Have you ever wondered what Seinfeld would have been like if Jerry had listened to the dark part of his brain? I reckon it’d have been a lot likeLouie, but not nearly as good. Louie shares some characteristics with the pioneering show of the late ’80s/’90s, the show is broken up with bits of stand up comedy and the title character is an exaggeration of the star, but where Seinfeld was the “show about nothing”, Louie is a show about Louis CK balancing his career, children and his search for love in an attempt to be happy.
Written, directed and edited by top American comedian Louis CK, Louie is an easily likeable character. Sure, he shouts “oh, you asshole” at his ice cream and often has vulgar comedy routines but it’s easy to see ourselves in him. He’s a good father who will do anything for his kids. His life descends into depression when he’s not with them which leads to hilarious situations such as collapsing in the gym or smoking pot with his hippie neighbour. When he’s with his kids, he does what any ideal divorced parent does; tries to teach them right from wrong, is civil to their mother and probably most importantly, gets them to school fully clothed. As he points out, that’s the one that people will notice.
He may be the title character, but Louie is not the only good character in the show. His daughters are probably the best child characters I’ve seen in any show, especially the youngest. When the three are together, it’s often funny but almost entirely a tender moment between a loving dad and his kids. They may be a family of divorce, but this family is probably one of the healthier families on television at the moment.
There are a lot of things to like about Louie, including celebrity cameo appearances ranging from Amy Poehler to Ricky Gervais, and I particularly love the way music is used in the show as it’s a predominantly Jazz oriented score which will either help the enhance calmness of the scene or contribute to certain frantic moments in Louie’s often wayward life. Continuity is never an issue in the show until season 3, a lot of the time the episodes are not related and the characters are different, for example, in season one Louie has a white ex-wife, we can see her hands in S01 E02, but in series three when we see her face she’s black. I like continuity in my shows, but this makes it easier to just pick up the show and watch it without feeling the pressure to tune in every week or stick to a strict chronological order.
It’s categorised as a comedy but it is more dimensional than that. I would argue that the season 2 finale onwards leans the show into a more dramatic direction. The season 2 finale is one of the best and most heartfelt season enders I’ve ever seen, and it’s the same with the mini-Letterman trilogy in season 3 and the actual season 3 final.
Louie has everything for everyone. It gives us belly laughs, heartbreaking drama and a character that everyone can get behind. He’s the loveable, socially awkward underdog whom we want to see do well and achieve his goals because he’s a genuinely good person. We should be thankful that Louis CK has “blown off entire careers because I didn’t want to wake up at 6:30. I didn’t want to be THAT guy”, because I think the world of television would be in a much darker place filled with more Chuck Lorre sitcoms without it.
Season 1 is available on DVD, seasons 1-3 are aired on FOXTV