Friday, June 29, 2012

"Something is Wrong" with Louie - NOT!

It's is very difficult to write a review about FX's Louie without it just sounding like several paragraphs of kissing Louis C.K.'s butt. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the show is absolutely freaking brilliant. It's hard to argue with any choice that Louis makes in terms of making the series, from the locations, to the low budget look and feel, to the genuine pathos pouring from the lead character. The entire thing is just dripping with originality and humor of a very high degree.

For another thing, nothing ever happens on Louie. There is no continuity. In fact, Louis C.K. has made a point of saying that he doesn't worry about such things, preferring instead to make each half hour the best story it can be, without worrying about connecting it to what has come before it. Normally, this is a weak point of a show, but for some reason, Louis makes it work so well that there cannot be anything bad said about it.

The only slightly distracting thing along these lines in the premiere is that Louie's ex-wife is shown to be African American, which doesn't quite gel with the pale daughters we've seen him have in other episodes. Then again, the actresses playing the daughters change, so it isn't a big concern. And they aren't in this episode, so they don't count in the plot.

Saying that nothing happens is also not a slam. In the third season premiere, "Something is Wrong," Louie has relationship issues, then buys and crashes a motorcycle, with his recovery tying back into the relationship. Viewers have never seen this girlfriend before and probably will not again, so there isn't suspense as to whether the two will remain a couple. Louie's car being crushed and (temporarily) replacing it with a motorcycle probably also only applies to "Something is Wrong." And these are only two very small plot points to make, not what is most interesting about the episode.

Instead, "Something is Wrong," like every episode of Louie, luxuriates in the awkward moments. The girl thinks that Louie is breaking up with her, and won't believe him when he denies it, so he sits quietly and listens to her have her crazy fit. Louie just wants that personal connection, and she is reading too much into every little thing. He takes it with grace and humility, not seeing a point in arguing with someone who is convinced that she is right. It makes for a wonderful scene, and one many viewers will find a connection to.

Of course, everyone slams Louie for his decision to buy the motorcycle, which he immediately wrecks. They echo the same argument Louie himself makes as he enters the shop, before being talked into the purchase by the very skillful salesman. Both sides of the argument about whether to own a motorcycle are valid, but once more, everyone acts like they're right, and Louie knows there's nothing to be gained by arguing. This passive behavior is just so... Louie.

Now, there are a couple of noticeable changes in "Something is Wrong" as compared to the first two seasons. It appears that Louie has an increased budget, smashing a car and showing stunt bikers riding down the street. This does give the half hour a slightly more surreal quality. Then again, other, more understated parts of Louie's life are also surreal, so it doesn't seem out of place.

Louie is back and as good as ever. Tune in Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on FX.

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