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Louie – The gorilla in the room

'Louie' sort of asks the question: Can a man be raped? And will he still enjoy it? Also, who didn't let the gorilla into the ballet?

- Season 3, Episode 2 - "Telling Jokes/Set Up "

So anytime you have something like this episode of Louie, that is, with two parts (as opposed to just one plot), there’s a question if they are connected. Maybe intentionally and maybe subconsciously. At first, they seem unrelated — the adorable absurdism of little kids telling nonsensical jokes, and Louis being forced to perform intimate acts on a woman. In a sense, one is incredibly childish and innocent, while the other is adult and shameful. So there’s that possible intentional contrast. But when you look at the transition and the endcap, things begin to move into insane metaphors.

The first scene is with Louis’ daughter telling a joke that does not seem to have a logically deductive punchline, with the further explanation in a short stand-up segment explaining it in more detail. In this case, that Louis is so familiar with the structure and content of jokes that he can predict them all. But his youngest daughter, who is basically improvising nonsense, has a childlike sense of humor and an inability to truly make “normal” jokes. So Louis has admitted that he actually prefers these “unexpected” punchlines to jokes. And in the stand-up, he also mentions that he’s become his daughter’s first “asshole.” You might already be able to see where I’m going with this.

The transition to the next scene is the stand-up with Louis’ friend Allan Havey, who mentions that he and his wife don’t have and don’t want children. This is the movement from valuing children to intentionally avoiding them. And in fact, their friend Allan’s wife (specifically not Allan) wants to set up Louis with another older person, Laurie (a fantastic Melissa Leo). Laurie and Louis bond over their pessimism and lack of a desire to get married (again?). The show doesn’t always have continuity (other than his daughters), but this week he still has his motorcycle, plus the odd “Obama!” annoyed non-sequitur grunt from Laurie (we had that last week too). That guy again. It’s a funny name, although there may be something else.

After some fooling around and Laurie doing something quite “friendly” to Louis, he doesn’t want to reciprocate. Even kind of calls her a whore. This episode ends in a way that’s almost joking about reciprocation, with Louis chastising his daughters for not thanking him — and it started with a need to reciprocate interactive jokes. But is that really the point? Reciprocation? Or is it Louis enjoying the unexpected and bizarre? Laurie smashes his head into the car window in a jarring display of violence, and basically forces him to pleasure her. Afterwards, he wants to go out again? Why? You could go cheap, and say it’s because guys will keep going out with even demonstrably crazy women. Sure, that’s there too. But perhaps there are a few things to think about after watching innocence and literally “adult situations.”

By the way, I really loved those little kid jokes:

  • Knock knock!
  • Who’s there?
  • Moo.
  • Moo who?
  • I didn’t know you were crying — cow.

Photo Credit: FX

Categories: | Episode Reviews | General | Louie | News | TV Shows |

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