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'House of Lies' fan recap: Black widow, green fairy, nude stalker

Season 4 | Episode 3 | “Entropy Is Contagious” | Aired Jan 25, 2014

This week’s House of Lies opens with a simple enough plot device, as we see each member of The Pod wake up in his or her own bed. But despite the deceptively upbeat music in the background (back to that in a second), and Marty’s familiar wink-and-a-smile to the camera, the sequence has some foreboding to it. (I mean, how often have you seen Clyde at home?)

The biggest takeaway—apart from Marty’s obvious avoidance; Clyde’s weird, futuristic sleeping device; Jeannie’s sexual frustration; and Doug’s bizarre marital-bed situation—is that The Pod consists of separate people, with actual, individual lives. As tragic as it can feel, House of Lies seems to be following through on the season premiere’s promise of showing viewers the complexity of its characters and their feelings. The episode lives up to a promise of its title, “Entropy Is Contagious,” almost immediately; this is not the usual order of things.

The song playing in the background as the episode begins is Ella Eyre’s “Deeper,” and it might as well have been written by Marty. A verse:

And I don’t think I’m ready,
To go in this heavy,
I thought we would take it slow,
And now you got that feeling
You say that you mean it,
But for you, I just don’t know.

In case you’re wondering, the entire song tracks perfectly with Marty and Jeannie’s situation. You can wink at the camera as you wake up with another woman in your bed all you want, Marty, but the days of the simple wink are over, and we all know it. It’s gotten complicated, and just because you break the fourth wall doesn’t mean we’re on your side.

Doug’s home life might deserve a little bit of extra attention on the front end, here, because WOW, DOUG, you really manage to demolish it later! Sarah takes two of Doug’s beloved “valuable investments” (unopened action figures) and wakes him up by play-acting with the action figures/boxes. Doug is aghast that Sarah doesn’t care that she might depreciate their value with “[her] oily fingers, and the fecal matter” (yes, he says she has fecal matter all over her hands). The argument comes to an abrupt and bizarre ending when Sarah asks if he’s going to “make [her] be bad teacher.” At which point Doug is all in—he’s playing the “bad biology student” within seconds.

The Pod is going to Seattle to present for a skincare company that is shopping for a team of consultants. Marty has a plan, and when Jeannie suggests that it might be the wrong play, he completely brushes her off. Enter the black widow—Jeannie doesn’t play, Marty. She’d rather cannibalize the business (and Marty) than be left on the sidelines. She presents her opposing strategy to the client after Marty presents his. The next day, the client dumps them, saying that “entropy is contagious.”

Wait … did something else happen in Seattle? Oh that’s right—Marty, Clyde, and Doug went out drinking the night after the presentation. Enter the green fairy—Doug goes on an absinthe bender! He’s screaming at the bartender, he’s referencing Oscar Wilde (twice), he’s telling Marty and Clyde about Sarah’s strange arrest record. Best/worst of all, he’s writing Sarah a loooong text message to tell her that “she’s gotta stop being so fucking crazy.” EVEN CLYDE TELLS HIM NOT TO SEND IT. We don’t know the entire contents of the “novel” of a message, aside from “You are a crazy country” (autocorrect, at it again), but Marty and Clyde are visibly disturbed when Doug (and the green fairy) send the text. It boggles the mind what one would have to have typed that would make these two look … just sad.

Cut to Sarah after she’s received the text: She’s actually “raped and pillaged” (Doug’s earlier words, when she merely touched the boxes) the action-figure collection. The boxes are torn open, she’s playing with “Sparkle Cape” and “Fish Head,” and they’re debating the finer points of Doug’s text, ultimately deciding that they should “F Doug in the A.”

Back at the office, Clyde encounters Kelsey (Valorie Curry), an employee of the obnoxious startup Kaan & Associates is sharing office space with. Despite his claim that Kelsey isn’t even within his “arousal template,” he never misses an opportunity to act obnoxiously toward her, which suggests that her rebuffs do place her squarely within said template. She asks him if K&A do any tech consulting, and they have a brief discussion about an app she’s developed that her company is ignoring. They’re interrupted, but this is a new piece of business that is guaranteed to develop into a larger plotline. To be continued.

They’re interrupted by Doug, who is mystified when both his debit card and credit card don’t work. Clyde suggests that he check his bank account, because of all the “rage texting [he] did to [his] wife last night.” It turns out that while Doug wrote the text, it was the green fairy who sent it—he has no memory of any of it.

Over family dinner, Marty and his brother are having a moderately heated back-and-forth when Malcom mentions Marty’s “baby mama, Jeannie.” This is news to Roscoe, and he is absolutely fed up with his father, saying that his “narcissism wins again—it’s bigger than all of us.” His grandfather takes him down a notch, reminding him that sometimes family is a “fucking disaster.” Roscoe and his grandfather are both right; Marty has created so many messes, he can’t keep them away from his son and out of his house anymore, and he doesn’t know how to fix it.

Doug returns home, and all that’s left of his belongings are the action figures and their scattered packaging. Enter the nude stalker! Sarah is at it again—”nude stalking” is what her arrest record consisted of—standing in front of the house she’s just emptied of all its contents. It’s tempting to point at Sarah as the crazy catalyst that’s destroying Doug’s life—but it’s also far too easy and simplistic. Doug didn’t really have a life before, and while he might be able to objectively call Sarah “crazy,” he’s definitely on board when it comes to much of the relationship—and it’s not just the sex. We’re gradually finding out that there’s more to Doug than we thought, and he might be much more like Sarah than he’d like to admit.

House of Lies airs Sundays at 10/9C on Showtime.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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