Showtime’s House of Lies: The Truth According To Management Consultants!


House of Lies [Showtime, Sundays, 10/9C] paints a picture of management consultants that’s so rude, shrewd and, more than occasionally lewd that one suspects that there’s more than a little truth to their depiction.

Marty Kaan [Don Cheadle] is the top producer for Galweather & Stearn, the number two management consulting firm in America. He will lie, cheat, steal and worse to secure a client. He will also bed every good looking woman who is amenable; pass off a gorgeous stripper as his trophy wife, and otherwise put Will Rogers’ description of statistics [‘There are lies, damn lies and statistics!’] to the test on a daily basis.

In the series premiere, Kaan’s Pod [team] – Jeannie Vander Hooven [Kristin Bell], Clyde Oberholt [Ben Schwartz] and Doug Guggenheim [Josh Lawson] – are tasked with competing with the number one ranked firm, whose team is headed by his psychotic ex-wife, Monica Talbot [Dawn Oliver], for a potentially very lucrative gig helping one of the worst perpetrators of the financial crisis seem like heroes [so its officers can collect their inappropriately massive bonuses].

It doesn’t help that Kaan has had anger sex with his ex the night before he has to take his team into PR battle – nor does it help that his son, Roscoe [Donis Leonard Jr.] plans on auditioning for the role of Sandy in the school’s production of Grease.

In the premiere, we don’t learn much about Clyde and Doug, but Kristen Bell gets some serious face time as Jeannie shuts down Kaan’s attempt to convince her they will sleep together at some point [his computer model puts the chances at 87%, but she points out that a computer model only works if it’s not based on faulty information], and puts her Columbia psych minor to good use in the process.

I won’t go into detail, but Kaan’s team spends the night before their presentation in a strip club – and every one of them takes part in some way, though Kaan is certainly the most enthusiastic. Remember what I said about Kaan passing a stripper off as his trophy wife? Uh-huh!

House of Lies is a fast-paced, no holds barred, high stakes con game – with the least disreputable people in the room as the bad guys. Even compared to some of their clients, Kaan’s team comes off poorly – though in darkly satirical, compellingly funny ways.

Final Grade: A-