"Louie" – Season 1, Episode 4 “So Old/Playdate”

8/09/2010 Posted by Admin

"Louie" – Season 1, Episode 4 “So Old/Playdate”

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

Over the past few weeks, I’ve discussed the many reasons why "Louie" is an exciting and enjoyable series, focusing mostly on its limitless structure, but surprisingly little about how funny it can be. C.K.’s stand-up, generally there to mock the reality of the sketches, finally meets its match in “So Old/Playdate,” which stands toe-to-toe with C.K.’s ingenious musings through hyperbole, parody and reality.

Building on the third episode's free-flowing form, "Louie" adds yet another dimension to the show with the slightly psychotic and mostly bizarre therapist scenes. Interspersed throughout the episode, the therapist sets up the hyperbolic attitudes explored throughout the episode. The show exaggerates the actions of normal people, making the therapist more troubled than Louie and the PTA members from sketch two overly concerned with their children’s energy levels.

The parents of the PTA are, much like the therapist, completely out of touch with reality, so when Louie suggests that school sucking is the reason for the kids being tired after lunch, they look upon him with disdain.  Well, all except one. Louie meets a fellow cynical and single parent at the meeting and the two schedule a playdate, which then turns into something resembling a real date--sort of.

For all the form shifting and self-deprecating going on in the first three episodes, "Louie" has rarely been this funny. The complete intolerance and dismissal everyone seems to have for our sorry protagonist is fantastic and creates a completely original comic voice. Louie isn’t the George Costanza or Homer Simpson we might associate him with, despite his size and problems. Unlike these two, Louie is not the cause for his problems, but rather the world is--where as they foolishly follow through with poorly conceived schemes, Louie is simply unfortunate. People treat him disrespectfully, and when he tries to stand-up for himself, they either win or dismissively walk away.

Louie’s inability to win is not only the crux of C.K.’s hilarious stand-up, but finally, also a part of the meat of the show. Now, instead of simply enhancing the stand-up, the entire show builds on its pieces, filling each segment with more disappointment, and hence, more laughs.

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