When trying to sum up the new FX comedy Louie in one sentence, I would say this: it's damn depressing to watch. It's not that Louis C.K., star and creator of the series isn't funny. He is that. But he's also a huge pessimist, and doesn't seem to like his life very much. I don't dislike the show. I don't think I laughed out loud once, but his worldview was unique and interesting, if nothing else. I'm not sure how that will hold up for a series. I don't think most viewers want to tune into something that puts them in such a blue mood week after week.
The series is interspersed with bits of him doing stand up. One bit in particular sticks out. Louie says that when you go on a date, it's going to end badly. He goes through a number of different scenarios for how it can end badly, and his last one is that the two of you fall in love and get married. And then one of you dies, and the other just waits to die. It's such a bleak outlook on life, I wasn't sure I was even being entertained any more.
Several stories took place in the first two episodes, which aired last night. Louie volunteered at his daughter's school, and had to get the kids home after the bus got a flat tire and the irresponsible driver took off. Louis went on a date. He played poker with some other comedians. And his divorce was finalized, so he facebooked an old crush. The best of the four was the poker tournament. It felt so real, so unscripted. It was a bunch of buddies sitting around talking about gay sex and anal cramming. It toed the line with serious when Louie's friend explained to him what the word 'faggot' invoked in the mind of homosexuals, but the tension was diffused with a couple of jokes, and no one seemed offended. Louie, the show and the man, despite the sometimes gritty subject material, is not offensive.
The sole star of the show is Louis C.K., and so he will have to carry the series by himself. I don't think that will be a problem. And no, I don't want him to get a sunnier outlook on life. I mean, I do, but if he did, it would reduce this show to something we've all seen before. Instead, he should keep the series the way it is, hard to pin down exactly what it is, and like no other television show I can think of.
13 episodes have been ordered. Louie airs Tuesday nights at 11pm on FX.