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"House of Cards": Getting Schooled By Frank Underwood

Written by Amanda Baltazar. Published: May 01 2014


Thank you, Netflix, for being there for me when I’m procrastinating on my work and or spending my Friday nights in. You never judge me when I’m stuffing my face with popcorn or ice cream. But most of all, thank you for giving me the beautiful gem that is "House of Cards".


"House of Cards" is an Emmy-nominated Netflix original series starring Kevin Spacey, who plays Francis Underwood, the current House majority whip. Prior to the beginning of the series, Francis (or Frank), explains that he has been working on the presidential campaign of Garrett Walker with the hopes of being appointed Secretary of State. The series begins with Walker’s win and Frank finding out that he has been passed over for his desired position. At first he is livid and distraught, but he comes up with a plan to get revenge on the President and his administration.


Frank is conniving, strategic, and ruthless. He is definitely not someone you want to make enemies with. I would definitely take a self-help class taught by Mr. Underwood. Too bad that class doesn’t exist yet… But if it DID exist, I think the syllabus would look like a bit like this:




Prof. Francis Underwood


About Me:

My name is Francis, but you can call me Frank. I have a beautiful wife, Claire. “I love that woman. I love her more than sharks love blood.” I am from South Carolina, and my father was a peach farmer. I attended The Sentinel Military Academy, but I ended up graduating from Harvard Law School in 1984. I was elected into office in 1987 and became one of the youngest state legislators in history. Over the years, I have figured out how to get what I want, and now I can help YOU get what you want.


Textbook(s): There is no required textbook for the class. All required reading will be provided.




Week 1:

Knowing Who You Can Trust

This is one of the most important topics to go over. Life will present you with different types of people, and when you are strategizing, you need to know whom you can count on and who will sell you out for a few dollars. It takes quite some time to figure out, but until then, trust no one but yourself. We will have guest lectures from my two confidants, Doug Stamper and my wife, Claire Underwood.


Week 2:

The Difference Between Power and Money

A common misconception is that these two go hand-in-hand, but that couldn’t be more ignorant. Depending on what your end game is, you must understand that having money does not always give you the power you want and need. We will go over and discuss the SanCorp/Remy Danton Case Study.


Week 3:

Big Risk, Big Reward

Risk and rewards are simple, but, in this class, we will dive into different types of risks, their volatility, and their possible expected payouts. We will also discuss the economics behind risk aversion and risk-loving behavior as well as going over different types of risks in different situations. Most importantly, we will dissect the phrase “Bigger risk, bigger rewards.”



The midterm will cover the first half of class.

20 Multiple Choice

10 Situational Reading Essays


Week 4:

Planting Seeds

Never underestimate the power of a planted “seed” or idea. We will walk through appropriate ways to “plant” ideas in people’s minds and how to “water” and “give it sunlight” to grow, thereby manipulating situations into your favor.


Week 5:

“Staying Focused Requires Strength” 

Sometimes what you want will require complicated and, at times, difficult planning, but the key to executing any plan is focus, which requires an infallible strength on your part to see things through. We will also go over adapting to changes and road bocks this week, but they will not be topics covered on the final.


Week 6:

"If You Play Dirty, Get Ready To Get Blood On Your Hands”

When you know what you want and you know that nothing will stop you from getting it, playing dirty is inevitable. Playing dirty means that you will get blood on your hands. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Well, for the most part. There is an Extra Credit assignment, The Zoe Barnes Case Study, offered this week. In order to receive credit, you must sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to receiving the extra credit reading materials. Extra Credit is worth 5%.


FINAL - 50%

The final is comprehensive with equal material from both halves of the class.


“From this moment on you are a rock. You absorb nothing, you say nothing, and nothing breaks you.” – Francis J. Underwood



I can’t get enough of "House of Cards", but the new season doesn’t come out until next year! You can find the first two seasons of "House of Cards" on Netflix.





(Photo via FayesVision/WENN)



- Amanda Baltazar, YH Staff