Review: ‘Louie’ – ‘Elevator Part 4 & 5’

05.26.14 3 years ago 84 Comments

A review of tonight's two “Louie” episodes coming up just as soon as I don't drink lemonade for two years…

It's the end of a long weekend, and I didn't get to see “Elevator” Parts 4 & 5 until today, so in the interests of getting some discussion going before this miniseries concludes a week from tonight, let's go straight to the bullet points:

* “Elevator” remains very much about communication, but also about loneliness. Louie makes so many mistakes in his life out of a fear of being lonely, even as he admits in Part 5 that there are times when he wishes he was always lonely, because being around people (his daughters in particular) is so stressful. And the solitary life is exemplified by Todd Barry's amusingly riveting monologue about his incredibly mundane, self-involved day, a speech delivered with such verve that the entire bar bursts into applause when he tells them of his triumph over the “Todd Berry” sign. This is a life that would, in practice, make “Louie” miserable – we saw last season just how badly he needs to connect with people, and how depressed he gets when all his connections are severed – but Todd sure makes it sound like more fun than it likely is.

* Given that Louis C.K. has already messed with our expectations and understanding of genetics by casting  African-American actress Susan Kelechi Watson as Janet (because how could two people who look like Louie and Janet produce two children who look like Lily and Jane?), I got a kick out of him then casting a Caucasian actress (who also looks nothing like the girls who play their kids) to play Janet in the flashback to the bad early days of their marriage. And the actor playing Young Louie absolutely nailed C.K.'s mannerisms and vocal delivery; even though he looks nothing like C.K., now or then, you understand that it's him.

* I love how surreal things get whenever Louie is watching television, here with the gibberish-filled reports about the damage being done by Hurricane Jasmine Forsythe, up to and including the death of LeBron James, the rest of the Miami Heat, and, oh yeah, “12 million other people.” Part 5 ends with news that the storm is approaching New York; can it just take out James Dolan without the rest of the Knicks organization?

* Last week, a few of you wondered if Ivanka's story about her family's act would lead to a punchline about “The Aristocrats!” Here, with her barometer for what is and isn't a serious relationship – plus her quoting the ancient Hungarian proverb, “If you didn't screw the cow, she's not your cow” – I think it's safe to say you guys were on the right track.

* So much of Louie's relationship with Amia has been driven by desperation – needing to feel connected to someone, needing it to not be Pamela, needing to not have Janet think he's a schmuck for being around this woman who's about to disappear from his life – and there was certainly a lot of that on display as he tried to bring her into his apartment to secure metaphorical ownership of the cow. That's a tricky scene to stage and play, especially given how much of it was in darkness, in that the goal is to have Louie come across as sad but not a creep, and I think that mission was mostly accomplished, even as you could tell how much Amia regretted things the following morning.

* Given how much time has been spent on this arc already, I'm not only interested in seeing what comes in next week's conclusion, but in seeing how the start of the next story arc is able to function on the same night as this one's end.

What did everybody else think?

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