Review: House of Carls, season one

CNBC EVENTS -- Delivering Alpha -- Pictured: CNBC Institutional Invester Delivering Alpha conference keynote speaker Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises, and CNBC's Scott Wapner on July 17, 2013 in New York. -- (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

CNBC EVENTS — Delivering Alpha — Pictured: CNBC Institutional Invester Delivering Alpha conference keynote speaker Carl Icahn, Chairman, Icahn Enterprises, and CNBC’s Scott Wapner on July 17, 2013 in New York. — (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Last night – at midnight – I flipped on Netflix and binge-watched season one of Carl Icahn’s new show, The Danger Ahead. Some observations:

*I like the cast. Carl Icahn is a strong leading man and Carl Icahn is an excellent foil for him to play off of. I don’t know what it is about the single-camera format, but it just works. The animated charts were a nice touch, so we’re not just watching the actors deliver a monologue directly into the lens for the whole 15 minutes.

*The plot was riveting, you’re definitely going to want to finish the whole season in one sitting. A lot of the ideas on the show have already been discussed ad nauseum in the financial blogosphere for at least the last year now, if not longer, but Icahn’s presentation was really concise. If you’re not the kind of person who works in finance or eats and sleeps this stuff everyday, you’ll definitely come away with a good understanding of why junk bond liquidity and the bubbles fostered by endless ZIRP are troubling to the pros.

*The high school subplot, where Carl’s son Brett struggles with whether or not to turn in a cheating schoolmate, probably could have been left out. As with Homeland, Breaking Bad, Ray Donovan and so many other shows, the teenage subplot here felt like a distraction that I found myself fast-forwarding through. Get back to the killing and shooting!  Nobody cares about the kids!

*I found myself agreeing with one point in particular that the characters made, which had to do with the idea of giving the patient medicine past the point where there are any signs that it’s continuing to work. There’s been a “diminishing return” to ZIRP for awhile now. Yes, the labor force tightened and home prices recovered, but that’s already been apparent for years. Meanwhile, we’re growing at 2% GDP and two things simply won’t budge: average wages and labor force participation. Icahn nails it here, I smell Emmy for sure.

* Every hero needs a villain and BlackRock’s Larry Fink is a sublime casting choice. Here you have one of history’s greatest stock-picking activist investors battling against a firm that’s accumulated trillions in AUM based on the idea that stock-picking is not worthwhile and owning shares passively in a company is the way to go, regardless of CEO pay abuses and other issues Icahn feels are worth fighting against. I really hope they don’t kill off Fink’s character too early in the series, there’s probably a lot of great stuff they can do with his backstory.

*The political subplot is also interesting. Carl Icahn is one of the most formidable protagonists in recent history. It would be an interesting juxtaposition to see him bring his Bronx-born sensibilities to the Beltway as Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary. Icahn’s got some really good ideas about repatriation of corporate cash and evening out today’s booming economic inequality. There’s a perfectly dramatic conflict already built in to the plot as some of the things Icahn rails against in season one – stock buybacks, for example – were part of parcel of his strategy as an activist shareholder. His heart says that buybacks are a trick to allow CEO compensation to skyrocket at the expense of productivity but this certainly hasn’t hurt his fund’s performance in recent years.

Overall, I think the show has serious staying power. I’m all-in for season 2, highly recommend.


This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

Wealthcast Media, an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here:

Please see disclosures here.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. commented on Sep 23

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on to that Topic: […]

  2. click here commented on Sep 23

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 46452 more Info to that Topic: […]

  3. 먹튀검증 commented on Nov 04

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information on that Topic: […]

  4. Digital transformation commented on Nov 13

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here on that Topic: […]

  5. Power to Choose commented on Dec 31

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on to that Topic: […]

  6. Research commented on Jan 06

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you can find 94599 more Info on that Topic: […]

  7. human hair wigs commented on Jan 19

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here to that Topic: […]

  8. Regression Testing commented on Feb 07

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here on that Topic: […]