House of Lies - the pilot
Can I just ask, why? Why, PVR people, are you not smart enough to know that a show’s going to go a little overtime? Just give a little more time, please?
I persevered, though, guys, don’t worry, I watched the end of the show for you – for you – so that I could bring you the best review possible which I know is what you require. How’s my corporate speak? Do you buy it? Did you like it better coming out of Don Cheadle’s mouth?
Usually you wait for a pilot to sell you. This one got me in the first two minutes, so that I didn’t even notice the parts later on that gave me bumps, because I was still remembering how fun the beginning was.
House of Lies focuses on 7-figure-making Marty Kaan, who lives with his retired psychiatrist dad and his 10 year old son, who’s determined to win the part of Sandy in Grease at school. It’s worth mentioning that everyone takes the cross dressing completely in stride, at least in front of the kid. Which reads pretty awesome onscreen, and makes the otherwise jargon-spitting jerks seem human. Of course everyone, including son Roscoe, is super-sharp in their language - this is a pilot. Somehow, though, you don’t want to punch them. Yet.
And Marty himself is basically Zach Morris, early edition. He addresses the camera, he stops time (well, less the two-handed ‘time-out’ T, but the effect is the same). He’s incredibly dynamic in his explanations of consultant jargon and techniques, but it’s not just fast-paced, it’s near manic. If that’s not your thing, it might seem a little trite – but that’s the point. This job is about spewing bullsh-t in a way that makes it sound like you know what you’re talking about.
I know some of you just want to know about Kristen Bell returning to TV. Given that she is as tiny and blonde as she’s ever been, (and that I’m delighting in re-experiencing Veronica Mars through Lainey’s eyes, and yes, you may consider this a gloat), I was relieved to see that she looks and sounds like an adult woman. I was less jazzed that she spends most of her time telling Don Cheadle why they’re never going to sleep together, but it’s clear that her character Jeannie has his number, which is a relief – her ‘business psychology’ background means she tells him all the time what his problem is, and I imagine that’s going to become a theme. I did super appreciate, in a scene reminiscent of Mad Men, that Bell enjoys a strip club scene just as much as the boys – reads like actual corporate culture, as far as I can tell.
Marty and Jeannie have two other colleagues, but other than a sight gag involving two cans of Monster as morning beverage, they don’t do anything too distinctive, yet. Instead, in a 33 minute episode, Cheadle bangs three women (and one gets some more on her own), gets the corporation he’s consulting for to agree to continue being greedy, and makes it to the school play. It’s a heartwarming story of a millennial family…right? And there are hints that these people might be human…
Anyway, if you need to sell this to someone else, there were plenty of bare breasts, some bums, and – though I had to go back and check because blue language flows over me like water - plenty of swearing. Like, first-word-in-the-show plenty.
I had a great time. I’m going back next week. It’s nice to think that people who look respectable walking around the financial district are just as depraved as the rest of us. (Lainey: ha! Those people are the MOST depraved!)
Confidential to Toronto viewers – there were scenes set in ‘New York’ where I could swear they were actually in front of one of the TD towers in downtown Toronto. There were some where it looked definitively like New York – but that could be set-extension. Possibility? Or just the same architect?
Attached - Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell at the premiere last week.