Netflix’s political carnival House Of Cards returns for its fourth season in a little more than a week, with new episodes of skullduggery, murder, and trade sanctions set to drop on March 4. But the series—and its toxic lead character, President Frank Underwood—has already begun to spread out into the real world, like a blotch of barbecue sauce on a suit jacket—or a young reporter under the wheels of a train—in the form of a premiere event held last night, in which Underwood’s presidential portrait was unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
By all accounts, it was a weird event, with real political figures like Alan Greenspan and members of the Obama White House gathering to watch a fake president unveil a real portrait of himself inside the real museum where events like this normally occur. The most upsetting part might be that series star Kevin Spacey seems to have performed the entire thing in character, with the rib-chomping accent monster that lives in his mouth—not unlike The Shining’s imaginary, “Redrum”-spewing Tony—having free rein to chew the scenery and spit out jokes.
Specifically, Spaceywood took fire at some of the current crop of political candidates, suggesting that they spend too much time “kicking everyone in the nuts,” which is the sort of thing you can get away with saying when you’re a powerful political figure who also doesn’t exist. (He also made a joke about being “well hung,” because real life apparently really brings out President Underwood’s crotch-focused mind.)
Meanwhile, the painting’s creator, Jonathan Yeo—whose past presidential portraiture includes a widely shown picture of George W. Bush, constructed from clipped out pieces of pornography—was also on hand for the event. Sadly, Yeo did not take the opportunity to comment on whether the extensive time he spent looking at Underwood to paint the picture gave him any insight into whether Spacey’s actually still in there somewhere, mired in vocal kudzu and molasses, fighting to escape.