick Harbron/Netflix
You are alone when you receive notification of a substantial unexpected inheritance. The first thought that flashes through your mind is:
a) Is this enough to escape and assume a new identity?
c) I can reveal this to my nearest and dearest in a manner – with a surprise holiday, or lavish presents – and at a time that makes them feel beholden to me.
Mostly as: you have Frank’s drive and ruthlessness, but none of his guile and charm. You’re more like his henchman, Doug Stamper. Which is kind of scary.
Mostly bs: you are Congressman Peter Russo. If you can’t remember him properly, go back and watch Season 1 from the beginning again.
Mostly cs: you are Frank Underwood. Or possibly his wife Claire. The point about Underwood is that he is a pragmatist and a chameleon. He’ll use sex if it gets him off or gets him somewhere, regardless of who it’s with, and is not so driven that he won’t indulge in the odd cigarette, plate of ribs or violent video game to relax. He is fascinated by his family history only because he has created a new self utterly divorced from it, and his natural selfishness (he’s an only child, with no children of his own) is tempered by an awareness that he must observe and work within social norms, making pacts and allegiances with friends, foes and even his wife, even if he has no intention of honouring them. When you’ve got people eating out of your hand, you can get them by the throat.