Louie Season 2
September 22, 2011 12:26 PM   Subscribe

One of the most radically original TV shows in recent memory is Louie. It's written, directed, edited, and produced by comedian Louis C.K., who stars as a (thinly) fictionalized version of himself. The A.V. Club recently sat down with Louis C.K. to talk through the show's second season, episode by episode. He sheds light on many aspects of the show, including the much-discussed Dane Cook episode. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. (Louis C.K. previously: 1 2 3 4)
posted by naju (85 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite

 
Brilliant, inventive, auteur-driven television that isn't even really funny half the time (not that it matters). I'm so glad it's getting picked up for a third season.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:31 PM on September 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I dunno. It's pretty funny.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:33 PM on September 22, 2011


Great show. Wouldn't say it was original as it seems like a very standard sitcom to me not that that takes away from its entertainment value.
posted by 2manyusernames at 12:35 PM on September 22, 2011


The episode that takes place mostly in Afghanistan (episode: Ducklings) was a powerful hour of TV.
posted by NoMich at 12:36 PM on September 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mefi's own Drew's Infinite Reboot used the "duckling" episode as a prime example of how you can create tension in a show when everyone knows the main character won't suffer any lasting (physical) damage by introducing something that is important but not 100% guaranteed to survive, which is just smart writing, which Louie has in spades.
posted by The Whelk at 12:36 PM on September 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Also, tweak it slightly and the show becomes the most cripplingly depressive bit of cinema vertie about self-loathing and insecurity, so I love it of course.
posted by The Whelk at 12:38 PM on September 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


...and featuring music by Reggie Watts!
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:39 PM on September 22, 2011


The episode where he sees a guy get killed by a car before meeting up for a date, then that whole conversation he has with the woman, very Woody Allen-esque little scene where he's dumping all this ennui on her and she seems to really connect with him - and then the punch line. Oh man. As far as original, that was very unlike any sitcom I've ever seen and I don't think any show I'm aware of could have pulled that off as well as they were able to. And the six-minute scene of him in his car with daughters, driving to Pennsylvania, and he gets all excited and turns up the radio and sings "Who Are You" as they sit in the backseat all embarrassed? Again, never seen that in a sitcom and I don't know of another show that could or would want to pull off a scene like that.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:47 PM on September 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh wow, I didn't even realize that the second season had aired. I'm firing this one up tonight. Thanks.
posted by daHIFI at 12:48 PM on September 22, 2011


Between this show, "Archer" and "Community," I feel like it's a really good time to be a fan of intellectual television comedy.
posted by jbickers at 12:51 PM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've never seen this, but I remember being mildly amused by the old show Life With Louie. Is this sort of the same thing?
posted by koeselitz at 12:51 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, sitcoms tend to have a plot. One that starts at the beginning and ends at the end. Louie occasionally has a plot-driven show that tells a story from beginning to end (Duckling) but more than not it's a couple of unrelated vignettes and a little stand-up sprinkled in. Again, not typical sitcom fare. If anything, it's like sketch dramedy. Or something. It's its own thing.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ah, never mind, I never actually watch TV shows anymore
posted by koeselitz at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2011


Aaand apparently I'm remembering the name of the TV show wrong. Don't think I've ever seen this Life with Louie thing. Guess this has always just been called "Louie"? So what Louis CK comedy was I watching four years ago?
posted by koeselitz at 12:54 PM on September 22, 2011


Ah, that's it. Never mind, I'll shut the door on my way out
posted by koeselitz at 12:55 PM on September 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


And the six-minute scene of him in his car with daughters, driving to Pennsylvania, and he gets all excited and turns up the radio and sings "Who Are You" as they sit in the backseat all embarrassed?

There was something brilliant about the way he nonchalantly turned and pointed at his daughter for the "Who the fuck are you?" line. Most sitcoms would have either edited that line out of the song, or made a big deal about it. But both daughters sat there and continued to be bored about the whole thing.

It's a shame that show is (partially) censored. It would have been funnier without bleeping the line and not drawing attention to it.
posted by Gary at 12:56 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What amazes me about this show is how uncomfortable it can make you feel, and then, finally, the tension breaks and you can't help but laugh. Case in point: His pregnant sister visits, and starts flipping out after having extreme abdominal pain. Or, Louie follows the advice of Steven Wright (always a bad idea) and gets picked up after a gig by a beautiful woman. Both shows weren't particularly funny, but both broke their tension, and laughter just spills out of you uncontrollably.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:01 PM on September 22, 2011


I don't know, part of the humor in it was knowing what was coming in the song, a I-bet-he'll-forget-because-classic-rock-lyrics-stick-in-your-brain-or-at-least-they-do-in-mine-god-help-us-all thing.
posted by raysmj at 1:05 PM on September 22, 2011


The cold open from (I think) Episode 4 or 5 of Season 1, where his therapist explains just how simple sex really is, made me laugh uncontrollably for 20 minutes. Seriously the funniest thing I've ever seen on TV.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:07 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The scene where he's waiting for the subway train and the violinist plays his heart out while a homeless man strips and washes himself right there... pure art.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 1:08 PM on September 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thanks for this post. One of these was posted on a previous thread, but for some reason I had a bear of a time finding the others on the AV club.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:09 PM on September 22, 2011


Actually, now I'm wondering – have most fans of Louie seen Louis CK's earlier show, Lucky Louie? How do the shows compare? They sound like they're a bit different, but only having seen Lucky Louie, I can't really say.
posted by koeselitz at 1:12 PM on September 22, 2011


Lucky Louie is more sitcom-y, I think. I suspect they gave Louis some free rein there, but much less than in Louie.
posted by mrnutty at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2011


Actually, now I'm wondering – have most fans of Louie seen Louis CK's earlier show, Lucky Louie? How do the shows compare? They sound like they're a bit different, but only having seen Lucky Louie, I can't really say.

I haven't seen Lucky Louie, but my understanding is that it's very much a basic sitcom. Louie is not. In fact, there was bit in Louie directly referencing the ridiculous sitcom nature of the prior show (the first half of the Dane Cook episode).
posted by The Michael The at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2011


Full disclosure: this is the show that finally, once and for all got me off the fence about the ironic use of the word "faggot" which I have since completely wiped out of my vocabulary.

Who says TV can't make us better people?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:24 PM on September 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


I didn't know if Louie would get picked up for a second season, because I thought he would commit suicide before then. There's a really good interview with him on Fresh Air that's worth listening to. The man has total control over the entire process, an he's really hitting his stride with the show.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:26 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


directly referencing the ridiculous sitcom nature of the prior show

Louie says in the interview that the sitcom bit in Louie was based on a failed sitcom pilot, not on Lucky Louie.

Louie... well, I have a hard time calling it a "sitcom.&quot (and I really dispute that it's "like a very standard sitcom" unless I've missed out on a lot of television); It's a series of vignettes, based semi-biographically on Louie's life and on things he's seen. There's really only 4 repeating characters from episode to episode (one of them the amazing Pamela Adlon, who was also in Lucky Louie). Everything else is malleable - it's really a dramatic extension of stand-up comedy.
posted by muddgirl at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2011


And btw to expand on my previous comment a bit, THAT is how you change people's minds and hearts. If you come at people from the position of scold and simply use terms like "offensive" then I really think you have a hard time getting traction to change people's behavior. If you make your reason HUMAN and all of a sudden it catches. Makes it real in a way that I think a lot of (forgve the term) PC Policing fails to.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:32 PM on September 22, 2011


That was a fascinating article, and it's even more impressive considering that the conversation inevitably went straight for what I felt to be the least interesting aspects of every episode. He always seems like such a nice, insightful dude. I wrote him a fan letter right after Pootie Tang and he wrote me back twice.

I wasn't much of a fan of Lucky Louie; it felt like the new show but without the empathy and humanity, uncomfortably crammed into a sitcom format. I thought that crack on the fake sitcom in this last episode, where they say the woman would never be with that guy in real life, was notable because that's exactly how Lucky Louie made me feel. He depicts himself in that as a horrible golem of the unpleasant habits and beliefs he depicts in standup. I found it uncomfortable to watch rather often, with few laughs. I believe that he didn't mean the joke that way, because that could apply to a hundred shows, but that's how I saw it.
posted by heatvision at 1:34 PM on September 22, 2011


Here's the scene
posted by naju at 1:34 PM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Which "you" are you talking to, Senor Cardgage?

Also I note that, since Louis is a heterosexual guy, it seems like it would be much easier for him to be dispassionate about ironic usage of the word "faggot."
posted by muddgirl at 1:35 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You ejaculate inside of her, and then she dies."

"She.. dies?"

"Oh, I was thinking of something else."

Fucking Brilliant.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:35 PM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks naju!
Derp, I should have included that scene myself n
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:36 PM on September 22, 2011


I'm watching the "Your father is dead" scene right now and it's got me in stitches.
posted by entropone at 1:43 PM on September 22, 2011


I'd say a lot of Louis CK's impact comes from that dispassion. Is there a better response to the tired "well why can't _I_ say it when rappers say it all the time?" than the "why do you want to say nigger so bad?" It's a calm and practical sidestep around the irrelevant behavioral choices of others that puts something back on the speaker - what exactly is the great loss you're feeling here, bub, that you can't say that?

And of course the follow-up from him that of course you CAN say it, you can say what you want. But you'll get judged for it and there will be consequences.

He's an interesting and talented guy. It's nice to see him having success.
posted by phearlez at 1:45 PM on September 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


My wife and I both feel like the high point of this season was the moving episode, specifically when he's talking to his accountant, trying to find a way to afford the extravagant house, and finally just bleats "But what about.... Obama?"

After a couple of weeks of using that line on each other every chance we could, we went in to our bank to look into the details of a mortgage refinance offer. And we talked to the guy for about half an hour, and it slowly became clear that we wouldn't qualify for the ReFi.

It fucking kills me that I didn't think to say "But what about.... Obama?"; and I think if the loan guy had gotten the joke (he seemed like a pretty cool guy), I would've jumped over the desk and high-fived him.
posted by COBRA! at 1:54 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Muddgirl I was referring to a general "you" and no one specifically.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:00 PM on September 22, 2011


2bucksplus, Reggie Watts only did the music for four episodes in the first season.
posted by theclaw at 2:02 PM on September 22, 2011


As much as I think the dramatic moments are very moving and thoughtful, sometimes I just want to say, "Dude, please just make with the funny!" I mean, the stuff about how religious guilt fucks up kids is moving at all, but I think that if the show is good when it is being serious, it is AMAZING when it is being comedic and/or bleak and/or bleakly comedic.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:03 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was surprised at the Halloween episode, in which Louie fails to stand up to a couple of hooligans in front of his children, as it seemed like a retread of a (brilliant and more fully wrought) incident in the first season, where he was getting harrassed in front of a date.

You want to call this show a comedy, because it's about a comedian and there's standup in it (JUST LIKE SEINFELD!). The closest I get to describing it to friends, is, you know how some comedians are super honest and say things that are pretty uncomfortable but relatable, and you laugh be it's uneasy laughter? Well, take out the funny, and what's left over, this is a whole show of that.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:09 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me the moment that sealed the deal was when he was dreaming with a melted bowl of ice cream on his chest, and suddenly he's in the television set with the beautiful anchor woman. It's going to be a sexy dream, but suddenly the anchor woman pulls out a butcher knife and starts screaming in his daughter's voice, DADDY DADDY DADDY

I don't know it was just -- so good.
posted by angrycat at 2:16 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was surprised at the Halloween episode, in which Louie fails to stand up to a couple of hooligans in front of his children, as it seemed like a retread of a (brilliant and more fully wrought) incident in the first season, where he was getting harrassed in front of a date.

***spoiler***


Yeah, but then he scares them off with a bike frame. Assuming the events of the show are relatively linear, I'm pretty sure that the Halloween scene is character progression.

Also I think the juxtaposition of those 2 incidents highlights the difference b/t when Louie is on his own and when he's with his children, which is a central theme to the show.


***end spoiler***
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:17 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was referring to a general "you" and no one specifically.

I think you were referring to a archetypal "scold". Personally I have a hard time locating such people - their existence is always assumed before they ever bother to show up, I guess.
posted by muddgirl at 2:23 PM on September 22, 2011


This is a moment to be proud of you all for loving the thing I love.

That's good work, Metafilter.
posted by General Tonic at 2:27 PM on September 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


Great show. Wouldn't say it was original as it seems like a very standard sitcom to me not that that takes away from its entertainment value.

I'm having trouble understanding where you're coming from with this sentence. Can you elaborate? Because Louie, particularly the second season, seems almost like the anti-sitcom to me. How is the Dane Cook episode a standard sitcom, for instance? Or the one with his old friend who is planning to kill himself?
posted by Justinian at 2:34 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


just wanted to reiterate, BEST THING ON TV.
posted by saul wright at 3:06 PM on September 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not to put a damper on things but that episode of Louie where he and his friends are sitting around playing poker has the whole etymology of faggot wrong.
posted by his median eminence at 3:07 PM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


My favorite part of the whole series is still the discussion that the child Louie has with his mother about Jesus in the car, after he is feeling guilty for being responsible for Jesus dying:
Mother: Jesus was a really, really nice guy who and he told everybody to love each other, and, boy, did he get his for that. But you had nothing to do with it. I mean, if you ask me, this whole thing's a big cover-up.
Louie: But he came back!
Mother: No, he... he...he didn't. Louie, he didn't. How could he do that, really? Come on. The whole thing, it's a bunch of malarkey.
posted by King Bee at 3:09 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Wave to me!"
"Wait…wait for you?"
"Yes! Wave to me!"
"Okay, I'll wait for you!"

That's the saddest/funniest thing I've ever seen on television.
posted by cazoo at 3:12 PM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Dane Cook episode was just mind-blowing. Even more interesting was reading about how the episode came together. The dude has so much humility - to write about a confrontation with Dane Cook where Dane Cook actually (sort of) wins and Louie has to (sort of) give up a little bit of dignity. All for the sake of keeping everything as real as possible and creating good TV. Freaking amazing.
posted by windbox at 3:14 PM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I want to ask Louie C.K. if he would even classify this show as "comedic." Because what's struck me about the AV Club walk-throughs is that he's really describing a collection of short stories - most of them black comedy, and a few of them straight-up tragic (at least to me, the Eddie story comes off more tragic than funny, although it's probably because I picked up on the ending at the first hint).

Not that short stories can't be "comedy," but we rarely classify them so rigidly, unless they are punny.
posted by muddgirl at 3:19 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Wave to me!"
"Wait…wait for you?"
"Yes! Wave to me!"
"Okay, I'll wait for you!"

That's the saddest/funniest thing I've ever seen on television.


He was sitting with that actress at the Emmys. It did my heart good.
posted by NoMich at 3:26 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


And by "that actress," I mean Pamela Adlon. Who also happened to be the voice of Bobby Hill. Wait! What? Did I read that right? "That actress" kicks ass.
posted by NoMich at 3:30 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


More importantly, she was in (an epic poem for our times) Grease 2.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:37 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's my thinking too, muddgirl, exactly. Forget whether it's a sitcom, in what sense is this a comedy? It might be the bleakest and most real thing I've ever seen on TV (short of, I don't know, The Wire?) He creates each episode as if he's a man with nothing else to lose and a burning desire to just portray life and tell the truth. There are moments that are funny as shit, but at times it almost seems like the comedy is there as a way to leaven scenes that are so dark you wonder whether the man is clinically depressed. "Eddie" was tragic and unsentimental in its approach, and the season closer was just heartbreaking. I find myself obsessed with the show for the uncomfortable honesty more than anything else.
posted by naju at 3:40 PM on September 22, 2011


Pamela Adlon was also adopted by Bull Shannon.
posted by Gary at 3:46 PM on September 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Love the show and hope he keeps it up. However the last few episodes seemed like they were running out of steam somehow.
posted by tarvuz at 3:52 PM on September 22, 2011


Louis has mostly disowned Pootie Tang.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:45 PM on September 22, 2011


The unfortunate part of that "faggot" episode is that the etymology is wrong. There's a stronger case for "faggot" coming from women smoking cigarettes (as opposed to men smoking cigars), though there are a bunch of other possible explanations that are more plausible than either.
posted by klangklangston at 4:48 PM on September 22, 2011


That's my thinking too, muddgirl, exactly. Forget whether it's a sitcom, in what sense is this a comedy?

Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.
posted by Justinian at 5:43 PM on September 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Question: Does anybody else hear the opening music as "Louis Louis Louis...Louis Louis Louis...You're gonna die"
Because that is funny as hell, but I've never been sure I heard it right.
posted by angrycat at 5:48 PM on September 22, 2011


It's "You're gonna cry".
posted by Justinian at 6:02 PM on September 22, 2011


The song, with slightly different wording, is used as the theme song to the television series Louie, a sitcom loosely based on the life of American comedian Louis C.K.. The word 'cry' was changed to 'die' in the second repetition of the chorus.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 6:03 PM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Such great writing. 99% of TV comedy comes off as lazy to me but Louie surprises me. The last episode of season two made me laugh out loud and also get a bit misty. That's just not something any other shows can do to me and I'm glad he'll be back for Season 3.
posted by frenetic at 6:08 PM on September 22, 2011


Also Louie C.K. is basically my new Kurt Vonnegut.
posted by frenetic at 6:18 PM on September 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: I wrote him a fan letter right after Pootie Tang.
posted by liketitanic at 6:26 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The word 'cry' was changed to 'die' in the second repetition of the chorus.

Ouch, hoisted with my own petard.
posted by Justinian at 7:16 PM on September 22, 2011


The amazing thing about to me, especially after reading these interviews, is that he's not some savant. These aren't just off the cuff things that happen to be genius. He actually sits down and writes these fucking things. They change direction, they go odd places. He starts from base ideas and tries to write an episode. There's no gimmick.

The episode where he gets in a minor scuffle with a friend and then sort of makes up, that was, I dunno, cinema. bravo louie c.k.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 8:05 PM on September 22, 2011


From the article:
I would definitely love to make movies someday. Unfortunately, I need to meet the level I’m at of control with this show. I’m gonna do this show until they won’t let me anymore, but if I ever get to make a movie, the only pitch I have—and occasionally I get calls from people saying, “Hey, I got some financing, would you like to make a movie?” And I told them, “Yes. Give me $8 million and I’m not telling you what the movie’s about. You’ll be able to see it when it’s finished.” And nobody, thus far, has taken me up on the deal. But I don’t care. I don’t need the movie. I believe someday I’ll get that deal. I believe it will happen.

Let's just pass the goddamn hat, already.
posted by ColdChef at 8:45 PM on September 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


That movie funding incident is kind of what happened with Blue Velvet, right? David Lynch was given some tiny amount of money and it wasn't worth it for anyone to really pay attention to what he was doing? I think I'm exaggerating a bit, but the point is someone needs to give Louie C.K. eight million bucks.
posted by dismas at 9:31 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The scene where he's waiting for the subway train and the violinist plays his heart out while a homeless man strips and washes himself right there... pure art.

No, the really beautiful part comes a minute later when he's in the subway car. The scene where there's a pool of some strange liquid on one of the subway seats and everyone is just staring and scowling at it, completely afraid to sit near it, so it just wastes three perfectly good seats, and how, in his imagination, he steps up confidently, strips off his shirt and mops it up for the betterment of all subwaykind…

…that is the single most amazing encapsulation of all the hopes and dreams of New York City that I have ever witnessed on the screen. It is fucking perfect. If you've ever lived in New York, you totally understand this magical moment, because you've been there. You've scowled at the mystery liquid like it's fucking lava, and scorned the self-centered piece of shit that could leave it behind without thinking of the utility they were robbing from the collective good. And we've all wanted to be that hero, and in our minds our fellow subway riders would look on, all knowing, all nodding and clapping and telling their children about the time this great man stood up to the inequities of man and took a hit for the rest of civilization… it's what living in the city is all about.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:35 PM on September 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Not to put a damper on things but that episode of Louie where he and his friends are sitting around playing poker has the whole etymology of faggot wrong.
GROSS: That's a scene from Louie C.K.'s new series, "Louie." So who is the comic who is explaining what the word faggot means?

Mr. C.K.: That's Rick Crom. And Rick is a comedian, lives in New York City, and he's just this guy who I met. I started in Boston, when I was about 18 years old, doing standup. And in Boston, you didn't meet a lot of openly gay people.

Usually, when people said I'm gay, the next thing they would say is ouch, you know. People - it wasn't a very giving place that way. And when I moved to New York City, he's probably the first openly gay person I ever met, I think. It's possible. I don't know, but definitely the first gay comedian I met.

Anyway, Rick, when I met him, I had that conversation with him about the word faggot. I asked him about it, and he said pretty much that to me. I mean, I wrote that scene as written. But he said it that way too, that he didn't lecture me or say you shouldn't say it. He just said, hey, if you're interested, it's totally devastating, and he gave me that information. And I never forgot it. I mean, I was about 22. I have said faggot on stage a number of times since then, but I don't - I know what I'm saying, and I know what it means now.

...

GROSS: I never heard that explanation of the word faggot or flaming faggot before. Is that, like, etymologically true?

Mr. C.K.: I don't know, and I've actually read things online where people are saying that's not accurate. I don't think it matters. I love that on all sorts of websites and gay blogs and stuff that this scene has sort of, like, stirred up conversation, which I think is just healthy.

And this scene is about a guy who believes that to be the true origin of the word, and it's about his feelings about it and what impact it has on me.

If it's not the real explanation of the word faggot, I don't think it matters. The point of the scene isn't to be accurate. It's not a news show. It's an exchange between characters.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:45 PM on September 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think Louis CK makes a pretty good point. It doesn't matter much if the etymology is accurate only that it is realistic that the character believes it to be the case. People believe incorrect things all the time. The scene works quite well emotionally.
posted by Justinian at 12:35 AM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


2 things:

1.) I own about 12 DVDs. One of them is Pootie Tang. I know it's kind of a dumbass movie, but it's funny for the...I don't know, audacity of its stupidity? It really shoots the moon, and somehow ends up being really magical. You better wapatau to the bammies because the cammytown's a biddy on the panny sty.

2.) Louie crosses wires in my brain. I watch it thinking to myself "this is funny, this is brilliant, I am loving this," but at the same time my eyes are welling up, and I feel like I'm constantly on the verge of tears. The pathos is almost overwhelming.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:45 AM on September 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


For the record: My girlfriend is totally going as Biggie Shorty for Halloween this year.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:55 AM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was a late convert to Louis CK. Why would I care about another white, middle-age "dude" comedian? But my god, that show is amazing. I couldn't believe it when I found out it's all him, the look, the music. It's just so fucking gorgeous.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:02 AM on September 23, 2011


it's what living in the city is all about.

Daring to dream of wiping up subway-seat urine with your shirt? Pass.

It doesn't matter much if the etymology is accurate only that it is realistic that the character believes it to be the case. People believe incorrect things all the time.

I didn't know if it was accurate or not, but it didn't smell right, so I figured the character was just bullshitting, as poker players tend to do. I didn't even think the character believed it, but thought it was a good story (he tells jokes, right?)

I couldn't believe it when I found out it's all him, the look, the music. It's just so fucking gorgeous.

I would prefer a better theme song. (Is it still "Louie Louie"?)
posted by mrgrimm at 8:56 AM on September 23, 2011


My favorite episode of this past season, which I think perfectly exemplifies what makes Louie unique and interesting compared to much of the rest of television, was the "Come On, God" episode.

In this episode Louie appears on Fox News to debate a (very attractive) fundamentalist Christian woman with a strong anti-masturbation agenda. On virtually any other show on television, such a character would be portrayed as a caricature and serve no purpose other than to be an object of scorn and mockery (or perhaps to have it later revealed that the anti-masturbation position is just a cover up for a repressed, horny, sex maniac). Louie took the complete opposite approach and had these two develop a genuine friendship, where she was given the opportunity to further articulate her position which was respected and taken seriously. The theme of Louie, if there is one, is empathy.

This episode also featured what was probably the single funniest scene I've ever watched on television, detailing Louie's own masturbatory fantasy involving a sexy young woman on an elevator, a very full bag of cocks, and an elderly Chinese gentleman.
posted by The Gooch at 9:16 AM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the AV Club discussion of the Dane Cook episode:
[I]f you’re willing to totally defend the other side, you can go anywhere. You can go to controversial places, as long as you can really give the other side the best argument, because you win just for doing it, just for taking it on.
Words to live by.
posted by whuppy at 9:17 AM on September 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not to put a damper on things but that episode of Louie where he and his friends are sitting around playing poker has the whole etymology of faggot wrong.

It's hard for me to see that this makes the scene any less powerful.

I'd admit I'm biased on this; one of the time periods that has steered my life more than average was a class on myth. Nominally it was focused on Campbell and the monomyth but there was a lot of other material as well. One of the things that's particularly stuck with me was a short-hand definition of what a myth (in the proper sense, not in the cultural misconception sense) is - "something that may not be true on the inside but which is true on the outside."

The way that story is told in Louie about the origin of the word strikes me as another great example. That's not really where the word comes from, but in its telling it encapsulates the word's use as a dismissive term, something that defines someone as detestable and to be destroyed. Louie's friend uses the story to communicate a larger theme and describe the way its use makes him feel. And what could be more significant in the discussion of whether a word is hate speech than describing to someone how its use makes the target feel?
posted by phearlez at 10:28 AM on September 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The way that story is told in Louie about the origin of the word strikes me as another great example. That's not really where the word comes from, but in its telling it encapsulates the word's use as a dismissive term, something that defines someone as detestable and to be destroyed. Louie's friend uses the story to communicate a larger theme and describe the way its use makes him feel. And what could be more significant in the discussion of whether a word is hate speech than describing to someone how its use makes the target feel?"

That's the strongest part of that scene, where Rick is talking about how every gay man in America has had that word yelled at him while being beaten up. But that part would have been powerful even without the wrong folk etymology.

For me, there were two problems: One, hearing that took me out of the scene and made me think, "Wait a moment, that's not right." Two, it spreads a folk etymology that's kind of a dishonest and manipulative moment in an otherwise fantastic and honest scene. I admit that I trust someone's opinion on, say, "fuck" less if they say it came from "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge."

Even something as small as saying that "One story I heard about the origins," or something similar, would make it more clear that this is a narrative fiction, rather than something that's factual; by trading so much on the realism of this show, especially in that scene, it's a shame that CK couldn't, you know, take five minutes and check Straight Dope before putting that out there. There are enough problems with the casual use of "faggot" that we don't need to invent any more.
posted by klangklangston at 11:22 AM on September 23, 2011


Personally, I found the back and forth — between comedians — about what is acceptable language — by comedians — more interesting than the actual meaning of the word itself. Particularly in the context of Rick being a gay man who has lived through an era where the Nick DiPaolo's of the world figuratively and literally kick gay people around. I don't care what Wikipedia says, it was a good scene and well written.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 AM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


One, hearing that took me out of the scene and made me think, "Wait a moment, that's not right." Two, it spreads a folk etymology that's kind of a dishonest and manipulative moment in an otherwise fantastic and honest scene

I'm not going to tell someone that how they experience art is wrong, but personally I've tried to get over my attachment to absolute factual accuracy in fiction. Part of that is pure mental survival; as a computer professional I'd have had to move to a shack in the woods mid-90s, around when "The Net" hit the silver screen, if I couldn't deal with people mis-portraying technology. Second is the fact that I decided I was being somewhat hypocritical if I enjoyed science fiction and fantasy literature even when it violated what we know about the universe.

So I decided I was going to write stuff a pass when it maintained a consistent metaphysics and advanced the story. That story might be shit, but if that's the case then it's failed as art in a far more important way than getting the number of octets in an IP address correct. If it advances the story only by being a convenient deux ex machina then that's also a problem that has nothing to do with accuracy - you could do lazy storytelling that was accurate down to what sweater Steve Jobs is wearing in that California garage and it can still suck.

We can't help what catches us and pricks our particular bugaboos, but I think it's a little unfair to hold someone like CK to a standard of verifying stories like that. The story isn't the emotional truth in the scene, the interaction and emotions and personal stakes are. CK also says it's the story as he heard it and it's clearly meant to be a scene that conveys the sense from the moment with friends. We're not supposed to be experiencing that scene from the standpoint of his friend who is telling the (inaccurate) anecdote, we're in CK's shoes.

So given that, if CK had known that was inaccurate etymology how should that scene have rolled out? As a well, actually? I'm not sure if I were at that table that I'd have corrected the story at that point.
posted by phearlez at 1:47 PM on September 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it's natural to have an aversion to just-so stories, especially ones that attempt to convey an emotional truth. I wasn't bothered by the scene when it aired, but I am irked by the idea that it is inherently transformative. I don't like the idea that we should be telling lies (even mythic lies) to change people's minds.
posted by muddgirl at 2:04 PM on September 23, 2011


Watch the opening montage while he's eating the pizza. Some kid flips him off, and he looks at him and just continues eating the pizza. For some reason that cracks me up every time I watch it.
posted by John of Michigan at 7:27 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Mansoor 'Tiger' Ali Khan, erstwhile Indian cricket...  |  Starting Tuesday, AT&T and T-m... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments