July 6th, 2012
11:32 AM ET
The genius of “Louie” is that it changes tone on a whim. So after last week’s decidedly muted meditation on aging and masculinity, Louis C.K. lightened the mood with a deliberately uneven but wholly hilarious episode.
Louie and his daughters Lily and Jane told knock-knock jokes over dinner, and his laughter was genuine.
But that sweetness was balanced with another storyline that was shockingly raunchy and straight-up disturbing (but in a good way).
Louie’s friend Allan (comedian Allan Havey) invited him to dinner at his home. Louie rode his hog to the suburbs (I guess his accident didn’t derail his midlife crisis).
But Allan’s high-strung wife Debbie had orchestrated the dinner as a surprise setup between Louie and her friend Laurie. (MELISSA LEO! This is happening. Everyone, just calm down and take a deep breath.)
After an awkward dinner, Allan and Debbie retired to the kitchen to argue as Laurie lamented, “married people. They just want to spread their s*** on everybody.”
Louie and Laurie went to a bar where, freed from the pressure of the setup, they bonded over their shared pessimism and menstruation jokes.
Then, Laurie turned into a parking lot and offered Louie a, well, “favor.” (We have to keep it PG-13, readers – sorry!)
When she asked for some reciprocation, Louie refused, claiming it was too intimate for a first meeting. Laurie, and trust me on this, was not pleased.
Louie claimed they just had different values about these things, causing Laurie to launch into a rant with, "Are you saying I'm a whore?"
"No!” Louie protested. “Not by how you feel. That's what you did. I'm just saying if I had done what you did, I would feel like a whore." Smooth, Louie.
He did finally returned the “favor,” but it was after she accused him of being gay and smashed his head into her car window. (Now you see what I mean by disturbing.)
After all that, they made plans to go out again. The entire interaction was bizarre and completely bewildering. As always, Melissa Leo was an absolute thrill to watch. I’m pretty sure we’ll never see Laurie again, but I’m happy (and a little unsettled) to know that Louie will.
But Louie wants us to be uncomfortable, so he cut immediately back to another lovely scene with his daughters. As he laughed at Jane’s straightforward joke about the gorilla at the ballet, he finally seemed at ease again.
While I think this episode was aiming for comedy over insight, it achieved both. People aren’t just one thing. Louie is a doting father, but he’s also his daughters’ “first a**hole.”
(This was an incredibly astute observation. No offense, dad.)
He’s crude, but seems positively prudish compared to Laurie. Who we are in each moment depends on the situation.
What did you think of last night’s episode?
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