House Of Lies Doesn’t
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House of Lies Season 1 Episode 4 recap
Okay, this is ridiculous. House of Lies isn’t content to simply reinvent the half-hour ‘comedy’ genre and inspire in me slavish devotion, it has to start actually reflecting real life and being relevant, making me its full-on wannabe?
This show, if you haven’t figured it out yet, isn’t about being a management consultant. It’s about being a workaholic, enjoying what you do even though you understand it’s indecipherable to others. And then trying to figure out, when your work is your whole life, how to fit in an actual life.
I get that this is nothing new, except that on this show people don’t learn heartwarming lessons about how nothing matters if you don’t have people who love you. Because for a lot of people, that’s not true. What you have is the security that work will be there. Work will love you no matter what you screw up in your personal life. That’s the mantra for lots of people who work long and hard.
And this is what Marty knows to be true. He loves work because work loves him back. There is a really easy formula here: Work = self worth. Family and personal relationships = confusion and pain. If I have a nitpick about the show this far, it’s that Marty’s misgivings about his life quite predictably come at the beginning and end of each episode. I understand he’s between assignments so it gives him time to think, but nonetheless.
It’s worth nothing that the other three on Marty’s team call him ‘Daddy’ and try to model themselves after him – so this week, the humanity-in-the-middle gig went to Kristen Bell. I know she’s gotten a lot of do-you/don’t-you like her here lately, but she is killing this part.
The do you or don’t you tell debate is always more pronounced and clichéd for women. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. She faces this dilemma – if she tells the guys what she’s like at home, they think she’s not ‘one of the guys’. Would this affect her in the workplace? From what we’ve seen, it’s pretty clear that she wouldn’t be able to talk and play in the same way. That if they knew she made a choice based in looooooooove, they couldn’t trust her to be a hardass anymore. If she didn’t pick up about as often as they did, she wouldn’t be a player. Is that bullsh*t ? Yes. Does it happen every day in much less male-oriented workplaces? Absolutely.
You could be one of the other people – the ones who race in to tell everyone about your news – but that puts you in a category. Dare I say, a women’s category. It makes your love life one of the most important things about you. That doesn’t always do a lot for your professional image.
Full disclosure – I’ll be married this year. (Lainey: DUANA’s getting married!!! You cannot imagine how excited we all are about this, for real.) I’m no Jeannie, but I definitely debated how and when to deploy this news, and how to make it seem, at work, as non-cutesy as possible. I seem to be on this tip a lot these days, so I’ll spare you the full rant of how the same anxiousness doesn’t follow men around, but you’ve heard it all before.
So Jeannie cheats on her fiancé, and Clyde and Doug continue to add up points, and Roscoe continues to need a dad and to accept the bare minimums of what Marty can provide. I continue to think Marty’s acceptance of Roscoe for who he is these days is a bigger deal than he realizes, but given that the show and Marty himself really want me to question whether or not he’s a good guy, I’ll go ahead and say he could be doing more.
You could be doing more. This is a comedy that will make you uncomfortable. This is a work memoir that you’ve lived, even though you don’t know it. This will make you call up every decision you made on your way to where you are now, professionally. If you’re in Canada and don’t have Showtime, House of Lies airs on the Movie Network in the east and Movie Central in the west. Get on it. Don’t come to me in six months to a year and say you feel like you’ve missed the boat and it’s ‘too late’ to catch up.
Attached - Don Cheadle at the SAG Awards on Sunday.