Wednesday, 18 August 2010

BULLY


SEASON 1 EPISODE 9 (EPISODE 9)

THIS IS IT:
Welcome to probably the most excruciating and embarrassing episode to date.  Bully begins with Louie at Caroline’s doing a bit about sex education when growing up.  First we treated to a flashback with his father who tells the seven year old Louie that “it’s not sex, it’s called making love” before going through a vivid and graphic description of the withholding technique.  Then this cuts to sex education at school and his terrifying teacher dragging Louie in front of the class to point at the penis on a diagram.  It all serves to confuse him as he lives thinking sex involves squeezing a ball out to ejaculate.  The episode then cuts to Louie at the end of a date suggesting that he and his lady friend (Sandra) go get late night doughnuts and coffee at a shitty coffee shop (“this (coffee) is like piss, its really fantastic”).  Unfortunately with the date going well their conversation is ruined when five loud students (some in Mustang Football letter jackets) enter making so much noise they are unable to hear each other.  And they only becoming louder and rowdier as they wrestle inside the shop until Louie shouts “guys, could you keep it down please.”  Then as Louie continues his conversation about starting out in comedy one of the jocks comes over to their table and says “how’s it going?”  He introduces himself as Sean sticking out a hand with bloodied knuckles.  Louie responds shaking it saying “got it, thanks” and which point he says “got it thanks, that’s your name?”  With this Sean begins bothering the pair of them, intimidating and asking “Louie, when was the last time you got your ass kicked?” before “are you scared?”  As things become awkward the kid presses Louie adding “I could hurt you really bad, right now”.  He explains the bruising on his knuckles as “just two days ago, destroyed this guy’s face, must of hit him like forty times, his teeth were all over the place, just left him there bleeding.” Adding “are you ready for that?  I’m kinda feeling like doing that to you right now.”  With this Louie experiences utter humiliation as the kid says “maybe if you ask me nicely I won’t do that” and suddenly from being the incriminating party by making so much noise, Sean manipulates the situation becoming the aggrieved party pursuing apology.  Then in a truly uncomfortable and awkward moment Louie says “please don’t kick my ass” which after repetition is eventually accepted by the kid.  From here the group exits/leaves the coffee shop mocking Louie on the way as his date looks on with an expression of confused disgust and disappointment.  “That was a nightmare, huh?”  In the aftermath Louie’s date looks as humiliated as he is.  Equally confused by her reaction he asks “you didn’t want me to actually fight that guy, did you?” and even though the mature, adult decision (“the right thing”) was made it has debased Louie too much in his date’s eyes.  With this he says that he’s getting a “weird feeling” from here like she is “looking down at him” at which point she says she would have been “pissed” if he had got into a fight but if she is being totally honest “that was a turn off seeing that.”  Louie responds shocked by this as his date tries to explain it as being a “primitive thing”.  It ends with “my mind is telling me that you’re a great guy but my chemistry is telling me that you’re a loser.”  With this the date spirals to an end as the woman tries to rationalise her feelings.  It was a great doughnut.  Moving on as Louie puts his now ex-date in a cab home he spots Sean and his crew making their own way home as they take the subway.  And crazily Louie follows and stalks them.  Eventually they groups disbands off in their own directions as Louie focuses on Sean and with this he winds up on the Staten Island ferry.  Soon Louie is far from home however Sean is right at home as he steps into a bungalow where through the window you can see his parents inspecting his bruises and quizzing him on where they have come from.  One ad break later and Louie is approaching the front door of house 415 looking to confront and further address the situation.  Naturally his arrival is met with confusion, disdain and denial.  It turns out that Sean’s parents are just as rough as him.  With this Louie is invited into their home as the father (Mike) shouts at another (younger) son to turn the TV down.  From here he asks Louie to say what happened as he describes the pathetic event in pathetic fashion.  At this point Sean is called down where naturally he meets with the reaction “what the hell?”  As he denies the incident his father hits him and roughs him up forcing an apology causing Louie to question the method saying “how do you think he turned out like this?”  Suddenly the issue now becomes Louie and the parents as first the father glares as the mother shouts “screw you” before throwing him out and calling him a “faggot” angry at being told how to raise her kids.  As he begins to walk back home the father emerges conceding “hey man, I don’t know what to do” revealing that he has three kids inside and that Sean is 18.  With this Louie empathises saying how he has two kids of his own (“two girls with the oldest 8”).  He says that hitting his kid may not be a great idea only for the father to shrug and resign with “well, that’s what I know” before offering Louie a cigarette.  “My dad hit me and his dad him”.  Sitting down the dad asks “how old where you when you had kids?” which Louie replies 34 as the opposing number turns out to be 20.  This reveals the dad to be probably three or four years his junior despite having such a old kid.  He adds “Grace had a great ass then.”  Louie tries to philosophise adding “well, my life between 20 and 34 was all shit so I may as well have had kids.”  Moving on Louie asks what he does for a living and it is sanitation.  In response Louie reveals he a comedian commenting “yeah, it’s a job” which receives the response “no it isn’t”.  It ends with them sat speechless on the porch steps smoking their cigarettes.

IS IT ANY GOOD:
Yes, painfully good.  Excellently observed and utterly humiliating.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
That it’s not only me that fears teenagers and the repercussions of calling them to task.  Also that in the long run you are better/best off ignoring.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT:
It is comforting to share and accept that adult men can at times be frightened of groups of teenagers.  Also it acknowledges and reminds that working class people and blue collar workers are tougher than most.

STANDUP ELEMENT:
The episode starts with a Louie doing a bit about sex education at Caroline’s.  Then it book ends with Louie saying what a shit he was when he was a kid.  He establishes that he is now too old to begin fighting, blowing guys and skiing.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
Staten Island, home of the Wu-Tang Clan.

BEST LINES:
“Got it thanks, that’s your name?”  “My mind is telling me that you’re a great guy but my chemistry is telling me that you’re a loser.”

BEST JOKES:
This is actually a hard fucking episode with little in the way of jokes, just lots of dark humour.  That said the closing exchange between young Louie and old Louie is very funny.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
He’s gigging at Caroline’s.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
We’ve all been there, frightened to tell a group of loud mouth teenagers/students to shut up.

MVP:
Totally Louie for going there.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
Fine performances from Michael Drayer and Danny Burstein (as son and bully).

EPISODE LINKS:
None.

PERCULARITIES:
Amy Landecker actually plays Louie’s mother in the episode “God”.

OPENS:
With Louie doing a stand-up bit about early years confusion about sex and displays via flashback how useless the people (his father and his teacher) were at giving him advice.

CLOSES:
With the eight year old Louie smoking a cigarette behind his house where he is soon joined by forty two year old Louie ordering (bullying) him that he does not smoke.  Young Louie then asks “who are you?” at which point modern Louie says “I’m you in thirty years” prompting the response “you’ve got to be kidding me: you’re fat, you’re ugly”.  “Yeah, you’re gonna be bald too” at which point eight year old Louie asks “what happened to you?  This sucks.”

OTHER:
I’m relieve that it is not only me that realises younger people are awful.

FINAL WORDS:
Who starts blowing guys at 42?

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