Episodes of Louie, even those which don’t even remotely resemble the usual sitcom format, are still successful because they achieve the goals they work to set up for themselves. For example, “Miami” was one of those episodes of Louie which makes my roommate feel “uneasy, like, 90% of the time”, which is actually a good thing, at least in part, because that’s what it aimed to do.
“Miami” looked to paint a portrait more so than it did to tell a linear story. Sure, we saw Louie arrive in the city during the episode’s first montage from when the plane landed, then checking in to the hotel (complete with a shirtless male model standing around the lobby aimlessly, apparently just to make guests like Louie feel uncomfortable), doing a bit of stand-up (the reason for coming to Miami), and finally meeting Ramone at the beach and eventually hanging out with him all day in the second montage. But this sequence of events was mostly deemphasized in favor of being crafted more so to serve as the rising action, the means by which the episode’s crescendo was achieved wherein the portrait of a man unable to articulate his feelings for another man was completed.
Everything leading up to this climax contributed to the vague notion that Louie had essentially fallen in love with the man that rescued him from not drowning. Louie arrived in Miami and felt awkward and uncomfortable, as usual, as demonstrated by his returning from his initial beach visit, in which he was even accidentally knocked down by some good looking young people, to take a post room service binge nap in his hotel room before returning to the beach to swim in the evening with the other older, overweight men in relative solitude. Now since it would be too neat and conventional for Louie to actually be saved from almost drowning, he is instead mistaken for a drowning victim when trying to yell from the water to the hotel employee cleaning up and collecting beach chairs to not take Louie’s stuff. Nonetheless, Louie cannot convince the lifeguard, Ramone, a strong and attractive young man, of his actual predicament and so the rescue scenario is established. During this rescue, Ramone not only demonstrates his physical prowess, but also demonstrates sensitivity and insight when asking Louie what he does, why he’s in the area, and when learning that Louie’s a comedian, a good one, Ramone validates Louie’s life’s work and describes it as “a gift you give people – making them laugh”. Thus Louie is rescued not only from potentially drowning, but also from feeling worthless and so his and Ramone’s courtship begins.
Now if I ran into the guy that rescued me at a hotel bar I’d probably offer to buy him a drink as well; it’s only decent etiquette. Louie’s awkwardness during his and Ramone’s drink was not simply good comedy fodder (“Did you come here on a raft or something?”), it served to further ingratiate Louie to Ramone whom actually considers Louie a kind of brother after learning that he too came to the United States as a child from a Hispanic nation (Mexico), which happens to be true. Now it’s clear the two men have mutual feelings of admiration and respect for each other.
The next scene finds Louie sitting at an outdoor café table reading the paper and having a plate of strawberries, one of which a very attractive young woman basically steals from Louie’s plate, albeit with great charm, and Louie reprimands her for it. I find this hilarious because I wish I would have the balls to tell a hot blonde that “No, you can’t have one of my strawberries just because you’re pretty.” This speaks to a resentment I believe many heterosexual males feel toward attractive females whom use their good looks to take advantage of dopey guys they know they would never actually romantically consider. Anyway, the point is that this exchange established a contrast between Louie taking an opportunity he could have used to maybe get a date with the attractive woman to instead treat her with disdain, and Louie’s encounters with Ramone, which he could have let be, but are returned to several times with excitement and enthusiasm. Does that make Louie gay? Of course not; what it does do is make fun of everyone who thinks it does, which is just brilliant.
The following scenes, the aforementioned montage of Ramone showing Louie “the real Miami”, looked like a ton of fun. If I, a similarly heterosexual white guy like Louie, were treated to everything Ramone showed Louie, I’d be ecstatic, even if I were shown all that by a dude. There’s a touching exchange between the two men where Louie remarks that he “Never saw Miami like this,” and Ramone offers his sympathy for everyone staying at the hotel in the distance whom never leave their balconies. Afterward, when Louie and Ramone are saying goodbye for the first time, the two men do what all heterosexual men do when saying goodbye to what has been a genuine, authentic, life-affirming experience – quickly thank each other and move on.
But Louie isn’t satisfied with simply moving on; why should he have to? So he calls his ex-wife to make sure she’s okay keeping their daughters a few extra days while Louie stays in Miami. It’s a significant scene because Janet almost immediately recognizes that Louie has indeed met someone, assuming that someone to be a woman, and encourages him to enjoy himself. This scene brings to the forefront of the episode for anyone in the audience who has yet to catch on what “Miami” has been about – can a heterosexual man platonically fall in love with another man?
I love Louie for a lot of reasons but in this case because the show answers that question with an awkward yet definitive “Yes,” and ridicules anyone, Louis C.K. included, for responding to that question with the insecure, defensive stumbled mutterings that Louie utters when Ramone finally confronts him by asking why he stayed longer than he planned. As Louie explains in the episode’s stand-up conclusion, heterosexual men are the only group to so vehemently defend their sexual orientations and it is a burden because if we were evolved enough to not give a shit about such distinctions, there would absolutely be a great weight lifted from our collective shoulders. That being said, I’d like to simply state that “Miami” was just wonderful.