“Louie” is back for a third season. I reviewed the start of the season yesterday, and I have some quick thoughts on the season premiere coming up just as soon as I get reading glasses…
As I mentioned in yesterday’s column, “Something Is Wrong” was definitely the most lightweight of the five episodes I got to see in advance – and by that I mean comedy as well as the character and thematic work. It’s a wry shaggy dog story about how Louie has difficulty saying what he wants – or, in some cases like the motorcycle, how what he wants is pretty stupid – with some good moments of deadpan humor (the construction foreman checking his phone while Louie’s car is crushed, Louie and the other driver studying the street signs, Louie having to button his pants when April shows up at his apartment). But compared to the best of last season, or to much of what’s coming over the next month, this was on the disposable side of things.
That said, it’s fun to watch which version of himself Louis C.K. is going to put on display. Here he’s back to the guy who lets both the good and bad of life just wash over him, barely raising his voice to protest or applaud any of it. It’s clear from Louie’s sighs of relief on both of April’s exits that she read him exactly right about wanting out of this relationship, and also that he’d have just gone along with dating her forever while feeling miserable about it.
And we see the end of this relationship contrasted with the show’s introduction of TV Louie’s ex-wife Janet, played by Susan Kelechi Watson. (C.K. explained in several venues why he decided to cast a black actress in the role, even though it’s unlikely he and Watson would produce kids who look like Louie’s daughters.) She’s introduced as having little patience for Louie’s nonsense, but we now have two-plus seasons of evidence that she didn’t come to this point unfairly. And it was amusing to watch her mood swing from exasperated (Louie can’t pick up the girls) to sympathetic (Louie is in the hospital) and back to exasperated again (Louie is in the hospital because he bought a motorcycle). We don’t know exactly what their marriage was like in the good times, but those two minutes give us a pretty strong sense of what it was like towards the end.
Plus, in an incredible (and sad) quirk of timing, we get to see an adult Gaby Hoffman only a couple of days after her “Sleepless in Seattle” writer/director Nora Ephron died.
What did everybody else think?