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SERIES PREMIERE REVIEW: House of Lies “Pilot” S1 E1

11 Jan

Another 30 minute “comedy” I didn’t like.  I was so excited about this cast and the premise, but it was really not good.  I was so disappointed because I was really looking forward to this one.  They delayed the premiere of Episodes for this?   Ugh.   I felt like I was watching a show about how much sex could Marty and the people around him have while every once in a while touching on the business aspect of the show.  I kid you not, it was almost like I was watching a show that realized it was on cable and therefore allowed to show boobs, so they showed as many boobs as they could as often as they could.  Same with the F bomb.  I’m no prude.  Cursing and nudity don’t really faze me.  Except when it’s done for no other reason than because it can.

You know what else drove me insane?   Marty Kaan (played by Don Cheadle) constantly stopping and talking to us while the story was going on.  It was so distracting and took away from the little amount of momentum the show had going for it.  I don’t need someone explaining to me what a “data dump” is.  And it’s not because I already knew, but because it’s ridiculous.  Do the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy stop in the middle of the show to explain every bit of technical dialogue unique to their industry?  No.  It’s silly and we don’t care.  Unless the dialogue is so technical I can’t even understand what’s going on without explanation, then maybe it would be helpful.  But here, it’s just a ploy.  And a bad one.   It comes across as the writers not having enough material to carry a 30 minute show and they need some filler.  The only time I liked it was during the initial presentation to Metro Capital when Kaan was holding up the flash cards showing how he charms the client and flipping through them when the usual methods weren’t working.  That worked well.  If Kaan only addressed us in the beginning, for that segment, and at the end, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it.  It was just too much.

Overall, watching House of Lies was like watching a Howard Stern radio show…it was shock for the sake of shock (which made more stupid than shocking) with absolutely no substantive value.  You have Kaan and his associates, who are all rich, arrogant, money grubbers hired to rework the image of a bank and it’s CEO who is also a rich, arrogant, money grubber.  Throw in the strangeness that is Kaan’s family and you have House of Lies.  I really have to question the writers on this one.  You choose to have your first storyline be about Marty’s firm going in and repairing the image of a bank who was responsible for putting hard-working people on the street and whose principals took bonuses after needing bailout money.   Basically Marty and his team figured out how to make the bank look like they cared about the people who were struggling but it’s all a sham so they can still keep taking their ridiculous bonuses without feeling guilty.   Really?  That the storyline in the pilot you want to go with?  With so many people struggling right now with that very issue, that’s the story you want to use to entice people to watch this show?   Wow.  Ok.  Can you say…FAIL!!!!   Then add in the storyline with his son.  Is this a real issue of gender identity or is this another one of those “shocking” elements the story incorporated because wouldn’t it be fun to make Marty’s kid think he’s a girl.   I guess we’ll have to see.  Then you have Marty’s ex-wife whose the head of his #1 competitor who’s got a major drug problem, hates and ignores her kid, and has hate sex with her ex.  Wow this show just oozes likable people, doesn’t it.

That’s the ultimate problem with the show…no one is likable.   Not even the amazing Don Cheadle can work his magic here.  And the adorable and delightful Kristen Bell?  She barely made an impact in the pilot so I don’t know what to make of her character yet.  The other two guys, I don’t even care about them.   For a show like this to work, you must have someone you can root for.  To go down the controversial road, you have to believe in the protagonist.  I don’t.  I wasn’t give one reason to like Marty Kaan or understand why he does what he does.  The only thing I know about Marty, is that he likes to have sex…A LOT.  I think the show is trying to make him complex and dark, but it didn’t.  It made him an ass.  An ass who didn’t give me one reason to say “I don’t like what he did, but I can understand why he did it.”  Maybe this show needs a few more episodes to build that complexity in not just Cheadle’s character but in all of the characters.  I just don’t think I’ll be around to find out whether they succeed or not.

DVRs: 1

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