8:07am PT by Jackie Strause
'House of Cards' Erects Statue for Its Female President
It really is her turn.
House of Cards has been quietly celebrating its first female president out in the real world, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. After burying its former president — literally — Netflix has been busy dropping a batch of Easter eggs for its very own President Claire Hale Underwood (Robin Wright's POTUS eventually drops the Underwood name to officially go by President Hale in the sixth and final season).
Ahead of the season's debut (the final eight episodes bowed Nov. 2), Netflix worked with ad agency Wieden+Kennedy on a campaign for the end of House of Cards. The goal was to help bring President Hale Underwood's legacy to life, blurring the line between the fictional 47th president of the United States and the real world, where Netflix's first original series is signing off.
On Oct. 30, an infomercial selling a President Claire Underwood Commemorative Plate ran during a commercial break for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. "It's her turn — and now it's your turn to own a piece of history," said a voiceover in the ad (watch below). The limited offer was extended to the first 100 callers and the plates are currently en route to those eagle-eyed customers. The offer, "due to unprecedented demand," is no longer available, according to a recorded prompt. The ad also ran on The Price Is Right the following day.
Meanwhile, an article in the Harvard Crimson, which is Claire’s alma mater, ran Nov. 2, detailing her journey from Pennypacker Hall to Pennsylvania Avenue. The feature quoted "former classmates" of Claire's, who spoke to the "fierce opposition to the inclusion of women at Harvard" when Claire attended in the 1970s and how adeptly the politician-in-the-making navigated the "old boys' club."
The final season, which charts Claire's deeply gendered uphill battle as POTUS, includes flashbacks to a young Claire and the article continues to paint a picture of how the coed who "wore brightly-colored scrunchies" but who always had an "icy demeanor" went on to become the commander in chief. "She stopped smoking her Virginia Slims (she used to smoke back then), she founded a handful of nonprofit groups on campus, and she started dating an equally ambitious and driven young man. The rest, as they say, is history," reads a quote.
During launch weekend, as THR reported, a gravesite was built in Gaffney, S.C., for Francis J. Underwood and his father. After Kevin Spacey was fired ahead of the final season, the character he played was killed off the series and disgracefully buried in his hometown, instead of in Arlington National Cemetery. Fans of the show can now pay their respects to the character, who will have a tombstone in Gaffney permanently. The town's newspaper The Gaffney Ledger also ran an obituary for Frank.
"House of Cards has generated a lot of interest and brought a lot of people to Gaffney,” the town's mayor, Henry Jolly, explained in a recent interview. “We do have people who've come from all over the country here to just see about Gaffney and we've had people that wanted to know if the Peachoid [water tower that appeared in the show] was real."
But perhaps the biggest stunt of all has been erected in Dallas. There is a statue of Claire, who hails from Highland Park, standing tall at Dallas' Love Field airport that is complete with a plaque bearing her name and Texas flags.
The statue — which quietly appeared on election night Nov. 6 — gave viewers a few days to watch the season before spoiling a big storyline that reveals itself toward the end: Claire is pregnant and the baby is indeed Frank's, thanks to the couple's visit to an IVF doctor in season two where they froze his sperm. Though the finale brings with it a "beautifully macabre" shocker of an ending, Claire's choice to "weaponize" motherhood is perhaps the biggest twist of all.
Check out the Claire Hale Underwood statue, which will stand for another week, below.