by Tom Danehy
Have you ever turned on an episode of a TV series that you’ve been watching for a while and then wondered (often aloud), “Why the hell am I still watching this?”
NOTE: This doesn’t really apply to young people, who apparently have found a new way to watch TV. The girls on my basketball team wait until an entire season of a program is over and then they watch all of the episodes in one junk food-fueled weekend. That’s actually a good way to get acquainted with a new series that you had skipped (The Walking Dead or Episodes), but who wants to wait an entire season to watch something they already like?
Anyway, I turned on House of Lies the other night and came to the realization that it will be for the last time. About halfway through the episode, I thought of the classic line from Jack Nicholson’s last B-movie, Hells Angels on Wheels. Some knucklehead was holding a joint in his hand and uttered, “this shit is shit.”
And so it is with House of Lies. I watched the first season because I love Don Cheadle. He portrays an industrial-strength jackass, a tightrope-walking business consultant named Marty Kaan (which, wink wink, is a homonym for “con” as in “con man”). He’s divorced from (but still having sex with) his viper of an ex-wife, who is also a business rival. The two have a son, Roscoe, who is either gay or transgender or probably just un-parented.
Marty has a crack team that includes two guys who are over-smart and under-mature, and Kristen Bell, who is blonde. The first season was okay, as they did this cool thing where Marty would look into the camera and explain how he was going to separate some stupid corporate types from a lot of their money. There was also some sex, usually with pretty good looking (naked) women, but that’s not enough to carry a show.
In the first couple seasons, the underlying tone with Cheadle and Bell was "will they or won’t they?” Then after a severely drunken night out at the end of Season Two, it’s now “did they or didn’t they?” Really, I don’t give a crap. They both are good looking and have way more money than a human being should and all they do is whine and moan.
Now, Marty has sold his soul to a racist would-be politician as a means to start his own company, Bell’s character is sleeping with a dildo manufacturer, and the other two guys are so damn boring, I couldn’t tell you what they’re doing.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for me happened when Marty’s ex, who apparently is good looking, but is way too skinny for my taste, got upset when Roscoe decided to move back in with his dad. In the span of one-and-a-half episodes, she tried lesbianism with her maid, had an orgy in the pool, had sex with Marty’s ne’er-do-well brother on Marty’s kitchen counter, and went back to snorting copious amounts of cocaine.
When it ends (and I’m betting that it will end pretty soon), let me know what happened. I don’t think I’ll care.
The Girls Finale:
There have been two episodes since I spoke to you last. Each was worse than the other. In the penultimate episode of the season, main character Hannah’s OCD gets so bad that she sticks a Q-Tip so far into her ear that she perforates her eardrum. Then she goes to Urgent Care where a doctor from India ridicules her. There were also two sex scenes, one boring and the other quite repulsive. In the latter, a guy makes a woman crawl on all fours, then roughly enters her from behind. He humps a couple times and then ejaculates on a part of her body that she had specifically asked him not to ejaculate upon. It was very ugly—borderline rape, really—and in keeping with the show’s tradition of being not funny at all.
In the season finale, Hannah’s OCD is keeping her from writing that e-book for which she has already spent the advance. She complains on the phone to her ex-boyfriend, the Ejaculator, who runs across town and kicks her door down because her various neuroses won’t allow her to get out of bed.
Aren’t you glad you don’t watch this nonsense?