Good news, everybody! Louie has been picked up for a second season! I have no idea what kind of ratings it’s been getting but the show felt too smart, too funny and too weird to last. It has the feel of one of those one-season wonders too good for the vast wasteland of television. Thank god FX has the taste and the testicular fortitude to re-up for a second season.
Tonight’s episode began with two uncomfortable truths about family life, then pushed them to comic extremes, all while maintaining a perfect deadpan and undercurrent of deep melancholy. The first short film acknowledged that we like to think of our family members as perfectly asexual, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
I’ve always been bewildered by families that talk openly and candidly about sex. Thank God that’s never been the case in my family, where repression, shame and denial are the order of the day. I don’t even let family members read the parts of my memoir that deal extensively with sex; it’s bad enough that I have sex, then write about it. I don’t want to traumatize the people I love the most by subjecting them to the details of my sexual misadventures.
So I could certainly relate to Louie’s profound discomfort when his brother, who looks like a fat Lex Luther, begins telling him about a hot little number he was dying to fuck. This alone was cause for mild horror, but C.K’s brother raised the stakes by over-sharing that the object of his desire will only fuck men in pairs and, as a fan of C.K’s stand-up, would be more than willing to have him be part of an incestuous sexual tag-team.
Of course the brother isn’t ballsy or insane or perverse enough to actually want to have a threesome with his brother; his stupid, stupid plan was to get the girl’s motor running with the promise of a ménage a trois with a respected cult comedian and his less attractive brother, then have C.K discreetly excuse himself so he could have the hot and horny vixen in question all to himself once it was ostensibly too late for her to turn back.
The short film was a master class in comic elevation; it began with a queasy-making premise—listening to a family member enthusiastically discuss their sex life—then gradually ratcheted up the stakes. The second, much longer and more involved short film followed suit.
The second short film echoed and paralleled the first in many ways while acknowledging an even more painful truth; we sometimes don’t know why we love our family members, or even if we really love them at all.
The catalyst for this rather grim life lesson was a visit by C.K’s nightmare mother, who shows up unannounced and instantly gets on C.K’s nerves by demanding food and attention while ignoring C.K’s children. In theory, mothers are all saints. In practice, many are narcissistic and self-absorbed and put their own needs above those of their children.
My girlfriend pointed out that the mother spoke with the cadences of the Cancer-stricken mother in The Room and behaved with the sort of nonsensical, strangely anal anti-logic mothers and the elderly often subscribe to, like her belief that she needed to dress up to ride in a taxi or her contention that a restaurant without a large-type menu wasn’t worth frequenting, even if C.K was perfectly willing to simply read the menu to her.
If C.K’s mother behaved like a hectoring, irritating, typical old biddy in a lot of ways her big revelation was anything but commonplace. After first unnecessarily describing how much she hated having sex with C.K’s father, she comes out as a lesbian. In keeping with the laws of comic escalation, we then meet C.K’s mother’s wife, a hot little number who apparently has a bit of a granny fetish.
As if all this weren’t excruciatingly, comically awkward enough, C.K’s brother makes the whole situation even more unbearable by pleading unsuccessfully with his mother to tell him that she loves him. Both short films began on a semi-realistic note, then pushed it to absurdist levels but they remained grounded in agonizing realities. Also, what did you guys make of the look C.K and his mother’s wife shared at the end? Did you interpret it as a “Jesus this is awkward” gesture or did you find it weirdly flirtatious? And do you think we’ll be seeing more of C.K’s mother in the future?
—“I am hungry, but I don’t like fending for myself.”
—“If you really love someone, you hate them at some point.” That was the whole episode in a nutshell.
—“Please let there be another 9/11 right now, and there’s a phone call about it so I don’t have to listen to this.”
—“Santa brought them both a bag of M&Ms.”
—“I’m 42 now. I don’t even think about you.”
—“Is that all you boys do, get fat and die?”