Today’s episode of Louie began with what I believe is the only joke the show recycled from C.K’s stand-up film Hilarious, a pitch-black riff on how there would be fewer child murders if child molestation was less frowned upon. That set the tone for a show that ran roughshod over a series of sacred cows. This invites the question, are there any more sacred cows? Or have we grown so jaded that nothing shocks us?
One of the things I admire about Louie and C.K in general is that he’s transgressive in a way that feels organic rather than self-aggrandizing or self-congratulatory. A lot of comedians pat themselves on the back for pushing boundaries and addressing controversial subject matter. Carlos Mencia is the king of the “Oh snap, I can’t believe I just said that. Am I outrageous or what?” look of smug self-importance. But when C.K dives headfirst into an ostensibly taboo topic it’s always for the sake of a laugh or insightful social commentary.
There was something almost matter-of-fact about the way the first short film in tonight’s excruciatingly awesome episode of Louie dealt with homosexual molestation by dentists and 9/11. “Dentist” found C.K once again victimized by a raging jackass with a medical degree, only this time the offender wasn’t a gleefully offensive doctor played by Ricky Gervais but rather a creepily enthusiastic dentist played by Stephen Root, who lovingly caressed C.K’s chest while explaining that he too used to distrust and dislike dentists until he got into the business himself. He also probably stuck his penis in C.K’s mouth though, to be fair, the show didn’t make a big deal out of it.
While fucked up on nitrous oxide C.K fantasizes about visiting an arid desert and meeting Osama Bin Laden (played by comedian Chuck Sklar) and telling him things like, “You’re like the worst person ever”, “You totally shouldn’t have done 9/11” and “Would you want anyone to do a 9/11y thing to you?”
I, for one, would not want anyone to a 9/11y thing to me though I am unhealthily amused by the prospect of the phrase “a 9/11y thing” entering the general vernacular.
The first short film in tonight’s episode dealt with gay molestation at the hands of authority figures, 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden. The second short film really veered into tricky territory.
Like Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie often begins with a scenario most everyone can relate to, then takes it into blacky comic territory. I know that I’ve certainly waited in line at the grocery store and thought of a particularly fetching checkout girl, “Wow, that woman has a terrible job, must not be doing too great financially and is at least chipper and pleasant in a professional capacity. I bet she’d go out with me” even if I never had the chutzpah to actually act on those feelings.
C.K felt that same surge of unrealistic optimism tonight when he waited in line and lingered ecstatically over the beauty of a hot black checkout girl. In a wonderfully misguided gesture, he buys flowers for the checkout girl, who responds with skepticism bordering on contempt. Most folks would cut their losses at that point but this being Louie, C.K pushes the situation to its uncomfortable breaking point by following the woman back to her home. The spectacularly unimpressed would-be conquest lets C.K hang himself with his own stumbling, inadvertently insulting words, leaving him to relieve his sexual frustration with a much more willing and zaftig woman who lives in the checkout girl’s building.
Tonight’s Louie offered a provocative spin on doctor/patient relationships, 9/11, Osama Bin Laden, interracial sex and white privilege. Oh, and the sexuality of Jewish girls. I only hope that next week’s episode finally takes some real chances.
—“If we minded child molesting less fewer kids would die”
—How awesome is Stephen Root? Answer: very.
—The image of C.K in the desert wearing a gas mask is almost viscerally disturbing.
—“Hi. How would you like to have sex with me and then wish you didn’t later?”
—“I think that’s vomit of someone who ate diarrhea.”
—The show's mind-blowingly awesome theme song is about a tragic interracial romance. How apt.
—“You don’t get what you want. Not all the time.” Isn’t that the ultimate moral of Louie?