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Even though I had fairly little idea about what he made the show, I greatly looked forward to Louis CK’s new comedy series, Louie, on FX. I managed to catch the first two episodes over the holiday weekend and found it even greater than I expected. There’s nothing like this on television now, nor can I recall anything similar in any recent year.

While I expected a sitcom in the vein of his lamented HBO series Lucky Louie, the actual format is far more interesting. Opening, closing and separated by bits of his standup are two short films by Louis CK. His stamp couldn’t be more evident on these, though the dozen or so times his name appears in the credits don’t hurt either. He even edits the show himself. That epitomes fanatical dedication to me. The first short, about an aborted trip to the Bronx Botanical Gardens with his child’s class, falls a little flat with its jokey ending but has a number of very funny moments. The second, though, about a horrible blind date, is amazing. It’s hilarious and filled with genuine, ugly, awkward moments and the greatest over the top ending I’ve seen on television (at least outside of Arrested Development).

The second episode features a great short involving his comic friends and a poker game, getting slowly more and more deeply into the nature of language and the political power of words, all without letting up on its central goal, being funny. The second short in this episode is so close to perfect it’s amazing. It features Louis CK, in a fit of post-divorce loneliness, looking up an old girlfriend on Facebook. It’s bursting with childhood gawkiness and late life regret. The kid who plays the young Louis nails it, too, without saying ten words in the short.

Louis CK has found a way to bring his art to television while keeping his creative vision clear and free. I greatly look forward to seeing more of this series and anticipate great things. So far, 5 stars

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2 Comments

  1. I totally agree! I have enjoyed both episodes, and think he managed to keep some of the edge of his stand-up, without watering it down for tv (as happens to most things in this country…).

    • I think the only real difference, having seen him do a lot of those jokes live this spring, is that television removes all of the use of the word “fuck” from his bits. I think they hold up without it! But seriously, they were all in tact, though when I saw him the “best case scenario” bit must have gone 5 minutes by itself and was amazing but TV time can’t be dedicated to that necessarily and keep the flow of the program. Louis CK is good with that rhythm as well.


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