‘Louie’ – ‘Halloween/Ellie’: Trick or treat?

Senior Television Writer
08.19.11 29 Comments


A review of last night’s “Louie” coming up just as soon as my dog turns off the alarm clock…

Heh. So I wrote a whole essay about how “Louie” has taken a turn for the dramatic this season, and then the very next episode winds up being one of the lighter ones of the bunch. (The second half more than the first.) That’ll teach me to violate my whole “don’t write without a screener” policy.

But if this was “Louie” in a minor key, it was still really entertaining, as “Halloween/Ellie” linked up a pair of stories about what happens when you push past your limitations.

In the first, Louie goes against his better judgment and lets the girls continue trick-or-treating after the sun goes down, and they quickly discover that adult Halloween in New York is something very different from kid Halloween. At first, their encounter with the obnoxious ghouls seemed like a rehash of the incident from season 1’s “Bully,” but in this case, Louie was able to fight back – with a major assist from his younger daughter – even if it was in a very Louie way that involved attacking not the men, but the nearby store window.

To me, “Ellie” was the more memorable of the two halves, and yet another example (like the “Oh, Louie” short from a few weeks ago) of Louie’s almost pathological creative integrity kicking him in the ass. It’s one thing for him to go against convention when he’s helping to punch up a screenplay(*), and another for him to detail a relentlessly, depressingly anti-formula comedy for the Paramount executive. Even though I knew this was exactly what would happen(**), I was still aching with laughter as his description kept on going… and going… and going…

(*) And I liked the collection of familiar faces at that meeting, including Grant Shaud from “Murphy Brown” and Alan Muraoka from “Sesame Street.”

(**) Sometimes great comedy comes from surprising your audience, but if a character’s well-established enough – as Louie clearly is by this point – sometimes you can get huge laughs by having your man do exactly what everyone expects him to. Sometimes, the anticipation can be enough to get the laughter started.

So no, nothing as impactful as Louie and Eddie talking about suicide, or even Louie listening to the Christian activist’s description of what sex could be like, but still satisfyingly “Louie.”

What did everybody else think?

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