Monday, May 5, 2014

REVIEW: 'Louie' - Louie Hurts His Back, Gets a Visit by Garbage Men and Performs for a Charity Fundraiser in 'Back' & 'Model'

FX's Louie - Episode 4.01 "Back" & Episode 4.02 "Model"

Louie has a typical day. Louie does a benefit show.

After a lengthy 19 month hiatus, Louie is finally back. Creator Louis C.K. said he needed to take some time off from the show in order to stay creatively invigorated. As long as C.K. wants to make this show, I will watch it. But he shouldn't be forced into making 13 episodes every year if he doesn't believe he can keep up the show's quality. If he needed to take this time off, then so be it. Come back stronger and better than before and we'll all understand. And that he does. In the two episode premiere - and this season will feature back-to-back episodes airing across seven weeks - Louie returns as the same kind of weird but endearing show that it was but is also as strong and as funny as it ever was.

Heck, "Back" even has a couple of meta moments where Louie is basically addressing that it has been awhile since we've seen him like this. He got two years older in the span of a minute! That's very much true. In season three, he was 44. And now, he's 46! And Louie is back during the typical things that he does. There's no real big change in his life since last we saw. Yes, his kids are slightly older as well but they're still bugging him with stuff and calling out for "Daddy." But Louie's life is good. He's doing his stand-up. He's having a couple of laughs with friends. The discussion remains very sexually open and real. And he's still finding himself in awkward situations. It's the minute details of everyday life. He gets up and gets bugged by the same things we all do (the garbage men who all are severely loud and throw stuff around without a care in the world).

Around the poker table, the gang gets onto the topic of masturbating and how one guy in particular enjoys using a vibrator. That leads to Louie going to purchase for research. You know, as you do. He's curious. It's something new for him and his pal said it makes it that much more better when it happens. Louie's not getting any younger. Even the smallest motion can cause back pain to occur. And his back just hurts. There's nothing that can be done about it. He searches for a cure or some answers. But there's nothing that can really be done. And yet, his pain is dramatized so much. Kids make fun of him. It takes an elderly lady to get him a cab and help him get up. He's learning his body's limits and they just suck.

And then, there's "Model" where he gets this different opportunity from Jerry Seinfeld to be his opening act at a charity benefit. And yet, Jerry gives him as little details as possible. But Louie takes those details as literally as can be. He doesn't know it would be a black tie event - even though it's a charity fundraiser in the Hamptons. That's pretty self-explanatory as is showing up before the show time not right at it. And yet, Louie shows up at 5 and in his usual t-shirt and pants.

Louie is severely out of his element here. He tries holding the mic up on the stage in the same way that he does at the comedy club. It doesn't move how he wants. Moreover, he has to clean up his act. And that's very difficult for him to do. It's awkward when he's on the stage. Gasping for jokes about chickens and how rich the audience is. He's bombing and the only thing he can do is get Jerry on stage as quickly as he can. Everything is working against him - and yet, a significant portion of it is his own fault. Jerry gets to work off that disaster to wonderful effect.

And Louie's off to kick himself in the butt outside over how he just blew it. But then, he meets the one woman who was actually laughing at his material. She's weird but also very much into Louie's whole schtick - but mostly laughing at the awkwardness and uncomfortableness of him. She's laughing at him and he's more than willing to go along with it because she's also throwing herself at him. He can easily make her laugh and she will sleep with him - something the people in his regular life are telling him to stop doing so much. And then, things take a tragic turn when he punches her in the face when she starts tickling him. They are both sent to hospital and he's left to deal with the full blunt force of her father - both physically and financially. The show has never really gone too deep into Louie's finances. But now, he's left paying a rich family 5,000 dollars a month for this one unfortunate accident. His life keeps getting worse - especially after moments of great joy. It's strange how we still enjoy seeing Louie get into these awkward situations so far into the show's run. But they are just so awkward and hilarious. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Back" was written and directed by Louis C.K.
  • "Model" was written and directed by Louis C.K.
  • Louie: "I aged two years in like a minute. Aww."
  • Lily: "Daddy, can we move." Louie: "No." Hey, remember the time that Louie almost bought that amazing house?
  • Louie doing the Beatles.
  • Louie: "Lots of things happen after you die. Just none include you."
  • "Dude, you gotta stop asking everyone out. You can't ask everyone."
  • The season 4 screeners came with a Mad Men-list of spoilers not to reveal about each episode. For "Back," it was the scene with the garbage men. With "Model," it was the detail of Louie hitting a woman and the aftermath.