Another show which is at the other end of the critical perceptions is Showtime's House of Lies, also beginning its second season. Though I thought Don Cheadle completely deserved his trophy for Best Actor in a Comedy, Entertainment weekly has found the show repellent, naming it among the worst shows of 2012. This decision makes no sense considering its not even the worst show on the network Sunday nights, as it is sandwiched between the vile Shameless and the utterly repugnant Californication.
Season 2 finds the Pod in a real transitional state, particular after Marty Caan and Jeannie, saved their jobs, by detonating the equivalent of a massive self-contained lawsuit against the board. This has led to a change of ownership, now being led by a CEO very clearly modeled after Linda McMahon (Bess Armstrong) Jeannie has been promoted, but knows all too well, how thin the ice is under her feet.
Marty manages to maintain the same level of bravado, but inwardly, he is reeling. His son, who seemed to be on the verge of becoming gay, moved in with his mother, a sexual predator last season, who now appears to be transitioning Marty out of his life. He is also trying to remember what happened between himself and Jeannine in the season finale, after both got plastered and blacked out, and its clear neither of them are prepared to handle the ramifications of what happened. Marty is also dealing with the new ownership, and the presence of a former lover of his (Nia Long), who's been out of the business six years, but who seems to have eyes on his job. Given how thoroughly she botched a job with a casino owner, there are probably clouds on that horizon too.
House of Lies isn't nearly as ambitious as Girls is, yet I'm still more entertained by it than Girls. Part of it is the brilliant work of Cheadle and Kirsten Bell as two of the most cold and calculating individuals, who have hearts buried (very) deep beneath the surface. They are very good at what they do, even though they're not a hundred percent sure exactly what that is, but the ability they have to exploit weaknesses in everybody else doesn't make them stronger. This is definitely, like so many other shows on basic cable, a douchebag show, but there's a reason those shows are popular--- it's because when done well, they work.
House of Lies: 3.5 stars