House of Lies

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House of Lies
House of Lies title card.png
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Matthew Carnahan
Based on House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time 
by Martin Kihn
Starring
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 48 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Crescendo Productions
Totally Commercial Films
Refugee Productions
Matthew Carnahan Circus Products
Showtime Networks
Release
Original channel Showtime
Original release January 8, 2012 (2012-01-08) – present
External links
Website

House of Lies is an American comedy-drama television series created by Matthew Carnahan.[1] The show, which premiered on Showtime on January 8, 2012, is based on the book, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time, written by Martin Kihn, a former consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. It follows a group of management consultants who stop at nothing to get business deals done.

The series completed its fourth season on March 29, 2015, and has been renewed for a 10-episode fifth season to premiere in 2016.[2]

Premise[edit]

The show focuses on the personal and business lives of Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle), a manipulative, immoral, driven and cold management consultant.

Originally, Marty was a highly successful partner at consultancy firm Galweather Stearn, where he headed up a pod consisting of engagement manager Jeannie van der Hooven (Kristen Bell) and associates Clyde Oberholdt (Ben Schwartz) and Doug Guggenheim (Josh Lawson). He later leaves this position to head up his own firm, Kaan & Associates.

In addition to the questionable business practices of Marty and his team, the series also focuses on Marty's personal life; he deals with his psychotic management consultant ex-wife Monica (Dawn Olivieri), his retired-psychiatrist father Jeremiah (Glynn Turman) and his confidently flamboyant son Roscoe (Donis Leonard, Jr). The main character Marty often breaks the fourth wall; he talks to the viewers in a freeze frame bit in which he alone moves and the others in the background 'freeze' but continue where they left off before the bit. Alternatively he talks to the audience while everyone moves but the others seem oblivious to the fact that he is on a monologue.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, the immoral and deceitful proprietor of consultancy firm Kaan & Associates. Before he started his own firm, he led a pod for Galweather-Stearn. Marty is willing to do anything to close the deal, and as such alienates the vast majority of people he comes into contact with, a fact that he cares very little about. Due to questionable business practices, Marty spent several months in prison before the start of season 4, which has put even more strain on his already-tense relationship with Roscoe and Jeremiah.
  • Kristen Bell as Jeannie van der Hooven, a partner at Kaan & Associates with whom Marty has a complex relationship. She was part of Marty's pod before he left Galweather. She later led her own pod in Galweather before ditching them for Kaan & Associates, becoming a partner there. Jeannie was inadvertently responsible for the FBI bust on Kaan & Associates, and as such Marty blames her for his stint in jail. In season 4, Jeannie is pregnant with Marty's child, however he is reluctant to be involved as he has not forgiven her.
  • Ben Schwartz as Clyde Oberholdt, a member of Marty's consultant pod who specialises in marketing and spin. He was part of Marty's pod before he left Galweather. He briefly became part of Monica's pod in Kinsley & Associates when he and Marty had a falling out. He eventually worked his way into Kaan & Associates. He has a jealous, arrogant and very cruel personality, and only very rarely shows any real emotions. Clyde has struggled with drug addiction throughout the later seasons.
  • Josh Lawson as Doug Guggenheim, a member of Marty's consultant pod who specialises in numerical analysis. He was part of Marty's pod before he left Galweather. After Marty left, he briefly became a part of Jeannie's pod before they both left for Kaan & Associates. He is married to Sarah, however after he sent her a drunken and abusive text message, she cleaned out his bank accounts and left.
  • Dawn Olivieri as Monica Talbot (starring seasons 1-3, recurring season 4), an ex-partner at rival firm Kinsley & Associates, and Marty's ex-wife. She and Marty often taunt and abuse each other whenever they meet, and often engage in angry sex.
  • Donis Leonard Jr. as Roscoe Kaan, the flamboyant 15-year-old son of Monica and Marty. He wears eyeliner and experimental clothing and often has an attitude problem towards his father. In season 4, it is shown that Roscoe has fallen in with the burn-outs and has begun smoking marijuana.
  • Glynn Turman as Jeremiah Kaan, Marty's ex-psychiatrist father and the main caregiver for Roscoe. Jeremiah detests Monica, and he frequently is forced to act as the mediator between her and Marty for the sake of Roscoe. He is dating Chantelle, a much younger psychology student, a relationship which has been happily accepted by the rest of the family.

Recurring cast[edit]

Season 1[edit]

  • John Aylward as K. Warren McDale, CEO/president of Metro-Capital.
  • Anna Camp as Rachel Norbert, ex-wife of Greg.
  • Griffin Dunne as Marco "The Rainmaker" Pelios, president, CEO, and senior partner at Galweather-Stearn.
  • Megalyn Echikunwoke as April, Marty's stripper girlfriend.
  • Mo Gaffney as Principal Gita, principal of the school Roscoe attends.
  • Greg Germann as Greg Norbert, CFO of Metro-Capital.
  • Richard Schiff as Harrison "Skip" Galweather, senior partner and co-founder of Galweather-Stearn.

Season 2[edit]

  • Bess Armstrong as Julianne Hofschrager, interim CEO of Galweather-Stearn.
  • Adam Brody as Nate, CEO/president of an adult sex toy company.
  • Kevin Dobson as Mr. Pinkus, owner of the Emerald casino in Las Vegas.
  • Lisa Edelstein as Brynn, assistant/political advisor for Carl Criswell.
  • Taylor Gerard Hart as Alex Dushkin, co-owner of Las Vegas Nightclub War.
  • Evan Hart as Kyle Dushkin, co-owner of Las Vegas Nightclub War.
  • Ronete Levenson as Tessa, Monica's vegan chef ex-girlfriend.
  • Nia Long as Tamara, Galweather & Stearn's newest employee and Marty's classmate from business school.
  • Eden Malyn as 'Zanna, the pod's personal assistant.
  • Michael McDonald as Carl Criswell, CEO/president of US National Bank.
  • Elimu Nelson as Kevin, Tamara's husband.
  • Jenny Slate as Sarah Guggenheim, Doug's girlfriend and, later, wife.
  • Larenz Tate as Malcolm Kaan, Marty's brother.
  • Mather Zickel as Michael Carlson, owner of the Vibrato casino in Las Vegas.

Season 3[edit]

  • Genevieve Angelson as Caitlyn Hobart, part of Marty's new pod.
  • Eugene Cordero as Everett, part of Monica's pod.
  • Brigid Coulter as the wife of Andrew "'Dre" Collins.
  • Eliza Coupe as Marisa McClintock, the youngest of the McClintock family. She was founder of MediaWolfOnline newspaper and later became the chairwoman of entire McClintock Media Group after some help from Clyde.
  • Ryan Gaul as Will, part of Marty's new pod.
  • Rob Gleeson as Jeffrey, part of Marty's new pod.
  • Lauren Lapkus as Benita Spire, part of Jeanie's new pod. She leaked info to the press that led to the demise of Galweather under The Rainmaker.
  • Alice Hunter as Chantelle, a young PhD candidate who is dating Jeremiah.
  • John Carroll Lynch as Gil Selby, one of Galweather-Stearn's senior partners.
  • Mekhi Phifer as Andrew "Dre" Collins, cofounder of DollaHyde, a hip-hop fashion label. He was former drug dealer.
  • T.I.. as Lukas Frye, cofounder of DollaHyde, a hip-hop fashion label. He was also a former drug dealer.
  • Brad Schmidt as JC, part of Jeanie's new pod.
  • Daniel Stern as Robert Tretorn, CEO, president, and founder of Free Range Foods.
  • Bex Taylor-Klaus as Lex, Roscoe's partner who turns out to be a bad influence on him.
  • Milana Vayntrub as Christy, part of Monica's pod. She was arrested and fired for stabbing Monica in "Power"

Season 4[edit]

  • Mary McCormack as Denna Altshuler, a tough, highly successful white knight investor and owner of Global Investments, who is also Marty's "fuck-buddy"
  • Demetri Martin as Ellis Gage Hightower, a shark-in-the-waters businessman and godhead of electrics cars whom Marty befriends in prison, who also owns Gage Motors
  • Valorie Curry as Kelsey, a confident computer code writer who both Clyde and Doug chase romantically
  • Alicia Witt as Maya Lindholm, a brilliant engineer and former partner of Ellis Gage
  • Fred Melamed as Harvey Oberholt, the father of Clyde, who has a difficult relationship with son and is dying of cancer

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 12 January 8, 2012 (2012-01-08) April 1, 2012 (2012-04-01)
2 12 January 13, 2013 (2013-01-13) April 7, 2013 (2013-04-07)
3 12 January 12, 2014 (2014-01-12) April 6, 2014 (2014-04-06)
4 12 January 11, 2015 (2015-01-11) March 29, 2015 (2015-03-29)
5 10[3] 2016 (2016) 2016 (2016)

Production[edit]

The series is executively produced by Matthew Carnahan, Jessika Borsiczky, and Stephen Hopkins, with the pilot written by Carnahan and directed by Hopkins.

Development[edit]

On December 13, 2010, House of Lies was given a pilot order.[4] On April 7, 2011, the series was given a 12 episode pick-up by Showtime.[5] The series is based on Martin Kihn's book, House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time.[6] David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime, announced during the 2011 Television Critics Association press tour that the show was set to premiere on January 8, 2012.[7]

Casting[edit]

Casting announcements began in December 2010, with Don Cheadle as the first actor to be cast, as Marty Kaan, "a highly successful, cut-throat consultant who is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want". The next actor to be cast was Dawn Olivieri who plays Monica, "Marty's crazy, pill-popping ex-wife and biggest professional competition as her consulting firm is No. 1 compared to Marty's No. 2."[8] Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson were cast next, Schwartz playing Clyde Oberholt, a member of Marty's team and his closest friend, and Lawson as Doug Guggenheim, Marty's Harvard-educated associate.[9] Last cast were Kristen Bell, who plays Jeannie van der Hooven, "a razor-sharp, Ivy-League graduate who works at Marty’s firm", Donis Leonard Jr. as Roscoe Kaan, Marty's son, and Glynn Turman as Jeremiah Kaan, Marty's psychoanalyst father.[10] Later, Richard Schiff was cast as Marty's boss.[11]

House of Lies Live[edit]

On December 29, 2013, Showtime presented "House of Lies Live" which featured members of the main cast and guest actors on the show performing at the UCB theatre in the first broadcast of long form improv.

Reception[edit]

Promotional poster for the first season of House of Lies.

Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, reviewing the pilot episode, thought the show's premise "sounds terrific in concept", that "Cheadle and Bell are each in their own way exceedingly charming performers with a devilish aspect to their images", and that it has debuted at a good time: "at this time in history, who doesn't want to see undeservingly wealthy people get fleeced, or at least brought low by their avarice?" But ultimately Tucker found House of Lies wanting, writing that it is actually not "all that interesting", and that its "crucial weakness is its dead language". For Tucker, "there's no novelty or freshness in House of Lies' patter or its penis-placement" (the latter comment being a reference to House of Lies' "butt-load of the sort of sexual activity one can get away with on pay-cable").[12]

In stark contrast, Matt Rouch, writing for TV Guide, thought that "as a pitiless, biting satire of the debauched state of American big business, it's no lie to call this one of the smartest, funniest shows of the new year", praising its being "[d]eeply cynical, garish in its raunchiness and always rudely, lewdly hilarious". It "swims in a shark tank of such appalling survival-of-the-nastiest bad behavior it could launch its own channel: Human Animal Planet". Where Tucker finds House of Lies' lines and dialogue poor, Rouch praises Don Cheadle's character's lines: Cheadle's character "often steps out of a freeze-frame to deliver scathing stylized asides to the audience, talking straight to the camera to teach us his lingo and soulless trade secrets".[13] (By contrast, Tucker found these freeze-frame asides a "visual gimmick" and complained of derivative lines: "Creator Matthew Carnahan [...] loads his new show with lines that sound borrowed from Glengarry Glen Ross ("Closing is what I do!")."[12]

After the mixed reception of the premiere season, House of Lies received more positive critic reviews in its second season, with many critics commenting on the improved cohesion of the season and the more consistent tone.

The show's third season received similarly positive reactions from critics, with the lead performances of Cheadle and Bell, as well as the guest roles of T.I. and Phifer, being singled out for praise.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for House of Lies
Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2012 Primetime Emmy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actor TV Series – Comedy or Musical Don Cheadle[14] Won
2013 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle Won
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle[14] Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Don Cheadle Nominated
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Don Cheadle Nominated
2015 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series Pending
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Don Cheadle Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ng, Philiana (April 7, 2011). "Showtime Greenlights 'Homeland,' 'House of Lies'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (March 31, 2015). "House of Lies Renewed for Season 5". TVLine. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (March 31, 2015). "House of Lies Renewed for Season 5". TVLine. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (December 13, 2010). "It's Official: Showtime Picks Up Comedy Pilot 'House of Lies' Starring Don Cheadle". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Showtime(R) Moves Into House and Home: Network Orders 12 Half-Hours of "House of Lies", 12 One-Hour Episodes of Drama "Homeland"". The Futon Critic. April 7, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 15, 2011). "5 Things to Know About 'House of Lies'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ Sellers, John (August 4, 2011). "TCA: Steve Carell Set to Produce Showtime Interview Series". Reuters. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 20, 2011). "Showtime's Comedy Pilot Starring Don Cheadle Finds A Lead". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 24, 2011). "TV CASTINGS: Ben Schwartz, Sherri Shepherd, Jeffrey Nordling Join Pilots". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 31, 2011). "Kristen Bell To Co-Star In Showtime's 'House of Lies' Comedy Pilot". Deadline.com. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ Ben Block, Alex (September 15, 2011). "Showtime's 'House of Lies' Adds Richard Schiff". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (January 8, 2012). "'House of Lies' premiere review: Too often, a house of pain". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  13. ^ Roush, Matt (January 6, 2012). "Weekend Reviews: Downton Abbey, House of Lies, AbFab and More!". TV Guide. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "All the winners from the 2013 Golden Globes". news.com.au. January 14, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]