Louie

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neuro
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Louie

#1 Post by neuro » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:28 pm

If you can find where FX is buried on your television, I strongly recommend Louis C.K.'s new show Louie. In terms of cringe-worthy, non-PC television, it makes Curb Your Enthusiasm look like Gilmore Girls.

Added bonus: Reggie Watts scores the show (although, I would never know it without seeing his name in the credits). For those unfamiliar with Reggie, he is an amalgamation of beat-boxing, avant-garde music, improvised performance art, and Andy Kaufman-esque comedy. I strongly recommended his work as well; the man is a genius, and I don't throw that word around too often (and Brian Eno, of all people, agrees).

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Louie

#2 Post by Matt » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:35 pm

Funny. I just came here to make a thread for this show and was going to type pretty much the same thing you did (even down to the Curb comparison). It's a shockingly brave, unflattering self-portrait, but absurd enough in parts to not take too seriously. And it's pretty novel in form, to boot. I'll be surprised if it gets past one season, it's just too good.

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Murdoch
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Re: Louie

#3 Post by Murdoch » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:37 pm

I loved the first episode, especially the surreal touch of having Louie's date climb aboard a launching helicopter to flee him. The second episode was uneven, the drawn-out round-table discussion and Louie's past love interest were too dissimilar and would've been better if they had scrapped the discussion altogether - not that it wasn't hilarious - and focused on him dealing with the divorce/kindling an old flame.

The score's great though, love the opening credits' song - and how well it contrasts with Louie just casually eating pizza.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Louie

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:40 pm

I think Louis C.K. is the funniest man in comedy today, and this show is a much better demonstration of his strengths than his last. Now I just want to know if it'll springboard Hilarious, his latest stand-up, to theatrical distribution.

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domino harvey
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Re: Louie

#5 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:43 pm

I liked Louis CK a while ago but had sort of lost track of him after the very funny Live in Houston. Recently my friend played one of his newer CDs for me and I got about ten minute in before I just had to ask him to turn it off-- I'm not someone's grandma but Christ, it was like left-leaning Andrew Dice Clay in its vulgarity

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Matt
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Re: Louie

#6 Post by Matt » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:10 pm

You will probably not like this show, then. He's really taking the stereotype of the self-loathing stand-up comic to new highs (or lows, if you prefer).

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mfunk9786
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Re: Louie

#7 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:28 pm

I'd say that you should relax a bit and rent Shameless, domino. You may be very happy you did.

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Foam
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Re: Louie

#8 Post by Foam » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:57 pm

I should say first of all that I've never been very impressed with Louis CK in the first place, but so far I'm disappointed. I try not to needlessly compare shows that have nothing to do with each other, especially unfavorably, but since Louie seems so aggressively shameless in its attempts to recall Seinfeld (semi-fictionalized comic's life with his routine shoehorned between scenes) and Curb (faux-verite awkwardness*) I can't help but feel constantly reminded of how even the wildest jokes in those shows feel so much more organic than they do here. No doubt someone could probably bring up something in Seinfeld far zanier than the instance in Louie's pilot episode of a woman running into a helicopter to escape a bad date, but that sort of outlandish thing makes much more sense to me within the mannered, three-camera world of the former than in the latter's obvious pretensions towards Curb's one-camera faux-realism--I guess it's possible that this dissonance was intended, but if so it didn't seem to me to really add anything of substance to such a potentially promising situation. And even if the old lady who can't come to grips with the fact that she voluntarily exposes herself in the hallway does seem to immediately resemble a lot of the socially awkward body humor evident in the other two shows, especially Curb, it's still just something out of left field whereas in the David shows it would more likely be one in a series of events tied to a recurring theme. A good way to demonstrate how far Louie has to come if it wants to be as good as Curb would be to compare either of these first two episodes to the "Vehicular Fellatio" episode last season. The theme of not being able to open a package is introduced at the beginning of the episode, the car blowjob theme is introduced later, and the two interact in a tight narrative until they finally coalesce in the episode's hilarious climax. I understand these are just the first two episodes, and it does show some promise, but as of now it's just another comic's faux-verite show with bawdy humor coming from all directions that has far more in common with that other fart joke FX comedy than it does with the sophistication of the great shows it's aping.

*(Did anyone else notice: already another joke about little girls having vagina problems?!)

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Polybius
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Re: Louie

#9 Post by Polybius » Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:52 am

Foam wrote:The theme of not being able to open a package is introduced at the beginning of the episode, the car blowjob theme is introduced later, and the two interact in a tight narrative until they finally coalesce in the episode's hilarious climax.
That's pretty much David's genius in a nutshell, for me. Plenty of people can make a run at drawing comedy from societal preoccupations and the absurdity of some social mores. A smaller, but still signifigant, number can do so by piling shit on themselves in the process.

The way Larry can do both and construct a smooth and seemless story in which these things all coalesce eventually into a whole is what makes him who he is.

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Cold Bishop
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Re: Louie

#10 Post by Cold Bishop » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:00 am

Foam wrote:that other fart joke FX comedy
If you're talking about what I think you're talking about, I'm throwing down my gage right now.

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Foam
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Re: Louie

#11 Post by Foam » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:10 am

Talking about Sunny. To be clear, I think it's a good show (better than Louie so far for sure), just cut from a different cloth than the David shows Louie is attempting to place itself with.

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oldsheperd
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Re: Louie

#12 Post by oldsheperd » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:24 pm

The Louie episode last night was just plain weird and hilarious.
The part in the plane with the captain on the pa system saying things like there would be a delay because the safety stuff didn't work and the wing was broken then like two seconds later the plane takes off. Funny shit. Plus the scene in the plane where it looked like they were going to crash. The lady behind the fat guy grabbing his shoulders and shaking him was great.
Domino, you're a good person, but comparing Louis CK to Andrew Dice Clay is waaaay off.

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willoneill
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Re: Louie

#13 Post by willoneill » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:38 pm

Did anyone else notice that the fat guy who was clearly too big for his seat on the plane looked a lot like Kevin Smith? I wonder if that was on purpose ...

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oldsheperd
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Re: Louie

#14 Post by oldsheperd » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:53 pm

I didn't think of that until your just mentioned it, Will. I did notice one of the three guys that began that "say something about Mobile" uproar during Louie's set in Birmingham was wearing a Dane Cook t shirt.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Louie

#15 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:20 pm

FX just picked this up for a second season!

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oldsheperd
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Re: Louie

#16 Post by oldsheperd » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:45 pm

Excellent!
Both of last night's new episodes were great!

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Cold Bishop
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Re: Louie

#17 Post by Cold Bishop » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:10 am

Would it be hyperbolic to say that in its season run, this show has been quietly growing into what could become the best American television comedy?

After several episodes, the criticisms about tone and structure have become completely disproved. The series has become much more assured and effortless in its tonal shifts, becoming increasingly more subtle and ingenious in its blending of faux-verité akwardness, bawdy-mouth ranting and zanier non-sequiters, but it has added an extra dimensions of human emotion to the show that Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm could never claim. There are moments of awkwardness which go past the "uncomfortable humor" which characterizes much of its contemporaries, and become genuinely unnerving. There are also moment of pathos which feel completely true to life, and are genuinely sobering from the funnier surroundings. Over the season, it has set itself apart from its contemporaries by becoming something of a dramedy, albeit one that eschews sentimentality and earnestness, always presenting itself with a low-key matter-of-fact honesty. Yet, other episodes still avoid this completely. The show has turned its tonal shift into one of its virtues, both mastering how to pull them off, and never letting you know which way it will shift - not only do you not know what gag will come next, you have no idea of the nature of the gag, or whether it will be a gag at all.

It's structure, especially, has been the most impressive thing for me. The two-minisode structure of the first few episodes - while still technically "there" - have become increasingly more skillful and clever in their constructions. The way it balances completely different tones into a cohesive whole I've already mentioned, but the seeming randomness of the narratives reveal themselves, on closer inspection, to be a lot more thought out. Some episodes are much more cohesive as a whole, to the point that the two-story episode titles seem unnecessary (acknowledging this, the show seems to have begun jettisoning them). Others consist of disparate vignettes which seem to be much more than two-stories. Both examples, and those in between, however, share something. The two loose threads don't necessarily tie up nicely at the end, they way the Curb example mentioned does, but there's a system of internal rhythms and echoes at work in this series which is much more subtle. Not only does this happen within the episodes (example: a potentially awkward scene of male-bonding with an overweight passenger is answered by a genuinely awkward moment of male-"bonding" with a sexually-confused police officer), but there are often connections drawn between different episodes (the dead dog stand-up act finding its answer in a real dead-dog episodes later, being the most obvious example).

Take for example "Heckler/Cop Movie": On one hand, it lives up to the two-random-stories-lumped-together structure of the earlier episodes: 1) A minisode about Louie C.K. lashing back at a heckler 2) A Curb-esque story about Louie being cast in a all-Jewish remake of The Godfather, right down to the celebrity cameo (Matthew Broderick). First glance, they're two different stories, neither of them really coming together. But the internal rhythms are in fact there. The first segment involves Louie C.K. belittling a woman for not having any respect for his profession... doing so to a point that it almost begins surpassing wish-fulfillment for Louie, and that we start wondering if he didn't take it too far. As such, the second half involves Louie consistently disrespecting the works of others - the aspiring-actress secretary who he unknowingly belittles; his agent whose efforts he fails to acknowledge, being genuinely shocked to learn he was his favorite client; and later, Matthew Broderick, who tells him, just as he told the heckler earlier, to have some respect for other's profession. Except for Broderick's re-use of Louie's own words, which is itself underplayed, the show never stops to draw attention to Louie's own hypocrisy, but on reflection, it’s clearly there.

It’s ability to balance tonal shifts was especially apparent in this last episode, “Bully” which – beyond its stand-up bookends – was comprised of four distinct segments: 1) A completely comedic opening involving a romantic relationship (Louie goes on a date and seemingly woos her) 2) like one of my beloved “disintegrating comedies”, this first segment collapses, and is consumed by a genuinely tense and painful moment about sex, violence and bruised male egotism (Louie’s humiliation; the “irrational” rejection from the girlfriend) 3) It moves towards Travis Bickle territory, during a long, “silent” sequence which managed to be genuinely creepy/foreboding, while still completely human and relatable (Louie shadows his bully home all the way to Staten Island) 3) It closes with a pathetic confrontation which completely disrupts our expectations for “revenge”, and doing so, manages to close on a completely unexpected tender moment about the troubles of fatherhood (Louie sharing a smoke with the bully’s father) Even the girlfriend’s “irrational” response finds an echo later in the bully’s mother.

Not only do these two episodes show an ingenious structure, it’s also striking how different they are from one another. In fact, one of the charm’s for Louie is that it has so far avoided an overall determining structure to drive it from episode-to-episode. “Heckler/Cop Movie” is completely comedic, “Bully” twists-and-turns from comedy to the painful to the poignant; an episode like "Double Date/Mom" revolves around two scenes which are more emotionally brutal and bleak than what you see in most TV dramas; an episode like “Dogpound” is comprised almost entirely of the zanier, surreal and stylized moments that pop up occasionally elsewhere. The show has already upended the minisode structure, as I’ve mentioned, and even the stand-up bits have given way to other framing-devices – such as David Patrick Kelly’s psychiatrist in "So Old/Playdate.” I don’t know how long it can keep it up, but the show has somehow managed to find a consistent voice and still remain constantly surprising and fresh with is narratives. In fact, considering the types of stories it’s been telling, this shifting is absolutely necessary: it would be unbearable to watch an episode like “Double Date/Mom” every week, and formless episodes like “Dogpound” could get old quick if they weren’t tempered by more coherent ones elsewhere.

Another thing that has set the show apart is Louie’s ability to perform these shifts from the ridiculous to the serious. Talented as Larry David is, nothing has demonstrated that he could “Razor’s Edge”-it in a serious drama. Louie C.K., on the other hand, has jumped often from the comedic to dramatic in the same scenes. The only comparison is some of the more pathetic moments from Eastbound and Down. In fact, I think the emotional honesty and self-deprecation in Louie C.K.’s show goes even farther than David or Seinfeld, and begins heading to Albert Brooks territory. Hell, it’s often more brutal than any Brooks film. Yet, for all the bleakness and self-loathing, I find it a very humanist show – Di Paolo and Louie can ultimately patch up their differences; Louie and a potentially hostile father can ultimately share a cigarette; his dog may die, but he still has his children; Louie may no longer believe in romantic relationships, but he seems genuinely fine with that – and so on and so on. If these last three episodes don’t disappoint, I really hope this show sweeps at the Emmy’s next year. It really deserves it, and I’m glad to see Louie finally get a show that works.

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oldsheperd
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Re: Louie

#18 Post by oldsheperd » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:44 am

That "Bully" episode deserves an emmy nod. There are funny moments in the show but it also had many moments that made me feel truly uncomfortable. I think Louis CK's show does distance itself from Seinfeld and Curb especially in it's earnestness.

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swo17
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Re: Louie

#19 Post by swo17 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:51 am

Do the Emmys honor shows based on quality now? How long have I been asleep?

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mfunk9786
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Re: Louie

#20 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:55 am

The Emmys are one of the few awards shows that I still think tend to lean towards shows that actually deserve to win awards. Look at the awards for Bryan Cranston in the last two years, the wins for Arrested Development, The Office, and 30 Rock in the Best Comedy catergories, etc. There are some bizarre snubs in the actual nomination stage (Big Love is notorious for being snubbed to death, as are cable comedies) but for the most part, I don't have much of a problem with the Emmys when compared to, say, the Oscars.

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swo17
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Re: Louie

#21 Post by swo17 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:21 pm

Yes, some like you mention are deserving, but with as few real contenders as there are in each category, every single snub seems much more glaring. Like, out of NBC's Thursday night lineup, they choose this season of The Office, but not Community or Parks and Recreation? Absurd.

Not to mention...

Emmy nominations for the 1st season of Glee: 19
Emmy nominations for the entire run of The Wire: 2

I rest my case.

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oldsheperd
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Re: Louie

#22 Post by oldsheperd » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:34 pm

Kelsey Grammar constantly winning for Frasier.

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Foam
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Re: Louie

#23 Post by Foam » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:20 pm

Because of my early misgivings I think I should now make clear that I agree completely with the above post by Cold Bishop. The show improved tenfold almost immediately after the first two episodes. I've found myself clapping alone in my room on several occasions. It's definitely the best comedy going right now.

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domino harvey
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Re: Louie

#24 Post by domino harvey » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:18 pm

So I watched three episodes of this and while I didn't dislike it, it's hard to fathom the hyperbole it's garnering here. CK is actually very good in the dramatic moments, and as an actor he is much more interesting than the sophomoric Sarah Silverman-level "naughty" stand-up mechanics which keep infiltrating the series. The basic joke of the show, that Louis CK underplays a ridiculous situation, is passable, but the embarrassment offered is often too weird to be awkward, and while the show is mostly amusing, it is not really funny enough to justify the build-up. Thus the formula boils down to a couple of dark comedy skits stretched out, played straight, and book-ended with stand up. And?

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mfunk9786
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Re: Louie

#25 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:12 pm

And terrific writing. Watch the episode God before you dismiss this show outright.

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