“You wanted to take a bath with me…?”
I love the still above. In a single photo, you have the entirety of the New York subway experience: in the background, a random piece of shit on the floor (not literal shit, mind you, which I’ve also seen), but our attention is on the sexually depressed Louie looking everywhere on the train but at what he wants to gaze at, the beautiful woman (played by Ashley Beach) literally inches in front of him. But oh he wants to, how badly he wants to impress her, and in his literally black-and-white imaginationland, he does. In the “Subway” segment of last night’s episode, while the rest of the train, including the woman sitting across from him, stares helplessly at an unknown red puddle, bubbling and swaying to the movements of the train, Louie gets off his ass, heroically takes off his over shirt, and soaks up the liquid mess, so that someone can have the now open seat, impressing the leggy blonde to no end.
I, for one, have never done anything so courageous on the subway (even in my mind), and I’ve lived in New York City for five years. This of course is just me making an excuse, but I think most would agree on the unwritten rule that when you’re on the train, you don’t say anything to anyone you don’t know and you don’t look at anyone you don’t know; you should instead think about anything but being on the train. Your mind drifts to the copy of Game of Thrones you’re half reading, not of the coughing, sneezing, and, yes, shitting that’s happening all around you, a moving shoebox of germs and illnesses.
But not Louie’s mind; he can’t not think of the puddle, of the gorgeous woman, of the juxtaposition of the handsome violin-playing, tuxedo-wearing man unknowingly performing in front of a homeless man (Louis Iacovino) taking a shower using a plastic bottle of water. He also can’t help but think of his friend Pamela as more than just “his friend Pamela,” and he has to tell her his true feelings, consequences be damned.
OK Louie takes Awesome Pamela to a “cool” French restaurant, for which he claims he’s pretty much a regular, in an attempt to woo her favor, but the plan backfires because she sees through his bullshit. Louie’s never been to this particular culinary establishment before, and she knows it. But once the food comes, his desperation melts away into a bowl of “kick a Jesus in the face”-level soup. As Pamela and Louie are trading back-and-forths on how good the food is, he says, “I can’t wait to eat the shit that I take from eating this food.” For the first time, Pamela laughs at one of Louie’s jokes. A wall has crumbled, in the form of a bowl of delicious, delicious soup.
In the next scene, they’re at a flea market, and Louie makes her laugh again. (Side note: I loved this episode’s use of diegetic music, first with the violinist and later, with the pianist. Wonderful, yet simple, touch.) The two are discussing whether it’s OK for a 10-year-old to be scared of roller coasters; Louie, of course, says it is, and explains, “I went on a Ferris wheel one time, and I screamed like a little girl who just saw a spider in her vagina.” Feeling good about himself, Louie tries to put his arm on Pamela’s shoulder, and she immediately rebukes his charms.
Fuck it, Louie thinks, and he tells Pamela his feelings for her. Choice excerpts: “Pamela, I’m in love with you.” “You’re so beautiful to me.” “SHUT UP!” “I don’t have enough time in any day to think about you enough. I feel like I’m going to live a thousand years, because that’s how long it’s going to take me to have one thought about you, which is that I’m crazy about you, Pamela.” “I don’t think about women anymore; I think about you.” “That’s the whole dream, you were holding my hand.” “It’s like polio.” “I feel like I’m going to die if I can’t be with you, and I can’t be with you, so I’m going to die.”
That line about not thinking about women anymore, just Pamela, that’s pretty good. The rest: *tugs on shirt collar*. And yet, Pamela is…sort of charmed. She knows how good of a guy Louie is, and how wonderful his words were, but she can’t see herself with him. Until, she, too, when they’re back at her apartment, says fuck it. Pamela says to Louie, “Do you want something to drink? You want to take a bath? You hungry?” but Louie’s already halfway out the door, and doesn’t hear the second of the three questions.
Poor Louie. He finally gets what he wants, but for once, his mind is elsewhere. The man who couldn’t help but stare at the puddle on the train and listen to the way the super-smart 14-year-old student was talking, the man who’s living involves making observations about the tiniest details of life, he doesn’t hear that Pamela wants to take a bath with him, TO BE NAKED WITH HIM. “Subway/Pamela” ends the way so many other nights have for Louie, with him muttering to and kicking himself for not taking advantage of a good thing, and then telling a joke about how all grandparents secretly hate one another.
Josh Kurp would like to be an asshole and say that the 2 train doesn’t run through Grand Central…