Sunday, August 07, 2011
I Watch Louie & You Should Too.
There is a lot of trash on television. My current tivo que is pretty short, especially now that Oprah is gone: The Daily Show (if E turns it on) 30 Rock (which seems to be on the downslope) Jamie at Home and my Not-Even-the-Teensiest-Bit-of- Guilty-Pleasure; Project Runway.
I like shows that are believable, humorous and thought provoking. Entertainment needs to give me something to chew on- I'm not just looking to kill time. (Usually. I did spend a few hours watching "Storage Wars" recently.)
So, the show Louie on FX is right up my alley. Though much has been made about how crude Louie C.K.'s standup is, I was immediately impressed by the fact that he had something genuine to say about modern life. It's not hardy har har shock and awe gross out humor. I am utterly done with that nonsense. I don't know what happened, but my threshold for boob jokes dropped to zero about six months ago. I watched a few episodes of Eastbound and Down recently and began to suspect that the "Isn't this Guy Stupid Premise" is all a screen to continue with the misogynistic nonsense we've supposedly gotten past. I'm so tired of this perspective- women as aloof, snobbish, bitches or stupid, skeezy bimbos. Isn't there a middle ground there? Isn't this 2011? Isn't half your audience is women?! Could you make something more interesting please?
So I found Louie's approach refreshing. He's wrenchingly honest about his interior life- examining his ego from every direction, finding it unbearably ugly and dealing with what he's seen by laughing at it.
This show must cost nothing to make. It's almost exclusively people in rooms talking, interspersed with clips of his standup. It's funny without being trite. It has pathos without being morose or melodramatic. It's real while simultaneously incorporating surreal elements. In a way, those strange moments make it feel even more life-like, because life is full of absurdities.
Louie doesn't conclude every episode with a Meaningful Lesson where Everything is Resolved Until Next Time! (This is the most tired trope of all television formulas.) But on the flip side of that, it doesn't involve a tangle of people shouting and being jerks. Apologies to Larry David, but nobody likes you and I don't want to watch a show about that. Louie is a jerk too, but he is self reflective about it, unlike Mr. David who seems incapable of realizing that he himself is at the root of every single one of his irritations and perceived slights.
I've never seen anything like Louie on television. And that's why I'll keep tuning in.
What are you watching lately?