January 10, 2012

Douchebags A Go-Go: Showtime's HOUSE OF LIES

If there's one thing I've learned from my recent forays into the corporate world (as a non-profit guy looking to make his way back into non-profits), it's this - current corporate culture is rife with satiric potential.

There is so much mismanagement, double-talk, empty positivism, and flat-out confusion that a smart writer could take advantage of it - create a show that could, well, poke fun and demonstrate insight into that mindset, especially now in these socioeconomically challenged times.

Showtime's House of Lies, which debuted this past weekend, attempts to do just that....and, well, shows that there's a lot more work that needs to be done on the show.

It's not a bad premise - Don Cheadle as a "management consultant" attempting to gain some sense of self-worth while living a relatively self-destructive and unhealthy lifestyle - but there's a certain something lacking in the script. Oh, sure, we're given both sides of the high-powered lifestyle, and there are some good moments, but the idea of corporate thinkers taking advantage of high paying corporate clients, and realizing that they're in on the con...

...well, much of this resembles Hustlle, the BBC show about con men, right down to the stop-the-action-and-have-the-participants-comment moments. However, Hustle manages to have the right touch - we are well aware that we're watching an imaginary land where con men are the good guys taking on those who deserve to be conned, and the writing tends to be sharp. The writing on this first episode, however, seems particularly weak and without bite - characters seem poorly drawn, and there's nothing to indicate any particular sting to the satire. When we get to the ending and how the issues are resolved, there isn't a sense of how it all fits together - more like this is a spec script with one level of rewriting.

There's promise, though, and the writing needs to draw a little more blood. At the very least, House of Lies shows promise...even if it's only the promise of watching episode two.

And by the way, I sent Don Cheadle an e-mail asking for advice on how to better promote this blog (and my burgeoning consulting gig). Here's his response:

Actually a screenshot from the show - used for satiric purposes only

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