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Louie – A father that causes vomiting

'Louie' paints a picture of sadness and insanity, the disparate views on comedy, and stress due to estranged relatives.

- Season 3, Episode 8 - "Dad"

This episode of Louie began with another atypical credit sequence, this one of Louis’ daughter expertly playing the violin — after all, she’s played by Ursula Parker, who’s an actual violin prodigy. But according to the Louie of the show “It’s not time to do it right now” even though “it’s beautiful.” Two different versions of himself: one that put the sequence at the start (because it’s beautiful), and the parent who’s sick of hearing it over and over (because it’s not the time for it). It’s not the only dissonant aspect of Louie vs Louie in this episode, as in the video at the electronics store he sees someone playing him (online video star Matt McCarthy, a funny guy). “Is that how I look?”

Another double role comes sneakily forward soon, with the triumphant return of F. Murray Abraham, who previously played the husband of a woman who propositioned Louis (in New Jersey/Airport). This time he plays Uncle Excelsior, which means “ever upward” — and he certainly is, palling around with Dukes and showing off a ridiculous fake accent. He finds humor and derision in his effete impressions of the Duke and Louis’ father, although Louis isn’t laughing. He wasn’t laughing either when he tripped in the electronics store. But the stresses of worrying about seeing his father get to him on a psychosomatic and psychological level, exhibiting vomiting, rashes, and a bloody nose. And he hears everyone calling him less than a man, from the flight attendant, to the rental car worker (Maria Thayer, from Eagleheart), to the GPS (hilariously mean). And that worker in particular says something interesting: “You’re 44 years old; it’s your fault!” What was his fault? The estrangement?

We never find out.

Because the same stresses that caused Louie to vomit amongst a group of his comedian friends (Sarah Silverman, Rick Crom, Nick Dipaolo, Jim Norton, and William Stephenson) push him to literally run away. In an escalating series of “getting away”, Louis loses his shirt, outruns a dog, steals an ATV, and drives a speedboat out into the middle of the water.

It’s an ultimately sad and haunting image, yet one so ridiculous we can’t help but laugh. Sometimes different people find humor in different things. It’s not so funny to be vomited on, but watching someone else? Bodily humor is inherently humorous. And yet when the Boston tough guy hugs it out after calling him a “queer”, was the insult just in Louis’ head? The hug wasn’t. But Louis just can’t bring himself to reconnect with his father, at least not this time around. Who knows if we’ll ever see him on the show — but what we did see was poignant and ridiculous. A winning combination.

Photo Credit: FX

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One Response to “Louie – A father that causes vomiting”

August 17, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I attended a funeral for a past co-worker yesterday so for most of the day I was reflecting on life, past and future. At the end of last nights’ Louie, I just sad, ‘wow’. It was a very different kind of half hour..made you laugh and made you sad..such is life.

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