‘Louie’ Recap: ‘Something Is Wrong’

Well, that sucked.

That was a lie. I just wanted to see what a negative review of Louie would look like. It just seems wrong doesn’t it?

I guess one problem with Louie is that it’s too good: every time an episode airs there’s a good chance it might end up being an all-time television classic. The creator, showrunner, star, writer and director of the show is a guy who has been making avant garde comedic short films since the late eighties, one of the original dudes that wrote for Late Night with Conan O’Brien when it began, the man who somehow has been at his stand-up comedic peak for seven years in a row, the person therefore most deserving today of one hundred percent creative control behind a weekly comedic television show. He’s celebrated so much it’s almost embarrassing, but the unprecedented artistic output speaks for itself.

So “Something is Wrong”, the third season premiere of the series that aired last night, was an average episode of Louie, so basically it was only funny, too honest and successfully weird. If you’re wondering what “successfully weird” means, let’s look at the traffic signs that C.K. and a fellow driver were trying to decipher in the beginning of the episode:

In a lengthy interview back in 2006 (thank you Bradford for that), right around the time Lucky Louie was about to go on the air and a year before his first hour long stand-up special Shameless, C.K. knew that he had turned a corner in his comedy. No longer was he the absurdist comedian who went out of his way to try to think of something weird first before he wrote a joke (“I have a peach!”): he had made a conscious decision to take everyday occurrences and try to make them funny instead. But C.K. never fully abandoned the weird even when he added his “I hate my daughter” vitriol and overall “fuck you” and “fuck me” reality into his writing. Everyone in the city is a slave to the arbitrary rules of parking signs, but the signs aren’t as ridiculous as they are in “Something is Wrong.”

For what it’s worth, signs were something that C.K. pontificated about back in 2001.

Anyway…successfully weird. And while you knew the punchline - Louie was going to leave the car unattended and something bad was going to happen to it - it was hard to predict that a bulldozer was going to unabashedly demolish the car - repeatedly - for no reason.

Without a car, C.K. needed new wheels, so he got a motorcycle. Again, most of us saw what was coming - after driving it all over Manhattan our hero crashed and burned and got himself into an accident. What was hard to predict was that we would finally see the mother of Louie’s white kids as a result of it. And that she’s African-American. Most of the time I am an annoying stickler for continuity (which is unfortunate if you watch a lot of television, even today), but Louie gets a pass - specifically because it sheds a new light on the season one episode “Dentist/Tarese” when C.K. doggedly and kind of creepily pursued a black supermarket cashier, going so far as to follow her to her home, only to settle on another black woman who lived in the cashier’s building. The man does not discriminate.

It wouldn’t be an episode of Louie without an examination of how a human being can repeatedly get in his or her own way. The spine of “Something is Wrong” was C.K.’s relationship with April, played by Kevin Costner’s daughter in Field of Dreams. Unfortunately for Gaby Hoffman, Dr. Moonlight Graham wasn’t around to save her this time from peril, in this case in dealing with the most passive-aggressive man on the planet. After six months of casually dating, we the audience were witness only to the end of the relationship, as April recognized Louie’s lack of eye contact, moaning and half-hearted claims of being tired as signs (SIGNS!) that he wanted out. “You can’t break up with me because I’m not anything to you. We haven’t been anything for six months,” she exclaimed at one point before pointing out that he had never introduced her to his kids. Of course he hadn’t. Two minutes later, April broke up with Louie on his behalf.

After the motorcycle incident, an injured Louie was cared to by April, there to pick up her laptop. When she was about to leave Louie asked her to stay, going so far as to say that he wanted to have Thanksgiving with her family thinking that would prove his commitment, but she knew better. Whether April’s claim that C.K. would go so far as to get married again knowing it was a mistake just to avoid confrontation is true or not (that would be a step too close to a cartoonish extreme I think), Hoffman’s character nailed the situation. “For the sake of future me and future you, just be a man, say ‘April, thank you for helping me. You’re a good one. See you sometime.’” He couldn’t do it. She left anyway. The one woman who can fluently translate all of Louie’s grunts, facial contortions and proclamations of drowsiness walked out the door and presumably out of his life forever. Of course she did.

It was just brutal. And then the show concluded with Louie and the unnamed man continuing to try to interpret those damn signs some more. It’s obvious after twenty one episodes that Louie is never going to figure them out.

Things to Ponder While Showing Off Your Motorcycle Scars

-I think everyone has heard C.K’s interview on WTF with Marc Maron, so you remember that Louie talked about how he used to recklessly ride his motorcycle without a helmet when he was younger, and he got into an accident where he was barely able to move for a week and the doctor told him that he was an idiot for riding a hog in the first place. Since that was in the early to mid 90s, C.K. definitely invented the old lady in the hospital bed asking “What about Obama?!” part. Or do you think she initially said Clinton?

-Sometimes all of the segments in an episode loosely shared a theme, albeit unintentionally. In the open C.K. said he would take a penis from a Puerto Rican when he got hit by a bus. Louie’s car is destroyed. Then later was the motorcycle accident. It’s a good thing nobody set foot on a plane.

-For those that were upset last night over continuity, did you forget that C.K. cast the same woman to play his date in one episode and his mother in another in season one? Or was that forgiven because of the potential Oedipal undertones?

-Was I alone in having to look up what a “cooz” was on urban dictionary?

-Would you keep your old, blurry, busted penis if you received a brand new one?

Roger Cormier will not have the food talk with you now.

‘Louie’ Recap: ‘Something Is Wrong’