Hou$e of Lie$
is a Showtime
original series adapted from the nonfiction business book House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time
by Martin Kihn. It follows Marty Kaan, a partner at a management consulting firm, and his three underlings: Clyde, Doug, and Jeannie. Kaan, played by Don Cheadle, is a lonely womanizer with a sociopathic ex-wife Monica Talbot, also a management consultant. Kaan and Talbot have one son together, Roscoe, an exuberant elementary school student with transgender identity issues. Kaan has sole custody, though his father, Jeremiah, a retired therapist, lives with them and serves as a co-parent.
Kaan's firm, Galweather & Stearn, is based in Los Angeles
, but frequently deploys Kaan & co. to New York City
and other US destinations to woo high-profile clients. Through various time-pressured meetings and well-executed PowerPoint presentations, Kaan and his team hoodwink their clients into employing them for outrageous amounts of money. After days of constant lying, the team spends their nights partying.
As the series progresses, there is less focus on the teams getting clients, and more on character development. The central plot in the first season is a 'merger' (more like a hostile takeover) between Galweather & Stearn and Metro Capital, the client that was wooed by the Pod in the Pilot. Marty's relationships with his subordinates and his dysfunctional family also come into play, with him sacrificing his personal life for his job.
The second season had ongoing stories involving a big deal in Las Vegas, along with a lot more interoffice politics. Season 2 also reveals a lot more of the Romance Arc
between Jeannie and Marty.
Season 3 will premiere in early 2014.
Provides Examples Of:
- Adaptation Name Change: "Marty Kaan" is a play on "Martin Kihn."
- Adorkable: Doug Guggenheim.
- All Gays Love Theater: Roscoe tries out for his school’s production of Grease. For the part of “Sandy,” of course.
- Always Second Best: Gallweather & Stearn to Monica’s firm, Kinsley.
- As Herself: Cat Deeley in Episode 2.
- Author Tract: Martin Kihn's indictment of corporate consulting firms.
- Author Avatar: Marty.
- Based on a True Story: fictionalized take on Martin Kihn's time working as a corporate consultant.
- Bi the Way: In Episode 3, Roscoe asks his dad, "What do you do if you like a boy and a girl?".
- Almost every female character in the series shows bisexual tendencies.
- Big Fancy House: Marty's apartment in LA.
- Black Comedy Rape: In webisode "Sexual Harassment," Clyde and Doug's boss sexually harasses them to prove a point about the way they treat their female colleagues.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Jeremiah, Marty’s therapist father, who lounges around the apartment in African daisheiki.
- Break Them by Talking: Marty's preferred method of closing a deal.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Kaan freeze frames scenes to give his honest opinion and illuminate management jargon.
- Butt Monkey: Doug Guggenheim
- Cannot Spit It Out: Jeannie spends much of season two trying to forget that she loves Marty, while Marty ends season two failing to tell Jeannie his real feelings.
- Celeb Crush: Doug on Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can Dance.
- The Charmer: Clyde Oberholt, who Ben Schwartz cites as a grown-up version of Jean-Ralphio.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: Subverted.
- Children Are Innocent: Despite his fairly controversial gender issues, Roscoe comes across as this.
- Cluster F-Bomb: In their presentation to Metro Capital, Marty's team cuts together a string of "fuck yous" from various people on the street.
- Compensating for Something: Spaulding Winter subverts this by re-directing it towards Marty Kaan.
- The Confidant: Jeannie is angling to be this for Marty.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The head of Metro Capital in Episode 1.
- Crazy Enough to Work: Marty’s MO.
- Discussed Trope: In Episode 3, Marty points out trope-y characters working for IBC (Megalomaniacal CEO, Disgruntled Middle Management, etc.) during an explicating freeze frame.
- Downer Ending: season 3's ending.
- The Dragon: Clyde, as he seems more subservient than Jeannie.
- Elevator Failure: In webisode "Blackout."
- Expy: Each episode’s client. Metro Capital is a stand-in for Goldman Sachs, the Arizona Huskies stand in for the LA Dodgers, etc.
- The Film of the Book: Based on the book House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn.
- Fake American: Australian Josh Lawson as Doug.
- Faux Yay: Clyde acts out his seduction techniques as Doug stands in for the woman.
- Fetish: Episode 3's Spaulding Winter likes feet. A lot.
- Freudian Excuse: Jeannie states that Marty's commitment issues are due to his mother's suicide.
- Genre Savvy: Nobody knows management consulting like Marty Kaan knows management consulting.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: April and Greg Norbert's wife in the restaurant bathroom.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: April, the stripper who secures a business dinner for Marty with Greg Norbert of Metro Capital.
- Ice Queen: Jeannie Van Der Hooven. Until later episodes reveal her vulnerability.
- I Resemble That Remark: In Episode 3, Jeannie insists she's "not drunk!" (though nobody asked).
- In-Series Nickname: Marty's team calls him "Daddy," though they also occasionally use the nickname for naughty clients.
- Lame Comeback: Usually Doug, to Jeannie or Clyde.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Greg Norbert's wife.
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Kaan, especially when he has sex with his crazy ex-wife.
- Lust Object: Jeannie. Kaan even says there’s a “87% chance we’ll sleep together.”
- Lucky Charms Title: The show, with the dollar signs reflecting its focus on corporate greed.
- Meaningful Name: Say "Kaan" fast to someone who doesn't know what you're talking about, and asking what word they think said. No prizes if it's "con."
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Principal Gita
- Must Have Caffeine: "Is this coffee?"
- Only Child Syndrome: Roscoe, though he doesn’t seem spoiled.
- Only in It for the Money: The consultant team seems to be this, but their methods can sometimes be skewed as altruistic.
- Opening Narration: Marty does this.
- Parental Abandonment: Marty's mom committed suicide.
- Power Walk: The team, frequently.
- Psycho Ex-Wife: Monica
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Kaan’s team.
- Raised by Grandparents: Roscoe, looked after by his grandpa Jeremiah after his mother left Marty.
- Refuge in Audacity: Insulting the client is often Marty’s way of establishing dominance.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Almost every episode.
- The NBA episode is a take on the divorce of the LA Dodgers drama.
- Romantic False Lead: Everyone Jeannie sleeps with or dates.
- Safe Word: "Amsterdam," used by Monica and Marty.
- Sex with the Ex: Marty cannot stop having sex with Monica.
- The Sociopath: Monica
- Teeny Weenie: Spaulding Winter...poor guy.
- That Didn't Happen: In Episode 3, Jeannie and Marty agree that it's better for everyone if they keep their bizarre client hookups between them.
- Those Two Actors: Peggy Lipton plays Jeannie's mother Phoebe - not the first time she's given birth to Kristen Bell.
- Transsexual: There’s no discussion of hormone treatments, but Roscoe seems to identify more with the feminine gender.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: In webisode "Blackout," when Clyde winds up being comforted in Doug's arms due to his intense claustrophobia.
- Unsettling Gender-Reveal: "Doug hooked up with a tranny!"
- Use Your Head: Marty headbutts Greg Norbert during their dinner meeting brawl.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Jeannie calls Marty out all the time but especially notably at the end of "Utah".
- White Collar Crime: Kaan’s clients skirt the edges of crime.
- The death of a worker in Nebraska as a result of Clyde's work is as close as they have come so far to a legitimately criminal act.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Roscoe
- Work Hard, Play Hard: The team finishes a twelve-hour day of number-crunching with an all-nighter at a strip club.
- Working with the Ex: Kaan’s firm is Number Two to Monica’s firm’s Number One, so they’re often working in the same places.
- You Need to Get Laid: Doug, to the point where he ejaculates at the mere touch of a woman’s hand on his crotch.
- Justified, since it was Cat fucking Deeley.