Simply put, House of Lies is a weaker version of Californication but against the fast paced set of management consulting rather than a New York born writer trying to live in southern California. You can instantly recognize some of the same traits. The main character Marty (played by Don Cheadle) is slick, does great with the ladies, and talks himself into and out of many problems. He and his cohorts also have the propensity to spend a lot of money, but then again they are management consultants.
This was the first episode, so there wasn’t much but the show also gets into Marty’s family life, with his retired psychologist father and his obviously gay son. It won’t have the same pull of Californication’s Hank and his family life. Perhaps because they was only an inkling of the self-loathing and hatred in Marty that is clear in Hank, or perhaps it’s hard to feel bad for a guy making 7 figures (stated within the first several minutes of the show) as a management consultant in today’s economy. Marty wakes up in the opening of the show naked with his ex-wife, who you find out later is a real bitch and Marty’s principal rival in business.
The show does a decent job introducing Marty’s co-workers, including Kristen Bell who will make any show better. Hopefully they get more into her as the show progresses. All in all the stage is set for the crew to come into problems trying to acquire or please clients, and climactic scene was thrilling to watch as Marty does his thing you just know he’s going to do.
One thing the show needs to lose is the freezes, where the world stops while Marty breaks the fourth wall to explain things to the audience. First, we’re not that dumb; we get what you’re saying, even when you’re purposely talking bullshit. Second, it’s just cheesy and really interrupts with the pace of the show.
It will be interesting to see how this show progresses over the course of its 12 episode season. House of Lies has potential to be a very entertaining & fascinating look into the work hard / party harder lifestyle of management consultants, even if it is embellished for Showtime. Hopefully it follows the path a little bit closer to Californication to really achieve.