Ben Schwartz on House of Lies' Strong Finale, Kristen Bell's Sloth Love and More Parks & Rec
Showtime’s House of Lies finishes its freshman run with a bang this Sunday at 10/9c, and the pod is already gearing up for a second season. Ben Schwartz, who plays Clyde, has a few suggestions for the unconventional work comedy, but first previews the buzzy season finale, Jean-Ralphio’s triumphant return to Parks and Recreation, and even spills about Kristen Bell’s sloth meltdown.
TVLINE | First off, congrats on the Season 2 pickup! On Kristen’s sloth scale, how excited was your reaction to the news?
Listen, when she first showed us a long clip of the sloth thing [home video], Josh [Lawson, who plays Doug] and I were like, “That’s amazing! Don’t ever show anybody that. Never show anybody that.” And then we saw it on the Internet when it was on Ellen, and it had like eight million views. I sent it to Josh, who was in Australia at the time, and he went, “Oh, no!” And then I sent him the music remix. I love it. I love her. She’s so genuine and wonderful and she’s such a great human being. People love her. How do you not love Kristen Bell?
TVLINE | So…you’re definitely excited about Season 2?
[Laughs] Yes, I’m so excited! And when everybody sees how the season ends, I think it’s going to be even cooler to see what happens next. The thing is that the four of us genuinely like each other so much, and we all get along — the writers, the directors and the actors — so we just can’t wait to work with each other again, man! When you get to work with people like Don [Cheadle], Kristen and Josh, you wanna work with them every day if you can.
TVLINE | In the finale, Clyde is named one of the “25 Top Consultants Under 30.” How do you think that will change things for him? Do you think he will leave the pod?
That’s a great question! This recognition makes him interesting to every other place, so we’ll see what happens when he sees that his own business is going under and he may have bites from other companies. It’s also fun to see what happens when my character gets a little bit of status [in the finale] and can hold something above Jeannie or Doug.
TVLINE | Do you think we’ll learn more about him and this new status next season?
I think next season, we’re going to find out what happens when you don’t see these guys [at work]. We don’t know what Clyde is really like; we only see what he’s like around these three people. Is he really depressed when he goes home? Is he drinking a lot? I think the fact that you haven’t learned as much background about Doug or Clyde is only going to play to our advantage. With Clyde, you have no idea if he’s a villain or a good guy — you just know he can be funny, that he can screw over people, and that he’s good at his job. But he’s [also] always looking and watching what people are doing very carefully, and I think that’s a wild card that you can play in any part of the series.
TVLINE | Switching gears, when will we see Jean-Ralphio’s return on Parks and Rec?
I filmed one more episode — the finale — but they shot two versions, so I have no idea if I’m going to be in the episode. My scene is just a tiny, fun little thing, just because they’re so gracious and nice. Either way, the script is brilliantly written; it’s a perfect, really cool way to end an extraordinary season. I thought they just crushed it this year.
TVLINE | Do you think if Jean-Ralphio and Clyde were put up in a fight — not like a Hunger Games fight, but…
No — let’s make it a Hunger Games fight. Let’s make it a Hunger Games fight!
TVLINE | OK. In a Hunger Games fight, who would win? Jean-Ralphio or Clyde?
Definitely Clyde! Jean-Ralphio would, by the way, die of dysteria, or he’s someone who would be like, “Hey man, we should be teammates together!” and then get shot in the face. That’s it – a bow-and-arrow to the face. I will say that if Jean-Ralphio went to Hunger Games, he would have the flyest outfit coming down for when they all present themselves for whatever district. He would have the dopest outfit you’ve ever seen, oh my god. Like Jennifer Lawrence’s character just had flames down her back? This dude would just be engulfed by flames. Engulfed by flames!
TVLINE | OK, so Veronica Mars vs. Clyde. Who would win that Hunger Games fight?
I’ve never seen Veronica Mars, but I do have a tiny button of her head that I got from Kristen as a gift in my apartment. [Laughs] But she’s a sleuth, and the way that everybody talks about Veronica Mars sounds like she was the smartest person in the world. I think that would be quite a fight.
TVLINE | Across the last two House of Lies episodes, there’s a celebration but also a few dark twists and turns. What would you say is the mood of the finale as a whole?
The last two episodes are very strong, and I think they really encompass what this show is about. You’re watching Marty work his way through a custody battle and just have lost this girl that he truly cared about; you’re watching Jeannie go through all this stuff with her engagement; you’re watching Clyde get a little bit of status; and you’re watching Doug deal with stuff. So it’s a matter of everything building to this last episode, and the mood is every man for himself. Essentially, if this merger occurs — as we’ve hinted — we all get fired. And if we all get fired, Marty can’t work for another management consultant firm, and that’s what he knows; it’s what he is.
TVLINE | Do you have any ideas for next season? Have the showrunners teased anything about your character?
All I know is that Clyde gets the ability to fly, he has X-ray vision, and he has sex with every model – supposedly every Brazillian model – and there’s an episode where it’s just a matter of going through all the women. He basically becomes No. 1 on the call sheet, and then Cheadle’s just hanging out a lot in the background. It’s kind of a merger of us, Homeland and that show Life Goes On. [Laughs]
TVLINE | That’s a great description of Season 2. It should be the official Showtime synopsis!
[Laughs] OK, if I was being serious, next season is more a mix of the Pixar movie Up!, ThunderCats and Inspector Gadget, but with like…a little taste of Cheers before Woody Harrelson was involved.