Comedies have had a revival on network, but have also blossomed on cable, FX in particular, where the limits are stretched to the limits and profanity is a little more relaxed (HBO and Showtime will always be able to go far beyond what is acceptable for network and basic cable).
Comedies have had a revival on network, but have also blossomed on cable, FX in particular, where the limits are stretched to the limits and profanity is a little more relaxed (HBO and Showtime will always be able to go far beyond what is acceptable for network and basic cable). Among the current crop of successful comedies on cable, Louis C. K. returns for a second season of his self-effacing and hilarious half hour show “Louie” on FX.
The comedy of Louis C.K. tends to mine the ordinary aspects, particularly of his own life and raise those moments which would normally be routine or mundane to a level of absurdity and sublime madness. In the first episode of the season, Louie is brushing his youngest daughter’s teeth, as she explains that she prefers living with her mom, Louie’s ex-wife. A five year old, hardly comprehends the horror and dismay we the audience feels at what seems to be ignorant callousness – after all, her father is caring for her, cleaning her teeth as she opines. We can’t blame him for flipping the bird at his darling little girl when she isn’t looking and in fact support the sentiment, knowing there’s really no other reaction that he can have in that moment. In these situations Louis C.K., who writes and directs his show is a master at subtlety. He never plays himself as a broad character, but as a mild mannered schlub, who generally keeps his absurd and profanity laced observations for his comedy sets, which serve as segues and asides to the stories being told in Louie’s day to day life.
Louis C.K. is one of the most inventive and fearless comedians working today, putting a pasty face to the middle aged divorcee angst which he brings to his act and to this show in particular. He’s also made the show a welcome home for cameos from other great New York comedians and actors – each one who steps into this world knows they are playing some funhouse version of themselves or characters in Louie’s life – a fellow single parent at his daughter’s school, Louie’s pregnant sister Gretchen or a fellow comedian who takes advantage of Louie’s distraction to insult his mother at great length and detail.
If you’ve missed the first season of the show, I highly recommend you hunt it down on DVD or Netflix to watch. Even if you can’t catch up, there’s no reason you should avoid this second season premiere, which requires little to no exposure to the first season, just a healthy sense of humor and a desire to jump into a hyper-realized world which shares space with the “real world” in Louie’s mind.
The show is funny, relatable and often offensive, but it also has heart and soul. No matter how absurd or extreme Louie’s circumstances, you always want the loveable lug to come out on top.
“Louie” returns to FX on Thursday June 23rd at 10:30 PM Eastern/Pacific.