“We Good Then?”

“You know what would be really great, though? If maybe you call me up, you ask me for coffee, we go out to dinner. Something like that.”
-Marc Maron in Louie, “IKEA/Piano Lesson” (season 3, episode 7)

So I’m love with Louie.

I’m not quite done with the first season because I don’t like to watch more than one episode at a time. I’ll be sad when there are no more new episodes, and some of them are so intense. The show is billed as a comedy, and it is funny, but it can also be very deep. Each episode is like a personal essay brought to screen. Louis C.K. plays around with narrative the way essayists do–taking elements from his life and things he’s observed and rearranging them to make a point. He exaggerates, he messes with time, he uses a mix of real and fictionalized and composite characters. I’ve never seen a show quite like it.

And Louis’s point is one that works for me, centering on the confusion of daily life, the way things only get more confusing when you get to the moment in your life when you hope they’ll start making more sense.

I love the way the show moves so fluidly between the absurd and deadly serious. In “Double Date/Mom” (season 1, episode 7), there is a dinner scene that is at once hilarious and heartbreaking, ridiculous and completely real.

I love the NYC setting and interludes of standup.

I love that one of the third season’s episodes includes a short scene with Marc Maron.

I had to skip ahead and watch “IKEA/Piano Lesson” when it aired due to my Marc fandom and also because Marc’s two-part interview with Louis C.K. is one of the best he’s done. They talk about a lot of things in the podcast, including their friendship and estrangement. You can hear them working through their issues right on the episode, and it’s a thing of beauty. (You can read some of that part of the interview transcribed here, but, really, you should just go listen to the whole interview. I’ve told you to listen to it before. Why haven’t you done it yet? Go listen now.) “IKEA/Piano Lesson” plays off this real-life estrangement and Louie’s attempt to repair it, but if you know about the real life thing, you can see how Louis C.K. has taken some of the truths we heard in the podcast and mixed them up with some other things to say something a little more complicated and interesting than just reporting the facts.

This is what I enjoy doing when I write, and it’s satisfying to watch someone else do this in a TV show focused on comedians. I often feel like the show is made just for me, because I can’t imagine that there are so many other people out in the world who would even be interested in some of these things. The fact that there are enough people with these interests to keep the show going is a comfort.

5 Comments

  1. Posted August 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Louis CK is brilliant. The show is like a little weekly French film. It often makes no narrative sense, plays purely on emotion or intellect, drifts all about – and yet it works in almost every way. There’s so much absurdism happening. Comedy and tragedy simultaneously. It stuns me that a) it found a home on American TV (on a News Corp owned channel no less) and that b) there’s enough people who watch it to keep it on air. I pine for more every time an episode comes to an all too early end. I’m glad he’s making some multi-episode arcs this year too. He’s totally fearless in his art.

    There are two things that I will always respect him for: 1 is the beginning to last week’s show. It just…makes so much sense! It’s like a little capsule of life’s absurdities and beauties all at once. 2 is that he dedicated the Afghanistan show to Tim Hethrington. Not many people know that Louis is also an avid photographer and has done lots of USO tours. Tim Hethrington was a photojournalist who died early one in the Libyan independence conflict a couple years back. It’s obscure, but poignant none-the-less. He didn’t have to do that and it was classy that he did.

  2. adrienne
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    What you said, Jeffrey. I’m going to have to catch up with the series so we can discuss it at length when I see you in October, which, incidentally, I CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT!!! I AM ALL CAPS EXCITED!!!

  3. adrienne
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Also, are you listening to Marc Maron? I think you’d like that show.

  4. Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    I tried the link, but it requires a paid membership. Much as I’d love to listen to it, I can’t spend the money for it.

  5. adrienne
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Curses. I have the premium app, and I forget other people need to pay for it. The newer eps are free and quite good, so maybe worth checking out, even though they aren’t Louis CK. I always find something interesting in the interviews, even when I don’t know anything about the person, but I also have a bit of an obsession going on.

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