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Louie CK Returns And Continues To Push The Boundaries Of Traditional Sitcom Fare
on May 23, 2012
Having been only a moderate Louis CK fan prior to catching Season One of FX's stellar "Louie," I found the initial 13 episodes to be absolutely fantastic. Without a doubt, this is his breakthrough moment and performance. "Louie" expertly blends the mundane with the profane. It can be awkward, hilarious and surprisingly real. I thought Season One had some of television's biggest single laughs of the year as it juxtaposed comedy club footage with Louie just trying to be a good person, a good father, and a good comedian in everyday situations. Oftentimes pushing past the edge of good taste, Louis CK leads you right into the crudest scenarios possible but never loses you. This is a guy you can identify with and share in his frustrations and challenges. I feel like Louis CK really lets the viewer into his world and invites us to partake in the unified silliness of humanity. Nominated for two 2011 Emmy Awards (one for writing, one as Best Actor in a Comedy), this show was also included on the American Film Institute's Best Program of the Year roster.
So I was really looking forward to this second season. I'm going to be honest. In its totality, I don't think the show was quite as funny as last year. But in many ways, the show deepened and became far more unexpected and interesting. While still the champion of the awkward exchange, many episodes didn't play for laughs at all. I'm not sure how others would compare this second season, but I found myself really respecting the chances that Louie CK took in his increasingly personal stories. Some of the memorable moments include life lessons from Joan Rivers as well as Louie's continued painful pursuit of a relationship with Pamela Adlon. But many of the episodes (including the season's loudest and most obnoxious entry about Louie's pregnant sister) defy categorization. The show is unafraid of dealing with parenthood in a way few TV programs even attempt. There is a quiet poignancy and truthfulness behind everything that happens. What do you say when your daughter tells you she likes her mother better? Well that's the question that opens the season.
The 13 episodes on this 2 disc set are: (1) Pregnant, (2) Bummer/Blueberries, (3) Moving, (4) Joan, (5) Country Drive, (6) Subway/Pamela, (7) Oh Louie/Tickets, (8) Come On, God, (9) Eddie, (10) Halloween/Ellie, (11) Duckling, (12) Niece, (13) New Jersey/Airport.
Some episodes have two vignettes, some are self contained stories. More than anything, this season shows a confident and creative show runner willing to push the boundaries of conventional sitcom fare. Without a doubt, my favorite of the year (one I'm convinced will be Emmy nominated) is the expanded episode "Duckling" which has Louie participating in a USO tour of Afghanistan. It's a great set-up with lots of laughs that turns into one of the most heartfelt and memorable moments that I saw on TV this year. Seriously.
If you didn't love Season One of "Louie," than this simply isn't a show for you. Nothing here will change your mind. As I stated, I didn't think this season had as many laugh-out-loud moments but it more than compensated by an increased depth and honesty. It's strange to talk about a sitcom like that, but this is as close to real life as you're likely to see in a sitcom. KGHarris, 5/12.