The second episode of the third season of Louie returned to its usual format of two stories per episode. The first segment was comprised of a charming mix of Louie eating with his daughters while they told him, their father and arguably the top comedian on the planet at the moment, knock-knock jokes and performing stand-up surrounding said jokes. Louie is a great show because it takes moments that other shows would not hesitate to exploit in the cheapest, easiest, most saccharine and universally translatable way and plays them honestly which is why they retain all of their value yet still work successfully without making anyone’s eyes roll. Not only did Louie’s stand-up highlight and multiply the genuine humor inherent in one of his daughter’s jokes about the appropriate personnel deciding not to let a gorilla into a ballet performance, but the scene with his daughters reminded the audience not necessarily of the typical wonderful innocence of children that so many other TV shows and movies lean on, but that children do possess wonderfully untainted perspectives which can yield powerful experiences if indulged in just the right amount.
The rest of the episode was not nearly as sweet but was just as hilarious and entertaining. Opening with another comedian and friend of Louie’s, Allan Havey, performing a bit of stand-up in which the attitudes of young and old penizia are discussed, the second segment which constituted the rest of the episode found Louie being set up for a date by his friend’s wife. Of course this began as awkwardly as you would expect, complete with super loud silverware scratching plates and forced conversation, and it ended fairly awkwardly as well though in a very unexpected way.
Once the couple ditched out on dinner to go get some drinks at a bar, they found their similar attitudes and had a great time. I especially enjoyed their laughing over Louie’s exclamation that life is “90% shitty”. Things continued to go well. So well in fact that Louie’s date, Laurie, offered him a blowjob. Things took a turn though when Louie refused to return the favor. When pressed as to why he refused, Louie explained how it’s too intimate of an act and would “feel like a whore”. Laurie is understandably upset by this response but instead of pouting or yelling or doing anything else most female characters on television would do in this situation, Laurie first accuses Louie of being a closeted homosexual. When that doesn’t work, she breaks the window of her truck’s passenger door with Louie’s head, straddles his face, and threatens to break his finger if he doesn’t comply. This may sound slightly horrifying and a bit rapey, but did I mention it was to win a bet? Anyway Louie was happy to agree to a second date.
First of all I guess I was wrong about April becoming a recurring character. Secondly, I liked the exchange between Louie and Laurie because it essentially played out every nice guy’s worst nightmare – expressing your true feelings and subsequently being called “faggot” then being physically overpowered. Seeing this fantasy illustrated how absurd it is to possess such fears. Unlike shows like Men At Work, Louie is a series which paints the contemporary white man in a genuinely sympathetic light without making us look like every terrible politician/war monger that’s ever helped steer western civilization into a dark corner.
Overall, “Telling Jokes/Set-Up” succeeded in achieving its goals of depicting Louie in a best case scenario of spending quality time with his kids and a worst case scenario of a blind date that goes well and ends weird, all while expressing the uniquely tragic and hilarious situation that is the human condition. By the way, both episodes of the third season included stand-up about old and young penises, segments with French music soundtracks, and nonsensical condemnations of Obama – trend?