Friday, July 4, 2014

Political Face-Off: House of Cards vs. the West Wing

What better way is there to ring the Liberty bell on the day celebrating all things America, than to talk about hot actors that have acted politically? Today with the help of my darling friend Kali and tie-breaking Trevor, we settled the question of which characters are better, West Wing and House of Cards style. So put some mustard on your hot dog and grab a sparkler, because America's birthday is heating up!

Prez Power
President Walker vs. President Bartlet

Kali:  President Garrett Walker seems pretty cool -- he’s young, liberal, and seems like a bit of a golden boy.  However, President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet is possibly our nation’s greatest leader in all of history and actually has the most perfect political leanings of all.  So perfect, in fact, that they would never work in real life.  But that’s ok, because we’ll always have The West Wing and those speeches to guide us through life when we’re feeling a little down.

VERDICT:  Jed Bartlet.  No question about it.

Alex: Of all the presidents that have ever held office, none compare to the beliefs and morals of Jed Bartlet.  He’s the president we deserve, but will never have.  Walker seems to have some of his shit together but is also pretty easy to sway; though he does have the silver fox thing going for him a bit.

VERDICT: Bartlet all the way. If Martin Sheen ran on Jed’s platform, I’d vote for him.


The Badass
Frank Underwood vs. Leo McGarry

Kali:  Some men just want to watch the world burn… and that kind of man is Frank Underwood.  He’s just downright dastardly, but in a way that you can’t help but root him on slightly in your mind.  I often find myself yelling things like, “I HATE YOU BUT I LOVE YOU” while watching, and though many of his actions are downright horrible (-ahem- murder…), he redeems himself by showing his softer side with his relationship with Claire and his ability to just make bad look good.  Leo McGarry is a badass in his own way -- a recovering alcoholic who takes zero shit and gives beautiful speeches about big blocks of cheese, but if we’re rating this on badassery…. Leo just doesn’t cut it.

VERDICT:  Francis Underwood, hands down.

Alex: Politics is a messy business and you’ll always need that person to get the shit done, preferably with flare.  Leo McGarry is gruff but fair, being the father figure of the office for his staff.  While Frank Underwood just wants to take down everyone.  Literally, he will destroy anyone.  So while Leo has beaten alcoholism which is pretty badass, Frank will ruthlessly take down his opponents and look so damn fabulous doing it.

VERDICT: Frank Underwood, you are evil but I love you.


Spunky Sidekick
Peter Russo vs. Josh Lyman

Kali:  I don’t think I can even talk about the tragic downfall of Peter Russo.  It’s like a Shakespearean spiral, and I wish things had been better for him.  Contrary to that, Josh Lyman’s biggest problem was his own mouth and ego.  He was just an adorable true believer with a lot of sass and a great boyish charm.

VERDICT:  I’ve had a crush on him since the fifth grade… Josh Lyman.

Alex: Peter Russo is that little engine that could. The guy you want to do so well and come out from his adversity...only to be sucked back in and consumed by it.  He’s smart and quite a little rule breaker, but eventually he can’t keep up with it all.  Josh Lyman is smart, sassy, and good to look at?  Be still my adolescent heart!  I remember thinking, “I want to marry him.”

VERDICT: Josh Lyman, my King of Sass


Claire Underwood vs. CJ Cregg

Kali:  This is actually the hardest category for me to decide because I love both more than anything and have probably used the phrase “_____ is my hero” in reference to both of them multiple times in the last week.  Claire is a little cold, but she more than makes up for it in her ability to take control of the situations presented to her and come out on top.  CJ is a strong, independent woman who gets shit done at all times.  

VERDICT: Though my haircut is Claire-esque and I frequently say “Gotta dress like Claire to be like Claire” in my daily life, I have to go with my homegirl CJ “The Jackal” Cregg.

Alex: You can’t deny that both women in this category are true HBIC.  Whether it’s the sultry Claire who uses her body and cunning, or CJ who is smart as a whip and insanely independant, these girls are the bomb.  But for me the key part of this is the B.  Which is the bigger B.

VERDICT: I gotta go Claire Underwood.  She is a true B and she’ll use any means to get her way.

Trevor: If we're going purely for the "bitch" aspect, then you've gotta give this one to Princess Buttercup.  She's irredeemably terrible to pretty much everyone.  Claudia Jean, on the other hand, has moral values.  I like those.

VERDICT: I'm going to be of absolutely no help on this one.  My vote for Head Bitch in Charge goes to Olenna Redwyne (Tyrell), the Queen of Thorns.  It's a shame that she [SPOILERS REDACTED].

The Girl Who Always Seems to Be Around
Zoe Barnes vs. Donna Moss

Kali:  Zoe Barnes is a bit of an opportunist (sidenote:  “a bit” is a generously downplayed term).  I have to admire her chutzpah to get things done, but I absolutely despise the way she went about things.  Donna started off a little shaky, but ultimately won me over by her loyalty to her boss and her very clear growth from a shy assistant to a political power figure.

VERDICT:  Donna Moss, for always being a good person while still getting her’s.

Alex: I really couldn’t stand Donna Moss at first.  I literally just kept thinking, “This girl is always there.”  But as the seasons went on, I grew to admire her loyalty and perseverance.  Zoe Barnes is always around because she’s looking for a scoop.  Her methodology could be called unethical, and by could be called, I mean it is insanely unethical.  But she’s always there to get the dirt for the next story.

VERDICT: Donnatella Moss, you grew on me, just like your surname.


The Reporter Guy
Lucas Goodwin vs. Danny Concannon

Kali:  Both Lucas and Danny are very sweet, but also both very, very good at their jobs.  Lucas was always a bit cautious, but he more than made up for it in season two.  Danny was never afraid to hound CJ and the rest of the team for info, and normally I would discredit him for getting involved romantically with CJ, but they were literally so damn cute that I can’t even fault him for that.

VERDICT: Danny Concannon, my sweet boy.

Alex: These two reporters had very different styles for their craft. Lucas tends to be more reserved and waits for information to come to him, until the second season when he gets more proactive (a lot more proactive).  Meanwhile, Danny just goes for it.  Constantly.  He hounds the office and especially CJ (d’aww) to get his scoop.  And that may not be very professional, but my god it is so damn adorable.

VERDICT: Lucas Goodwin. While I adore Danny, Lucas was adorable and put up with Zoe’s shit. Which took a lot.

Trevor: The difference between Lucas and Danny is that Lucas is a slave to his emotions.  He avoids involvement in dangerous reporting until he has some skin in the game.  The game, in this analogy, is, um...Zoe?  Huh, that turned out to be a really dirty analogy.  Point is, Danny's dogged persistence is professional -- he's got nothing to prove, really.  He's also willing to play ball with CJ when it's the RIGHT thing to do for national security.  The stakes with Danny are domestic and foreign affairs.  With Lucas the discussion is concealment of felonies.

VERDICT: Danny.  I couldn't...relate to Lucas.  He just doesn't behave rationally.  And Danny's character was more interesting -- it was never entirely clear what information he had access to.


The Guy Who Gets Shit Done
Doug Stamper vs. Toby Ziegler

Kali:  I’m going to just come out and say that I really like Doug Stamper even though he’s a little creepy and definitely a little weird.  By no means do I think that he is unable to get shit done -- he is the king of getting shit done for Frank.  At the same time, Toby Ziegler is my curmudgeonly, sad-dad booboobear and though I feel like he gets a bad rep for some of his actions, he’s still one of the most productive and necessary members of Team Bartlet.

VERDICT:  Nobody beats my boo thang Toby Ziegler.

Alex: Doug Stamper is really attractive to me.  Not only does Frank trust him (well to a certain extent that he trusts anyone) but he manages to keep Frank’s ass covered and his own and like a billion other people.  Though he occasionally he does kind of shady stuff, I still think he’s fine. On the other hand is the adorable curmudgeon Toby.  He’s snappy and smart and cranky.  Who doesn’t love that?  Plus, he gets the shit done for the Bartlet office.

VERDICT: His ongoing sexual tension and near meltdown get me hot. Doug Stamper, all the way.

Trevor: I feel like the missed comparison is Doug Stamper vs Leo McGarry.  Both are alcoholics whose personal lives suffer as a result of their personal work.  In any case, the difference between Stamper and the West Wing staff is that Stamper is more of a henchman whereas Leo and especially Toby are much more in the public eye.  Stamper doesn't seem to really have any agency in the political realm, though it's certain he's competent in that field.

VERDICT: I'm Toby Ziegler, and I work at the White House.


The Pretty Boy
Edward Meechum vs. Sam Seaborn

Kali:  Meechum didn’t really come into his own until season two, but then oh, how Meechum became a thing.  On the flip side, Sam is the first member of Team Bartlet that we meet in all of TWW, and his charm and adorableness are well-known from the get-go.

VERDICT:  Sam Seaborn, who was far too sweet for Washington.

Alex: Meechum serves as protection for Frank and even though Frank nearly screws him over in the first season, he sticks around through the second season and gets into some damn naughty business.  Sam also has a penchant for naughty business, like when we meet him and he’s in bed with a call girl.  But his charm and looks are so solid, we don’t even mind.

VERDICT: Sam Seaborn, you are so pretty.


African American Office Hottie
Remy Danton vs. Charlie Young

Kali:   Though I admire Remy’s ability to be a power-player and to go against the Underwoods, Charlie’s relationship with the President and the rest of Team Bartlet can’t be beat.  Remy may be serving up the finest set of abs we’ve seen on screen in quite some time, but Charlie’s sweetness and loyalty, as well as his ability to make things happen, work in his favor

VERDICT:  Charlie!!!

Alex: If anyone has a good chance of getting under Frank’s skin, it could be his former aide Remy who takes to working against Frank rather than for him.  Remy is smooth but also kind of slimy, like you’d need a shower after having a conversation with him.  But whether you’d need a hot shower or a cold shower is debateable. Meanwhile, Charlie is all that is adorable and sweet in the Bartlet office.  He is incredibly loyal to everyone and even nabs the president’s daughter.

VERDICT: Charlie forever!


Daughter Figure
Rachel Posner vs. Zoey Bartlet

Kali:  I feel like we meet Rachel Posner in a very unfortunate way, and for most of the first season of HoC she’s a little off, but in season two we see that she’s just a struggling individual trying to get back to a normal semblance of life after making some mistakes.  Sure, Stamper’s relationship with her is a bit skewed, but that’s not Rachel’s fault.  On the flip side, Zoey Bartlet is pretty chill and never does anything wrong until season four when she takes some E with her douchebag French boyfriend, thus leading to her kidnapping and eventual return.

VERDICT:  I like my characters to go through a little bit of growth, so I’m going with Rachel.

Alex: These two characters are very different.  Rachel is rough around the edges and turns up from a bad situation. Whereas Zoey is relaxed and doesn’t feature much dramatically until the Ecstasy incident. Zoey recovers which is good.  But Rachel completely turns her life around, and though she’s trapped in a different kind of situation, it doesn’t involve being beaten by your pimp.

VERDICT: Rachel has grown amazingly as a character, and I can’t wait for what’s next.




No comments: