Review: FX comedy 'Louie' puts you in New York state of mind
By April MacIntyre Jun 24, 2010, 4:16 GMT
Louis C.K. has delivered a moody, atmospheric comedy that isn\'t like anything on TV, which is both good and bad. Courtesy of FX
Louis C.K. has delivered a moody, atmospheric comedy that isn't like anything on TV, which is both good and bad.
People coming for straight-up laughs will find a lot of moments that will make them slightly melancholic, especially the middle-aged. Teens are going to have a hard time relating to this series.
Louis C.K. serves as executive producer, writer and director, and Dave Becky and 3 Arts are executive producers. FX has ordered 13 episodes of the series filmed in New York. The show premieres on Tuesday, June 29 at 11 PM.
The core of this original effort is Louis in transition, his change of life as he is now in the "my life is more than half-over and I will never be better looking or healthier than I am now" half.
The gravity-stricken half. The AARP card is looming half.
Dating has become more of a tedious interview process, instead of a happenstance light and lusty affair. Each episode puts a spotlight on the grimy, crowded, impersonal New York state of mind as Louis does his stand-up, then splices scenes from his life as a divorced dad of two daughters in-between.
The single-camera comedy has a jazzy, Woody Allen-esque feeling blend of his "moments" as scripted stories take Louis on dates, in bars, Facebook trolling, one night stand banging, awkward doctor visits and school day trips gone awry.
The biggest bonus is enjoying Pamela Adlon, the brilliant comedic actress who played Louis C.K.'s wife in his HBO effort "Lucky Louie" and who stars as Brazilian waxer to the rich Marcy Runkle on "Californication," back again and paired as a single mom of a biracial kid who has a play date with Louie's daughter. Adlon also is listed as a producer.
There is a reunion of sorts for the "Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn" gang as Louis C.K.'s brother is played by Boston comic Robert Kelly. Life's little curveballs fuel Louie, who spins out these ideas from his stand-up act into scripted segments.
The bit about the usage of the word "faggot" is fleshed out in a guys-only poker game where side player Nick DiPaolo is tortured while Louis and Jim Norton along with some other players gets the sole gay guy to make the straight guys eat their hearts out as he divulges the cornucopia of hedonistic, hassle-free gay sex he partakes at clubs, all of which makes DiPaolo squirm and beg for mercy. The gay poker player then spins a hyped-up guilt-inducing yarn about gay men being tossed in fires as kindling (actual "faggots" were sticks and kindling tied together) to help burn witches (untrue) and the humor gets sucked out of the game.
One episode takes Louis searching for his past on Facebook, finding an object of schoolboy lust, now in her forties, like him, and about 100 pounds overweight. They see each other as the 15 year-olds they were, and lusty awkward kitchen floor sex erupts.
Notable guest star Ricky Gervais plays a vile Dr. Ben, ostensibly a friend of Louis, who overdoes his bad bedside humor to the point of cringing mockery, as we see more of Louis's physique than expected. That episode dwelled on Louis mourning his loss of youthful looks, noting that looks were never his currency to begin with. We are also treated to an odd one-night stand where the randy young woman targets Louis, and sniffs "death" on him and is turned on, rides the Ginger "old guy", then splits.
The four episodes I watched left me in a contemplative mood and grateful not to be living in New York City. Stand-out performances paired with Louis include Adlon, DiPaolo, Gervais and Kelly.