The Roosevelts and the Underwoods (and the Cooks and the Keanes)

photo (2)Last night I had the super cool opportunity to attend The Roosevelts Meet the Underwoods: A Conversation Between Ken Burns & Beau Willimon at the Paley Center.

Here at Avian30 we are huge, huge fans of House of Cards.  I think it’s one of the best romances on television, and it fills me with constant delight in a way I’m supposed to think is naughty, but actually totally don’t.  So I was beyond tickled when Willimon said that one of his goals with the show has been to create a drama about a successful marriage.

Because that’s both exactly one of the things that turns my crank about House of Cards and one of the things Erin and I try to bring to our stories — that ongoing HEA narratives are the result drama, often external to the relationship, successfully navigated.

Willimon also kept noting that he doesn’t view House of Cards as a political drama.  It is, he said, about power, not politics.

Which means this is where I confess that Starling and the rest of the Love in Los Angeles books aren’t about romance.  They are romances — this isn’t us eschewing or feeling ashamed of their genre.

But at core their stories are not about romance or fame but about translucence/opacity and about permeability.  How much can another person really know you? Do you have a self when your job is to sell someone else’s fantasy? And how much in an overtly constructed life are you able to let someone else in — not just romantically and sexually, but intellectually, spiritually, familially, and physically?

These questions are constant in Starling and its sequels.  And they drive the plot forward not just along the axis of Alex and Paul, but for all the characters in their myriad and complex relationships.  Liam, Carly, and Victor, among others, are deeply involved with these issues (suddenly, I’m realizing one day we’ll have to make a chart).

These ideas also extend not just to the interpersonal relationships in the books, but the locational ones.  How much can Alex let Paragon, Indiana live inside him? To what degree is it reasonable for Paul to feel haunted by the land he grew up on? And can New York always keep Liam safe, simply because he knows its systems?

So while we still have several months still until Starling comes out, in my (not remotely) copious free time, I clearly need to catch up on my non-fiction reading regarding the Roosevelts. You all, meanwhile, need to catch up on House of Cards.  (And, by the way, just because I’m recommending the romance of a power-hungry opposite sex couple, doesn’t mean they’re straight).

This entry was posted in Doves, genre talk, Love in Los Angeles, Starling, tv and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Roosevelts and the Underwoods (and the Cooks and the Keanes)

  1. Pingback: The Normal Heart, Penny Dreadful, and prepping for BEA | Letters from Titan

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