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Archive for July, 2012

The question of this episode is: How can Walt be at once so brilliant and so blindingly short-sighted?

First, it’s Walt who has the ability to see the genius potential in Vamanos Pest as a front for setting up his meth labs.  It calls back to their original set up in the Crystal Ship, but its sophistication shows how far they’ve come in less than a year. The scene where Walt and Jesse cook in the empty house was perfection – it’s simple and poetic, just two partners and the chemistry. It’s a nice reprieve, as everything outside of the chemistry is becoming more and more complicated.

Mike picks up right where he left off last week, trying to ensure the continued loyalty and silence of “his guys.” Posing as a paralegal, he visits one of his guys in prison and tells him that, no matter what, he will continue to receive his hazard pay. Gus’ death was nothing more than a hiccup. He’s got a new thing going now and it’ll be business as usual. In his meetings with Walt, Jesse, and Saul, Mike makes it clear that he thinks he is the one who is running the show. He tells Walt and Jesse that they are in charge of the chemistry and he is in charge of the business. It’s a plan that plays on the strengths of each member of the team, but, of course, it’s also a plan that egotistical Walt can’t handle. Saul recognizes this and asks him if he’s okay with Mike’s plan. Walt replies, “He handles the business, I handle him.” It’s shocking that someone smart enough to see the potential in the pest control front can be so stupid as to think that there isn’t more to running a high-volume meth operation than having a couple of cooks. He thinks he’s the centre of everything, conveniently forgetting how expendable he was to Gus.

Indeed, the only person he’s focused on besides himself is Jesse. Expertly playing the part of a concerned father/partner, he asks Jesse about his relationship with Andrea and Brock. He plays on Jesse’s guilt, suggesting that he needs to come completely clean with her about everything (“Even Gale?” Jesse wonders) if he wants to have a real relationship. Secrets build barriers, Walt warns him. Earlier, when Andrea and Brock interrupted Jesse and Walt’s strategy session, Walt shared a meaningful (and subtly terrifying) glance with young “shy” Brock. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Did Brock recognize him (we’re still not sure exactly how Brock came to ingest the Lily of the Valley)? Was Walt annoyed that he was still alive? Was Walt worried that his relationship with Jesse might not be centre stage if he gets further involved with Brock and Andrea? By the end of the episode, we find out that Walt’s manipulations worked – Jesse broke up with Andrea rather than admit the full extent of the things he’s done since getting involved with Walt. By now, though, Walt doesn’t care anymore. He’s done playing the father and is only concerned with one thing – money.

The Money (capital-M) becomes a problem for Walt in a brilliant scene where Mike stacks up the bills in three equal shares and then begins subtracting the expenses. As the piles become smaller and smaller, Walt becomes more and more agitated. This isn’t the way he envisioned being a king would be. He finally snaps when Mike begins to subtract the “hazard pay” from all three. Why should he have to pay Gus’ guys, Walt argues. He killed Gus, therefore they’re out of luck. Mike’s counter argument is simply, “it’s what you do.” I’m a little torn on this one. On the one hand, yes. It is what you do, and paying these guys to keep silent while they endure police pressure and even serve out prison sentences, will have a positive impact on Walt. If they start talking and Mike goes down, it’s only a matter of time before Walt goes down too. On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure it is fair for Jesse and Walt to be paying for Mike’s “guys.” Last week, when Mike spared Lydia and agreed to join Walt, I kind of thought the “hazard pay” was going to come out of his share alone. So, as surprised as I am to say this, I might actually agree with Walt that it’s a tad unfair. In any case, Walt ends up reluctantly allowing the purging of his funds to continue (after Jesse first offers to let them take it all out of his share), and walks out griping to Jesse that they’re making less per week than they were with Gus. Jesse is now the voice of reason, reminding him that the haul might be smaller, but it’s a bigger cut. He’s imploring him to calm down and look at the big picture, something Walt is becoming increasingly unable to do.

Meanwhile, outside of the meth world, Skyler is more and more on edge. Marie comes to the carwash and begins picking at every little thing, from the way the guys are washing the cars to Skyler’s reluctance to plan a 51st birthday party for Walt. In one of the only times I’ve ever been cheering for Skyler, she has a breakdown and yells at her meddling sister to SHUT UP already. Anna Gunn delivers her lines so forcefully and terrifyingly that it’s clearly about more than just Marie. Skyler desperately wishes for everyone to shut up, go away, and for her problems to just disappear. She retreats into her bedroom, into her depression, and into silence. The outburst follows her (mostly) silent acceptance of Walt’s return from the condo. She manages to ask him if he thinks moving back in is a good idea. He replies with a confident yes, and that’s that. After he breakdown, Walt comes home to find Skyler once again hibernating in the bedroom, and Marie in his living room, refusing to leave until she has an explanation about what has Skyler so on edge. In yet another brilliant display of manipulation, Walt gets his payback for Skyler’s gambling story. He tells Marie his version of the truth – Skyler’s upset because she was having an affair with Ted Beneke and he’s just had a terrible accident that left him paralyzed. Marie immediately backs off, presumably going home to puzzle over the new information that her sister isn’t who she thought she was.

Finally, there were two instances that heavily foreshadowed the violence to come. First, there was Walt watching Scarface with Walt Jr. and Holly, delighting in the killings, and laughing “everyone dies in this movie, don’t they?” Indeed they do, Walt. Additionally, for the first time this season, the final scene wasn’t between Walt and Skyler, but Walt and Jesse. Walt muses about Gus’ killing of Victor, wondering if it wasn’t so much to give him a warning as it was because Victor was Icarus, taking too many liberties and flying too close to sun. It’s clear that Walt is beginning to consider Mike to be more of a problem than he’s worth. He’s trying to take too much of Heisenberg’s power. Walt would be smart to not let his ego convince him to take out the one who’s keeping all the balls in the air, but, as is clear from this episode, Walt’s genius is undone by his own short-sightedness. He can’t see the dangers that are all around him.

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I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but whatever expectations there were for this episode were completely subverted and blown out of the water with the reality of it. What appeared last week as a relatively standard trope for TV and movies – the quirky girl and the regular guy – quickly had all the fun sucked out of it with TapeRecorder’s manic behaviour (yes, I know her name is Liz, but I like TapeRecorder better. Liz is far too normal.) This episode is a series of montages that calls back to the Miami episode, juxtaposing the fun and easy relationship between Louis and the lifeguard with the tense and sometimes frightening date with TapeRecorder.

From the very beginning, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a lighthearted date. First, she forgets her coworker’s name, and then, in a rare move away from Louie’s point of view, we see the bartender refuse to serve her after “what happened last time.” We never find out what that is, but it must have been extreme to have a bartender in NYC remember you. After insisting that they walk around, she forces Louie to try on a sparkly dress in a vintage shop (rewarding him first with laughter and then a kiss on the cheek). Whatever chance there was for Louie to escape the date and cut his losses was gone as soon as he pulled that dress over his head. I go back and forth on trying to decide whether he genuinely still liked her after her increasingly erratic behaviour, or whether he was just curious about what might happen next.

I was surprised at Louie’s gullibility with the TapeRecorder lie, although by then she’d shown herself to be “out there” enough to perhaps make it possible to believe anything. I wonder if the cancer story was even true. I also wonder about the scene with the homeless man. Was this a genuine moment, or was it another one of her dares? Was she doing it because she felt a connection to the man and his mental illness, or because she wanted to challenge Louie’s half-assed altruism? Was it just another way of showing how she takes everything to the extreme? They couldn’t just give him food or some money, they had to buy him expensive medicine and put him up in a hotel.

Whether or not Louie went along with everything for fun or because he felt cornered, it all came to a head when TapeRecorder bullies Louie into climbing the endless stairs to the top of the building. He stops multiple times, insisting that he can’t do it, but she won’t have any of that. When they finally burst through the door onto the roof and she exclaims that it was all worth it, Louie replies with “it really wasn’t.” I wonder if that sums up how he’s feeling about his decision to stick this date out.

The scene on the rooftop was so intense that I had to watch it through my fingers. I was convinced that she was going to jump or fall and Louie would be left dealing with the aftermath. She’s clearly lying when she says that she’s not afraid to be so close to the edge because she doesn’t want to jump, and her utter disregard for Louie’s discomfort is just cruel. He does flash a brief smile when she says she won’t jump because she’s having too good of a time, but I don’t think it’s enough to continue seeing her. It might have been a night he’ll never forget, but that isn’t always a good thing. One thing’s for sure – despite her knowledge of children’s books, she’s far too unstable for him to bring around his daughters.

P.S. I usually file Louie under “comedy” because that’s what it ostensibly is. However, this week, I’m leaving it as “uncategorized.” I think that’s the point of what Louis C.K. is trying to do anyway.

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So, Walt thinks he’s Gus. Through the lens of his inflated ego, now that he’s killed Gus, there’s gold in the streets that’s just waiting to be mined. Walt thinks that he can just partner up with Jesse and Mike, start cooking again, and rebuild Gus’ Los Pollos Hermanos empire. He doesn’t stop to consider for a second the complicated web of people and businesses that Gus was controlling. He doesn’t stop to think about whether these people can be found by the DEA and what they might tell them if they are found. No, none of this runs through Walt’s power-drunk mind. He destroyed the computer, and so he thinks he’s untouchable. It’s a delicious bit of irony that his overdoing it with the magnet last week broke the picture frame and led to the DEA’s discovery of the Cayman Island accounts that Gus used to pay off the dozen major components of his drug ring. (Also problematic in the DEA realm is that Hank’s boss is being forced into early retirement for his failure where Gus Fring was concerned. He opines that he had Gus over to his house, and that he was right under his nose this whole time. The look on Hank’s face shows that the wheels are turning . . . how long will it be before he takes a hard look at his strange-acting brother-in-law?)

The biggest loose end Walt ties up in this episode is the case of Jesse’s missing ricin cigarette. Poor, paranoid, big-hearted Jesse is grief-stricken over losing the cigarette, thinking that an innocent person – or worse, an innocent child – might accidentally pick it up and poison themselves. With the ricin cigarette safely in his hands, Walt suggests spending the day going through his house again with a fine-toothed comb. He creates an imitation cigarette filled with salt and plants it in Jesse’s Roomba, removing the vial of ricin from the real cigarette and hiding it behind an electrical socket in his house, apparently “just in case.” The fact that, in about a year, he’s moved from the agonizing decision to kill Krazy-8 (even though he presented a clear and present danger) to keeping deadly poison in his house in the event that he needs to kill a random person is apparently not a concern to the new Walt. Perhaps even more telling is his reaction to Jesse’s guilt-ridden relief at finding the “ricin” cigarette. In an Emmy-worthy closeup, Jesse breaks down weeping, apologizing to Mr. White for ever accusing him of stealing it and pointing a gun at him. Jesse beats himself up for ever being so stupid, and Walt swoops in to manipulate the situation even further. He puts his arms around him, comforts him, and tells him to never forget that “you and I are working together . . . I want you to think about that as we go forward.” Having proven to Jesse that his mistrust of Walt is always completely unfounded, Walt has secured his loyalty (for now).

Meanwhile, while Walt revels in his own power over Jesse, Mike is left trying to keep everything together. I love Mike and always enjoy when we get extended shots of him at work. While the DEA’s prying into funds is worrisome (although the fact that Mike never touched the money gives him enough plausible deniability that the DEA can’t arrest him), his real problem is Lydia. When we’re first introduced to her meeting with Mike at the diner, she’s completely out of her element. Nervously insisting on first talking back to back and then calling him by a fake name (to which the waitress dryly asks if “Mike” needs anything else), she hands Mike a list of 11 names who played one role or another in Gus’ operation. She’s panicking because she knows that all it will take is one person to start talking and then they will all be screwed. Mike immediately rejects her proposition, telling her that, in real life, you don’t just go around killing 11 people “as some kind of prophylactic measure.” He insists his people are solid and that Gus has taken all precautions to make sure they continue to be compensated for their effort. Naturally, as Mike soon finds out, the DEA’s discovery of the Cayman Islands accounts has put the compensation on hold, thereby complicating matters somewhat.

But no one complicates matters more than Lydia, who, after her unsuccessful conversation with Mike, finds someone else on the list who’s willing to take the job. After successfully luring Mike to the house with a phonecall from Mr. Chow (fresh from a nerve-wracking DEA interrogation), Mike turns the tables on him in typical Mike-fashion. The hitman killed Mr. Chow, and Mike kills him. (They don’t show what happens afterwards, but I’m assuming that Mike made their bodies disappear, either by dumping them in the desert or my using Walt’s old melting trick. I hardly think he’d leave the DEA a gift like 2 dead Gus Fring-connected bodies.)

Then, it’s off to Lydia’s house to solve that problem. What follows is the tensest scene of the new season. From moment to moment, it was unclear what Mike was going to do. He was waiting for the nanny to leave and for Lydia’s daughter to go to bed before killing her, but the increasingly loud conversation made it clear that it wasn’t going to go down quite so easily. Perhaps what made this scene so chilling was that Lydia never begged for her life, only that Mike let her daughter find her body so that she wouldn’t think she’d abandoned her. Whether moved by thoughts of his own granddaughter, or realizing that Lydia could be more useful alive, Mike relents. I’m disinclined to believe that cold, unshakable Mike would let an obvious liability live simply because he feels bad, so I think his reasoning rests on his realization that he will never see any of the money from Gus now that the DEA is involved. Mike can’t leave ABQ because of his granddaughter, and he needs to make money somehow to keep the rest of the people on Gus’ list from talking. Perhaps cautiously going into business with Walt (while still pulling the strings behind the scenes, as with Lydia’s connection to the chemicals needed to make meth) is the best option he has available at the moment. He tells Walt he’s in, and Walt is again satisfied that he is the one pulling all the strings.

Like last week, this episode closes with a creepy exchange between Walt and Skyler. Apparently severely depressed (within reason), Skyler spends this episode lying in bed, only moving to avoid Walt’s touch. In the final scene, Walt crawls into bed with her and kisses her neck and shoulders while telling her that her feelings of guilt about Ted Beneke will fade as time goes on. What they’re doing, Walt murmurs, is okay because it’s for family, and nothing is more important than family. In the darkness, it’s clear that Skyler wants nothing more than an escape from this particular family.

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Project Runway is back! I always find that it takes a few (or 6) episodes of these kind of shows to really get into it. I mean, I still watch and enjoy, but there are just too many contestants at the beginning for me to really get invested (or at least too many for me to worry about learning their names.) What if I decide that I like someone and then they’re gone in week 3? And half the time there are so many people that by the time it’s whittled down to 10 or so, one pops up who I swear I’ve never seen before in my life.

So, with that being said, here are a few brief, disconnected thoughts about the series premiere. I promise my Project Runway recaps will get more coherent as the season progresses.

  • I vaguely remembered Gunnar Deatherage from last season (okay, that’s a lie. But he looked a bit familiar when they flashed back to last year’s footage). Anyway, he was on last year and then they kicked him off before he really got to do anything. Now he’s back and acting like the reincarnation of Josh (who I actually do remember from last season, thank-you-very-much). This does not bode well for Gunnar. Nobody ended up liking Josh and I can’t imagine anyone will like Josh 2.0.
  • The winner of this week’s challenge, Christopher, reminds me so much of Michael C. that I’m not convinced they’re not long-lost brothers. This also does not bode well for Christopher, as Michael C. quickly used up all of my sympathies with his endless weeping. And that black mini dress that he sent down the runway was TERRIBLE. I don’t care how nice his gown was, you shouldn’t be able to win if you send a dress like the black one down the runway.
  • Oh, but Christopher might not be so bad, as he had the best zinger of the night – Gunnar “should be on Toddlers and Tiaras. Wrong show.” A genuine laugh-out-loud moment. Thanks Chris.
  • Although Gunnar and Christopher got the most facetime from the episode, the clear star is Kooan, a Japanese kid who moved to New York, wears his hair in a crazy afro and generally looks and acts like a cartoon. His clothes are quirky bordering on weird, but I am genuinely interested in seeing what else he produces. Yes, he’s an attention whore, but unlike the others (*cough* Gunnar *cough*), I don’t think he came on the show to specifically whore himself out. That is, I don’t think the craziness that he’s bringing to the Project Runway table is any different from the craziness he normally brings to his basement apartment.

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    I love this guy.

  • Everyone else was fairly blah, which is surprising because they’re all trying so goddamn hard to be “quirky.” There’s the freegan guy; the self-identified “radical feminist” who lost everything but somehow lives in a sweet apartment in downtown Manhattan; the blond girl who designs black clothes; the half-Indian, half-Australian from Dubai with the tacky clothes, be-dreadlocked lesbian, etc.
  • So, Beatrice gets sent home. She only designs knitwear. I’m not sure why she was allowed on the show in the first place. Knitwear is great for the winter, but it gets pretty boring pretty quickly. So yeah, thanks for coming out.
  • Oh, and I also watched the Road to the Runway episode, and can someone explain to me why designers from the previous seasons were choosing the contestants for this season? I guess the obvious answer is that they weren’t, and that everything was just a setup by the producers to milk another hour of TV out of it, but even the illusion that the contestants this year were chosen by past losers is a weird one to pick. I mean, what do they know about choosing winners? Maybe that’s too harsh. All I know is that I wasn’t blown away by any of them yet.
  • Okay, so I just recapped it and I realized that I know 3 people’s names (Beatrice doesn’t count, I had to look it up). My goal next week will be to both write a coherent blog post and learn 3 more people’s names. Yay for low expectations!

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Another week, another different take on storytelling in Louie. This week, Louie was different by being so conventional – prompted by his daughters to search for a new girlfriend (perhaps to compete with his ex-wife’s “friend” Patrick, who’s “pretty funny”), Louie embarks on a series of romantic misadventures. Sounds like fairly typical sitcom fare. First, he picks up fellow comedian Maria Bamford after her set at the Comedy Cellar, but she doesn’t want to be seen leaving with him, so he meets her around the corner. Then, as they’re lying in bed after sex, Louie asks her if she’d like to meet his kids. Her response dismissed any worry that I had about this being a predictable episode of TV comedy. She said “blegh”, made a face, and then told Louie he was “bad at sex.” Poor Louie.

So, it’s back to the drawing board. After three brief fantasies about teachers at his kids’ school. Louie meets Parker Posey at his local bookstore. It takes him three visits to work up the courage to ask her out, and when he does, it’s bumbling, awkward perfection. His attempts to make dating him seem appealing were so self-depricatingly hilarious (“nothing horrible will happen to you if you go out with me”) that they bear a repeated watching and I’m unworthy to recap them here. When she finally puts him out of his misery and agrees to the date, Louie’s solo-sports fist pump was endearing and hilarious all at once. Perfection.

However, I think that my favourite scene of the episode was the beginning when Louie was eating with his daughters. His discussion with Lily about why tyrant and tyranny are pronounced differently was so sweet, and his immediate acquiring 10 percent of Jane’s meal was a hilarious juxtaposition. Once again, the young actresses really steal the scene, and it’s fun getting to watch them grow up and mature. I can’t wait to see what happens in Part 2, but I hope there will be a lot of interaction between Parker Posey and Louie’s daughters.

P.S. I could not be more excited about Louis C.K.’s totally deserved 7 Emmy nominations. The only downer is that Louie didn’t get nominated for best series. Next year!

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FINALLY. Breaking Bad is back.

In my quest to get my fix before the show actually aired, I read/watched all the interviews with the cast that I could find. In some (like this one), it was revealed that the season premiere would be decidedly non-violent. Even though I was prepared, it did seem kind of odd in juxtaposition with last season’s finale. This episode was more hilarious than scary, but that’s just part of the brilliance of Breaking Bad. It can take you from the edge of your seat to laughing out loud in a matter of minutes. Magnets, bitches!

I’ll admit, the flash-forward opener initially threw me for a loop. In it, Walt has a full head of hair, makes a “52” out of bacon over his Denny’s breakfast, carries a New Hampshire drivers’ license, and buys a car with a large gun in it from his gun guy in the bathroom. I think he’s still in Albuquerque, and he’s definitely still sick, but that’s about it. The entire series has only covered about 1 year, and since Walt was 50 when the series started, this is a fairly significant flash-forward. Unless this season is going to proceed at a rapid pace, I expect that this scene is foreshadowing season 6. I can’t wait to find out how Walt got here.

Back in present time, Walt, Jesse, and Mike are left picking up the pieces from Gus’ death. Walt seems to be ready for a celebratory drink (after hiding the bomb-making supplies and the Lily of the Valley in the back of the Aztec – did he actually dispose of them or are they still waiting there to be discovered?), but then he remembers the video cameras. I thoroughly enjoyed the scene where Walt and Mike were discussing how to get at/blow up Gus’ computer where the videos were stored while an out-of-focus and in the background Jesse repeatedly suggested “what about, like, a magnet?” And the scene in the junkyard where Joe asks Jesse why anyone would want to pierce their prick was also hilarious. Jesse’s victory cry of “Yeah, Magnets! Bitches!” after the magnet-computer test worked called back to the first season and Jesse’s suggestion that a good metal to conduct electricity would be “wire”. After gaining some power last season, Jesse is once again relegated to the young, subordinate role. He might have stopped Mike from killing Walt (temporarily), but after that, he was back to being the annoying child in the background that the grownups ignore while they talk about important grownup things.

Still, it’s clear that Jesse knows how dangerous Walt is. He didn’t listen to Mike’s advice to take the money and run (of course, Mike didn’t listen to his own advice either), but pretty soon Jesse’s going to have to make a decision about just how much further he’s willing to go. As they were racing away from the evidence locker, Walt’s statement that the truck-magnet left behind is untraceable “Because I said so” is the perfect thesis for this season. Walt might never stop believing that what he says goes, but Jesse’s look at Mike after he said it revealed that Jesse recognizes the absurdity of that statement. The question is whether or not he will get out in time.

Meanwhile, back at the figurative ranch, Ted Beneke is alive! Who saw that one coming? I figured his corpse would be back to haunt Skyler, but not his sentient-and-supported-by-metal-rods body. Ted is now clearly afraid of Skyler and promises her that he won’t ever say anything to anyone. When Skyler relays this message to Walt, he responds in perhaps the most terrifying way possible, by pulling her into an uncomfortable hug and whispering “I forgive you.” At this point, Skyler knows that she’s dealing with a cold-blooded murderer, so one can only imagine that Walt’s forgiveness doesn’t mean too much. I expect she also realizes that Walt’s forgiveness likely doesn’t extend to Ted Beneke. Walt has a lot on his plate right now, so I don’t think he’ll kill him right away, but I also don’t expect poor old Ted to make it too many more episodes before “accidentally” ingesting some Lily of the Valley or smoking a ricin cigarette.

Speaking of the ricin cigarette, I can’t believe that Huell actually did pickpocket Jesse. It just goes to show the attention to detail and forward thinking involved that make this show amazing. And, while its recipient might not be Ted Beneke, you just know that that ricin cigarette is going to come up again at some point. If not Ted, perhaps Hank? Walt Jr.’s insistence on turning Hank into a hero following Gus’s explosive demise isn’t helping Hank’s chances at survival, I’ll tell you that much.

Overall, it seems like this episode was the eye of the hurricane – a momentary lapse in the destruction before the winds pick up again and the violence begins anew. I can’t imagine what the upcoming season will hold, but I expect Hurricane Walt to leave nothing untouched.

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My brother is visiting and watched this episode of Louie with me. It was the first episode he’d ever seen. After it was over, I was initially kind of disappointed that it wasn’t more of a “traditional” episode – he hasn’t seen much of Louis C.K.’s standup and I wanted him to get a feel for that. I also wanted him to see the way Louie interacts with New York, and I’d been telling him how amazing the actresses that play his daughters are, so I wanted him to get a solid Louie-the-dad scene in there too. But then I realized that there is really no better episode to get an understanding of what Louie is and what makes it so special. He loved it.

This episode had hardly any dialogue and was composed mostly of montages. Louie’s work trip to Miami starts out like every other trip, but when he is mistaken for a drowning man by lifeguard Ramon, it takes a turn. Ramon comes to his show, they bond over a shared background (Louie reveals that he, like Louis C.K., was raised in Mexico until age 7), and Ramon invites him to a family party. At first, Louie looks as out of place as ever, but he gradually gets more comfortable around Ramon’s Cuban relatives and they race him back to the hotel in time for the show. We don’t get to see much of the conversations between Louie and Ramon, but it’s clear a kind of bond has formed. When Louie calls his ex-wife to ask her to keep the girls for a couple of extra days so he can extend his trip to Miami, she rightly assumes he’s met someone. She wrongly assumes it’s a woman.

These assumptions come to the fore in a wonderfully awkward non-conversation between Louie and Ramon, when Ramon asks him point-blank why he extended his trip. Louie can’t say that he did it so that they could spend more time together without seeming “gay” (a point which is driven home in the hilarious final standup scene), but Ramon gets his point through the half-sentences and random words. Again, Louis C.K.’s brilliance is on display as he manages to write a non-conversation that is true-to-life. It was cringeworthy to watch if only because we are so used to either a) seeing characters say the right thing at the right time and wrap everything up into a neat little bow (see: most traditional sitcoms), or b) seeing characters say emphatically the wrong thing and screw everything up all the time (see: The Office). Louie once again finds the brilliant middle ground and proves why it might actually be the best show on television right now. An episode where nothing much of anything happened (and nothing much of anything was said) still manages to be profoundly sad, somewhat hopeful, and hilarious all at once. I can’t think of any other show that could accomplish that feat.

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