It’s funny that for a show that tends to spit in the face of television and shines a huge spotlight on the medium’s tired cliches, “Dad” focused on the main character’s daddy issues. Virtually every single flawed male character on TV has an issue with their father. Hell, all fifty characters on Lost had daddy issues. Of course, there is a reason that writers tend to go there: a lot of dads mess up their sons for life. Sons end up doing weird shit well into adulthood like have conversations with GPS systems or masturbating to self-made drawings of naughty parts.
Even if you can’t relate to Louie’s anxiety about seeing a father he hasn’t talked to in two years, it’s a universal scenario where once it becomes a significant amount of time since the last time one adult spoke to another it gets harder and harder to send an email or use the phone or take a trip to make contact again. And if you do have problems with a parent, the difficulty level increases ten thousand fold. It doesn’t seem fair to be obligated to deal with a human being that caused you pain that you would never in a million years talk to if they were not related to you. You’re a fractured adult now yourself and you have better things to do with your time. Like watch a 44-year-old comedian deal with his issues with his father.
“Dad” also happened to be a really funny episode with more humorous scenes than usual for the show. It didn’t start off *uproariously* funny exactly — it began with a dad being a villain to his child, when Louie interrupted Jane’s beautiful violin playing because she was supposed to be spending that time doing homework. Jane is too young to understand why her father did that, but will hate him for it anyway.
In a scene that reminded me of the start of C.K.’s stand-up bits about apathetic coffee shop employees, Louie, who was in a bit of a foul mood after disappointing his daughter, dealt with a completely apathetic electronic store employee who was annoyed that C.K. had a question about a DVD player. Because Louie was sort of a dick about it, the employee set it up so Louie would fall over a box when he finished making a phone call. C.K. told the manager it was “assault”. Unfortunately he was laughed at by the manager and the security guard when they played back the footage. World 109, Louie 0.
The phone call was a weird as hell one from an Uncle Excelsior, referred to as “Uncle Ex”. Ex sounded like an automated machine attempting to sound human, and the faint but audible static in the background made it sound like he was calling from the 1940s. Meeting the next day at the Russian Tea Room (with the place all to themselves!), Louie met with Ex, played by F. Murray Abraham, who we last saw trying to coerce C.K. into a three-way with himself and his wife out in New Jersey at the end of last season. (Louis C.K. clearly thought he underused the Oscar award winner the first time around.) Uncle Ex attempted to tell a story that only he could appreciate the humor in and attempted to impart sage advice by using a strange analogy that didn’t quite track, which reminded me generally of a few European relatives of mine I have encountered and had mostly one-sided conversations with in my lifetime. Thankfully, no great or not so great aunt, uncle or cousin has ever tried to coerce me into speaking to my father by discussing and demonstrating with a middle finger how men use protection when having sex with prostitutes. Louie was not so lucky.
Ex in his own way explained that even though Louie’s father once basically killed his beloved pony and that he literally cried (“It was disgusting. Like a woman.”) when telling him that he hasn’t spoken to his son in two years that it is C.K.’s obligation to talk to the guy. When Louie protests he hears the following:
Louie, Louie, Louie. For shame. Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you shame on you Louie shame on you. You go see your father. You go and see him yes. Yes! Shame. Shhhhhame on you.
Louie didn’t see him.
Instead he went to play poker with his comedian friends Nick DiPaolo, Jim Norton, Rick Crom, Sarah Silverman and William Stephenson. Crom and DiPaolo we all remember from the last poker game, made famous when Crom educated the guys on the origins of the term “fag.” That scene is so well known that C.K. decided to make fun of it with a bit of an inversion. In “Poker/Divorce”, the poker scene was a seven minute long vignette, propelled by Rick Crom answering Louie’s specific questions about homosexuality. Nick DiPaolo didn’t care for getting into specifics, saying “What is wrong with you people?” and “Stop! I’m going to puke.” He didn’t, Crom finished saying what he had to say, and the scene continued from there. This time, when Crom began to tell a story about ancient forms of pornography, he was interrupted.
Louie’s rash and puking were diagnosed by his physician (not Ricky Gervais) incredibly quickly as directly connected to C.K.’s fear of seeing his old man. Not being a fan of profusely vomiting, our hero flew to Boston where his dad lived. Apparently in Boston, people that should be completely unaware of your personal life not only know your business, but keep telling you how to handle your personal situation. After he puked on a rental car, an employee was particularly upset once she realized it wasn’t his own car and ripped into him, pointing out he is 44 years old and a man and should decide to go or not go see his father and just deal with it. The GPS asked in her annoying and totally phony voice what the big deal was since his dad never touched his penis or anything weird like that, which confirmed that if there was one particular explanation for why the father and son meeting would be uncomfortable it was not something dark and sinister (pshew). Then in the funniest bit of the episode, Louie and a hardcaw Bastonian had a confrontation on the street. The tall, muscular, bald Bostonian oscillated between spitting out antagonizing words to Louie and expressing deep empathy for him, sometimes in the same sentence. After confirming to one another that they want to “staht somethin’”, C.K.’s nose started to bleed. Once he explained that he is stressed over visiting his father because he hasn’t seen him in two years, the local said he hadn’t seen his dad since he died.
“You should think about that you queer.”
“I’m sorry man.”
“Good luck with your dad bro.”
“Take it easy mush.”
Thanks to the greatest website of our time, we know that “mush” is “Townie slang for one’s friend, or associate,” with Google adding that it is a term of endearment and was spoken in Good Will Hunting.
Louie got as far as ringing his father’s doorbell. Before he could open the door, Louie literally ran away. He hopped onto an idle four-wheel motorcycle(?) and drove to a marina where he traded the wheels for a motorboat that took him to the middle of the water. After stopping the engine and taking a deep breath, he laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of it all.
Then he made a weird one eye closed face.
Then he looked sad.
Louie could have been thinking any number of things when he was out there on that boat - there is no right answer. My guess is that it hit him that he is a father himself, and it’s possible that someday his daughters will projectile vomit at the thought of seeing him again, and he’ll be the lonely, lachrymose old man that F. Murray Abraham is disgusted by. Or maybe he was thinking that thanks to his fear, he was already as lonely as father.
Things To Say Before Puking on a Rental Car
- “You know, boilerplate misery. Alone in the world. Might as well be a maggot sucking a dead cat’s face. What’s the point. Nothing new…”
- “Louie let me ask you something. When a man has intercourse with a prostitute, and he covers his organ with protection so that he won’t catch her wretchedness. He is acting in the interest of his family, so that he won’t take it home to his wife, hmm?” “That’s a question?”
- “But, between the father and son, there can be no separation. No boundary. Your father calls. The son answers. A father beckons; a son comes. This is for life Louie. For life.”
- “Sell your tits on eBay, you can get seven bucks for those.” “Yeah but shipping would be like five bucks I’d clear two dollars. And I’d have bloody holes were my tits used to be.”
- “Ladies and gentleman we are making our final descent into Logan Airport where your father lives…”
- “Either see him or don’t see him be a man you’re 44 years old it’s your fault!”
- “Why are you being such a little pussy about this?” — Louie’s GPS
Things To Ponder After Explaining the Stolen Motorboat
- According to IMDB, William Stephenson, the newbie to the comedian poker game that wasn’t Sarah Silverman, has already been onLouie three times before: he was the bus driver in the pilot episode and the Comedy Cellar emcee twice. In fact he wore a Comedy Cellar shirt at the poker table. Does this guy own the Comedy Cellar?
- Jane’s excellent violin playing not being appreciated was reminiscent of the talented violinist being ignored on the subway platform in last season’s amazing “Subway/Pamela” episode. Does Louie attach the memory of Pamela turning him down to the violinist?
- So Louie, the character, when asked by Uncle Ex how show business is going says that it “is going pretty well. I got this show…” before he was interrupted. Does “this show” refer to the show Louie? If so, that is incredibly meta and a little bit headache inducing.
- The characters that gave Louie the finger in this episode: Nameless electronic store employee; Uncle Ex. Coincidence? (No way.)
Roger Cormier vomits on his own rental cars. He’s a mush like that.