Friday, June 24, 2011

"Louie" -- Exceeding Expections on the FX Network

We called Louis C.K. a genius in our last post reminding you of his series' second season, and after watching last night's episode "Pregnant" we reaffirm our assessment.  Louie is a series utterly without peer -- no, actually, I would put the most profoundly affecting episodes of Ricky Gervais' series The Office (the original British version) and Extras in the same league, and a few other things.  Louie makes other half-hour comedy series, even the less-traditional ones from HBO (Hung, Entourage) or Showtime (Nurse Jackie, The Big C), seem like they're missing something.  They are -- they're missing Louis C.K., whose skill, openness, truth, and guilelessness as a performer takes his work in Louie to a level that's simply astounding.

It's hard to imagine anyone -- except Gervais, who happens to be a friend of LCK, no surprise there -- able to take the exquisite pain of being a human being and turn it into an entertainment that manages to be simultaneously -- or in sequence sometimes -- hilarious, shocking and brutal, unblinkingly honest, and tremendously affecting.  Watching last night's episode of Louie pushes you through a journey that will genuinely bring tears to your eyes -- and not in some bullshit way -- as well as offering up scatalogical glee, comedic zingers, and some of the best acting that you're going to see, anywhere.  From his scenes doing stand-up, then to the great kitchen action as LCK handily and fascinatingly prepares a fabulous-looking dinner for his two young daughters (the youngest of whom delivered an earlier stark assessment of their family life to him), and on to those with Rusty Schwimmer playing his very pregnant sister, to the genuinely tense medical emergency moments where he meets his neighbors, and beyond -- last night's episode was incredible.  No other word for it. 

There's nothing like Louie.  It's the most astounding half-hour comedy out there, but we really need to invent another term for this hybrid program type.  It's even beyond the brilliant ensemble work of a show like Nurse Jackie, which is hardly ordinary yet actually pales in comparison with Louis C.K.'s vision in Louie.  This series is testament to LCK's brilliance as a writer and as a performer, along with his undeniable skills as director and editor, two more positions he fills on Louie.  Like Gervais, he's got a perfect ear for life's absurdities as well as its sublime satisfactions, including last night's ruminations on family, friendship, and the need for connections. 

Not for everybody, not even close -- don't watch if you don't like profanity perfectly delivered -- but truly unforgettable.  How can something this good be on television?  Kudos to FX for getting behind this wonderful series and for helping bring Louie into the world.  And the most profound thanks and gratitude to Louis C.K. for going that extra step where few performers ever dare tread, primarily because most others wouldn't know what to say once they were truly out there.  Louis C.K. does.  He knows exactly what to say, and you'll be missing so much if you don't watch and listen.

Visit FX's terrific Louie site (with lots of interesting extras) for more info and the schedule, though I can only find airtimes on Thursday nights, starting at 10:30p with several encores later.


Dean Treadway said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE that this show is coming back! Long live Louie C.K.!

Dean Treadway said...

God, last week's episode, with the bum getting run over and those two awful "dates" was so superb. I can't remember seeing anything quite as disturbing and outstanding as that episode ever on TV. He's just flat-out brilliant.