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5 Reasons You’ll Love  

5 Reasons You’ll Love  


After a slew of brilliant TV-- Dexter, Homeland, Californication, Weeds -- Showtime knows a good formula for a sexy, messy, must-see series, and this week's newest, House of Lies, is no different. Premiering Sunday, sandwiched between season openers of Shameless and Californication, House of Lies offers a subversive and scathing look at Don Cheadle's Marty Kahn, a management consultant from a top-tier firm who manages to be both narcissistic and self-loathing at the same time but always cutthroat, willing to do anything to get his clients what they want. Here's why LGBT viewers should tune in:

1. Don Cheadle has never been hotter. Yes, there's lies, greed, a lot of talk about grabbing life by the balls, and a stark reminder of why Occupy Wall Street is so damn successful, and Cheadle's main bang is his pill-popping competition (who used to be his ex-wife). But Cheadle as Marty Kahn is sexy and naked in nearly the very first scene, which means gay viewers will have something to think about every time Marty talks about the shaft and the balls to a roomful of stodgy old white guys.

2. Kristen Bell is finally legal. After starring as a super hot teen in Veronica Mars and Heroes, it's nice to see Bell playing an adult and thus eligible for all our lesbian ogling. As Cheadle's lovely colleague Jeannie, Bell is smart, acerbic, and holding her own in the boys club. She remains a sort of moral barometer at times when the show is best, when it's focusing squarely on the intense greed and amorality of the 1%. In one scene, Marty asks why the corporate moguls shouldn't justify their bonuses, Jeannie shoots back, "Because they robbed the American public of billions of dollars by selling them bad mortgages." So true, so hot. Oh, and she doesn't sleep with a guy in episode one but she does get lap dances from lady strippers. That's enough to sustain lesbians for an episode, but it doesn't have to. Because...

3. There's unadulterated lesbian sex. Two hot chicks (one of them a conservative mogul's wife), bathroom nooky, and a coming out. Worth every second of your TiVo's space.

4. There's a gender variant kid. For all the reasons other shows fail around transgender and gender variant issues, this one succeeds. Marty's kid Roscoe (played by the exuberant and adorable Donis Leonard Jr.) likes to wear girls clothing and wants to play Sandy in the school's production of Grease. While Marty is confused -- not wanting to push his son away, but not really knowing what to do with a crossdressing pre-teen --he goes to bat for the kid. After Roscoe gets the lead of Sandy in Grease, a teacher calls to say another student's mom has complained about a boy getting the role. Marty shoots back at her, "He wants to sing 'Summer Nights' and wear a poodle skirt. Now Britney Kaufman's mother can't stand it that her little baby isn't getting every goddamn thing she wants so she's off on some kind of gender witch hunt." He later tells Roscoe's less than involved mom (played by Vampire Diaries' Dawn Oliveria) that the kid is "experimenting with different modes of gender identification." What makes it all compelling is that we see Marty (generally) trying to do the right thing by Roscoe, and failing sometimes -- something that doesn't happen to him with his work life -- but like Kurt Hummel's father on Glee, he's trying to understand the kid. So is Roscoe gay? Transgender? Or just playing around the way kids should be allowed to do? We know as much as Marty does but, based on episode one, it'll be a fascinating journey watching Roscoe find out.

5. Glynn Turman elevates every TV show he's on. Playing Marty's dad, Turman is a psychologist grandfather who helps Marty accept Roscoe's gender play. Turman, who got his start on stage in Raison in the Sun, has had a long and storied career -- especially for an African American man working in Hollywood in the '70s and beyond. As a director he worked on The Parenthood, Hanging with Mr. Cooper, The Wayans Bros, and A Different World, the Lisa Bonet/Cosby spin-off in which he played the role of Colonel Taylor for five seasons. He's one of the most underrated actors on TV, used to be married to Aretha Franklin, and, for trivia lovers, he was originally cast as Han Solo in Star Wars before Lucas recast with Harrison Ford. "That was in George Lucas' book," Turman toldCreative Loafing Atlanta. "Apparently George Lucas had me in mind for the role, and then thought that there might be too much controversy between a white Princess Leia and a black Han Solo - because those were the times - and he didn't want to get into that. At the time, I had no idea. I just went to the audition, did it and got out of there. Years later, I read his book and said, 'What?' I'm waiting to run into Harrison Ford and get my cut of his career."

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