It was early January 2012 when I sat down in front of my television to watch the new “Don Cheadle” show. I had no clue what it was about, just knew that Don Cheadle and Ben Schwartz were starring in it. I sat down, laughed a lot, and then the episode was over. I thought to myself “Hmmm, what in the hell DOES Don Cheadle’s character do on this show?” I couldn’t figure out if they were, grifters, con men, thieves, or if being a ‘firm’ consultant was a legitimate job.
The synopsis for “House of Lies” describes the show as:
A scathing, Corporate America-skewering comedy about a self-loathing management consultant (Academy Award® nominee Don Cheadle) from a top tier firm who is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his way with and for his clients.
After watching the first 4 episodes I finally understood what they truly did. Hypothetically, you own the fortune 500 company “Faux Society” for instance, the consultants would come in and tell you how you’re managing your company wrong, and why hiring them to consult with business decisions is imperative, or your impending doom IS imperative. Even if your company is totally fine, and you’re managing properly, they look for “angles” to attack and if none are found, they aren’t above manufacturing an emergency. They let you know that that ‘you need them’. Got it? GOOD.
It takes a certain kind of person to be that heartless to lie, and deceive people like this for a living. Meet Cheadle’s character, Marty Kaan (con?) and along with the sophisticated Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Ben Schwartz (The Other Guys, Undercovers) and Josh Lawson (Any Questions for Ben?, The Wedding Party), go to different companies and put out ‘manufactured’ fires for their company Galweather & Stearn. Marty is brilliant at his job, and a total mess in his real life. But there is a heartless monster that lives within him. It has helped him to the top, and it keeps him at the top. As you can imagine, behind him are burned bridges, and relationships that he truly deserves–up in smoke.
Over the course of the season we saw him fail as a father to his son Roscoe played by the young, and charismatic (Donis Leonard Jr.) who is questioning his gender-identity. He’s failed as a lover to his girlfriend April (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sometimes just failed as being a decent human being. That is not to say that you won’t LOVE Marty,because you will. And you’ll root for him whenever it looks like a swift kick in the groin is headed his way. It’s that ‘keeping you on your toes’ suspense that makes you come back each and every week to see how Marty found himself in a caveat and how he digs his way out. There were moments in the series that were nothing less than pure brilliance.
In my favorite episode of the season “Veritas” episode when Marty found out the merger between Galweather & Stern and Capitol Bank was “moving forward” and Marty & his team’s job would invariably be history. The camera shot as the helicopter rises, spoke volumes as he received received the news of the mergers ‘go’ and as his boss jumps in the copter and lifts off. It’s symbolic of Marty watching his “career”, “hopes”, “dreams”, and “livelihood” fly off.
The season wrapped last night (*Spoiler Alert) as Marty kills the merger, but not without its casualties. An intoxicated Jeannie (Kristen Bell) took a bullet for the team, confessing her affair to a room full of co-workers at a celebration of the merger, while asking that other women who had been duped into sleeping with The Rainmaker with the promise of ‘moving up’ in the company. As dozens of women stand, the book on the planned merger is closed. And while Marty’s job became safe, it came at a price as his son, Roscoe opts to move in with his mother. Marty feels like everything is broken, and that is the season finale. Can’t wait to for Season Two.
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