• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 8, 2012
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3
House of Lies Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 101 Ratings

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  • Summary: Based on the book by Martin Kihn, the dark comedy series focuses on Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle), a management consultant, and his team, which includes Jeannie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Swartz), and Doug (Josh Lawson).
  • Genre(s): Comedy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jan 4, 2012
    The series is so pervasively cynical--and, by the way, brilliantly funny--it has the potential of making any viewer feel his or her life isn't so bad after all.
  2. Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Jan 6, 2012
    It helps that Cheadle is surrounded by characters, and actors, who seem like they will go interesting places.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jan 6, 2012
    It takes a few half-hour episodes before the tone gels. [16 Jan 2012, p.39]
  4. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jan 6, 2012
    House of Lies is sharp, but not big on subtext.
  5. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jan 6, 2012
    Like many of Showtime's most cherished series, House of Lies can be annoying and entertaining at the same time.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Landweber
    Jan 9, 2012
    With the subtlety of a sledgehammer, the show right away telegraphs that there is more to Kaan than meets the eye, that he's not just a con. We're just not inclined to believe him.
  7. Reviewed by: Luke De Smet
    Jan 11, 2012
    Because from its embellished execution to its uninspired writing and very conception, the smarmy House of Lies is like so many speculative financial bubbles that characters like Marty have had their hands in: There's just nothing there.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 35
  2. Negative: 22 out of 35
  1. Jan 10, 2012
    I hold out hope for future episodes, however the writing of the first episode bordered on unbearable, with single-dimensional caricatures that were both predictable and groan inducing. The wife, the son, the prostitute, much less the bathroom scene..just horrendous stuff. The core idea of the show is novel and enjoyable, as is the Fight Club-esque techniques and narrative, however the execution has me expecting the axe to fall on it soon. Expand
  2. Mar 4, 2013
    Saw a couple of Season 1 episodes on a flight, and they got me hooked. A very cynical, yet hilarious, take on the management consulting world, with psychological overtones in the exploration of the characters' relationships with one another. There's some misogynistic humor and some d**k-and-fart jokes, low hanging fruit as they are, but they don't detract too much from the overall experience. It's offset in part by the very human portrayal of Don Cheadle's character's son exploring gender identity issues. It's worth watching the first three or four episodes in order to build a more comprehensive view, as the show evolves over the course of the season. **USER SCORE CAVEAT** When reading the user reviews, you'll see a bunch of "0" scores. Note the date they were posted (before the pilot aired, or just after) and then click through and look at the other reviews the users have posted. Almost without fail, the users also gave Parks Rec Season 4 a "10." One of the actors from Parks Rec (Jean-Ralphio) is also in House of Lies, which I assume accounts for the collusion behind the "0" scores. Expand
  3. Jan 15, 2012
    Sex sales! The show is still wet behind the ears...but it has potential if you like raunchy comedy By the balls!
    Mad Men meets Entourage! It
    won't make you mad or waste your time if you've watched it when nothings on. Expand
  4. Apr 12, 2014
    I saw the show when it first came out and thought is was awful. Since it's lasted a couple of years (and I was desperately searching for something to watch) I gave it a second chance and took in some episodes from season 3.

    My verdict is in. House of Lies is still a terrible television show.

    It's all flash and no substance. The plots are preposterous, an insult to the intelligence of viewers.

    Lots of crudeness and vulgarity, which isn't necessarily a bad thing when it's clever, as in "Veep", but here it's just gratuitous, dumb, and repetitive.

    All the characters are unlikeable. Don Cheadle, who is a fine actor, is embarrassing in his role as the star of the show. He periodically talks to the camera like it's a cool inside joke but it just doesn't work.

    The mantra of the show is cynicism about the profession which may be appropriate but needs a more subtle presentation to be either insightful or entertaining. Here the characters are all just vile, dishonest, and despicable.

    The show has introduced an ongoing Cosby-like back story about Marty'si relationship with his adolescent son and dad. It's totally mawkish, manipulative drivel and out of character with everything else about the show. The writers will throw in anything to pretend there's some redeeming value in their artless, uncreative television show.

    Oh, and for some reason Kristen Bell has a reputation for being a sexy, funny comedienne. In this she is not. She comes across as a horrible actress, not amusing, and not particularly likeable.

    The weak material sabotages all cast members, even Jenny Slade.

    This show is a dumb knockoff of lots of better, smarter shows like LA Law, Entourage, Veep. My advice, stay away.
  5. Mar 5, 2012
    The biggest turn off about this show are its characters. Every single one of them is vile and morally repugnant, which in itself is fine: there have been many great shows and movies about irredeemable characters. But on top of it all, they are just flat out annoying. In particular the two male side-kicks on the show fill the screen with their idiotic juvenile banter and act like utter douche bags. I have always been fans of Don Cheadle and the lovely Kristen Bell, but watching this show makes you wonder what they were smoking when they signed up for this pile of dog crap. Expand
  6. Jan 11, 2012
    Vomit inducing. Awful, awful, awful. Hopefully it gets cancelled before the world has to see any more. Why is Kristen Bell doing this? A waste of her talent. Expand
  7. Jan 8, 2012
    My management consultant parents encouraged me to watch this and tell them what it's like since they don't have Showtime. I found it to be awful and they agreed, saying that the things happening to the characters are unrealistic. Critics gave it inexplicably good reviews. Expand

See all 35 User Reviews