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House of Lies: Is the Showtime Comedy Worth Watching?

House of Lies TV seriesThis evening, Showtime launches their new comedy called House of Lies. Starring Don Cheadle, the series revolves around a crack team of Los Angeles-based management consultants. They charm arrogant and unsuspecting corporate executives into spending a fortune for their services and do their best to keep the cash flowing.

Others in the new TV series include Kristen Bell, Dawn Olivieri, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Richard Schiff, Donis Leonard Jr., and Glynn Turman.

Is House of Lies worth your TV viewing time or is Showtime just trying to con you into watching a bad show? Here’s what the critics are saying:

LA Times: “Well-crafted and a little — sometimes more than a little — unpleasant, House of Lies also resembles Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air and Thank You for Smoking, colorful films whose antiheroic, well-dressed, good-looking lead characters also spend a lot of time on planes and explain their unsympathetic work to the audience as they go along. .. Cheadle and Bell have good chemistry. But it’s a great cast all around, with Glynn Turman as Marty’s father, Griffin Dunne and Richard Schiff as his superiors, and Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson rounding out his ‘pod.'”

Entertainment Weekly: “Most of the time, House of Lies plays like one of those glossy, empty USA Network shows like White Collar or Psych, but with a butt-load of the sort of sexual activity one can get away with on pay-cable. That means both ends of this creature, so to speak, aren’t all that interesting. People talk fast on Psych because the folks making it think you’ll mistake that for snappy patter; people have grunting quickies in semi-public places on cable TV because they think it’ll turn us on. But there’s no novelty or freshness in House of Lies’ patter or its penis-placement. The show’s crucial weakness is its dead language: The lines have no comic lilt; no exchange between any two characters gives off sparks. When you have an actor with a tongue as adroit as Cheadle, this seems nearly cruel.”

NY Times: “The raunchiness sometimes feels excessive — the writers here seem to have a particular fascination with anal sex — but since excessiveness is the defining characteristic of the show’s universe, it’s probably absurd even to voice the complaint. Everything is delivered at a Red Bull pace, and the series will certainly be drinking-game fodder for business students all over the land. The trigger could be every time the phrase ‘Harvard Business School’ is used. Or every time a character employs a crude expression to refer to a colleague’s private parts, though on this show they’re not particularly private.”

Boston Herald: “This House is mostly built on Cheadle’s shoulders and, in the first few episodes at least, the actor, who has ably toggled between comedy and drama and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in Hotel Rwanda, appears sturdy and engaged. He might overplay the smarmier side of Kaan — pronounced ‘con,’ as in ‘the long con’ — but he also parcels out precise emotional moments as well, in interactions with his son and an emotional dream about his mother.”

Washington Post: House of Lies is far too transparent, wanting too desperately to be like other shows its creators have clearly studied — a little Entourage here, a little Californication there, and perhaps a dash of Hung. In trying to be about over-the-top characters, it forgets to be about people.”

What do you think? Do you think that House of Lies is worth watching? If you’ve already seen it, will you be back for more?

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Galen Foulkes April 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm

This is a juvenile show that is beneath an actor of Don Cheadle’s caliber. The subplot with his gender-bending 10 year old is going nowhere, and his co-stars behave worse than elementatary school boys when it comes to sex (which is all they can yap about). There is ZERO charisma between Cheadle and Bell, and look at the double standards on this show: the other characters have sex (or try to) at the drop of a hat, but when Jeannie (Bell) does so, there is all this angst and remorse. Because of course, GOOD girls can’t have sex unless it involves some kind of romance. Marty and the guys? Hell, they can bang anything and anyone anywhere they want and then do a cross word puzzle.

This show cannot handle the raunchy aspect of the other SHOWTIME/HBO serials and fails; the immaturity and clumsiness is just a turn off. The characters are neither engaging nor entertaining.

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Ken Gage January 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm

This show is boring, unfunny, pretentious, preoccupied with sex, I guess to keep they youngsters coming back, lacks creativity, has a shallow plot, is juvenile and will be canceled
within the first or possibly second year – IF the scripts stay as bad as the pilot. I like Cheadle but the show is a loser and is nowhere up to the standards of other great Showtime series’ produced in the past.

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Bethany January 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I watched it on Demand like 3 hours before the first show aired. (I personally love when they let me do that) I had thought somehow I had missed the first week’s show. I LOVED it. I am a die-hard True Blood fan and while waiting for the new season to start I am always looking for other shows to fill that slot. I always looked forward to United States of Tara, however I know that will never be back (Seriously have no idea why, but that is another topic entirely) and I have never missed an episode of Californication. When I saw that this show was also airing new episodes, I gave it a try. The show was funny, and had some twists and turns I was not expecting. The stars are top notch, the writing seems spot on, and the concept is not overdone to death. I could see this show really taking off.

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Grandizer January 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

I was not aware this was going to be a half hour long series… I want it to be an hour long!
I liked the first episode, the pausing during the show to talk directly to you is a gimmick that has been done many times over, however, it works pretty well here.

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Granny January 9, 2012 at 12:16 am

House of Lies Episode I.
Will we be back for more? Absolutely, we will be back for more “Don Magic Wand Cheadale”, once per week every week, perhaps more. His timing is pitch perfect, as always! The team plays together like a finely tuned instrument. The efforts of the creators were not lost here in Northern California, although that creative eloquence and broad human scope seen in, Shameless, Dexter, and Boardwalk, was not present in this first episode. I personally appreciated the effort to illuminate the pre-teen sexual identity struggle with, a quasi-politically correct approach to parenting such a pre-adolescent. Not to mention the ‘tongue in cheek-cheek, ‘gay/straight grand-father that understands such a thing and the single dad together raising this confused child expressing societal whims to quench a thirst for lost mothers love and attention. It is priceless even more so because, these two male pillars are men of the sun. That is a breath of fresh air; kind of. In my 60+ years, that was a first for me. We look forward to watching this one grow to an hour+. My husband found the subject matter “ball-z” and a wonderfully painless and funny attempt to articulate what so many of the 99% believe to be true. Oh’ and I was so surprise at the delicate pallet of, Entertainment Weekly; come on kids grow-up and get over yourself, it’s comedy making a statement in 2012, sit back, kick off your shoes, leave the job at the job and laugh. Some times, it’s all you can do not to cry.

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