Watch the Premiere Episode of Showtime’s House of Lies

Yes, the main reason I figured Showtime’s new half-hour comedy was worth checking out was for Kristen Bell. But also Don Cheadle. House of Lies is basically about a public relations firm and specifically, Don Cheadle’s character trying to balance his high-profile work with his failing life at home. TV Guide has more:

The dark comedy stars Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, a management consultant who will stop at nothing to get business deals done. Kaan’s team, called “The Pod,” consists of Jeannie Van Der Hooven, a razor-sharp, Ivy League grad (Kristen Bell); Clyde Oberhalt, a brown-nosing and womanizing consultant (Ben Schwartz); and Doug Guggenheim, a brilliant math geek (Josh Lawson). Dawn Olivieri rounds out the cast as Marty’s pill-popping ex-wife and mother of his child. She’s also his company’s biggest rival.

Based on the first episode, alone, it looks like it could be a solid time-waster. It’s funny, the characters are interesting enough and the premise is unique. What’s not so good is Don Cheadle’s character breaking the fourth wall. It’s sort of annoying, but not a deal-breaker.

Also? The way in which Cheadle’s character is portrayed as sympathetic, while his wife is portrayed as “bitchy” — despite essentially being the same person (neglectful at home, ass-kicking at work) — was fairly fascinating; if you’re into gender studies, that is.

If you watch Parks & Rec, it’s hard to see Ben Schwartz as anyone other than Jean-Ralphio, which also strikes me as comical. The entire episode I was waiting for Tom Halveford to show up with the 720 Entertainment crew.

House of Lies debuts Sunday, Jan. 8 at 10/9c on Showtime.

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