Wednesday, 30 June 2010



The first ever episode of Louie.  And there are a lot of people who I know that have watched it an come away cold.  Part of me thinks this is a reaction from them to my vehemently positive gesticulations but truly this does not appear to be a series for all seasons.  But what is it that these people are not seeing?  It all begins with Louis performing at the Comedy Cellar introducing himself (“I’m 41 and I’m single.  Not really single, just alone.  But I have two children and that’s the only thing I’m comfortable with in life anymore, I know how to take care of a couple of kids”).  With that we cut to Louis with his two daughters (Lilly and Jane) having French Toast at the dinner table.  Notice that Louis hands us, the viewer, a plate and piece of toast also.  Returning to his comedy set he explains that he volunteers at his daughter’s school, not because he wants but because he has to (“because nobody works there”).  Usually he helps out at lunch and recess as this appears to involve one Jamaican lady taking care of 300 kids eating (“it doesn’t matter that she’s Jamaican but it totally does”).  His main job as a lunch volunteer involves helping kids to open their cartons of milk which for some reason still comes in a little cardboard box rather than a bottle.  Louis concedes that he is not better at opening the cartons, he just deals with the stress better than the kids (“I don’t cry like a little bitch because I can’t open my milk, I’m a man”).  With this we cut to Louis stood by a yellow school bus checking his phone while kids board as they set off on a daytrip.  Shortly after Louis sits down with his daughter the black bus driver (William Stephenson) turns and asks “so where you want to go?”  Confused by the question Louis responds “what?” as he repeats the question and annoyed Louis replies “what is this a cab?  The Bronx Botanical Gardens, we’re going to the Bronx Botanical Gardens”.  Upping the annoyance the driver then asks “OK, how do you get there?”  In disbelief Louis asks “how do you not know this?”  And with that response the driver picks up his newspaper as exasperated Louis tells him to begin driving and he’ll get directions as the driver mutters “you better”.  “We’re moving, we’re moving, this is fun”.  Now on the road Louis phones the Bronx Botanical Gardens for directions telling the woman on the other end that they are on the Westside Highway to which she nonchalantly responds “you can’t be on the Westside Highway.  Sir, its illegal to take a bus on that highway”.  With this Louis asks the driver if he knows that its illegal to take a bus on this road to which he responds “I don’t know man, you told me to take the Westside Highway so I’m on it”.  By now a wild jazz score has attached itself to proceedings as the bus continues to speed along a road it should not be on.  Then suddenly it becomes apparent why buses are not allowed there as a bridge appears in the distance and Louis points asking “are going to hit that?” as the driver responds “I don’t know, why don’t you go sit down somewhere”.  And with that the bus goes under the bridge scraping its roof on the underside of the bridge as inside things go dark with Louis, the teacher and the kids all screaming as they are shaken about.  Now emerging on the other side there is suddenly a huge thumping noise/sound attached to motion as upon enquiry from Louis the bus driver declares “oh man, we got a flat, I gotta pull over” as a huge jazz resolution accompanies the sight of the big yellow bus stopping with a major flat tyre on the front left side.  With this the driver switches off the energy and once more picks up his newspaper.  They have stopped in Harlem.  At this point Louis approaches the driver asking “so hey, whets the plan?” as he replies “I don’t know”.  Angered Louis snaps “hey man, what do you have to do to be a bus driver?  Nothing?  How can you be so goddamn irresponsible when you’re transporting people’s children?  Does that mean nothing to you?  You almost got everybody hurt?  Do you have kids?  What kid of a person are you?”  Then finally sick of the inquisition the driver folds up his newspaper, picks up his lunch and gets off the bus as Louis follows asking where he is going.  The driver lives three blocks from this street, he “don’t need this shit” which now leaves Louis and the bus full of kids well and truly stranded.  As he walks off Louis shouts “you’re not seriously leaving?” as the driver turns round reiterating “look, you were the one that said get on the Westside Highway.  Remember that, you redheaded nobody piece of shit”.  And as Louis again cops the blame more dark jazz strings engulf proceedings.  Back on the bus Louis and Susan address the kids announcing “we have a flat tyre” to a response of howling laughter from the kids mocking the stupid adults.  Appeasing the group (his audience) Louis painfully and sarcastically agrees that it is very funny before proceeding to instruct the darker kids to switch seats with the white kids so that they will be the ones sat by the windows and the only ones visible to the locals and will be safer.  Finding out just what he is doing Susan the teacher states what he is doing is offensive and objects asking him what is his plan.  Devoid of a suggestion Susan changes the plan announcing a new fieldtrip of pairing up and looking for the nearest subway station.  Now desperate Louis makes a phonecall to his friend Demetrio as the next thing to happen is a convoy of Limos arriving to collect the kids as Susan asks “do you realise what you’re teaching them?”  As the kids run excitedly towards their rides home over the top we hear Louis continuing his comedy set with “I think a lot of people who think they’re good people are living a really evil life without thinking about it” as he continues “the whole premise of my life is evil.  I am white, my kids are white which means they can’t really screw up too badly because they’ll get like a million chances”.  This bit sends him on a real sense induced guilt trip as he compares his driving an Infinity to people in the world starving.  His life is about having a great time and sleeping like a baby before blaming himself for the woes and saying how he could trade his car in for a Ford Focus (which just happens to be my car of choice) and save $20,000 which he could use to save hundreds of people from dying of starvation but instead “everyday I make them die with my car”.  With that the screen goes black as we cut to a new set at the Comedy Cellar opening with the declaration that “its not fun to be single at 41, I was married for ten years, I’m divorced, I’ve got two children (and) its hard to start again”.  Unfortunately an overriding pessimism accompanies his desires to now meet somebody (“I know too much about life to have any optimism”).  Louis remains of the mind set that even if nice things happen it is only the precursor to something shitty happening.  And even if things go well and you meet then marry the love of your life eventually the lady is just going to die (“that’s the best case scenario”).  From here we cut to Louis suited and booted stood outside an apartment door nervously playing with his hair as he gears up for a date.  As he knocks his date (played by Chelsea Peretti) shouts “I’ll be just a minute” before adding “do you know where we’re going yet?”  As Louis shouts his response at the door (“I thought we’d just wing it, I had a few ideas”) the door of the neighbour opens to reveal an old lady (Kathleen Butler) poking her head out.  She requests that Louis “keep it down because I am not wearing any clothing and your yelling is making me feel vulnerable”.  Visibly embarrassed Louis responds “I’m really sorry” as the old lady reiterates that she is not wearing any clothing and asking him if he understands.  As things become creepy, awkward and uncomfortable he states that he understands what that means as she scolds back “well if you understand please don’t be yelling in the hallway because I’m in here, this is my home”.  Flustered Louis knocks again at his date’s door as she angrily yells “I said I’m coming” as the old woman continues to stare and look on resigning Louis to say “look, you’re gonna show me so just go ahead and do it” to which she gasps “WHAT?  HOW DARE YOU?” in offence before offering an extended flash and repeatedly calling him a “pig” in different voices as he begins to panic that his date will see/hear this prompting him to frantically knock on her door as the old woman returns back into her apartment.  However the repeated knocking only serves to annoy his date (“I’m sorry I needed a minute”) before then clocks his suit and complains about what he is wearing (“I didn’t know it was fancy”).  Louis replies “oh no no no, just my dad died” at which point she freaks responding “your dad died and you’re coming here just from his funeral?” as he attempts to salvage things stating his dad died a long time ago and “we have reunions for the funeral”.  Seldom has a date ever opened weirder as a pregnant pause occurs before Louis suggests going and starts grovelling thanking the lady for going on this date with him.  Attempting to be a gentleman he opens the door of the building to let her out but only manages to trap her inside behind the door prompting the expected reaction and as she passes him to exit he attempts to kiss her causing her to pull away.  With things going badly Louis begins to suggest knocking things on the head as she pushes through “lets just go out the door”.  On the subway they sit in silence as Louis displays discomfort while his date rocks with a weird smile on her face.  She holds all the cards.  Three times they look at each other as Louis forces a silly grin with also only serves to annoy her as she responds “OK, will you please stop smiling the exact same way each time I look at you”.  Struggling Louis just shakes his head and goes “no” before doing it again.  At this point she asks him if he has an idea of where they are going yet as he says “yeah, I thought we’d just go down to the Village and just walk around”.  The suggestion visibly does not impress her as Louis taps into this saying that they don’t have to while she reiterates that it is “fine” before being pressed to the point that she declares “I hate the Village.  I hate it.  And I feel like you’ve just made me say that”.  With this she adds “Can I just tell you something Louis.  I’m a very nice person, I’m nice and I’m warm and I know that I’m not being that right now and its just because I need to get some food in me”.  On that note Louis states he knows a great place to eat close to where they currently are so they get off the train and head to the place (Esperanto CafĂ©) where typically there is a line waiting outside as he says how there isn’t really anything else around there and reiterates why he said they should go to the Village.  Now at another pause in proceedings his date them grabs his shoulder and says “come on” as they end up eating slices of pizza (probably from the place in the opening credits).  Now having eating his date declares “OK, now we’re back”.  With this she begins asking him about his kids stating how it is cute that he has girls.  She prompts him to tell her more about his daughters as he states that the little one who is four had a rough week after they went to the doctor and discovered that she has an infected vagina.  Naturally such a revelation is a mood killer.  Bumbling Louis is only able to add “the doctor said that she has got a pretty angry infection.  And its on her vagina”.  The poor guy, he has nothing else in his life to talk about.  Another awkward pause occurs as giving him a second chance his date says “lets try again, tell me about your kids”.  Now guarded Louis slips into clichĂ© “well, they’re my girls and I love them” at which point he becomes emotional and his date says “Jesus, are you going to cry right now?”  Now in need of a time-out she says “I need the bathroom” as Louis responds following “I do too”.  Unfortunately there is only one which customers have to share as she enters first, turning to give him a weary look on the way in.  Like a buffoon Louis holds the door open for her, he just can’t do anything right.  Things then get worse as while he is waiting his turn outside another patron (Jay Oakerson) arrives to use the conveniences angered at there is already somebody inside, pounding on the door saying “lets go, come on I gotta take a big dump out here” before resigning himself “you know what, to the hell with it, I’m going in the van” as he walks off leaving Louis’ date to emerge thinking that was him banging on the door asking “do you have an anger problem?”  Louis attempts to explain that it wasn’t him but she does not believe him saying “and he sounded just like you” before asking “where is he?  Yeah anyway, go ahead and take your big dump”.  We resume the episode/date with the pair of them sat on a bench by the river as they struggle for conversation.  Louis’ head is fidgeting awkwardly while she fires an expression that could kill.  With this she turns to look at him as again he instinctively fires her his goofy smile as once more she rolls her eyes at the expression.  At this point Louis concedes “I’m not very good at dating” as she sarcastically responds “really?  I think you’re doing great”.  Frustrated Louis snaps “all right, I get it.  It sucks going out with me.  You know what I’ve been married for ten years and I’m sorry if I’m not The Fonz all over the place.  I’m a father, all right.  That’s what matters to me” which hardly gleans any sympathy from the woman.  Now on the defensive Louis that is who he is at which point he asks “who are you?  What’s your contribution?  You’re cut and you’ve got a flat stomach and you’re young.  Why am I trying to impress you?  Why don’t you tell me about your goddamn life and try to impress me?  Why aren’t you nervous to be with me?”  Now having manned up Louis suddenly feels confident, that he is back at an advantage.  If with that he begins looking at his date predatorily as she responds reclining with shock as he starts to lean in to kiss her at which point she jumps up and runs to a nearby helicopter and flies away to safety giving him a hand gesture once on the chopper.  The date ends to the sound of fiddle music.  With this we cut back to his set at the Comedy Cellar as he reiterates “its true, everything that makes you happy is going to end at some point and nothing good ends well.  Its like if you buy a puppy you’re bringing it home to your family saying “hey look everyone, we’re all going to cry soon”” or in other words “countdown to sorrow with a puppy”.  On that note he recounts having a dog as a kid which they had to put to sleep because he had a tumour on its snout and the only way it could be fixed would be to remove its whole snout and have the dog live the rest of its life without a nose having just a weird round furry head.  And in the process of putting the dog out of its misery the vet expressed pure nonchalance to the young Louis offering to do the job immediately and efficiently without feeling or remorse (“just bring him over, I’m not doing anything, I’ll kill him right now”).  After the deed was done Louis left the dog with the vet making the mistake of asking what he will do with the body which it turns out was to put it in a mass grave prompting him to have nightmares of his poor dog waking in a pile of dead dogs making his way home meaning that Louis and his family only had to go through the killing process again.  “So that’s why its hard to start dating, you know?”  The episode ends with Louis walking down the street with his two daughters asking where they are going.  When he tells he is taking them to their mother’s place they say “yay!” before the older daughter complains about her shoes not fitting anymore before the younger one complains about being too tired to walk forcing him into carrying her the rest of the way.  It ends.

Yes!  Despite the reaction of so many naysayers this is a good episode.  Obviously it is not the best episode but as far as starting things off goes, it is very solid and very funny.

That its not only me that can do no good when it comes to dating, to the belittle ritual.  Such revelation helps the realisation that its not necessarily me that is fucking up when I take out women.

It’s the first episode, it’s the introduction of the latest Louie persona as he reveals facets of his existence (being a single parent) and the manner with which he approaches life.

Two bits from the Comedy Cellar, one about being a single father but also white and entitled while the other is about dating and how it is just a bleak concept comparable to buying a dog.

He likens being good at dating as being like The Fonz.

“Who are you?  What’s your contribution?  You’re cut and you’ve got a flat stomach and you’re young.  Why am I trying to impress you?  Why don’t you tell me about your goddamn life and try to impress me?  Why aren’t you nervous to be with me?” 

The way in which the entire bus full of kids laugh at Louis in the face of adversity.  The way in which the bus driver insists on blaming Louis.  Louis’ plan to move the black kids to the window seats.  His date in general with the creepy naked neighbour, his smile on the tube, the banging on the toilet door.

The school trip is to the Bronx Botanical Gardens and they wind up in Harlem.

I have been on dates like Louis’ where I can’t do a thing right.

This is Louis’ episode.  He tries really hard, sometimes succeeding sometimes failing.

Chelsea Peretti appears as Louis’ awful date while Susan the teacher is played by Ashlie Atkinson who later appeared in Compliance which is a very interesting and clever movie.  Also the naked old lady is played by Kathleen Butler who previously appeared in the movie A League Of Their Own.

It is later revealed in the extra “Nancy & Never” that there is a lot more going on during the bus trip.

How is there a helicopter just sat by where Louis and his date are chatting?  And why does the pilot what question her jumping aboard his copter?

With Louis performing at the Comedy Cellar introducing himself.

With Louis, Lilly and Jane walking down the street towards their mum’s place.  There is no real joke or punchline attached, just Louis doing his bit.

The bus ride element really reminds me of the “Yellow Fever” episode of The Adventures Of Pete And Pete.

Strong start.  The first of many fine episodes.