Louie Season 5 Premiere Recap: Hey, Fried Chicken!

Boring old Louie. Photo: FX
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Last season was a testament to Louie C.K.’s creative weirdness; the weirdness is back this season, but in its more sitcom-y form. I miss the way he stretched boundaries, but sort of love that he’s back to his snippy, sad self.

Right from the start, everyone is bored with Louie — including Louie himself.  The catalyst for his Night of 1,000 Potlucks (well, two) is actually boredom. His therapist falls asleep — or dies; Louie doesn’t stop to check — while Louie is in the middle of a sentence about his rising depression, and it sends him into a frenzy of worry that he’s a “boring asshole” now. Considering what happens at the end of the episode, it’s entirely possible that he’s daring himself to find new ways to shake things up, which includes going to a potluck, inadvertently ruining a celestial event, and demolishing a couple’s birth plan in the span of a few hours.

Judy Gold is wonderful as Marina, the exasperated potluck organizer and parent Louie calls when he’s looking for a way to be interesting again. It was pretty funny how he steamrolled her suggestion to bring dessert in order to make what he really wanted (fried chicken), and how being an asshole makes him feel so much better. Louie isn’t a jerk in a menacing way — just a sort of annoying way that often segues into flat-out charming. With that in mind, nothing was funnier than his telling a parent that his daughter Jane was “better than you” because she did private violin lessons at Julliard, and then just walking away.

It’s possible that Louie was still feeling residual stress from his earlier visit to the wrong potluck, after he blindly followed some people into the building. Nothing tipped him off that this might be the wrong house — not a man answering the door and saying “tidings to you all” or the blank stares he got when he mentioned being a parent — so he had to make an awkward exit when he finally did catch on, leaving behind his delicious-looking homemade fried chicken in the process. Of course he went to KFC to get more chicken, taking a big bite out of a piece when he was done, the same way he did when he was cooking at home. The consistency on this show, particularly when it comes to Louie’s personality, is so good.

After trying and failing to insert himself into a conversation with Marina about their surrogate, Julianne, he licks his fingers and leaves. Marina was cruel in the harsh way she iced him out, but Louie wasn’t much better, butting in to ask intimate details about their birth plan. When Julianne insists they share an Uber together, Louie agrees; when he helps her upstairs, Julianne cries; and when he soothes her by telling her she looks like a “classical painting of a life goddess,” she immediately drops trou and they have sex for ten seconds, right up until her water breaks.

Even if he had very little to do with it, this is the most intense and immediate way Louie has ever gotten revenge. Marina is dismissive and aggressively angry at Louie; the cool dance they set up is that he kind of deserves it, but so does she. When Marina storms into the hospital and yells at him for “jizzing all over his face,” Louie quietly (and hilariously) says he didn’t come, but it’s still clear he absolutely had a hand in ruining what was supposed to be the most beautiful day of their lives. His revenge is as quiet as his mumbling while he walks away, back into his no-longer-boring life.