I just finished watching the first season of Showtime's House of Lies starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell. Well, amongst others. Great supporting work from Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio!!!), Josh Lawson, Greg Germann, Griffin Dunne and Richard Schiff as well. And Donis Leanord Jr. as Cheadle's cross-dressing son is amazing.
I'm not sure I've ever despised and loved a show this much before.
I love the acting and the storylines and the sheer fucking hotness that is Kristen Bell. I despise the characters and everything they stand for. There is a special place in hell reserved for corporate management consultants. And that's what this show is all about. Having had some, ahem, experience with these mother-fuckers, I can guarantee that is true.
Which makes loving the show that much more difficult. I initially tried watching the show with Gia, but she got turned off after the very first episode. Because these people and their jobs are awful. I get that. Yet somehow I had to keep watching. I try to tell myself that it's because of the acting chops of Cheadle and Bell, but I wonder if there is some latent jealousy going on here. The travel, the money, the blatant disregard for the average man/woman on the street.
You see, I dropped out of the corporate life almost 10 years ago. I wasn't a fast-track guy. I put my time and my work in, but I became something of riser in my field because of it. Director, Associate Vice President, Vice President, etc... 80 hours work weeks weren't the exception. They were the norm. And there were perks to go along with it. I almost never went out during the week unless the tab was picked up by the company. And excellent tickets to all the ballgames I wanted to attend. The money was pretty good too, and getting better all the time.
Then 9/11 happened. I know, I know...everyone has their 9/11 story. Mine isn't all that special. I knew some people in the Towers, including my best friend. All of whom survived the attack, by the way. That's not really the point. And, to be honest, my feelings about corporate life had changed before September of 2001. But I just kept on keeping on, like a good zombie. And where my life would lead didn't happen right afterward either. I stuck around, sucking on the corporate teat for another couple of years. But when I looked myself in the soul after 9/11, I knew something had to change.
So here I am now. Wondering where my life would have taken me had I decided to stick with it. I'm certainly happier now than I ever was back then. That's entirely to do with Gia. But the money or the job security in the private sector aren't really something to write home about. So there's that.
Anyway...it's one of those shows that make you think. Or, at least, it's one of those shows that made me think. About what was, about what is, about what could have been.
And I'm not sure how I feel about any of it.