I have a colleague, who used to say to another colleague, usually on a Monday morning, “Hey – did you close?“  This of course referred not to business acumen but whether or not he got the amount of action he was hoping for on the weekend.  If they’re not already reading this, I bet money they both would love this show.  Because the closing?  Both business and, um, carnal?  Lots of it happening on House of Lies all the time.

But just as I was  beginning to think that maybe the show was one note, that I wasn’t interested, they get yanked into their boss’ office and the boss is RICHARD SCHIFF. Toby Ziegler is Marty’s boss, ya’ll!  And he’s cool-yet-clueless. My favourite kind.

This episode brings out a lot more of the team dynamic, and though we don’t know Ben Schwartz’s and the other guy’s character names, we sure as hell know who they are.  

I didn’t realize until now what it is I like about this show. The actual being-a-consultant part?  Sure, it’s well explained and vicious and dirty and they ask pretty early on what are alternate (but not softer) words for the ‘c word’.

But to me, this is a show about when your job is your summer camp.  When you are in a gig where there are damn long hours,  travel all the time and nobody understands how you spend your days (or they find it distasteful), they’re your war buddies. Even the ones you don’t like.  You know each other’s habits, pleasures, allergies. You harass each other fiercely when you so much as mention something romantic, you tease endlessly if someone seems happy, you instinctively cover over their weak spots.  

I realized this, last night, talking with the boy about his gig. There’s little down time at most workplaces. There’s hard work, but less sitting around at airports or business dinners where you’re waiting for the client to show up or twiddling your fingers waiting for the boss to come back with the big boss’ instructions on how to deal with the latest crisis.    

But when you know, in your gut, that the same people you’re looking at at 6 AM will still be there - in the same clothes - at 2 AM, you get a little silly.  And I have never seen that explained better onscreen than here, where an imagined seduction of Cat Deeley (….trust me) will make you weak with laughter.

And then, too, there’s the cutthroat part, where Kristen Bell’s character gets lured away to a new job but Marty doesn’t like that so much and kills her deal.  Is it a sh-tty thing to do? Yep. Would he have done that to a man? Maybe not. Is that interesting, especially since she stays?  You got it.

Marty’s son is still cross-dressing, he’s still bothered by it and fiercely defending his right to do so at the same time. He’s still banging his wife, which is weird.  He has these weird flashes of humanity, and then shrugs them off.  Like most people who find themselves, on any given day, trying to justify why what they’re doing in the name of work isn’t completely empty and devoid of value.

I’m really enjoying this but as I say, the management element is the least important.  This is about the consultants and their relationships. And it’s getting better. But next week? We’re getting down to specifics – filthy words and all.