12:50am PT by Lesley Goldberg
5 Things to Know About 'House of Lies'
Starring Don Cheadle as Marty, a successful and cutthroat consultant who stops at nothing to get his way, Showtime’s upcoming comedy House of Lies stands as one of the cable network’s first series orders under new entertainment topper David Nevins. The Hollywood Reporter was on hand Tuesday for Showtime’s first screening of the series, written by Matthew Carnahan (Dirt). Here are five things to know about Lies, which the network plans to air next year.
Don Cheadle bares it all. On hand to introduce the comedy, Cheadle warned that the opening scene was quite revealing. The actor bares it all in the first and last minutes of the episode, one literally in which he’s waking up after a night with his ex-wife and then figuratively as the half-hour closes, illustrating that Marty has a conscience when all is said and done.
Turns to the camera, breaking the fourth wall. Based on House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn, there are plenty of consulting terms that must be interjected and explained in the series. In the version screened, Cheadle’s Marty turns to the camera and the action behind him pauses as he defines terms including “counseled out” and “afterwork.” Cheadle is better than Saved By the Bell’s Zach Morris but the device kills the momentum.
LGBT friendly. Donis Leonard Jr. is a breakout star waiting to happen as Roscoe, Marty’s young son who is exploring his sexual identity. Wearing a purple skirt, Roscoe tells Marty of his plan to audition for the role of Sandy in the school production of Grease and winds up exiting the room with a quick pirouette after dad signs off. It’s a refreshing take on the “gay son” character.
Strong and crazy women return. Kristen Bell’s Jeannie has a background in business consulting and psychology and offers the reason and logic to Marty’s madness. Meanwhile, Dawn Olivieri has the smart and crazy covered in Monica, Marty’s pill-popping ex-wife who happens to run the top-rated consulting firm.
Jean-Ralphio lives. Ben Schwartz channels a toned-down Jean-Ralphio from NBC's Parks and Recreation to play Clyde, a member of Marty’s consulting firm. Hopefully Josh Larson’s Doug, a fellow member of the firm, will be given as much material as Parks’ Aziz Ansari so that both can become formidable sidekicks.
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