Occupy T.V Screens; Showtime premiered their new dramedy, titled House of Lies on Sunday night. Show is based a management consulting firm, who are shown as a bunch of douche bags (minus Kristen Bell). This bunch caters to fat cats a.k.a MetroCapital Bank, which incidentally is also shown as a bunch of douche bags. The management consulting firm (I don't even remember its name), is looking to have the bank as its client. The bank requires the firm to project a good image of them in advent of all the Occupy movements in the country. Showtime/creator seems to be leveraging the Occupy movement and general discontent towards banks to get a pay day out of it. Below are 5 points that stood out in the pilot:
Don Cheadle: This guy is a very talented actor, with an Oscar nomination and a handful of great movies he's stared in. He performance in Hotel Rwanda was exceptional, as was his performance in the Oscar winner Crash. Now, I don't understand his motivation to be a part of this show, it could be a big pay day for him. His character is shown as one of those smooth talking slime balls, who get in bed with every moving object and are irresistible for the opposite sex; a poor man's Don Draper if you must. Though towards the end of the episode we get a hint that we'll get to see more of his humble human side later in the show.
Rest of the Cast: Two names stand out in what is an averagely mediocre line-up; Kristen Bell, of the Veronica Mars fame and Greg Germann, the Ally McBeal veteran. We don't see a lot of Bell in the pilot episode, as she remains in Don's shadow throughout. Both these characters will be involved in one of those old fashioned 'will they , will they not' romantic situations, which honestly make me want to vomit now. Greg, whose character is also incidentally name 'Greg', hasn't done a lot of note since the ending of Ally McBeal. I also get the impression that this character might be specially created to accommodate him. Nevertheless, he is a decent actor and can help keep this show afloat. The other two guys of the consulting firm are Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio from Parks & Rec, a reasonably funny character who can induce a few laughs) and Josh Lawson (apparently acted in a movie titled $quid, I don't even want to open its imdb page).
The Plot: I've written a bit about the general theme of the show in the synopsis above. It's about a management consulting firm, who I initially thought would skin money off of banks and big evil corporations and give it to the poor, robinhood-ish. However, turns out, the firm doesn't have much of a moral compass either. So the plot is that the firm makes big evil corporations believe that they require its services and in return the firm pisses away that money in debauchery of some sort. I know that this show is airing on Showtime, which tries to emulate HBO's success with uncensored content; but the pilot had more sex scenes than a vulgar episode of Californication (which is all about sex, as the name suggests). I found this sexual content extremely unnecessary and very unpleasant. To start the pilot episode with a naked couple and one of them being Don Cheadle, screams out desperation for me.
The Freeze Outs: the creators should have realized this show is (I'm assuming) not targeting a female teenage audience. I see no other reason that they used those annoyingly out-dated teen movie scene freezes, where Don explains some marketing jargon. Maybe, they thought that Kristen Bell would attract a similar teen audience like Veronica Mars. God knows, but I sincerely hope they chuck it out as soon as possible.
Soundtrack: Similarly, the background music, if you can really call it background, is so loud in a lot of scenes that the dialogues become barely comprehendible. To add to the agony of the viewers' ears, the choice of songs is so appalling, it just makes the hole combination all the more painful.
Positives: well there were hardly any positives in the pilot episodes. Showtime for some reason has become the home of Dramedys (30mins drama/comedy) of late. They have had run of the mill success with similar shows before. e.g. Nurse Jackie, The Big C & Weeds etc and audience might be tuning in to kill that 30 minutes time slot in their days. Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and Greg Germann might be able to just shoulder this show for a while. Another positive was the involvement of Glynn Turman, alumnus of The Wire. I have so much respect for The Wire that I would watch any 3rd class garbage show (for a few episodes at least) for anyone who was remotely connected to The Wire. And lastly, the atmosphere in the country, i.e. hatred of big evil corporations, courtesy the before mentioned Occupy movements, might just be the reason audience tune in for this.
In conclusion, I see this show possibly getting just the 1 season. If they manage to fix some of the glaring flaws in the pilot episodes, the show might be able to salvage a couple of seasons. Similar to other Showtime dramadies, this will attract an average audience and would hardly be a block buster. Watch this show if you have a dinner plan with your friends and they are running 30mins late.
Cheap fun for an episode or two until I realised there were no characters that had any traits that I could relate to in the least. Working in a corporate job, it's also so distantly removed from reality that it just comes off as something a producer pulled out of his butt.
(Spoiler Warning - don't read unless you've watched the pilot)
Love Showtime and several of it's shows (Dexter, Weeds, Californication) as well as Don Cheadle and especially Kristen Bell. However, after watching the pilot, I felt it was trying too hard to be "cool" but ended up being abrasive. Especially the time freezes where Don Cheadle's character explains some consulting term. I hope those go away really, really quickly. It just feels weird.
Overall, I found Cheadle's character and the management team as a whole smarmy and unlikeable. They kept focusing on how they were just taking money from bad guy. "Stealing his watch and getting paid to tell him the time." This made the team seem greedy and just... awful. The only characters I liked were Marty's dad and son, whom Marty had screwed over by the end, so he isn't even a good dad.
I'll watch a few more episodes, but I was expecting something better. Really the only thing I see redeeming this show is if Kristen Bell gets a lot more screentime and Cheadle's Marty starts not being a terrible father.
I find myself enthralled by a socio-path, stirred by his basest instinct to conquer all he sees. You can not beat him as he always comes back. Marty Conn is not a nice person but his ceaseless desire to get the job done inspires us. Even if he is destroying companies and people as goes.
The second season could have so many arcs, i want it now. When is it out? Marty and blondie gonna be bumpin' uglies? Ex misses Conn gonna fight marty in court? Little Rosco gonna cause the apocalypse?.......thats what i think anyway.
Their are two kinds of people who take the time to write a review about a show, those who where so strongly moved that they are either writing about their hate or love for the show and those who are just bored out of their minds. I happen to be in the former category. I just love this show. I watch a large and diverse group of shows and out of them all I must say that this show stands near the top if not at the top itself.
Negatives: Vulgar language is overused. While their may be instances where it is appropriate the level at which they use it in the show is past the point of inaccuracy. In the real world anyone who spoke with such foul language would be looked down upon by their co-workers and especially their clients. I think this show needs better advertising. Without proper coverage I believe that it will be a runaway success.
Positives: While some other's did not appreciate the freezes that are used to explain the jargon I think this allows the average viewer to understand what is happening. I appreciate the relationships in this show as well as they make the show identifiable to a large range of audiences. From young to old, liberal to conservative, immigrant to average Joe I believe this show can be appreciated by a wide audience. Their are many other positives such as the absolute brilliance of the actor's performances or the senselessness of the plot as a whole but I could write about the pros all night and still have more to say.
You cannot review a whole show based one the pilot or 2-3 episodes alone.
With that said I have seen the entire 1st season and it is without a doubt one of the best new shows, ever. The pure magic that is Don Cheadle alone sells this show. His character is one of the best written in ages. There's no bull here, straight to the point and sometimes over the top but that just makes for excellent tv. The cinematography and the direction of some of the episodes is just wonderfu and pure blissl. The lovely Kirsten Bell, the very awesome Josh Lawson & Ben Schwartz together, all that just add to the brilliance. Just fantastic. And an excellent storyline seriously. I can't compliment this show enough. Enough said, just watch!!
I admit to being a fangirl so my main problem with House of Lies is just how little there is of it... 12 eps and they barely last 20 mins? I could watch these crazy people for hours... I think the 2nd season has done exactly the opposite of Girls in that it has tempered the shock value and easy provocations (most of the time at least, language is a bit over-vulgar) and become a little more subtle... There is a lot of overtly sexual content in the show but to me this works really well in showing how emotionally stunted most of the characters are... the sex scenes are easy to watch but when it gets emotional it is rough... So of course I rate it a 10... Fangirl all right...
First of all Don Cheadle is a great actor. Not only on white screen (film, cinema, stage) but now also on tv.
kirstin bells part is a bit the same. angry beautiful girl/woman with brains, who loves strange sex and is very very intelligent. the other actors are playing - acting well enough, although their part in the show is not that. its boring, they do not add.
The show needs some work. the actor playing the role of Don Cheadles father must be more expand. also does the role of the psycho mum.
I was a bit sceptical of the show given that Metacritic and IMDB have insinuated that the show isn't any good. With highly average scores. I have to say this show has exceeded my expectations, its funny and yet kind of smart at the same time, very few can boast of that. Iv just started watching it and cant wait to see how this goes.
Show does have some work to do, but its a straight out laugh riot and should be treated as just that. If you are easily offended or cant handle racy humour, dont watch this show. If youre looking for an innovative, creative, well-acted and scripted corporate drama/comedy, this is the closest you will get. Gives a hint of maturation at the end of the pilot as the show will progress in the future. Added to my watch list.
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