LOUIE “Gym” and “Night Out” Review

LOUIE (FX)
Oh LOUIE. Before we get into tonight’s double season finale showing, can we just discuss what a great first season Louie had? While some of the episodes were more somber than the expected hysterically funny, it opened our eyes to the humanity behind the life of a comedian, who just so happens to be a recently divorced father of two. Be it what happens when a middle age man is confronted with a high school bully or the demons of his past, Louie has been brilliant at its non-flinching approach.

In the first half of the finale ‘Gym’, Louie is confronted and affected by what he sees in the mirror. Louis C.K.’s appearance and overall lack of health have been a major focus of his stand up for years. ‘Gym’ gives us another chance to learn that as we get older eating healthier isn’t just an option, its a must. Beyond wanting to be considered attractive to the female species, Louie just wants to be able to keep up with his kids – both common issues to anyone past the age of 30. He fantasizes about having sex with a local newswoman, and then chats about that with his buddy on the phone, which is something rarely bragged about by young, hip dudes. Settling has become a part of Louie’s life, which might not be incredibly true about the actual Louis, but there is something to be said about that moment in your life when you know your best days are behind you. A common theme for Louie, it’s perfectly executed with the workout scene featuring Bobby Canevale, a fellow parent in his kid’s school, where he huffs and puffs two minutes into the exercise. Immediately struck with how out of shape he actually is, Louie freaks out and gets sent to the hospital, setting up another guest appearance from Ricky Gervais as his doctor. See he told you he wasn’t fit!

This episode also featured a scene between Louie and Pamela Adlon, whose recurring role must be increased to full-time next season. The chemistry between these two is electric, in a sad, morose sort of way. They are like two lost souls who snark back and forth in fear of actually finding happiness – a hard up, hungover version of Diane and Sam, and I hope we see more of them next season.

For the second episode, “Night Out” Louie is confronted with the realization that he is no longer just a single man on the prowl, and one that comes along with baggage. After being dumped by a single mother in the middle of their first date for having children, Louie wonders when that will just be enough. And as any human can tell you, it never will be. When Louie is confronted by his babysitter about his lack of social life depressing her, he runs out and tries to find fun. When it can’t be provided by his local comedian buddies, he sets his sights on a younger, more “urban” crowd of black comedians thinking they will bring him fun, and ultimately young attractive lades. But as you get older, and you either get mature or boring, your idea of a fantastic night out evolves. Or shall we say devolves? At one time a night full of crawls from one loud dive bar to the next seemed like perfection, but as you get older it turns into an annoying feat. Why is the music so loud? Louie confronted with the brutal truth that he is more terrifying to the youngsters in the bar than they are to him, heads out and does what comes best to him – stand up. Ironically, his set is all about his masturbation prowess, subconsciously poking fun at what stand up comedy tends to be. He seems rejuvenated, which many stand up comedians can attest to, and heads home. His kids are woken up by their babysitter leaving ask him to grab breakfast and he happily obliges them at 4AM.

Louis C.K. wrapped up this season with the appreciation for the two things that keep him going, comedy and his kids, even if he hates to admit it. The evolution of this neo-gritty comedy is inspiring to all comedians out there and hopefully lets them know you don’t need to produce Seinfeld to be able to do the comedy you want on a network, albeit cable network, TV program. And I can happily say I am excited to see what next season brings Louie and his audience.