A review of tonight’s “Louie” coming up just as soon as I eat a strawberry I can’t have…
“Miami” starts out feeling like a sequel to season 1’s Alabama trip, as Louie again finds himself in a locale where he doesn’t feel he belongs. Here, it’s the land of the tanned hardbodies, and pasty, flabby Louie is so terrified to be in their midst that he retreats to his hotel room for a burger, only returning to the beach as the sun is setting and it’s now safe for the old and infirm to set foot on the sand. (I love that you can either view the emergence of all the older gentlemen on the beach as vampires coming out at night, or innocent humans emerging after all the monsters have gone to sleep.)
But then it turns into something else entirely, when a misunderstanding over the beach chairs leads Ramon the lifeguard to “rescue” Louie, and become his guide to a part of Miami he’d have never otherwise seen.(*) Ramon is younger, buffer, better-looking and more confident than Louie – all they seem to have in common is that they speak Spanish and are both biped mammals – and yet they spend this great day and night together, and even when it seems to be going awry when Louie realizes he’s on the verge of missing his own show, that only makes things more entertaining for everyone.
(*) You get the sense that Louis C.K. just wanted to visit those neighborhoods and bring a camera with him, and built the rest of the story around the goal of making that travelogue.
Because Louie is a comedian, he should understand the value of leaving on a high note(**), and ideally he would have gotten on the plane the next morning with the memory of that perfect, unexpected day. But Louie is also human, and you can understand him wanting to hold onto that feeling – of youth, of adventure, of family and wisdom and warm spirits, of being connected to the world in a way he simply isn’t in Manhattan – for as long as possible, and understand why he’d try to push the friendship past its limits by staying a few extra days.
(**) And if somehow didn’t know it already, his buddy Jerry’s sitcom did a pretty fantastic story about it in one of its final episodes.
And what makes that scene at the hotel bar so terrific is that even as Louis C.K. the filmmaker has made us understand all of this, Louie the character can’t articulate any part of it. So of course Ramon assumes Louie’s attracted to him (just as Louie’s ex assumed he was staying because he met a woman), and Louie is almost more embarrassed to explain how he actually feels than to let Ramon (who’s not interested but also not hostile about it) keep that assumption. They’re both trying so hard to not be judgmental, and to get out of what has turned into a very uncomfortable conversation with as little pain as possible, that their conversation becomes almost excruciatingly funny, and the right capper to an excellent, bittersweet episode.
Programming note: I’m going to be taking several days off next week in between Comic-Con and press tour, and because next week’s episode is the first half of a two-parter, I may just put up a short talkback post to let you guys discuss it before weighing in at length following the concluding episode on the 26th.
But in terms of “Miami,” what did everybody else think?