May 2, 2012

House of Lies

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.'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.


Dave2 said...

My take on House of Lies... This show has Don Cheadle, Josh Lawson, and KRISTEN FRICKIN' BELL... WHAT HAPPENED? It is mind-numbingly boring between the good bits, and never seems to end... that's what. Yes, the good bits are really good, but it's SO not worth the shit you have to sit through to get there. The "time-freeze" moments which allow Don Cheadle to interrupt the show to explain terms and back-story DO NOT WORK. They are an interruption that actually interrupts the show in a horrible fashion. EPIC FAIL!

Didn't make it past the first episode. Such a shame.

Verdant Earl said...

Dave2 - The first couple of episodes weren't really very good. I actually watched the 1st two a couple of months ago and forgot about it. Then on Monday, I was looking for something to watch and I picked it back up again and ran through the next 10 episodes in 2 nights. Definitely a show that got better as the season progressed. The last few episodes were fucking nuts! And you didn't get to see any of the crazy backstories of either Cheadle or Bell. Shame.

Dr Zibbs said...

I never thought Kristen Bell was hot until I saw her interviewed and now I love her.

sybil law said...

I watched a few of those shows when I had access to Showtime for a while. I liked it. I didn't LOVE it, but it was definitely better than 90% of the other shit on t.v.
I get what you mean, though. There was a time in my life where I actually thought I'd be a lawyer, and I loved the idea of it. However, I know me, and I know how quickly I'd just turn it into a game of me beating them. I'd have to be a defense lawyer, because that was more interesting (to me). I'd spend time getting more than likely guilty people off, and I KNOW that I would enjoy the actual "game" of it, but I'd completely lose my soul, because deep down, I'm totally not like that. I can be incredibly competitive, and I know I'd have rocked it as a defense lawyer, but hell no.
Still - there's a big part of me that just wishes I'd have done it, and that show really reflects it.

Verdant Earl said...

Zibbs - She's a great interview. And adorable as all hell.

Sybil - Lawyers, management consultants...they all come from the crap pile. No offense to any lawyers and management consultants out there. I guess.