I have been a big fan of Louis C.K’s stand up comedy for years. And most people are part of that fan club. He’s that good. Louis C.K takes observational comedy to a whole new level in his stand up. But I think the place where he has really shined are his T.V ventures. I’ve already written about ‘Horace and Pete’ and why it’s brilliant so I won’t get into that. Also, I haven’t seen his earlier show ‘Lucky Louie’ yet so I can’t really talk about that. I’m gonna talk about the show that led him to Television stardom, ‘Louie’.
Louie is a fictional show about Louis C.K’s life in New York. Majorly revolving around his relationships and the problems in raising two kids as a single parent in New York City. Now while that sounds pretty straight forward, this show is full of humor that goes from PG-13 to balls out craziness, seemingly at random. Louis C.K wore many hats during the show’s production. He writes, directs, acts and also partially edits the show. Also, fun fact, since C.K actually raises his kids along with his ex wife for half of every week, he only used to shoot for four days in a week in order to spend time with his kids. Which is why it’s so amazing that he managed to do all of those things during the show’s production.
Much like Louis C.K’s comedy, the show rested on self deprecating humor. We watch as Louis C.K treads through life as a middle aged single parent. Going through one disastrous relationship after another. The show is a brilliant depiction of boredom, more than anything else. Louis manages to make us laugh during the most innocuous moments. The show is very real but also touches upon surrealistic themes. The best part is, usually, he combines both those themes to give us a weird mix of something that makes viewers shift in their seats.
Another surprising part about the show is that it’s not just a comedy. It’s a Dra-Medy in every sense of that word. The show shifts its tone randomly. There’s an episode where Louie is on a date with a girl who seems pretty crazy. She’s shown to be a goofball throughout the episode. However, towards the end of the episode, she drags him to the terrace of a skyscraper and she’s sitting on the edge which is scaring Louie and he pleads her to step back. But after that her character drastically shifts. She’s not a goofball anymore. She actually makes sense. There’s another episode where an old friend of Louie shows up in New York. The friend’s life is pretty pathetic. He has nothing. He tells Louie that he’s going to kill himself. Louie tries to convince him otherwise but even Louie realizes that his friend really has not much to live for. And this happens after an episode of total debauchery.
It’s these sudden dramatic shifts in tone that makes the show a true landmark in Television Comedies. Because unlike other Comedy shows which have just a pinch of seriousness to move the plot forward, Louie actually creates a brilliant blend of Drama and Comedy. In fact, I think this show had the most mature depiction of Marijuana usage among kids in the double episode ‘Into the woods’. I request everyone to at least watch those two episodes if not the whole show. I will write a longer piece about those two episodes later.
Louie has stopped production since a while. And Louis C.K’s reason for that was simply because he doesn’t have more stories and situations. It’s really refreshing to see a guy who does his job solely on interest and not just to hack out as many units of worthless trash just because something is popular. I really respect the fact that he stopped production in time because most people end up ruining brilliant shows in later seasons in order to ride out its popularity.
Louie as a Television show is probably the best I have ever seen in its genre. Apart from maybe ‘Horace and Pete’, which, again, was also made by Louis C.K. I think this show doesn’t nearly get as much attention and discussion as it should. Seriously, watch this show for its tremendous blend of realistic and absurdist humor.