Wednesday, 1 September 2010

GOD


SEASON 1 EPISODE 11 (EPISODE 11)

THIS IS IT:
Here is Louie wrestling with the concept of religion, God and heaven and hell.  The big questions.  It begins with him filling up his car at a petrol station before going to the bathroom where there is a glory hole entitled “heaven”.  As he finishes up another man enters the bathroom and upon noticing the hole decides to give it a go based on the fact that it promises “heaven”.  Shocked Louie asks the man if he has done it before and when he says “no” he asks “why would you take that risk?” to which he responds “you got to have faith”.  This then cuts to Louie at Carolines questioning “if there is a God, then that dude is an asshole” comparing him to being a “shitty girlfriend” whose moods are so frequently changeable and irrational (“you won’t do it because you don’t love me” followed by “why are you doing it?”)  It all begs the question of life: what do you want from me?  With this we flashback to 1977 and Louie in RE class being taught about the crucifixion by a nun (Sister Carson).  Not paying attention and Louie and his friend Brian giggle just as the nun describes the pivotal moment of the crucifixion.  Needless to say it gets them into trouble (“who finds this funny?”)  And this point Louie’s friend raises his hand and asks a pretty sensible question in: “if Jesus sacrificed his life for my sins, isn’t it a waste unless I sin a lot?”  Shaken Sister Carson resigns herself “I can see that I have not done my job, I can see that I have not imparted to you the true nature of Christ’s suffering”.  With this we cut to the following day and a visit to church featuring a visit by Dr Haveford.  From here he proceeds to present an examination of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ from a medical point of view walking them through the “brutal punishment to his body.”  He likens his presentation to a post mortem prompting the kid to ask “like the FBI?” at which point Dr Haveford goes into graphic detail, pulling Louie’s friend out to play the part of Jesus Christ.  It is a horribly creepy re-enactment from the off.  The clinical detail goes beyond the bible and any other description that has been of the crucifixion.  The chill it sends is horrific.  And then he calls out for another volunteer at which point he pulls out the young Louie perform the crucifixion on his friend.  Naturally Louie freezes at which point Dr Haveford asks why he can metaphorically do it to Christ but not his friend (“do you like him better?”).  And with his point hard and well made Dr Haveford makes a swift exit.  Afterwards Louie and his friend sit outside on the porch deep in thought clearly affected by the lesson.  In the aftermath Louie experiences a nightmare as he sins by stealing chocolate from a shop, reading pornography (Playpen magazine) and going through with the crucifixion of his buddy.  Both the young and current day Louie wake up screaming.  Now spooked Louie goes running back into the church with a pair of pliers where he goes up to the Christ statue yelling that he is sorry before pushing over the cross and removing the nails from the model’s hands and feet.  With this he drags the Christ from the cross, hugging and continuing his apology.  The next thing we see is Louie’s mum being told of the incident (“the desecration of church property”).  Thankfully the nun foregoes legal action but she orders that he will have to be punished at home.  Somewhat more sympathetic, Louie’s mum asks him what happened as he reveals that he was scared because he was responsible for Jesus being crucified.  Shocked and annoyed his mother responds “is that what they’re teaching you in there?” at which point she reassures him that it’s not true.  She tells him that he had nothing to do with “that man” being hurt and that he is not bad (“you make mistakes but that’s because I’m not done raising you”).  With this she assures Louie that he’s a good person.  Then he asks about Jesus at which point she expresses how she doesn’t believe in “any of this” causing him to ask why she makes him attend the school.  She responds saying that she thought it was selfish just because she doesn’t have religion she shouldn’t deny him (“it’s a big deal, you might want it one day”).  He asks the big question: “so there is no God?” to which she concedes “I don’t know, all I know is that you have to be good to people whether this is or there isn’t, you have to take that on yourself.  Nobody’s going to watch if you’re good, it’s all on you.”  With this she asks him if they want to go get doughnuts at which point her car fails to start offering Louie a little knowing smirk to himself.  Meanwhile back inside the church a handyman smoking a cigarette nails the Jesus statue back up on the crucifix without concern.  Coming full circle the episode returns to Louie at Carolines debating the sin of taking the lord’s name in vain.  Then it finishes with Louie and Brian in conversation over taking a shit on the doorstep of a neighbours house.  It’s a shitty ending.

IS IT ANY GOOD:
It’s not funny, it’s bold.

WHAT IT TAUGHT ME:
You got to have faith.  That and religion remains bananas irrespective of the strand or creed.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT:
It addresses religion in the necessary fashion revealing how ridiculous it all is while at the same time leaving the door of doubt ever so slightly open.  It also displays how terrifying the adult work can appear to children when so much importance is placed on conventions that are not fully understood.

STANDUP ELEMENT:
Louie at Carolines stating that he thinks if there is a God, then he is an asshole.  He uses a made up parable about Abraham being ordered to kill his son Isaac by an intoxicated God only for him to later change his mind and accuse Abraham of being in the wrong.

EXTERNAL REFERENCES:
Church in general and how it still has to hire a handyman to perform even the most important services.

BEST LINES:
“If there is a god then that dude is an asshole.”  “You don’t love me if you don’t do it.”  “God is like a shitty girlfriend.”  “If Christ sacrificed his life for my sins, isn’t it a waste unless I sin a lot?”

BEST JOKES:
The whole glory hole thing.  This is not something that has been on television ever before.  And it is done so realistically and almost tastefully.

PERIPHERAL MOMENT:
Louie’s comedy set is coming from Carolines.

REALITY CROSSOVER:
School was a terrifying and traumatic experience for me also and it left its scars.

MVP:
The performance by Tom Noonan as Dr Haveford is incredible, truly horrific.  Sawyer Swanson as Young Louie comes a close second.  The kid is great.

GUEST APPEARANCES:
Tom Noonan appeared in Heat, Robocop 2, Mystery Train and Synecdoche, New York.  That’s pretty awesome.

EPISODE LINKS:
No explicit links just the return of Amy Landecker.

PERCULARITIES:
Amy Landecker who plays Louie’s mother actually previously played his date in the episode “Bully”.

OPENS:
With Louie filling up his car at a petrol station before heading to the bathroom where there is a glory hole with the word “heaven” and two arrows pointing into the darkness.  Louie’s response is to laugh it off (“you’ve got to be kidding me”) but a few seconds later an older, taller gentleman in glasses comes in to wash his hands and when he spots the hole he unzips his flies and proceeds to stick his dick in the hole with Louie still in the room at which point Louie asks him what he is doing.  Graciously the man apologises thinking that he has cut in the queue.  Louie then asks if he is seriously going to stick in his penis in there and why to which the man points and responds “heaven”.  With this Louie enquires whether he has ever done such a thing before and he says “no” prompting Louie to further enquire about the risk involved to which the stranger responds “you got to have faith.”

CLOSES:
With Louie’s friend Brian asking him how much he will give/pay him to take a shit on a neighbour’s doorstep.  As Louie refuses Brian then offers to take up the dare in exchange for $5.  He eventually does it for a pencil.  He just wanted to shit.

OTHER:
I wish my God fearing, church attending, Catholic Filipino work colleague that thinks I am Satan himself would watch this episode.

FINAL WORDS:
I can truly empathise with young Louie’s plight and confusion on this issue.  His school experience feels slightly akin to mine.

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