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'House of Lies' fan recap: Devil in a DVF wrap dress

Season 4 | Episode 11 | “Everything’s So Fucking Obvious, I’m Starting to Wonder Why We’re Even Having This Conversation” | Aired Mar 29, 2015

This week on House of Lies, several very serious things happen: Someone dies; an apparent hate crime is committed; and for the second time this season, a decision is made to publicly bring someone down rather than use the available ammunition for extortion or blackmail.

We’ll return to the first two items shortly, but when it comes to this third event, it must be said that it’s confusing. I don’t get it. What happened to solving things in underhanded, backroom dealings? So many feelings! WHY, when handed information that can be used to defeat your “opponent” (in this case Denna Altshuler), would you go the “burn down their life via media” route? Why did they do this when faced with the same choice with Ellis Hightower?

It almost made sense then: They had a larger influx of money available via Denna (although it came at a hefty price: 60 percent ownership of K&A), and Ellis was a man-child who would have been a perpetual hassle to deal with. BUT. SO many of their clients are a perpetual hassle. Had they blackmailed Ellis with the video footage rather than destroying him and his company, they would still have the account, he would have paid the $11 million he owed them, and they wouldn’t be beholden to A NEW 60 PERCENT SHAREHOLDER. At the time, it seemed to make sense to go to Denna if they all agreed that Ellis was just that terrible and impossible to deal with. That revenge was just so delicious that they had to have it. This time? I’m lost.

The episode begins with Marty flashing his pearly whites for a camera and sitting down with a journalist for an interview. Increasing his personal visibility as the face of his company and a power player in the consulting world is a solid move to hedge against anything Denna might have planned for him. At the end of last week’s ep, she told him that he was a “problem she had to solve,” so it’s a pretty sure thing that he needs to go on the offensive. But a full-court media press will hardly do! Marty has hired a private investigator—probably the kind of P.I. that you have to hire a P.I. to find. He’s worked on “oppo research for presidential candidates and was in the CIA for 20 years.” Oof! That’s not a P.I.! That’s a life-destroyer.

It’s a smart move. If there’s any dirt to be found on Denna, it’s definitely in Marty’s best interest to spend a large amount of money to find it. Joe Gideon the P.I. has already done background research on the Pod, and he’s found Sarah Guggenheim! (She’s sleeping with a male-model-surfboarder type, and recently purchased Astroglide on one of her credit cards.) This guy’s good!

Marty gets a call from Roscoe’s school, and when he pulls up, the words “Die Tranny Faggot” are scrawled in red spray paint right there on the first wall he sees. (Okay, really? ANYTHING is better than leaving that there for ANY amount of time. Paint, a roller, and a janitor, people. An hour, max. This is a costly private school. Get it together.) Jeremiah is already at the school and both he and Marty tell Roscoe he can go home, but Roscoe decides to stay. Marty and Jeremiah meet with the school’s principal and demand to see the security footage when it’s available.

The rest of the Pod is on a consult at a pharmaceutical company when the CEO pulls Jeannie aside to offer her a job as the CFO. She seems shocked, flattered, and very happy. Which I guess means that CFOs for pharma companies make “jillions” (Doug’s word) of dollars.

Harvey Oberholt shows up to K&A’s offices after the Pod returns. Doug has been hounding Clyde to reach out to his father all day, and Clyde agrees to have coffee with him. While they’re having coffee, Clyde gets Harvey to admit that he never had cancer. Clyde flips out in the middle of a coffee shop, screams at him, and THEN HARVEY OBERHOLT DIES. Right there in the coffee shop, at that exact moment. He has a heart attack. It’s sad and very confusing.

There’s a staff meeting regarding new business, and Denna’s conference call just so happens to have been canceled! Long story short: Every new piece of business that Marty’s people are about to sign up both conflict with his existing clients and are worth substantially more. It’s a bloodbath! All of Marty’s clients are out; all of the new clients are in. It’s so weird how these things happen. Wait—no it’s not! Denna made all of the deals happen. She is super-scary. Omniscient, all-powerful, bloodthirsty scary. It’s difficult to parse whether the fact that she’s a woman makes her scarier—it’s certainly different to watch someone in a wrap dress do the things she’s doing in that meeting.

Jeannie realizes that the CFO offer was just another one of Denna’s behind-the-scenes manipulations. Denna’s tells her that, bottom line, “Jobs like this don’t come along often for women.” Jeannie tells her she’s not taking the job, but … Denna is right. Since when has Jeannie worried about how things got done?

Marty gets an email with the security footage of the vandalism at Roscoe’s school, and the vandal … looks exactly like Roscoe. He won’t admit it when Marty confronts him, but Roscoe hate-crimed himself.

Joe Gideon shows up at the Kaans, and he’s found dirt on Denna. Top-shelf dirt. It’s an international banking scandal and cover-up involving Denna’s lawyer father, a man with a spotless reputation. Denna’s cover-up left tracks, and Joe handed Marty proof of everything. Joe mentions that all Marty has to do is wave this information in Denna’s face to get everything he wants. Perfect! Problem solved! Oh, wait, Marty’s calling Aimee, the reporter from earlier that day, instead. He tells her the guts of the story right away, over the phone.

At which point I ask all of you: WHY? Why go public? Why go this route? It doesn’t make sense for any number of reasons. Denna knows Aimee (and we don’t know how well). If Denna went belly-up, power-wise, how would that affect K&A? Has Marty actually crossed the line from smart yet unethical maneuvering, to basing all major decisions on hatred and revenge? If he has, it seems like an excellent way to watch his own house burn to the ground once again.

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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