Louis C. K. Knows How To Make You Wait For It
Louis C. K.
Louis C. K. writes, directs, edits and stars in FX’s Louie , and it’s is like nothing else on the air. That’s a triumph in and of itself considering how much strikingly similar television is on the air. There is nothing even close to Louie.
IFC’s Maron, from comedian Marc Maron, is the only thing that is similar, but that’s only because it’s a cable show from the voice of a comedian — the similarities end there. It’s not on the same level as Louie. It’s not even close.
Long Hiatus Was Worth It
Louie didn’t air at all in 2013, which was difficult to stomach. The show ended on such a high note creatively after Season 3 that it was hard to believe Louis C.K. would even consider taking a year off to refresh the creative juices. The show isn’t a huge hit, but because it’s relatively cheap to make (C.K. is the lone cast member, which helps the budget) and beloved by critics, it’s easy to understand why FX President John Landgraf would give C.K. as much time as he needs to make another season of television. It was a genius decision because the long hiatus made Season 4 of Louie its most creatively satisfying season to date.
What I find most enjoyable about Louie is that the continuity within the show isn’t always important. There are instances when Louie has a brother, but in another season he has two sisters, but then we go back to seeing the brother again. Once you get on board with the lack of continuity, you begin to appreciate the times when the show introduces multiple episode story arcs, like we get with the six part “Elevator” and the three part “Pamela” in Season 4. We’ve witnessed these types of story arcs before in Season 3, but there wasn’t anything quite like “Elevator,” where Louie falls in love with a foreign woman who doesn’t speak a lick of English. Then there’s “Pamela,” which brings back Pamela Adlon, Louie’s love interest from Season 2. The three-part story is deeply personal and real, and it’s the perfect arc to end the season.
So Did The Fat Lady
One of the more talked about episodes of Season 4 was “So Did The Fat Lady,” which I thought deserved it’s own discussion on Killing The Breeze when the show aired back in mid-May. The episode is a great showcase for Sarah Baker as Vanessa and that final sequence where she gets real with Louie about being a “fat girl” and just wanting someone to hold her hand, was marvelous to watch. It’s even better when that sequence ends with Louie telling a fat joke as they walk away from the camera; it’s a good joke for the moment. There’s no question “So Did The Fat Lady” is my favorite episode of Season 4.
In The Woods
This was an extended episode of Louie, but it delivered so many great moments that the running time didn’t bother me one bit. Actually, anytime Louie wants to air an episode that’s more than 30 minutes is fine by me. The episode begins with Louie witnessing his oldest daughter smoking pot, which then begins a flashback episode that chronicles a 13-year-old Louie’s introduction to the herb and the chaotic year that follows. It’s a story about growing up and the question of whether we are actually able to handle anything that life throws at us as a child. You never know how things are going to turn out and Louie’s hazy time as a pothead is the perfect example of that.
“In The Woods” is a beautiful short film that reveals a difficult time for Louie as a child and how that childhood correlates with Louie’s strong reaction to his daughter’s choice. Sometimes there isn’t a right way to deal with a situation like that, especially when Louie did the same at roughly the same age.
Season 4 of Louie Was Worth The Wait
I don’t know if I would put Season 4 of Louie at the top of my list, but it’s pretty close. Season 3 was just too good, so I can live with putting Season 4 behind it. But what I think makes Season 4 so special — and worth the long hiatus — is that Louis C.K. knew he needed to step back from producing this show so that he could come back with a fresh mind and write, act, edit, etc. at his best. He accomplished some amazing things this season and I trust that however long it takes before Season 5 premieres he’ll put forth some thought-provoking and one-of-a-kind television.