LOUIE “Travel Day/South” Review

LOUIE (FX)

Only Louis C.K. could make contrived air travel struggles, like nearly crashing and battling TSA agents to bring “certain liquids” on the plane, funny. Unfortunately it’s not funny enough to carry a whole episode of LOUIE. Last night’s episode, “Travel Day/South” tackles two subjects so easy to mock, air travel and the South, it’s a wonder that someone like Louis C.K. would decide to compile them into one episode. It opens with a stand up routine, like each episode does, about people thinking about themselves so highly they don’t deserve accidents to happen to them and how we generally doesn’t deserve anything. Louie sets off to the airport, with a bizarre taxi fight that has NEVER happened in New York City and we then find him in line at the airport to check into his flight. A couple next to him lose their minds at an attendant, where we are left to assume that the flight was cancelled. The couple then expects Louie to react similarly, but he knows, like we all do, that you need to be polite to folks who are able to ban you from flying the friendly skies for life. A stark conversation, about the plane Louie was supposed to fly on, crashed, forcing him to choose another flight. We are then reminded of the annoyance of flying by watching him deal with unloading everything in his bags to be loaded onto a conveyor belt to be checked by security, included a bottle of lube. After Louie finally gets on the plane, his neighbor is a large man, who takes up half the seat and if he was on Southwest, he would have been kicked off like Kevin Smith was. The plane, obviously, hits heavy turbulence, because apparently we wouldn’t have understood how painful traveling is without it being hit into our head. But no worries, everyone lands safe and sound, so Louie can now perform.

The second routine, which ushers in the “South” portion of the episode, is one that I’ve heard before, specifically on this program, which is unfortunate since C.K. has so much quality material to work with. Louie is performing on stage in Birmingham, AL, which we learned in the “Travel Day” portion, and it doesn’t seem to be going so well. He gets semi-heckled about Mobile, AL and goes on some unwarranted rampage about how both cities stink. After the show, he finds himself in a diner style restaurant and is asked by a rather large man to come and say hi to his sister, who is a big fan. Louie obliges, for a bit, and discusses the “intellect” behind his comedy with the sister. She discusses the possibility of meeting him, which she thought would never happen, and lets him know she thinks he is sexy. Louie, clearly understanding where this might be going, thanks the sister for her time and claims he has to leave to catch a flight. Unfortunately, the brother seems to have a different opinion and pulls a gun on Louie out in the parking lot, wondering why Louie “thinks he is too good for his sister.” Thankfully, a local officer knocks out the brother and transports Louie back to his hotel, claiming getting a gun pulled on ’em is normal around here. Then for some reason, we get some creepy stereotypical “secret gay” innuendo, which prompts Louie to discuss the true “difference” between the South and the North. The episode ends with Louie obliging the officer, giving him a kiss and concluding the worst episode so far.

Both stories, the “Travel Day” and “South” are off putting and too hokey for this program. Easy jokes and awkward interactions can be seen on any half-assed comedy. Up until now, Louie had separated itself from cable counterparts with a deeper look into the psyche behind neurotic and apathetic emotions. Last night’s episode felt lackluster, short and at the end, nothing happened. And not in a Seinfeld kind of way, but in a ‘what did I just do for the past 22 minutes’ way? Louie stepped above the others with its richness and ability to tackle heavy subjects with jest. Tonight’s episode was nothing more than a bad Comedy Central special and completely forgettable.