The six stages of “House of Cards” grief

House-of-cards-posterSo: you finished Netflix’s “House of Cards” in a single weekend. (No? You didn’t? Just me? Alright…) This type of feat unleashes a wave of emotions that can overpower even the most elite TV viewer, so I thought I’d capture it here.


1. ACCOMPLISHMENT: Congrats! You managed to consume over 12 hours of programming in a handful of days, proving that you are willing to forgo any social obligations in the name of a self-imposed dare. High fives all around to your other hand, soldier. You tweet out your victory proudly to the public, and pity those barely through episode 4 of “Cards.”

2. REMORSE: Wait. You just finished a compelling drama in a handful of days. This is akin to eating your favorite dessert too quickly, and you find yourself regretting your decision to hole up in your bedroom with your laptop for hours on end. What could you have accomplished this weekend that you neglected because of Kevin Spacey? And did you really have to blow through those episodes so quickly? Is tantric TV viewing a thing? If it’s not, should it be?

3. FRUSTRATION: What the hell, Netflix. You didn’t even give us a premiere date for season 2 and we’re
Angry-manjust supposed to sit around and wait until that announcement comes out, and then, you guessed it, wait some more. You, the viewer, find yourself angrily Googling “House of Cards season 2 premiere” only to come up empty-handed with a meaningless article from “Screw this,” you think. (In therapy down the line, you’ll eventually realize you were never mad at Netflix, but rather yourself for lacking the self control to parse out your viewing experience. You were childish, eating all of your Halloween candy in one sitting and now stuck with a stomach ache and an empty Pumpkin-shaped basket. “Radical Self-Forgiveness” is available for purchase from Amazon’s Kindle store, when you’re ready.)

Upset-woman4. DEPRESSION:
You return home from work or other responsibilities and find no TV show or movie is replacing Kevin Spacey’s direct-to-camera smugness. Depression, peppered with regret, begins to set in. You watch your Twitter feed as others discover episodes you hastily consumed last week, and are jealous of them reveling in the poignant moments of “House of Cards.” You eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but it only does so much.

5. URGE TO FIND A REBOUND: Time to get back in the game. After all, you’ve seen all of those articles about Netflix licensing programs from a trillion networks, so there are for sure plenty of streaming shows in the sea. What’s next? This, you think to yourself, is a perfectly good time to watch “Psych,” which you’d been meaning to tune into anyways. And “Bones.” It’s fine, it’s fine that these aren’t cinematic like “Cards,” it’s fine that they don’t have Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in the cast, it’s totally, totally fine that David Fincher wouldn’t direct these with a ten foot pole, really. Really it’s fine. You tell yourself this as you weep over your keyboard, before realizing you could short circuit your laptop with tears and retire your face to your pillow instead. Rebounds aren’t often a good idea.

6. ACCEPTANCE: After some introspection and the realization that “Walking Dead” returns Sunday, you
Girl-happy-joy-yellow-flowers-field-summer_large come to understand that everything will be just fine, even though you binge-viewed “House of Cards” in an ungodly amount of time. There is a life outside of Underwood World, you discover. You have hobbies, and a sink full of dishes that need to be tended to, and your cat may warm up to you again if you feed it a few times, which you forgot to do while staring at all weekend. You have a family that loves you, even though you have twenty five missed calls and texts that read, “Really? You can tweet about Zoe Barnes not being a realistic character, but you can’t call me back?” It’s time to apologize to those you neglected, sift through your DVR and do some yoga.

After all, you’ll need to regain your strength before you surrender yourself to this self-hatred yet again when “Arrested Development” comes out in May.

Follow me on Twitter: @Variety_AJM

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  1. says:

    Ive had my 2015 Legacy for 6 months and didnt even know i had
    a starter in the car.

  2. Bekie says:

    Omg this is all me, I found this post as I was googling season 2 premiere too! I haven’t yet reached acceptance but the Walking Dead is helping, that and Breaking Bad, wow! 2 shows I highly recommend to everyone searching for something good, don’t worry they’re not just rebounds, it’s real love :-)

  3. Terrence says:

    I watched the first episode Friday at around 11pm with a friend. after he had left and i was getting ready for bed i decided to watch just one more episode… 7 am comes rolling around and i find myself still watching the show and now wanting to go to work. i just finished the show and I’m still doing google searches for info on season 2.
    can anyone recommend a rebound.

  4. john says:

    Ok, Iam not alone. Watched the first 2 episodes last weekend then finished the final 11 in the last 24 hours. Now what is right! I have the House of Cards, Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad (if I can remeber what is going on with that) all hanging. I love the fact that they released all 13 episodes at once and I promise if they do it for season 2 I will not watch them all in one day. A weekend should do it.

  5. Rose says:

    HAA! See, now you know what it was like for me with Downton Abbey the last two weeks: Seasons 1, 2 and half of 3, until it all came to a screeching halt. I mean until I get a patheltic little one hour dribble from PBS this coming Sunday. Woo effing Hoo. I even went to see the movie Quartet this week because it starred Maggie Smith in a big English house. The movie I’m sure was good, if you weren’t used to mainlining Downton into your veins for 5 hours a day eagerly awaiting Dame Smith’s next sarcastic eye roll. (I feel the endorphins just mentioning that.)
    Should we start a 12 step? Hi, my name is Rose and I am a binge viewer.

  6. Glad I’m not the only one!!! Love the article it is spot on. The series is great and I plan on recommending it to others. I’ll probably run through it again just to see what I missed the first go round. Living here in NOVA I really enjoyed the intro each time as well. The views of DC are very good at delivering the DC feel.! Guess I’ll have yet another series to be anxiously awaiting. Along with the much anticipated King of Thrones..

  7. Mish Quadri says:

    This is the very bane of my existence at this moment. I knew when I started it what was going to happen, I could not help myself. And of course your account is so completely accurate. The moment it was over as he was jogging slightly ahead of Claire, the new tab was open as the closing credits streamed across the screen……..”HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 2 PREMIERE” and now here I am. The show was well written and if the writers go in the direction that it appears it can only get better. They gave us just enough to get us attached to the characters and therefor have a vested interest in watching more. So as I sit here and type I am planning my trip to the store for something of comfort until my acceptance arrives. You see because I am only at stage 4. Depression. :)

  8. Melabonbon says:

    The sad thing is that even while I was doing it, I knew I was going to be sorry later.
    I feel like Peter Russo, and it’s not good.

  9. Frank says:

    Time to tell Mr. Hastings we are very serious about knowing a firm date for season 2. Viewing the British version just won’t cut it!

  10. Nod In SD says:

    I watched it all this weekend and several episodes twice—to hone in on the details. Great series great acting. I deliberately didn’t watch the Commercial Bowl (I’m Commercial Bowl free for 4 years now). And got out of the house to enjoy the ghost lands out there. Very nice. Very nice people out there, too. Kindreds. So I didn’t watch anything during the C-Bowl. But, back to the House: I found it very very enjoyable. Mostly good, taut writing with some nice diversions—e.g. The Sentinel Library alcohol crawl. I find it compelling that the main character is a senior member of the House of Representatives, is poised on the heartbeat doorstep to be the V. Pres. of the US and is a murderer. Not that strange I guess, compared to reality, seeing as how millions tuned in to watch a murderer play football and get lauded. I was disappointed viscerally when the “Next Season S2-E1” screen didn’t come up. Yeah, jonesing. I think I’ll re-watch a few more.

  11. Oh my god. This is such an accurate description. And no, you were not the only one who devoured all the episodes in one weekend. I am in love with this show, and after the last episode, I felt a moment of confusion as to why the next one wasn’t instantly playing. I hate/love it when a new show makes you realize you needed something you didn’t know you were missing, but now that it’s gone, it’s left you with that gaping hole. (Hahaha melodramatic I know but that’s how I’m feeling/I just finished the last episode 10 minutes ago and was led here via the angry “season 2” google search)

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