"Louie" – Season 1, Episode 5 “Travel Day/South” Television Review

8/14/2010 Posted by Admin

"Louie" – Season 1, Episode 5 “Travel Day/South”

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

Louis C.K.’s biting satire – mastered in his hilarious stand-up – is finally finding footing within the world of his sit-com inspired sketches. Elements of parody and satire, explored in “So Old/Playdate,” appear once again in “Travel Day/South” with results varying from the awkwardly hilarious to the frighteningly realistic, injecting the frustration, confusion and culture shock of traveling with the powerlessness of those brave enough to leave their house.

This week finds the always frustrated – and rarely fortunate – Louie making his way south for a sold-out stand-up performance. Warding off a hostile competition of taxi drivers, useless flight attendants, bizarre and unwelcoming southern fans, death and the culturally different expectations of police officers, Louie quietly makes his way through the annoyances experienced by thousands of travelers daily.

C.K.’s understanding of what makes human interaction so unbearable makes his encounters palpable and realistic here. His confrontations, ranging from a quiet stare-down to an enraged auditorium, releases all the discomfort and disdain the show relies on; Louie is simultaneously ridiculously sympathetic and universally disliked for almost no reason, and when he snorts at another unsatisfied, abused traveler, the audience learns why.

But it’s this type of humor that drives the show--C.K. doesn’t deserve half the trouble he endures, but he’s also not entirely a victim of circumstance. He exaggerates small foibles in humanity that makes the show relatable but removes any sense of human comradery, giving each situation a combustibility that, in this case, is generally executed quietly as if expected. Louie succumbs to the officer’s strange, yet oddly deserving request and he walks off the plane as if life threatening turbulence were another part of the experience.

"Travel Day" is typically the worst day for anyone without real problems, but much like the other difficulties in Louie’s life, he seems to shrug them off and move on. Incompetence, disappointment, and danger are to be expected in the world of Louie, creating some of the hardest parodies with the softest punch lines shown on TV.

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