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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Louie - "Pregnant"

Louie: Season One (DVD/Blu-ray Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)     FX's Louie begins season two with a dark look at Louie's (Louis C.K.) failings as a father and in life, which is not unusual for the series. Like most episodes, a number of things occur, sometimes a bit randomly. One of his daughters tells him she prefers her mother's house, and that mom cooks better. Louie prepares a nice dinner, but no verdict as to whether his daughter appreciates it is shown. Louie muses on stage about how he loves his children dearly and wishes they were never born. Louie's pregnant sister comes to stay, and cries out in pain in the middle of the night. Neighbors that Louie does not know knock on the door and offer to help, one staying with the girls, while the other helping Louie take his sister to the hospital. Louie is torn in the dillema of caring for his sister or his kids, but eventually accepts the assistance.

     Does this make Louie a good or a bad father? Not many people would be OK with leaving their children in the care of someone they have never met. While, obviously, Louie's sister needs his help, and as a decent brother, he must give it, he should also be worrying about his children. Why didn't he wake them up and let the neighbors accompany the whole group to the hospital? This option may not occur in a sleep-deprived, panicked brain, but it's a little unsettling that Louie goes along with it. That being said, Louis is naturally distrustful of people, so his willingness to accept the neighbors' help at a time when he needs it is a nice development for him.

     Louie's parenting style is an interesting one, casually imparting the cruel truths of the world on his young children. For instance, in "Pregnant," Louie gives one daughter some fruit and not the other. The hungry child says she "gets" something, too, but Louie says, no. Her sister is lucky right now, and she is not. No one "gets" anything, and life will never be equal and fair. While all of this is accurate, the flippant way he speaks to the girl causes a bit of cringe. Is Louie doing her any favors by not protecting her from reality, or is he just needlessly upsetting a kid? Either way, it's intriguing, entertaining television. 

     Louie is very funny, but often in ways that make the viewer feel bad for laughing, or groan internally when something negative hits home. Underneath the laughs are painful insights into how the world works, and the essential qualities of mankind. It makes for an odd combination for a sitcom, but also a welcome, enjoyable one. Louie isn't like anything else you'll find on television. A large part of that may be credited to the extremely small budget and vast control Louis C.K. has over the project. He is being allowed to illustrate his voice on the air, not forced to work by committee, and it's a privelege to see the results.

     I highly recommend that you buy Louie The Complete First Season, and then watch new episodes Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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