The idea of a fake charity to help “homeless kittens find whiskers” is the thing that amused me the most in this episode of House of Lies.

In “Amsterdam”the House of Lies team has to try and salvage a basketball team caught in the middle of an angry divorce. But let’s get to the rest of the episode first, because that’s what was important.

The episode started off reminding us that this is an edgy! intense! adult! TV show by showing more onscreen sex. I wouldn’t even bat my eyes at this, but the scene veered (though did not stay) towards a possible rape scenario. And a questionable rape scene doesn’t leave a good taste in your mouth. So the episode starts off with negative points.

I find that I’m interested in the knowledge that Marty (Don Cheadle) has about the art of closing. If he’s so good at it, I don’t just want to see him blowing everyone away, I want to continually learn from him so I can use these techniques in my own life! (You don’t have to only watch PBS to learn stuff on TV, guys.) But most of the knowledge seems lost and to play second fiddle to everything else going on.

The storyline of Marty having a son that is a crossdresser continued when the principal called about it. I wasn’t entirely sure how it was resolved. Did the kid leave the office in the same outfit? I’d wager a guess that the school will continue to be annoyed and call the Dad. Something entirely unrelated to the actual issue here is when the principal was marveled about how Marty knew it was her on the phone, only to be reminded about caller ID. I think a lot of people forget that there are plenty of Americans who still use land lines without this feature.

Later, Jeannie (Kristen Bell) has no clue who Cat Deely or So You Think You Can Dance is, and it shows that everyone has their blind spots. (I just learned there’s a show called Grannies on Safari.) Bell also gets praise from me for the way she did that walk-and-talk phone call in the air port.

And hey, speaking of Cat Deely – she’s there! Doug (Josh Lawson) is in love. It’s a pretty predictable scene of having a tongue-tied guy unable to talk to a celebrity.

The group dynamic develops a bit, especially when we saw how they work together, and what role everyone really takes. Doug obviously knows numbers but he crumbles under pressure. Marty is smart but he doesn’t want to work hard. Jeannie is the know-it-all who is too good to be there. Clyde (Ben Schwartz) I’m not sure. He’s just kind of a sleazeball. He seems like someone you have on your team just because you needed X number of players.

The pauses (or freezes) of everyone but Marty so he can explain something work better here than in the pilot. Most of what he says can be understood in context clues, but I guess it’s a little helpful occasionally.

The idea of a head hunter came up in this episode and it made me think I’d be awesome at this. I could totally recommend stuff about writers! But this also illustrated how Marty and Jeannie work together. If she was really, truly going to take the job she never would have mentioned the offer. So she was glad when Marty made it go away. But she got to have her cake and eat it to by acting annoyed when confronting Marty about it. She just wants to feel wanted and needed. She’s obviously a major team player and not just in it for the money. (Unless she was lying about the money just to try and make Marty feel guilty that he pulled the plug on it. It could also be good leverage for a raise.) She wants to be where she is, she likes her little work family. It’s sweet.

What happened to that couple and the team? They do a total PR spin with a “fake reconciliation.” This mad me go “ugh, celebs” because you know plenty of them are doing this kind of shady stuff. And management consultants like Marty are the ones who can help them do that. See, you can’t forget that we’re rooting for the villains on this show. Maybe they should commit to that bad guy image and go steal the sun or something. Otherwise, they’re not nailing that point home, and I’m left feeling like I’m going to be tricked into liking this group of people who represent what is wrong with America. And that’s just not an opinion I want to carry around with me. I’m conflicted. Guess I’ll be tuning in for the next episode. Dammit.

House of Lies season 1 episode 2

Amsterdamn Summary: Marty and The Pod are sent to Phoenix to clean up a mess at a very powerful sports franchise, caused by the owners’ impending divorce… on Showtime.