But…but this was supposed to be the Amy Poehler/Louis C.K. fun times happy hour.
Instead that ginger haired man gave us “New Year’s Eve”, an episode that dealt with profound loneliness and death like very few shows had ever done before, including previous episodes of Louie. It was pretty shocking and depressing, and only after it settled in the brain for a few hours and all of debris from the WTF bombs was swept away did its excellence become evident.
The season three finale began innocently and humorously enough with C.K. doing the thing he does best — looking like he wouldn’t mind if a meteor landed right on his head. It was Christmas morning, and as Jane and Lilly opened their presents from Santa, we saw all of the hardships their dad went through to make them happy that morning. That blue monkey for Jane had to be procured at a characteristically loud and crowded store full of panicked parents. As Lilly gushed over her new doll, we witnessed for at least three minutes Louie attempting to fix that doll which arrived without eyes. He heard them jangling inside of it, and after trying to fish them out using chopsticks through the sockets used power tools to cut the head off. Then he almost got superglue in his eye. Then after the superglue succeeded in claiming one innocent when the head got stuck on the couch, Louie cried to himself before scraping and brushing and buffing the head (and peeing on it for catharsis). He then melted three crayons in a pan so he can get the perfect color mixture to match the doll’s proper hue. Which didn’t seem to work initially, but that was the last we saw of that particular ordeal. Never have children.
When Jane opened her present — the children’s book The Story about Ping — we didn’t get to see the backstory behind that purchase, but I am willing to bet that it came from a bookstore that appeared in three episodes this season. Louie must have bought it for an excuse to come back there and because he knew from “Ducklings” that Jane likes ducks, which is because she is not the devil. As C.K. read to his youngest daughter about a duck named Pang that frolicked in the Yanghtze River, Jane commented that “it looked so nice to live on that river.” Louie agreed. “Yeah it does, doesn’t it?”
Janet and Patrick picked up the kids to frisk them away on an international trip that will have them out of the country and away from their biological father’s crazy, depressing life for the next three weeks. When they get on Louie’s elevator, they look like the perfect family.
Seeing that, Louie went ahead and took down all of the decorations and chucked the tree straight out the window, Never style. Awoken at 3pm from his Christmas day slumber, C.K. answered a phone call from Debbie, a sister that as far as we know doesn’t mistake labor pains for farts.
Even though it’s Amy Poehler, Debbie wasn’t a funny character; just someone worried about her brother and the straight man to her G.O.B husband Doug. (G.O.B. of course standing for “good old boy”, as in a certain type of gentleman from the South. What did you think I meant?) Doug toed the line between friendly and dickish when inviting Louie to join himself, Debbie and their children to go down to Mexico with them for the holidays to visit Abuelita (grandma), telling “Funnyman” he bought him a first class ticket out of “left wing Kennedy Airport” to go to Me-he-co. Roll tide. Sensing that he wasn’t going to take him up on their offer, Debbie expressed concern before giving up, smiling, and saying that she loved him, appeasing one million Tumblrs.
Falling asleep to the docile tones of Fanny Chapcranter and Flappy Howserton, Louie dreamed of young adult Jane and Lilly sitting in a coffee shop, literally saying things like “Wow we’re like, probably in our twenties.” Jane has a “career-y thing”, whereas Lilly is “probably an artist. And hopefully it’s going well.” They talked about the last time they saw daddy. They claimed he’s alone, depressing, and sits in a chair eating pinwheel cookies.
What’s the problem with that exactly? They’re delicious.
C.K. woke up. It was New Year’s Eve and decided to take a nice shower with his shirt on, grab a passport and take the bus to that liberal airport. Someone familiar happened to be on the bus.
They said hello, but before they could even hug blood shot out of both of her nostrils. What the fuck. She went to the hospital. These were her final words.
“Am I dying?”
“Am I DYING?!”
“I’m not ready for this.”
“This is crazy.”
And she was gone. Louis C.K. and Parker Posey — Masters of the WTF. Manic Pixie What the Fuck.
Louie walked outside the hospital room and was suddenly surrounded by happy doctors and nurses celebrating the new year. Yayyyyy. He arrived at the empty airport and took a nap. When he awoke and looked at the big board, he spotted Beijing, China. Perhaps to honor the memory of the woman from the bookshop he had just seen die in front of his eyes, Louie decided to go on an adventure, like he did the night of their date, a date he admitted was one of the greatest nights of his life. And it wasn’t only perfect because it was a seemingly crazy, reckless adventure, but it was an adventure influenced by a book. After a glimpse of Pang’s China sunset, there was Louie, in Beijing.
He kept searching for the Yanghtze River but nobody was able to help him. In a funny scene, a man misunderstood C.K.’s pantomiming of the flow of a river as Tai Chi movements, which resulted in the two mirroring one another. Finally, Louie was seemingly understood by a man driving a truck full of ducks. Unfortunately, while the Yanghtze is the third-largest river in the world, it apparently isn’t that impressive in Beijing, or there was another miscommunication.
Louie aimlessly walked until a woman invited him into a little house to eat a meal with her family. After not being able to understand one another, eventually Louie was able to pronounce some Chinese words kinda sorta correctly, provoking laugher from everyone.
As “Auld Lang Syne” played, the camera left the house and pointed to the sky. The sun was shining.
It looked so nice.
And so ended the season and the year of a man that would rather spend a holiday with complete strangers than with his family. A man who honored his deceased love of his life. A man that purports to be the center of a comedy program that tells incredibly depressing stories. A man that makes people laugh really hard and often. The only thing that isn’t complicated about Louie is how to feel about it not being on until next summer. It’s going to suck.
Things to Say While Considering the Mexican Hot Wings
“Shit on my father’s balls!”
“Happy New Year, Merry Christmas I’m fine.”
“How are we going to know when we get to this age how not to be alone?”
“Go ahead and put that gun in your mouth!” (Actually you shouldn’t say this unless the other person knows you’re mimicking a demented news anchor.)
Things to Ponder For The Next Nine Months
-Did you think that the second half of the episode was all a dream like I initially did? It’s true that when Louie awoke from the Lilly/Jane young adult dream that he was wearing a different shirt, and three pastries were on his bed that were not there when we saw him fall asleep. However, he had fallen asleep on Christmas and woke up on New Year’s Eve. We know this from the stories heard on his TV before and after from the two most trusted names in television: Fanny Chapcranter and Flappy Howserton. Also, there is a certain visual language to the dreams on this show that you do not see in the scenes set in reality. And it’d be kind of cheap.
-Do you remember the dream sequence from Growing Pains that C.K. kind of ripped off? I barely do, but I do remember an episode where Maggie Seaver had a dream in which the ne’er-do-well oldest child Mike assured her that he was very successful at his job. When she inquired what his job was exactly, Kirk Cameron charmingly said it didn’t matter, never revealing even the general field to which his profession lied. Obviously I could not find it on YouTube.
-C.K. used chopsticks to try to fish the eyes out of the doll at the start of the episode? He used chopsticks to eat in Beijing at the end. Coincidence? Hungry? Both?
-Do you think a reason why Louie did not want to go to Mexico City was because he thought there was a chance that his father would show up?
-Did Patrick know something was wrong with that doll?
-Are there references to every season 3 episode in “New Year’s Eve”? At least 7 of the 12 are represented, with the three episodes dealing with Parker Posey, the three parter involving Letterman, and the Never episode. Louie getting into a stranger’s truck you can say was reminiscent of Melissa Leo raping him in her pick-up, but that’s a bit of a reach.
-Were they actually in China? Yes, yes they were.
-You remember The Story about Pang right? I’ll admit to having to look up the plot online before remembering. I think I repressed it because the lesson — you might get beaten but it could be worse—- wasn’t exactly the most positive. Then again virtually every story in Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales is fairly messed up. Did you know that in the non-Disney version of Cinderella the wicked stepsisters CUT OFF THEIR TOES to get their damn feet in that glass slipper? And they didn’t think that the Prince would notice BLOOD coming out of the slipper? Which was shortsighted of them because he totally did.
Roger Cormier also remembers Ben Seaver being ashamed of his intelligence and wishes he didn’t.