Don Cheadle makes 'House of Lies' one to watch
January 9th, 2012
10:50 AM ET

Don Cheadle makes 'House of Lies' one to watch

Showtime has been promoting "House of Lies" for what seems like the better part of a year, so there was a lot of anticipation for Sunday night's series premiere (which – as Showtime and Starz tend to do with new series – was also available online and free to many cable subscribers).

But the show, about a team of management consultants led by Marty (Oscar-nominated actor and executive producer Don Cheadle), crammed a lot of plot into the first episode. So much so that there really wasn't any time left for two of Marty's employees, played by Ben Schwartz ("Parks and Recreation") and Josh Lawson ("The Wedding Party"), to shine.

Much of the focus was on Marty himself. It's not entirely clear from the promos, but after watching the show, Cheadle is perfectly cast as the slick Marty Kaan. (Marty also appears to be the first sitcom character since "Saved by the Bell" to have Zack Morris' "time out" power.)

A lot of the show explained some of the terminology and tricks of the trade for management consultants. Let's just say that this particular occupation doesn't come off smelling like roses.

Marty also has a complicated relationship with his ex-wife, who's also a rival management consultant. The very first shot of the series had him lying in bed with her, something he immediately regrets.

Marty also has a flirtatious relationship with his star employee, Jeannie (Kristen Bell, in her first regular TV role since "Veronica Mars"). We only got the tiniest hint that there may be sparks between them in future episodes.

Two of my favorite supporting characters, though, are Marty's father and son, Jeremiah and Roscoe. Jeremiah supports the cross-dressing Roscoe, who had to settle for Rizzo, after auditioning for Sandy in the school production of "Grease."

In the first episode, Marty and his team have to consult for a bank, even after a disastrous dinner for Marty where the wife of one of the bank's hotshots laid out their dirty laundry for all to hear, and Marty ended up head-butting the hotshot.

Marty, who eschews the term "out of the box," does indeed think out of the box to come up with a winning plan for the bank (and it's just pure coincidence that this scene sounds like it was inspired by Occupy Wall Street).

If every episode is about the team having to beat the odds to win over another company, this formula might get old quick. On the other hand, there are enough elements here to make an interesting, funny show. More than anything else, though, Cheadle's performance is the reason to tune in.

Did you watch the premiere as well? Was Cheadle enough to interest you for next week's episode? Post your thoughts on iReport or comment below.

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Brian Hoyle

    Terrible show. Depressing view of the world. How can you identify with these characters? If it's supposed to be funny, it's not. Is it supposed to be satire? I hope this shows dies a swift death. I expected so much more of Cheadle. Really, really disappointing.

    January 11, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. dc

    Watched this on DVR last night because I couldn't take that snooze-fest of a BCS Championship Game anymore. Watched 15 minutes of this and turned back. Cheadle's funny, but the material he's being given is awful. Everything about this show has been done before a hundred times. No originality, and the other characters are just cardboard cut-outs.

    January 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NoGr8rH8r

    The only reason to watch is to see that INCREDIBLE HOTTIE, Dawn Olivieri !!!!!!!!!
    More DAWN, More DAWN.

    January 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Quip

    I really wanted to like this show but it just came up short. Too many unlikable characters and just ran to the obvious places.

    January 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. revloc

    I got bored after about 10 minutes and flipped over to another channel.

    January 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Linda J,

    loved this show..thought it was quick and cheadle is certainly worth the half-hour. can't wait to see the next one

    January 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Richard Fore

    Is a God! The King of Trolls!

    January 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MARY

    I LOOOOVED WEEDS. It was a cute show. This new one really is pretty bad. It is just plain boring and dumb.

    January 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. @No Pigs


    January 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |


    January 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. joenamherst

    I will not be watching this dog anymore.

    January 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. @ariel

    Sit on ur fat azz much ?

    January 9, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Ariel

      Ahhhh, another angry black man! Big surprise. Maybe if you smoked less crack and had fewer babies you could afford the pay channels.

      January 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      Best zinger of the day!!!

      January 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ariel

    I watched the show and was less than impressed. I watch Shameless, Californication, Dexter, Hung, Weeds, Diary of a Call Girl, Strikeforce, and love all of those shows. I'm not a prude. "House of Lies" lost me when Don Cheadle asked the Kristen Bell if he could screw her in the pooper. Uggh. Another black man wanting to screw a blonde in the pooper. It was disgusting and so typical. If I wanted to watch men like that I would watch an NBA Basketball game. The strip club. The show is not worth my time. I was disappointed because I love the SHowtime, HBO and MAX series. I hope this show goes in the pooper!

    January 9, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Tricia

      What has his being black got to do with it? Seriously any man wanted to shag any woman (blonde or not) is wrong in my book. What a white man screwing a brunette up the pooper is acceptable?

      January 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. @peace

    Now u can see for urself-it sux.

    January 9, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Richard Fore

    Dumbest fxckng show in the world.

    January 9, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  16. 12

    Really, not a good shoe. I did like the bit about the lesbeans though. Lesbeans are alays good for a laff.

    January 9, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  17. derp

    Watched it last night. Not very good. Unfunny, predictable, and completely unrealistic.

    January 9, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |

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