House of Hopes
House of Lies Season 1 Episode 8
Hello! Did you miss House Of Lies? They very smartly didn’t put this episode up against the Oscars, although with the amount of strategy and manipulation involved in either, you could easily have changed the channel and gotten a similar experience.
I have to say that for so much of this episode I was just compelled by Bell’s outfit. It’s not something I’d ever wear – well, all of it is, but not in those dry business-y colours. Since this episode turns out to be a real power play from her, I had to wonder how intentional it was, that she looked so powerful and seductive all at once. I go to work in pretty much whatever I please, including things I find in my closet and wear for novelty’s sake. I can’t really remember the last time I had to stick to a dress code.
Which made me think about expectations. So much of this show is about the expectations of fitting into the world. The right suit, jokes, dinner reservations. All the aspirants who are at this recruiting day know that’s just the beginning of fitting in. And the explorations of what it does and doesn’t take to manage in this cutthroat world were best explored through Jeannie.
It’s such a strange thing to do, to say YES I am unequivocally a WOMAN but also that DOES NOT MATTER (except in the context of how I’m going to make it tougher for other women, thereby perpetuating a stereotype I was probably really, really mad at when I was trying to break in not very long ago) so don’t treat me like a woman, treat me like a professional. Got it?
And then of course, Marty performs the exact same exercise on James, the (apparently one and only) black applicant – but in a much less straightforward way. He likes to hide his manipulations and secret vendettas until the last second. I guess logic would say he’s more of a predator, that he lulls his prey into a false sense of security. He likes the ability to pull his victims as close as possible and then when they’re feeling secure, only then bite their heads off. Jeannie never lets them get that close.
Is this what this show is? The study of how to be an attacker? That’s what the job is, of course, but obviously it doesn’t apply to everyone; there’s room for beta guys like Clyde and Doug, whose job when they aren’t trying to slurp up women is to be yes men to “Daddy” – and if Daddy changed tomorrow, if there was a new Daddy in town, guess what? They’d be the same subservient beings.
So Jeannie makes very calculated moves to survive the merger since she sees Marty’s body essentially hit the ground (and I have to believe she was holding her breath through the whole thing, because ew), while Marty “crab-barrelled” James, although I’ve always heard the phrase “crab-bucket” instead. I love that his survival instinct is not as strong as his instinct to cause destruction. He needs to ruin everything in his wake, so that he doesn’t feel bad if the merger goes ahead and he is, indeed, fired (although I’m not buying it as for sure until it’s for sure).
I don’t know why I love this show so much and I certainly don’t hear as much about it from you guys as on some other shows. But for all the hyper-extended-shenanigans and talking to the camera, this is one of the realest shows on TV. You have your crew’s back no matter what, until the day your crew is about to be no longer. And then, instantly? It’s like you never knew each other. Is that pragmatism or insanity?
Oh,and how gorgeous is this show? The sunset in the mountains? How is it possible to shoot the whole thing at magic hour?
(Lainey: attached - I missed posting these Kristen Bell photos from February.)