Louis C.K. has come a long way since Louie first premiered in 2010. Not only has he become one of the biggest personalities in entertainment, he’s also become a highly sought after writer, producer and director. The male Tina Fey, if you will. As both the character Louie and Louis C.K. have changed, so has Louie. Here are five things about Season 5 that are a bit different than what we’ve become accustomed to.
The first four seasons of Louie were each at least 13 episodes, with Season 4 weighing in at 14 after Louis C.K. showed up with an extra. Season 5 was only supposed to be seven episodes, but what Louis C.K. wants, Louis C.K. gets. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the shortened season, other than that’s what he wanted to do. So, what does it mean for the future of Louie? Maybe nothing, but with the announcement that he will be writing, directing and starring in the new film I’m a Cop, it could mark the beginning of his transition away from television. Or it might not.
There aren’t any plot lines that last multiple episodes.
Until the finale, anyway. Episode 8 is titled “The Road: Part 2,” making it the only one that continues a plot line from a previous episode. Since Season 2, there’s been at least one three-part story arc. Part of this probably has to do with the shortened season, but it also seems like Louis C.K. has been more interested in seeing what he can do inside a half hour, or really about 22 minutes. No split episodes, either. The show feels less like a collection of short films.
He (kind of) understands women now.
In seasons past, Louie has tried to physically and emotionally trap women, accidentally elbowed them in the nose, asked them out to the point of harassment, then been unable to break up with them, and in general had profound difficulty in speaking to them. This year, Louie has turned the tables. He’s been beaten up by a woman, and been given a makeover to look like a woman. He’s also praised and flattered a severely pregnant woman to the point of copulation. The biggest female development in Louie’s world isn’t sex or his continually evolving relationship with Pamela, however, it’s his daughters. The two girls who used to be solely Louie’s children have started to become real people, with their own thoughts and beliefs. It has forced Louie to look at the opposite sex in a whole new light.
The opening credits are back.
Believe it or not, this was the first time we saw the now iconic Louie opening credits since 2012 and the ninth episode of the third season. One of the series’ most lasting memories just wasn’t around for three years. C.K. tossed them for the epic three-part “Late Show” arc and stuck with it during Season 4, using a simple title card instead. So, if you started watching the new season and thought to yourself how different Louis C.K. looked, you weren’t alone, and you also weren’t wrong. You just had no idea you hadn’t seen Louie walk up and out of the subway in roughly a thousand days.
It’s a comedy again.
It’s not that Louie stopped being funny, but Season 5 has seen the show become as much of a half-hour sitcom as it has ever been. Plots have been mostly straightforward. Louie has found himself in the middle of a cult meeting that he thought was a PTA potluck, he’s gone on a date, shown up at the wrong funeral, and he’s spent an evening with an obnoxious caricature of someone we all know (yes, that episode did take a dramatic turn). Louis C.K. has messed around with every idea of what a television show could be, and now he’s figuring out what a half-hour sitcom is.
So, where does Louie go from here? We could see another season next spring, or it might be two or three years from now. It could be seven episodes, or 14, or somewhere in between. Louis C.K. seems destined to become his generation’s version of Woody Allen — a prolific writer and filmmaker who has more hits than misses, and is never afraid to take his shot. If that happens, Louie could quickly become FX’s very own Curb Your Enthusiasm. Sure, there hasn’t been a new episode since 2011, but would anyone really be surprised if Larry David walked into HBO’s offices tomorrow saying he was ready for Season 9? One has to think that FX will have no problem playing the role of HBO in Louis C.K.’s life, moving ahead with other projects while always keeping the door open for him when he shows up with an idea. And we have no problem sitting back and waiting for him to gift us with whatever story he wants to tell us in whatever medium he decides to use.