Review: ‘Louie’ – ‘Late Show (Part 1)’

Senior Television Writer
08.31.12 50 Comments

A quick review of last night’s “Louie” coming up just as soon as I review a remote control right before murder-suiciding my whole family…

Louis C.K.’s approach to continuity allows him to have his cake and eat it with a storyline like the one set up in the first part of this “Late Show” trilogy. On the one hand, he gets to play off of what we know about the more modest state of TV Louie’s career, and he gets to continue one story over multiple episodes. On the other hand, because we know that he can drop an idea at any moment (like becoming guardian to his niece), this story doesn’t automatically have to end with Louie blowing it and losing the job to Jerry Seinfeld.

Of course, I assume it’s going to end that way. Continuity or not, this is a show this is a show about a guy who never gets what he wants (other than time with his daughters, and even that’s not always perfect), so I figure he either blows it or winds up getting the job just as he realizes that he hates it. Either way, in the next episode he’ll be back to being a mid-level comic.

As the first part of a trilogy, this episode was largely set up, but it did have one of the better stand-up routines in quite a while with the riff on Amazon product reviews, it had a lot of the walking sight gag that is Louie’s underage agent Doug, it had Louie suffering one of my least favorite travel mishaps(*) and it had an absolutely fantastic guest performance by Garry Marshall as the magnetic, Moonves-esque(**) head of CBS, who manages to simultaneously offer Louie his dream job, tear his self-image to shreds, and then build him back up again. Between that speech, all the events backstage at “The Tonight Show,” and even the Do Not Disturb incident, this episode was a lot about Louie realizing how little of both his life and his career is in his control. Decisions are being made about him by people who are more powerful, more famous or who simply have a housekeeping schedule to keep, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

(*) I’ve not only been woken from naps with the Do Not Disturb sign, but I’ve had bellmen knock on the door despite the sign being up because they get paid per delivery. In this day and age, the sign is about as meaningless as the speed limit sign on the highway.

(**) FX’s press site lists the character as “Lars Tardigan.”

What did everybody else think? Does this seem like good fodder for the series’ first three-parter?

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