House of Lies is brash, crude and features a central character who should, by all accounts, be reprehensible. But yet, he is not, and there is something about this show which pulls you in and refuses to let you go.
A warning for the easily offended – this is not the show for you. If you don’t want to see sexual acts or nudity, then you should probably avoid House of Lies. But if you can look past its brash exterior, there is something very intriguing about this show. House of Lies focuses on a group of management consultants as they travel to different companies in an attempt to persuade them to hire them. Don Cheadle plays the protagonist Marty whose actions, particularly in the first episode, could be defined as more than a little morally grey, but yet there is something very charismatic and charming about him that helps you to look past his failings. Kristen Bell finally has a role that she can sink her teeth into and use her acting talents which have been neglected in her recent romantic comedy roles, playing the smart level headed Jeannie, who Marty, naturally, wants to sleep with. The rest of the management consulting team is solid, if a little unremarkable thus far, although this could be because of the lack of focus on them as individuals.
While the show is undoubtedly crude, and focuses deeply on human sexuality, there were moments in the first episode which showed real promise. Marty struggling with how to understand and communicate with his cross dressing son shows promise of a good character. However, there are some points where you question what this show is trying to say. The proposal put forward to the banking client in this episode is fairly seedy, and morally shady to say the least, and I wonder whether audiences will connect with the substance of the show, which is to help rich corporations save their money, screwing over the ordinary person in the process. I think a lot of this will come down to the writing and handling of the content. After all, if we as an audience can sympathise with a serial killer in Dexter, and the drug selling chemistry teacher in Breaking Bad then I’m certain that they can sympathise with Marty. But, when it comes down to it, Marty’s character is going to be what makes or breaks this show. He is put forwards as an anti hero, and only if the audience can sympathise with him in the future will it really gain momentum.
An interesting start, and only time will tell if this show has legs.
House of Lies is on every Tuesday at 10pm on Sky Atlantic.