For a moment, I was into House Of Lies this week. Greg Norbert’s vendetta against Marty is called out by his boss, so Greg tries to get Marty for a “strategy session.” Marty cuts right through the bullshit, tells Greg how it is, and tells him the only two resolutions that they’ll have for their relationship. Marty’s solution? “Let’s go out and rage!” Blast through the tension, get wasted and high, and see what happens. Cheadle delivers the speech well, successfully cutting through the aforementioned internal bullshit, but also cutting through some of the show’s crap.
This only lasts the length of that scene, though, and then it’s gone, and we’re back to House Of Lies, the inter-office soap opera. As a soap opera, “Ouroboros” at least has a good premise: MetroCapital brings in Galweather’s rival consulting team, including Marty’s wife and James, the kid Marty backstabbed last week, in order to figure out how Galweather runs. This theoretically forces everyone at Galweather to defend their jobs, which would be an interesting premise for a different style of episode, revealing who the characters are and their alliances with one another.
“Ouroboros” does this to a certain extent, showing the members of the pod interacting with a camera, documentary-style, and revealing their styles of behavior. Clyde tries to schmooze, Doug tries to show off awkwardly, Jeannie gets antagonistic, and Marty disdains the whole process. All fair enough. But then it just… stops. There’s no resolution beyond Marty walking out. The show just meanders over to Marty’s home life.
I’ve noticed that this is something that House Of Lies has been doing regularly. It’ll start a story and then just let it slide. Part of it seems to be that the show is trying to be serialized, but if it is, it’s doing it all wrong. The storytelling doesn’t make any sense, where tightly serialized shows following The Wire model tend to make it clear that these storylines which are left for the next week are going to have a follow-up. That’s not the case here.
Beyond that, well, why on earth does House Of Lies even think that following The Wire’s model would even be a good idea? Who on earth is going to sit down and say “Well, House Of Lies will make more sense when you sit down and watch its DVDs over a weekend.” Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t, but that’s a tall order for a show that presents itself as a half-hour comedy. House Of Lies has done nothing to distinguish itself enough for me to give it credit for trying to experiment with the serialized television form, and it’s done plenty to indicate that the show’s producers and writers just don’t know what they’re doing.
Structural issues aside, the episode is at least watchable and not actively grating. The worst part of it comes when Greg and the Pod go out on their party, and there’s drug humor that wouldn’t be out of place from 1960s-era anti-hippie flick. There’s also a bit of implication that Clyde and Doug are sexually attracted to one another, but Y Tu Mama Tambien this ain’t. It’s just embarrassing. But less embarrassing than their relationship has been in the past, so, hooray?
I suppose that’s the best thing I’ve got to say about House Of Lies at this point. Sure, it wastes good premises. But at least it doesn’t waste them as embarrassingly as it did earlier.