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'Louie' Returns to FX - And I Return to 'Louie'
May 5, 2014  | By Jonathan Storm  | 2 comments
 

It took Stephen Colbert to help me take another look and fall in love with Louie, FX’s buzzfest of a comedy, created, executive produced, written, directed, and edited by Louis C.K., who plays a big part in making the very effective soundtrack, too.

He also stars in the show, which returns for its fourth season Monday on FX, as a comedian named Louis C.K., just as Stephen Colbert stars as a TV talk-show host named Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

I watched a few episodes of Louie, scenes from the life of a terribly adjusted schlub, when it premiered, and decided it didn’t work. Here was this comic, doing stand-up at a New York club, who had his own TV show that he made almost single-handedly. Obviously a creative and financial success, and certainly not the man whom GQ magazine would eventually put on its cover this month in four-digit duds and declare “America’s undisputed king of comedy.”

No way was he the anxiety-riddled bumbler seen on the show. And, of course, he wasn’t, but I missed that because, I thought, the stand-up gave the wrong impression and interfered with the narrative, much as it did in original episodes of Seinfeld before sharp heads prevailed, and those scenes were reduced.

Louie and Louis C.K., the actual person, went on to win boatloads of awards. No matter. Self-assured prig that Jonathan Storm (the TV critic, not the person, of course) was, I stuck to my negative guns. Without watching any more episodes.

But last year, inspired by Colbert’s inspired play-acting, I went back. When Louie began four years ago, I should have remembered Seinfeld executive producer Larry David playing a fictional, and horrible, version of himself, and not let the stand-up comedian who made Louie interfere with the stand-up comedian on the show.

FX has scheduled back-to-back episodes every Monday at 10 p.m. through June 16. Monday’s first episode is uneven, too crass, and only sporadically funny. You get that with Louie, though never for the full 22 minutes. Our hero can sometimes get hung up on his penis, but he bounces all over New York, constantly groping for answers. They may never come, but the laughs – hearty, no, sad, no, hearty because they are sad – eventually do.

The second episode is sublime. A snotty comedian named Jerry Seinfeld (played by Jerry Seinfeld) puts Louie in a terrible fix. Before he gets there, the befuddled lonely heart is told to stop asking everybody out (“You think people like saying no?”), and he slips to the marble floor of a swank Hamptons mansion chasing a wet girl in her underwear.

She’s played by Yvonne Strahovski, an Australian import who has a much bigger role in Fox’s 24 revamp, which also starts Monday night, and she’s attracted to pudgy, balding Louie because he makes her laugh.

“What makes you laugh?” she asks.

And he answers, poignantly in a gem of the black humor that flows through the show, “I can’t remember.”

Thankfully, I remembered.

In TV, at least, there are second chances.

 
 
 
 
 
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2 Comments
 
 
David Clarke
Criticism doesn't give critics a bad name critics do. Two thirds of the post on why he didn't watch Louis before and virtually nothing about the show itself. There's 90 seconds of my life I'll never get back.
May 5, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Noel
So, all those years you were just portraying a critic who asked embarrassing questions of stars at press conferences? Good to know. You were really good in the part.
May 5, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
 
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