July 13th, 2012
02:45 PM ET
Unlike other shows, "Louie" takes place in the real New York. A city devoid of glamour, where businesswomen and homeless men sweat side-by-side on subway platforms, and old men eat club sandwiches in dimly lit diners.
On Thursday's episode, Louie explored the back alleys and bodegas of another city. In Miami for a hotel gig, he retreated to his room to eat in bed, with only the hushed weight of his loneliness as company.
At the beach, the sight of his broad, freckled back amidst the tanned and toned beach bodies spoke loud and clear: Louie did not belong here.
But maybe he could. If he weren’t so alone.
Then, buff young lifeguard Ramon mistakenly thought Louie was drowning and came to his rescue. Later that night over drinks, they bonded over their mutual Latin heritage.
The next day, they meandered around town, chasing chickens through the street.
On the dimly lit back porch at a family party that night, Louie thanked his new friend. “I’ve been coming to Miami for 20 years, I never saw it. Not like this.”
Theirs was the kind of connection that comedians must make on the road all the time - a passing acquaintance that exists in a brief moment, in one specific place. But Louie wasn’t ready to let Ramon fade into his memory, and he called Janet to tell her he’d be staying in Miami a few extra days. She suspected he met someone, and his denial was weak.
The next day, Louie sought out Ramon, who delicately revealed his suspicion over drinks. Neither man even uttered the word “gay” because to label the looming anxiety would be to validate it. Louie stammered, and it was so awkward. Wasn’t it just so awkward?
On stage, Louie joked, “Heterosexual men have a big burden that we put on ourselves. Which is that we want to be identified as heterosexual men. We’re the only ones that care.” Louie lamented that this fear prevents men from being able to do nice things, like spend a lovely few days with another man without the risk of riding the giddy high of a new friendship too long, eventually crashing into the hard reality of societal norms. Sorry, guys - that’s a huge bummer.
This episode was sort of like Sofia Coppola's “Lost in Translation," and even employed her wordless visual lyricism. But Louie lacks Coppola’s effortless cool, so his story ended on a painfully uncomfortable rather than mournfully mysterious note.
When Louie recalls Ramon on some lazy summer night, his cheeks will likely flush with embarrassment. And that’s a shame. I hope he manages to smile, once the blush fades.
What did you think of last night’s episode? Straight men, could you relate?
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