Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

How completely typical of Louie to give us a Christmas/New Years’ Eve episode as its September finale. I loved it.

After the triumphal failure of Louie’s attempts to take over the Late Show, this week’s episode opens with a close shot of Louie, shoulders wrapped in a blanket and hovering over a coffee cup. At first it seems as though he might be nursing an epic hangover after a night of yelling at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, but the camera pans back to reveal that it’s Christmas morning and Jane and Lily are enthusiastically ripping open presents from “Santa.” With each one, Louie flashes back to the varying levels of hell that he went through to obtain the presents for them. Struggles with wrapping paper, heated encounters looking for a purple monkey at the mall, and, most hilariously of all, Louie’s repeated and escalating attempts to fix a baby doll whose eyes have creepily fallen back into its head. As Louie saws, drills, glues, scrubs, and paints with melted crayons, his desperation to give his daughters the perfect Christmas seems more and more unlikely to be successful. In the end, though, Lily loves it, but gives the credit again to Santa. When she next opens a book about a duck from China, Louie finally speaks up that it’s from him. He begins to read it to his daughters, the camera panning lovingly across the  hand-drawn pictures, and Lily sighs dreamily that it looks like it would be nice to live on the Yangtze River.

This tender father-daughter moment is interrupted by Louie’s ex-wife and her boyfriend, who are coming to whisk the kids away on an unspecified international trip until the middle of January. Louie has to admit to his ex-wife that the Late Show dream is definitely over, and the shot of the elevator door closing on the foursome emphasizes Louie’s sense of isolation. In typical fashion, Louie spirals into a vortex of darkness and isolation. He immediately rids the apartment of any vestiges of Christmas (culminating int shoving the tree out of the window) and settles in to hibernate in the dark. He’s interrupted by his sister (Amy Poehler) and her Texas husband who call and insist that he join them for New Years in Mexico. They don’t want him to be alone, and the way Amy Poehler’s voice shakes, it’s clear she’s expecting these few weeks without the kids to break Louie. He insists he’s fine, though, and goes back to his sugar-bingeing and sleeping pattern. Then, he has a wonderful dream in which a grown-up Lily and Jane meet, discuss how they’re probably in their twenties, and how one of them has a careery job and the other is doing something arty that’s hopefully going well, and how they both agree that growing up with such a lonely and lethargic dad probably scarred them pretty severely.

It’s this dream that spurs Louie into action. He gets off the couch not for himself, but for his daughters. He tried so hard to give them a perfect Christmas by giving them stuff, but now he realizes that the gift he needs to give him is by being a better (or at least, more active) person. In the middle of the Late Night drama, Louie’s ex-wife told him that his daughters need a role model more than they need his constant presence, but this time, it appears, Louie has reached that conclusion all on his own. He packs a bag, grabs his passport, and hops on a bus for the airport.

And then, on that same bus, is TapeRecorder (Liz). Just as quickly as the thoughts of what a New Year’s Eve with Liz would look like entered my head, they were shoved out when Liz rushes towards Louie, bleeds heavily from her nose, collapses, is taken to the hospital, and dies at 11:59. She leaves Louie with only a hesitant, questioning “Bye?” and he walks out of the room in a daze, surrounded by hospital staff celebrating the New Year. It’s quite the end to one of the strangest characters on TV, but I’m glad that Louie won’t be left to search after her and wonder what might have been.

Louie continues to the airport, but can’t make himself take one of the once-every-5-minutes flights to Mexico City. Instead, his eye falls on Beijing. Once there, he struggles to find the Yangtze River, attempting several different unsuccessful ways of miming the word “river.” Finally, Louie sees a truck full of ducks whose driver appears to understand him, or at least gives him a ride. They end up at something smaller than a creek, which the man seems to insist is the Yangtze. With a rueful laugh, Louie once again wanders around aimlessly until he encounters a woman who invites him into her home for dinner and laughter. For the first time in the episode, Louie seems alive and happy. He’s not detached as he was watching his kids open their Christmas presents. He’s present, trying to make himself understood, trying to learn how to communicate.

In some ways, the struggle to communicate has been the theme for the whole season – he tries to connect with various women, with his daughters, with his ex-wife, with his fellow comedians, and with random strangers. Until this point, he has failed at every turn, but here, in the middle of nowhere in China, Louie is finally connecting with people. It’s a hopeful way to end a season, and I can’t wait to see what happens in season 4.


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After dominating the Emmys again last Sunday, Modern Family returned with a fourth season premiere that confirmed why it’s the best “conventional” sitcom on television. While it lacks the innovation of comedies like Louie, it’s certainly not stale or expected. This episode picks up the morning after the season finale, with Gloria worried about how to tell Jay she’s pregnant, Haley nursing a hangover, Dylan trying to convince the Dunphys to let him live there, Mitch and Cam dealing with the aftermath of not getting the baby, Jay preparing for his birthday, and Manny getting ready to go to poetry camp for the summer. It makes sense that some of these things would need to be addressed on-screen, but for some reason I just assumed that the season would start with a jump ahead a few months.

As Mitch and Cam dealt with both the big elephant and the 800-pound gorilla in the room (complete with a great pan over to show the giant stuffed animals gifted to them by well-meaning friends), Lily decided that if she couldn’t have a brother named Larry, they should at least get a cat named Larry. There was a great callback to the hurt of last season when they were at the cat adoption place, having to go through a long process to determine whether they would be fit cat parents. Mitch was great: “I thought the process was that I say, ‘We’ll take this one,’ and you say, ‘Thank God because we have too many cats.'” It’s nice that the writers aren’t brushing off what would be a devastating loss, but are also finding ways to bring it up in humourous ways.

However, the reactions to Gloria’s pregnancy were of course the centre point of this episode. Everyone reacts predictably enough, from Manny’s concern that he’ll be replaced as the cute one, to Claire’s glee about Gloria’s impending weight gain. Predictability isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – it shows that we know the characters and that they have recognizable motivations. Throughout the episode, Gloria is justifiably concerned that Jay won’t be very happy about the new baby. This concern is seemingly emphasized during Jay’s fishing trip with Phil, Shorty, and Miles (in which Jay spent more time in the water than on the boat). Shorty and Miles spend the entire time telling Jay how, now that he’s 65, his life is just beginning, since he’ll have so much time to spend gardening and sitting around and Jay seems to be accepting this new phase of his life. After some flashbacks that show how Jay is a notoriously-bad bad news taker, Claire tries to intercept him and tell him to just be gracious at whatever news he’s about to get. This is followed by a funny and touching scene of Jay graciously supporting Cam and Mitchell’s decision to adopt a cat named Larry before Gloria bursts in with the real news.

Jay’s reaction to Gloria is exactly why Modern Family is a great show. He’s not mad – he’s relieved. He wasn’t ready to spend the rest of his days gardening, and now he gets to start over and have a baby with the woman that he loves. It was adorable and unexpected. I loved it.

I also loved the flashforward that happened as the camera spun around Jay and Gloria hugging to reveal it’s several months later, Gloria has a bump, Dylan has moved in with the Dunphys and is now on his way to being evicted, and Mitch has scratches on his face from Larry. I’m happy to have skipped the nearly-mandatory “Gloria has morning sickness” episodes and to see that she’ll definitely be having a baby before the season finale. It’s a nice twist from the writers and shows that it’s not quite as stuck in the conventional sitcom rut as its detractors claim it to be. I look forward to what else this season has in store!

Other great lines this episode:

  • From Luke, after planting the seed that Manny will be replaced by the baby: Sometimes I just like to toss a grenade and walk away.
  • From Dylan, trying to convince Claire to let him live there: It’s okay, because he can just stay at a friend’s house; well, not in the house but in the garage; actually there are no walls, it’s more of a port-cochere; but there’s a bathroom; more of a half-bath; it’s a coffee can.
  • From Dylan, as Claire is kicking him out after living there for several months: he can stay at a friend’s place, not so much of a place as it is a storage pod, and it’s not so much of a friend as it is a racoon.
  • Shorty, arguing that Phil should grow a beard, which would make him look like “Jon Hamm between projects”
  • On Lily’s obsession with naming something Larry, Mitch asks if it’s from a show, and Cam replies, “he’s not, that’s what’s weird!”
  • Not a line, but the continued shots of the giant elephant and gorilla in various compromising positions on top of the car killed me

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I have had a lot of issues with the last few seasons of The Office (and the eighth season in particular), but I’ve always stuck around because of the characters. In the season premiere of what will be a final 9th season, it seems like there’s hope that we’ll actually be getting back to focusing on the characters and not the crazy situations that the writers contrive to put them in. As such, I’m cautiously optimistic that this final season will give a proper end to this once-great show.

The episode itself was a lot of exposition. It had to explain the disappearance of some cast members as well as set the trajectory for the rest of the season. Seeing Kelly head off to Miami, Ohio thinking it was Miami, Florida was funny, but having Ryan just follow her seemed a little forced. I liked a lot of the callbacks to previous seasons (such as Andy hating Toby like Michael did and the return of David Wallace on speakerphone) but some of the actual meat of the show was a little bit too on-the-nose. For example, I liked the two new staff members and I liked the gag that they were like a young Jim and a young Dwight, but then having Jim observe young Jim’s lack of ambition, comment on it, and then realize he used to be exactly like young Jim was just a bit too obvious for me. Especially after the brilliant cold open that established that the documentary crew are just sticking around to find out what happens to Jim and Pam, to which Pam happily states that nothing much will happen to them while Jim looks on, the discomfort of that reality written all over his face.  Additionally, the introduction of this wonderful opportunity for Jim to take the next step by moving to Philadelphia to help his college buddy implement Jim’s idea was maybe a bit too convenient for me, but I am glad that Jim is taking the steps to finally get out of Dunder Mifflin. It’s been 9 years in the making, so I hope the writers do it justice.

In terms of comedy, the episode actually had me smiling quite a bit and I laughed out loud at Creed’s assessment of what went on in the parking lot at the end of the episode. It just goes to show you – the more things change, the more Creed stays the same. I’m looking forward to seeing what else the folks in Scranton have in store for us in their final season.


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One of the best things about Louie is its ability to transcend genres. As I’ve mentioned before, you never know what kind of show you’re going to get from week to week. With the final instalment of his Late Show saga, Louis C.K. gave us a brilliant combination of satire and heart.

While the previous episode was filled with other people telling Louie that he should seize the opportunity presented to him, Louie still wasn’t sure if he really wanted to try. The turning point came when David Lynch’s Jack Dahl (who thought he was a newsman, not a comedian) commanded Louie to be funny (in 3, 2, 1, GO . . . or did you want him to count up? 1, 2, 3, GO). Louie protested that he’s not “that kind” of funny, but Jack rightly pointed out that you have to be in late night. Louie might think a lot of his craft, but if he wants the Late Show, he’s going to have to change somewhere. He gets up to walk out but then pauses, finally admitting without turning around to face Jack that he does want this. This is either a door or a wall, he says, and he’d like it to be a door. Jack gives him one more shot, and this time Louie jumps in on cue. He doesn’t do one of his hilarious standup bits though, but instead jumps around, showing off his belly while making ridiculous sound effects. It’s absurdly funny and it buys Louie another week of practice with Jack.

From that point on, it’s clear that Louie has decided to actually give it a go. In a lovely little scene with his daughters, Louie jogs along side a biking Jane and a rollerblading Lily. Jane, in her way, asks her dad why he’s jogging, pointing out that he’s just a fat daddy, in case he didn’t know. Louie explains that he’s working hard to get something and that if he gets it, it will just be the beginning of the hard work, because he’ll have to do it 5 days a week, every week. The girls ask when they’ll see him if he’s working so much, and we get a sense of the conflict Louie faces. Sure, it’s a bit of a stereotype, but it’s also a legitimate concern for both Louie and Louis, I would imagine. Later, the girls show up at his apartment the night before the test show and present him with good luck cards featuring drawings of “Dad Night Live.” It’s heartwarming and emotional without being trite, which is a feat unto itself.

Still, there are subtle moments of satire throughout. The montages are clearly referencing films like Rocky, and, at one point, a jogging Louie is joined by a few random teenagers. By the day of his test show, Louie’s stomach is noticeably reduced, and he not only agrees to wear a suit on air, he seems to be genuinely moved that Jack’s had a custom one made for him. After a disastrous practice interview in which he made the cleaning lady cry by bringing up her long-dead mother, Jack comes in before the show to speak to him one last time. If Louie gets the show, he explains, he’ll be replaced by a younger producer, and if not, well, there’s no real need for him anymore either. He departs by giving Louie 3 important show-business lessons: 1) look the audience in the eye and speak from the heart; 2) you have to go away to come back; and 3) if anyone ever tells you to keep a secret, that secret is a lie.

Of course, Jack’s exit is immediately followed by Jerry Seinfeld’s entrance, ostensibly just coming to do Louie a solid by letting him know that he’s already signed the contracts for the show and they’re just making Louie jump through hoops for the sake of it. He says he felt bad for letting Louie do the show that he has no chance of getting. Louie seems resigned but thanks Jerry for coming and then, just as Jerry’s leaving, he asks him if he could just keep it a secret since no one ever knows about it. Is it typical and expected? Of course. Was it meant to be that way as a satirical comment on TV tropes and showbiz in general? Also of course. This point was underlined by Louie and his agent, Doug, repeating Dahl’s third rule. Seinfeld is lying, and goddamn it, Louie’s not going to let him get away with it! He’s going to go out there and put on the best show there is!

The amazing part is, Louie’s show was actually amazing. It felt like a late night show, but it also kept Louie’s voice in there, from the monologue jokes about Obama killing Osama a couple more times, to the random black card bit with JEWS written on it, to his interviews with Susan Sarandon and Paul Rudd (he thanked Susan for appearing in her underwear in the Rocky Horror Picture Show and made fun of Paul’s wife naming their daughter Darby) — everything was very Louie. I could imagine a world where I’d happily stay up late every night watching that show.

Afterwards, Louie meets with his comedian friends Nick DiPaolo, Jim Norton, and Todd Berry, who congratulate him on a job well done and he admits that he’s cautiously optimistic. Once again, Maria Menounos comes on the TV and rains on Louie’s parade, announcing that David Letterman signed on for another 10 years. Doug then walks in and lets him know that CBS just used Louie to bring down Letterman’s deal and that now Letterman has said that Louie will never be allowed on his show. By way of consolation, Nick DiPaolo tells Louie that he should be proud that he was good enough to cost Letterman 20 million dollars. Their support was endearing and Louie seemed to take heart in knowing that, in the end, he was good enough. He’d tried his best and, while he didn’t exactly win, he definitely succeeded.

He leaves the bar and stands outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre. There, he exuberantly shouts up at the empty windows that he did it, finally yelling “Fuck you Dave!” In a show like this, there’s always some truth behind it all, and I’d love to hear exactly what Louis and Dave’s relationship is like in reality. It’s definitely telling that he didn’t make an appearance and I’m guessing that Louis won’t be making an appearance on the real Late Show anytime soon.

The scene during the credits confirmed that Louie is finally on an upward trajectory, as he was back in the boxing ring. This time, though, he wasn’t just passively getting beaten up; he was actually doling out the punches. After a season in which Louie wandered aimlessly from (crazy) woman to (crazy) woman looking for some kind of meaning and purpose, it appears that trying for something and not getting it was just the jumpstart he needed to start having agency in his own life again. I’m eager to find out the way that this manifests itself in next week’s season finale.

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After an annoying bye week thanks to the DNC, Louie was back with part 2 of the 3-part story arc that explores the possibility that Louie might get to replace David Letterman on the Late Show. This week circled around Louie’s continued struggles to decide whether or not it was something he really wanted to try to do. The opening scene finally had him face to face with his ex-wife, bumbling through telling her that he might have a shot at hosting the show just as awkwardly as he asks out attractive-but-crazy bookstore employees. Unlike every other woman we’ve seen Louie with, Louie’s ex-wife immediately sees through his bullshit and calls him on the fact that he’s only telling her about this in the hopes that she’ll say that he can’t do it. He feebly tries to explain that the show will be a lot of work and he won’t be able to spend as much time with the girls as he does now, but she cuts him off with a blunt, “they don’t need a dad that much.” It sounds harsh, but she clarifies that what they really need is a role model, someone who tries and actually achieves something. Even when Louie protests that he does actually have a job already, it’s clear what she means. Louie’s current job (while paying in the range of $80k/year) isn’t exactly a shining example of work ethic to his impressionable daughters. He wears crappy t-shirts and jeans whether he’s going to work or just waking up, and his life has been at a standstill (both professionally and personally) ever since he got the divorce. Of course, this may also just be self-serving on her part, as a better job for Louie certainly means more financial stability for both her and the girls. Nevertheless, her underlying point is accurate and it’s telling that the only reason that Louie’s even in this position in the first place is because he was pushed into going on Leno at the last minute because of a guest cancellation. If he would’ve been asked ahead of time whether he wanted to do a whole hour with Leno, he definitely would’ve found a way out of it. But he didn’t, and now he’s trying to figure out a way out of his own success.

After being told that his kids don’t need him, we get a brief interlude of Louie with his daughters at the grocery store. Jane sees an old woman putting food into her purse and immediately starts yelling about it, pointing it out to a security guard as Louie tries to stop her. As the old woman is taken away, she triumphantly turns to Louie and proclaims, “I did good!” It’s clear that Louie wants to criticize her for her actions, but he doesn’t. Perhaps his realization that his idea of parenting is teaching his daughters not to tell the truth pushes him even further towards attempting to get the Late Show gig.

Most of the rest of the episode is spent with Louie entering the surreal world of late night talk shows. He’s sent to a mentor (played by David Lynch – who, I’ll admit, I don’t know much about and should probably spend the weekend watching David Lynch movies as penance. Wikipedia assured me that he’s known for non-linear and surrealist stories, so he fits perfectly within the world of Louie). In any case, the mentor forces Louie to read antiquated jokes about Nixon and Reagan, insisting he’s not ready for current material yet. He tells Louie to work on his timing, insists that he wear a suit, and demonstrates the art of coming through a curtain and working to an imaginary crowd. It’s surreal and yet completely familiar to the late night format. (The person who’s done the most work at subverting this convention is Craig Ferguson, but he even still [usually] wears a suit.)

After the incident at the grocery store, Louie receives a phone call from Jay Leno, who’s heard that he might be up for the Letterman job. Louie asks him if he should go for it (since apparently his ex-wife’s opinion still wasn’t enough) and Leno tells him that he shouldn’t because right now, he’s the edgy guy but you can’t be the edgy guy for 14 minutes 5 nights a week. “I used to be you,” Leno laments. It’s hard to tell whether I should be praising Leno for his acting (which is weird to say), or Louie for his honest writing, or both, but it was a strangely moving couple minutes of screen time. I don’t like the Tonight Show and I don’t know anyone younger than my parents who do, but I know from listening to people like Louie and Jim Norton that Leno wasn’t always the lame corporate sellout telling the bland jokes that he is today. It sounds like, in the 70s and 80s, he really was like Louie is today, but then he took the Tonight Show and the money and the network got to him. I don’t know how much of that is true and how much of it is revisionist history, but it was an interesting little aside. If Louie’s destiny is to become like Jay Leno, then I definitely don’t want him to take the job either.

Or, it could all just be bullshit, as Chris Rock points out in the following scene. Of course Louie should go for it, he tells him, and Jay is just telling him not to as a way of getting in his head. Naturally, as soon as Louie leaves, Chris Rock gets on the phone and starts asking questions about why he didn’t know that Letterman was leaving.

David Lynch sends Louie to a boxing gym as part of his preparation (something Louis C.K. really does to keep in shape), and The Wire’s Clay Davis (shiiiiiiiit) tells him to put on his gear and get in the ring. Louie gets his ass kicked and is told to come back tomorrow for another round. As he sits at home with a bag of frozen peas on his swollen eye, Maria Menounos appears on his TV screen and tells him that Chris Rock is now a frontrunner (along with Jerry Seinfeld) for the Letterman job. It’s clear that, since everyone who gives him advice about what to do is just feeding him self-serving bullshit, Louie’s just going to have to figure out what to do all on his own.

Next week is part 3 of this story arc and I can say with confidence that I have no idea what’s going to happen, except that there will be a Jerry Seinfeld appearance at some point. I do think it’s interesting that the premise is about him taking over for Letterman, but so far we’ve just had Jay Leno appearances. I wonder if that will be remedied next week. I’m torn on what I want to happen. The expected thing would be that Louie decides to go for it, absolutely kills, and they still give the show to Seinfeld/Rock. That would be the expected commentary on the state of entertainment today and how talent matters less than celebrity. The next choice would be that Louie totally screws it up and doesn’t get the show and then it’s back to the drawing board of life for season 4. The least expected thing (and therefore the option that I’m most rooting for) is that he goes in, kills, and gets the job. Then next season is an entirely new show, with Louie running the Late Show, figuring out how to deal with guests, etc. Of course, with the way this show is structured, he could get the job and we’d still just see him doing it in snippets at the beginning of the occasional episode, and have him off on dating or family or whatever storylines the rest of the time. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to be taken along for the ride.

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The return of Louie’s standup routine  was much welcomed after the weirdness of last week’s episode.  But, the weirdness of the season as a whole still hung over everything. In yet another strange fit of continuity, Parker Posey’s manic Liz (aka. TapeRecorder) once again appeared in Louie’s dream, prompting a return trip to the bookstore, where he apparently hadn’t been since their pseudo-date. The manager tells him that Liz doesn’t work there anymore, and instead Louie meets her replacement, Jeanie, played by Chloe Sevigny. She’s essentially just a blond Liz and she quickly takes an inappropriate level of interest in helping Louie find his unrequited love. She can’t find Liz’s info in the bookstore’s files, so she cajoles Louie into going to her apartment building and insists on accompanying him on his stalking expedition. After she’s unsuccessful in getting past the doorman, she and Louie go get coffee and she reveals just how . . . exciting she finds this whole thing to be. As Jeanie acts her own all-too-real version When Harry Met Sally‘s most famous scene, Louie looks suitably horrified and uncomfortable. After Jeanie finishes, she announces that she has a husband, so Louie probably shouldn’t come by the store anymore. And just like that, Louie’s interaction with another crazy, flighty woman comes to an end. He’s no closer to finding Liz, but I can’t help thinking that’s a good thing. He told Jeanie that Liz changed the way he thought about everything in that one night. Maybe he’d be better off going back to his old way of looking at the world.

The second half was, for me, much more enjoyable, but it followed a similar theme – Louie chases after woman (girl) he doesn’t understand. This time, the girl in question is Louie’s 10-year-old daughter Lilly. When he’s picking up her and Jane from school, Louie sees Lilly being bullied by some mean girls. Louie walks over, but the bullies disperse before he can hear exactly what they’re saying and give them a piece of his mind. Frustratingly for Louie, Lilly doesn’t want to talk about what happened. Louie attempts to bring back the kid in her by forcing them to ride the carousel in Central Park. The shot of Lilly morosely riding on the horse while Louie looks on, first in hope and then in frustration, was brilliantly hilarious. They arrive back at the apartment and Lilly embodies the sullen pre-teen. Louie asks that they do their homework, and Lilly snaps back that she ALWAYS does her homework. Once again, the young actresses steal the scene. When Louie tells Lilly that she’s being really crappy to him and her sister, Jane pipes up that she doesn’t mind how she’s being. Her timing is perfect, and the frustration of dealing with his suddenly unrelatable daughters sends Louie into the bathroom with his laptop and cigarettes.

Ignoring Jane’s calls that she has something to tell him, Louie eventually emerges to find Jane drawing in the living room and Lilly missing. He asks Jane where she went, and she replies that she went out. “That’s what I was trying to tell you,” she says, barely looking up from her page. Louie immediately goes into panic mode, yelling Lilly’s name through the apartment, into the hallway (where we see – continuity again! – Louie’s gay neighbours from “Pregnant”), and into the street. The helplessness that Louie feels is portrayed in the music and his frantic indecision – he can’t leave the building in case Lilly comes back, but she’s obviously not in the building, so shouldn’t they be looking elsewhere? Louie’s inability to comprehend women is emphasized when Jane starts yelling for Lilly in Slovenian (her friend is teaching her).

Finally, Louie opts for calling the cops before calling his ex-wife, a move which draws the distain from the half-dozen cops in his apartment. Louie reluctantly picks up the phone to call her when . . . Lilly, wrapped in a blanket with headphones on her ears, wanders through the apartment, past everyone, and into the kitchen. She returns with a glass of milk, asking her dad why the cops are here. She’d been in the closet reading the entire time. “You didn’t look in the closet?” the cops ask before leaving in disgust. Lilly then apologizes for her shitty behaviour, and things seem temporarily back to normal in Louie’s world.

Ultimately, I’m more drawn to the realism of the second half of this episode than the surrealism of the first. I admire Louie for being able to pull of both, but I think surrealism works better when it’s carried throughout the entire episode (like “Daddy’s Girlfriend: Part 2”). The shift from Louie’s dream (nightmare?) world of Liz and Jeanie felt a bit too harsh up against the realistic humour that comes from Louie’s interactions with his daughters. I hope we’ll get to see more of them as the season winds to a close.

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This week’s episode of Louie was a little odd in that it felt very disjointed, but it also called back to two of Louie’s previous one-night stands, adding a continuity that’s usually lacking in the Louie universe (the Louineverse?).

The first section deals with Delores, who announces to Louie outside of his daughter’s school that she’s feeling unresolved about what happened between them last year. When Louie refuses to go to therapy with her, she asks him to accompany her to IKEA in exchange for a blowjob. I get that the setup was probably just to get them to IKEA, but I didn’t really believe that Louie especially wanted a blowjob from her, and, while he is a nice guy, is he nice enough to endure a hellish trip to IKEA just to be nice? Apparently he is. Now, I didn’t really mind this all that much, however, since the scene at IKEA was quite funny. I loved how they turned into every other bickering couple there, and how the camera panned out to show the young couple vowing never to turn into that. The best part, however, was when Delores pushed Louie to form an opinion about a rug other than “It’s fine”:

“It’s fine. That’s the level of passion a rug warrants. It’s a rug. It doesn’t solve all my problems but it doesn’t make me angry. It’s a rug. It doesn’t smell bad. It’s flat, it’s blue, it goes on the floor, it’s not coated with AIDS and it’s not a portal to a nether-place. It doesn’t make me come, but it’s fine.” Genius.

He drops of Delores and tells her she can just “owe” him the blowjob. End of part one.

The second part is titled Piano Lesson, but that’s just there to set up another cameo by Maria Bamford, who interrupts Louie’s first piano lesson to tell him that she has crabs. She’s not sure if she gave it to him or if he gave it to her (“So fuck you, or I’m sorry. I don’t know which”), but Louie definitely has them and he cuts his piano lesson short to go to the pharmacy. The scene at the pharmacy was only “meh” for me, but that’s okay.

The final part of the episode served as a reminder that Louie is a comedian. I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing the little bits of standup throughout his shows until I realized that they’ve been missing from the past several episodes. I hope he brings them back sooner rather than later. In this episode, we get a reminder of his comedy job as he stumbles across a Best of the ’80s comedy special. Seeing a younger, more innocent, clean-shaven Louis CK was a bit weird. I was at first convinced that it was an actor playing a younger version of himself, but some googling has assured me that it was him. Weird. Sarah Silverman, on the other hand, looks like she hasn’t aged a day, except to get better hair. I loved the conversation between Louie and Sarah on the phone. The pauses and the reminiscing without not having to say much felt very authentic to how I imagine their real life friendship to be. I liked how they both hated their old acts and hated watching themselves, but loved seeing their friends. When Marc Maron comes on the screen, Louie reveals that they haven’t spoken in 10 years, and then seems to come to the sudden epiphany that the reason for their argument was all his fault. I also have to admit my ignorance in this regard, but some more googling reveals that this like the Dane Cook episode in that it draws on a real disagreement, so that was also a nice touch. Although Sarah Silverman’s part essentially was to move the plot (such as there’s ever a plot on Louie) forward, I loved how she was at first sad when a comedian came on stage who she thought was dead, and then when Louie said that he wasn’t, she was sad that she couldn’t be sad anymore. “Tell me someone else who’s dead,” she asks Louie. He replies “Richard NIxon?” And Sarah responds with a sad little “aww.” I don’t know why, but it really cracked me up.

The final scene has Louie going to Marc’s house to apologize. In his typical way, Louie bumbles around, stepping on his words, starting sentences but not finishing them, until he finally gets out what he wants to say. Marc sits there listening silently until Louie’s done before revealing that Louie came to his house and said the exact same thing 5 years ago, except he cried that time. He tells Louie that maybe instead of apologizing every 5 years, they could just hang out. Louie says sure, but you can tell that he doesn’t really mean it. The apology is ultimately a self-serving exercise, as evidenced by the fact that Louie only asks how Marc’s doing as he shoves him out the door. Louie might try his best to be a nice guy, but sometimes, that’s just not enough.

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