April 3, 2015 at 6:59 pm #345179
“Louie” begins its abbreviated fifth season on Thursday, April 9, 2015 @ 10:30 PM ET on f[X].
Reviews forthcoming.April 3, 2015 at 7:15 pm #345181
SF Gate’s review (taken from combined “Louie”/”The Comedians”
“The Comedians” put a lock on TV’s funniest hour
by David Wiegand
March 30, 2015 Updated: April 2, 2015 11:57 am
“Louie” has finally made a friend—and, boy, is it funny.
As of Thursday, April 9, FX will be able lay claim to
having the funniest hour of the week, with the premiere of the show “The
Comedians” as a lead-in to the fifth season of the network’s
multiple-Emmy-winner “Louie.” It’s probably a good thing FX added “The
Comedians” to the mix because at this point, the only thing left to say about
Louis C.K.’s show is that if you haven’t seen it, either you’re dead or don’t
love great comedy.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .
We’ll still be laughing at the end of the half hour when
the fifth season of “Louie” premieres. It’s brilliant and funny, of course, but
it also offers yet another variety of comedy for us to ponder. Louie is the
kind of guy who would be perfectly happy if the world just left him alone—as
long as he didn’t have to feel lonely in the process.
He tries to avoid difficult situations, such as a loudmouth
cop (guest Michael Rapaport) who used to date his sister and thinks that’s
sufficient grounds for a renewed friendship with Louie, and the unfunny young
comic (guest Nate Fernald, who is actually very funny) who seeks his advice.
But time and again, Louie is pulled into one difficult
situation after another. Each time, of course, we think, “If only he’d just
assert his opinions and desires up front, he could avoid whatever mess
invariably ensues later on.” But on the rare occasions when Louie overcomes his
natural tendency to keep his distance, he gets clobbered anyway because at the
first sign of pushback, he reverts immediately to the misanthrope he really is.
None of this ever gets old, simply because Louis C.K. is
a great comic actor, writer, and director. The character of Louie is
exquisitely crafted in his creator’s mind and on the page long before he
delivers his lines. It’s insufficient to call Louie an “everyman.” He is far
more complicated than that—and far funnier as well. If Sam Beckett were still
around, he’d be rolling in the aisles.
Wiegand is the TV critic and an assistant managing editor of The San Francisco
Chronicle. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @WaitWhat_TVApril 3, 2015 at 7:33 pm #345182
Excitement rising.April 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm #345183
Oh what the fuck?…Why is this an abreviated season?April 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm #345184
Its because last season was an extended season, with two episodes a week and 14 episodes overall.
Damn, I actually forgot this was returning so soon – somehow I am just so grateful that the show exists, I don’t mind whenever Louie makes itApril 9, 2015 at 5:46 am #345185
Review: “Louie,” Season Five
April 7, 2015 | 07:15 AM PT
TV Columnist @ blowryontv
fifth season of “Louie” quickly feels like a microcosm of why the series is
both widely admired and lightly watched. Featuring wild swings in tone, Louis
C.K.’s deeply personal, frequently melancholy vision of life opens with what
amounts to a mini-masterpiece of awkwardness, then proceeds to deal with his
ongoing peculiar romance, a troubled friend, and finally an unexpected
encounter that’s both raw and disturbing. Almost nothing else on TV—certainly
in half-hour form—rivals the particularity of C.K.’s approach, which has
garnered the kind of well-deserved accolades that have kept FX quietly humming
that “Brother Louie” tune.
As writer, director, editor, and star, Louis C.K. has
become one of TV comedy’s genuine auteurs, while indulging impulses that can
take the series in unforeseen and uncomfortable directions. That included last
year’s serialized arc involving Louie’s hopeless romance with a woman who
didn’t speak English, which felt more like a French art-house film than almost
anything on television.
Compared with that, this year’s flurry of episodes is a
laugh riot, and indeed, less serialized than actually diced into bite-sized
bits—in some instances featuring scenes that don’t relate to anything else in
the half-hour, as if the comic just had something he needed to get off his
Indeed, a couple of the four previewed episodes play
almost like those animated shows that split a half-hour into two self-contained
stories. The premiere is what really stands out, with Louie first meeting with
his therapist, then choosing to attend a potluck for parents of one of his
daughters, even though he hasn’t gone before. Things, not surprisingly, go
wildly awry, including his attempt to be a Good Samaritan to a very pregnant
The subsequent episodes are equally interesting, if a
little odd, involving an open-mic night and Louie’s confusing relationship with
the commitment-phobic Pamela (producer Pamela Adlon); his evening out with an
old acquaintance (guest Michael Rapaport); and an altercation with an angry
Given the spiritual debt he owes to Woody Allen, it’s
hard not to filter “Louie” through Allen’s pessimistic assessment of life as
being divided into the horrible and the miserable, observing that everyone
should feel grateful just to be the latter. Louie’s outlook is about that rosy,
and the indignities associated with living in New York only enhance the size of
the dark cloud that perpetually hovers over him.
Small wonder that “Louie” has never exactly been a
ratings powerhouse, which hasn’t prevented FX from keeping him around and even
granting the show an extended hiatus period—this time returning it with the
Billy Crystal-Josh Gad pairing “The Comedians,” which, dealing as that show
does with alter egos of the actors, occupies similar thematic terrain in a
somewhat broader fashion.
“Louie” will never be a mass-appeal hit, nor would the
show likely be such a critical darling if it were. Yet given the mix of laughs
and sheer weirdness the comic delivers, his misery really is deserving of
TV Review: “Louie,” Season Five
(Series; FX, Thur. April 9, 10:30 p.m.)
Filmed in New York by Pig Newton in association with 3
Executive producers, Louis C.K., M. Blair Breard, Dave
Becky; supervising producer, Adam Escott; producers, Pamela Adlon, Vernon
Chatman, Steven Wright, John Skidmore; writer-director-editor, Louis C.K;
camera, Paul Koestner; production designer, Amy Silver; casting, Gayle Keller.
Louis C.K.April 9, 2015 at 5:49 am #345186
Louie: Season Five
Chris Cabin ON April 8, 2015
Louis C.K. radically broke up the fourth season of Louie
into a series of distinct, intelligent, and hilarious narratives,
including a six-part romantic comedy that saw our schlubby antihero
attempt to woo a sweet neighbor who didn’t speak a lick of English. The
season ended with Louie finally hooking up with Pam (Pamela Adlon) after
frustratingly pining for her affections since the start of the series,
and as season five begins, it’s the terms of their courtship that are of
particular interest to the show’s creators. In the second episode, Pam
insists that their relationship is “a la carte,” take what you want and
leave the rest, which is a state of affairs that doesn’t comfort Louie
at all. The turmoil of such arrangements, the anxiety and surprising
limitations of being personally unbound by societal norms, has been a
key part of Louie‘s inimitable perspective since its inception;
here this anxiousness stirs up new perspectives on Louie’s masculinity,
his ability to forgive, and his unique style of courting.
This coincides with the show’s refocusing on C.K. as a lonely,
divorced, ostensibly well-off New Yorker, rather than as a father
navigating the peculiarities of elementary-school socializing and
alternating weekends with the kids. Lilly (Hadley Delany) and Jane
(Ursula Parker) only show up in two scenes in the first handful of
episodes, and one of those scenes involves Louie literally shitting
himself in the middle of a sidewalk. Indeed, it’s adulthood rather than
fatherhood that the season is fascinated with, especially when
considering how matters of identity, history, shame, and sexual
proclivities change with age.
In “Police Story,” Louie is forced to rethink his relationship with
his would-be brother-in-law (Michael Rappaport), a surreally obnoxious
cop who pressures Louie into going out for a night on the town with him.
The story of their excursion becomes a variation on Akira Kurosawa’s
classic Stray Dog, with Rappaport’s character launching into a
furious, self-loathing panic when he realizes he’s misplaced his gun.
C.K. succeeds in critiquing not only the emotional fragility of people
who rely on guns both professionally and personally, but also finding
empathy with a man who still gets his kicks from bullying others.
Despite his tinny braggadocio, Rappaport’s character is all too aware of
the amount of bad decisions and general ineptitude that have led him to
this place in his life, and it’s an overwhelming feeling that C.K. is
clearly familiar with.
For every cynical viewpoint that C.K. asserts, there’s an equal
measure of sincere understanding, a feeling that even the most
pestering, ignorant, and self-serving jerk on this planet is still,
essentially, a human being. When C.K. accidentally finds himself in a
cult-like prayer ceremony in “Potluck,” he makes a point not to poke fun
at the expense of the unconventional worshippers, but rather stresses
his own alienation and humorous awkwardness in trying to be respectful
of their beliefs. As in Girls, the tension at the center of Louie
is sustained via an attempt at the respective main characters’ attempt
at a balance between being a positive part of society and feeding a
demanding inner perspective that is, in many ways, their living.
The ability to make money, without a real boss or overseers, through
one’s talent is an existence not many people know, and the goal of Louie
seems to be imparting a keen, nuanced view of that life, blemishes and
all. No matter how much Louie makes Pamela laugh, she knows that he
wants something different than the “a la carte” option, and there’s no
real way to avoid or change that incompatibility. For whatever the
clattering impossibilities and improbabilities of Manhattan life that
collide throughout the series, the basic human disappointments and
revelations at play that are hashed out between strangers and loved ones
are universal and very real, capable of effecting the disillusioned,
terminally alone cop with a bleak future ahead of him as much as the
bald, beloved comedian who’s only tethered to the world outside his mind
by two young girls, and a handful of prickly New York malcontents.April 9, 2015 at 6:05 am #345187
Entertainment Weekly’s review:
Louie: EW review
by Melissa Maerz
Genre: Comedy; Lead Performer: Louis C.K.; Run Dates:
06/23/2011; Broadcaster: FX; Status: In Season
Posted April 8 2015—12:56 PM EDT
“In comedy you’re supposed to tell the truth, right?” a
young comic (played by real-life standup Nate Fernald) asks Louie (Louis C.K.).
Obviously it’s a question that C.K. has thought about before. Two episodes into
season 5 of Louie, this fledgling
comedian has just finished a painfully unfunny stand-up routine about his
abusive childhood, and he wants Louie’s advice on how it went. So Louie gives
it to him: Yeah, telling the truth figures into comedy, but you have to start
with what’s funny to you.
That’s not the response you might expect from C.K., whose
show excels at anti-comedy and truth-telling. Take Louie’s showdown with Dane
Cook, or his debate with Rick Crom over a certain homophobic slur: Both were
poignant scenes inspired by things that happened in real life. So it’s a little
surprising that season 5 focuses so much on what’s funny to C.K., who has
described it as “more laugh-centric” and less dramatic than season 4. Certainly
the comedy is broader. Louie tries not to soil himself while he rushes around,
searching for a public toilet. He fantasizes about a woman’s giant breasts. He
gets beaten up by a woman, and people mock him for it. He might earn a few more
laughs with moments like these, but they’re pretty traditional jokes, and they
feel worthy of C.K.’s original voice only when he twists them into something
more unsettling: As it turns out, the people who give him the hardest time for
getting punched by a woman are all female.
C.K. has always made great comedy by undercutting his own
privilege as a semi-famous white dude, and he’s equally talented at exploring
how less privileged groups, like women and minorities, work against their own
interests. The funniest moment of the season’s first four episodes comes when a
store owner refuses to take Louie’s money because she doesn’t want to serve
customers who “want their egos stroked by a young Asian clerk.” You have to
hear the whole speech, but it’s a brilliant jab at over-entitled millennials.
Or maybe it’s a shot at middle-aged poseurs. It depends on whose side you take.
Even in a “laugh-centric” season that should appeal to a
slightly bigger audience, it’s not the jokes that stick with you. Episode 3 is
my favorite: It follows a long night in which Louie goes out with his sister’s
depressed ex-boyfriend (Michael Rapaport) and just cannot shake him. It’s an
uncomfortably funny riff on the limits of compassion. And it’s also
devastating. You’re supposed to tell the truth in comedy. Just make sure the
Grade: B+April 9, 2015 at 6:15 am #345188
From LA Times review by Robert Lloyd:
“Louie” is back for a fifth season, and
age is an issue there too. (It always has been, but it doesn’t get any less the
case.) C.K.’s look-alike character is slipping reading glasses on and off
often; his girls are growing up.
“You’re about two years away from a sharp decline in
your looks,” friend-with-benefits Pamela (Pamela Adlon) tells him, while
the proprietor of a cookery store diagnoses his discomfort with younger people—”because
we’re the future and you don’t belong in it”—but also points out that
given a desire for his daughters’ generation to improve on his own, “If
you feel stupid around young people, things are going good.”
The conventions of modern television lead us to expect
that even sitcoms have seasonal arcs and relationships that change over years.
But while there is some continuity in “Louie”—the newly sexual
relationship with Pamela, established at the end of last season, is still alive
in this one—it’s a show that repeatedly wipes the slate (kind of) clean. (Which
is not at all the same thing as letting its main character off the hook.)
C.K. is a short story writer by temperament, and though
his body and brain remain at the center of the action, whatever one episode
establishes about the character’s life and history is liable to be rewritten in
another. What’s important is the working out of an idea, to see where it goes
without worrying unduly about how it relates to the mass of the show; the
creator is not building a mythology here.
The Pamela story was controversial for a scene that some
characterized as “date rape,” and what the character characterized to
Louie as what “would be rape if you weren’t so stupid.” (It echoed a
preceding story line, with Eszter Balint, and followed other much-discussed
stories about men and women.)
There was no rape, but there was a kind of blundering
sexual intimidation, not meant to be taken lightly or approvingly. More often
than not, the shame is Louie’s to bear; the lesson is his to learn. There are
scenes in the new season (I’ve seen four episodes) that seem written not
exactly in response to that scene, as if a defense were being mounted, but
which are meant to reflect back on our memory of it. There will be discussion.
It’s a funny show, fundamentally, but not always, by
intention. Not everything works, or works equally well; like Louie, Louis is
only human. But it’s a matter of the reach that exceeds the grasp—the series’
faults are overwhelmingly sins of ambition. C.K. puts complicated humans on
screen and makes it hard for you to judge them.April 9, 2015 at 6:26 am #345189
NY Times review:
“Louie” Is Back. His Issues Are, Too.
APRIL 6, 2015
by MIKE HALE
Season 4 of “Louie” was Louis C.K.’s art house phase. One
moment he seemed to be channeling David Lynch, the next Woody Allen, the next
Paul Mazursky. His half-hour comedy, always on the dark and fantastical side,
took on a whole new weight—a seriousness that was simultaneously impressive and
a little wearing. At times the only laughter it inspired was the nervous kind.
That felt funny, you thought—is that where I was supposed to laugh?
In Season 5, which begins on Thursday night on FX, Louis
C.K. signals right away that he’s aware of how the previous season might have
played to his small but loyal audience. At least that’s how I read the first
sketch, a therapy session in which Louie’s disclosures start to sound more and
more suicidal—he’s not sure “how to live a life anymore”—but are completely
undercut by the therapist’s reaction. (Describing any 30 seconds of “Louie” is
a minefield of spoilers.) He does it again in Episode 2 when what looks like a
detour into Louie’s childhood traumas, complete with the beginning of a
flashback to the young Louie of Season 4, is cut off by his girlfriend, Pam
The new season is a more straightforward affair over all,
reminiscent in tone and structure of the show’s brilliantly mordant first three
years. In the typical episode, a bit of stand-up, a short, low-key absurdist
sketch and a longer, more intricate story share space and a set of tangentially
related themes and images. Through four of the eight episodes, there’s no grand
narrative arc, no weeks long excavation of Louie’s youth or his insecurities
about sex and loneliness, as there were last season. Everything is compact,
That doesn’t mean, however, that Season 5 takes us all
the way back to the freewheeling, explosive humor of the old “Louie.” We’re
still in dark and occasionally very heavy territory, with long stretches
(sometimes entire episodes) that are more sweaty, uncomfortable and even scary
than obviously funny. The situations develop in even stranger ways than before,
and the laughs still burst out of you at odd moments for reasons you don’t
necessarily understand. This time around, as Louis C.K. reinvents the classic
sitcom in his own elliptical, cerebral style, he seems to be in his absurdist
theater phase, or his surrealist short-story phase—Kafka on the Hudson. (Louis
C.K. still writes, directs and edits every episode.)
At that level of ambition, some things work and some
don’t. Episode 2 is a good example: A short opening sketch in which Louie
suddenly realizes he needs to go to the bathroom while he’s at the market with
his daughters is a gem, spiraling into a subtly hilarious moment equating
embarrassment and death. The longer story that follows, about Louie and Pam’s
movie date and their acrimonious attempts to define their relationship, is more
routine, something we’ve seen before.
But you can trust Louis C.K. to show you something new
before long. An episode with Michael Rapaport (in a fine performance) as a high
school acquaintance of Louie’s who’s now an overbearing, lonely New York cop
takes a familiar situation and spins it in a novel, eerie way. A second with
Pam, involving sexual role-playing, goes to a place we probably haven’t been
before in mainstream, live-action American television, then turns it into an
occasion for bittersweet comedy.
The real opening of the season, before the therapist
sketch, is a snippet of stand-up in which Louie talks about how we shouldn’t go
looking for aliens who will just subjugate us when we find them. In a sense,
the series, and particularly the new season, is about a well-meaning (if gloomy
and slightly misogynistic) Everyman’s journeys among the aliens—the crazy cop,
the angry lesbian at the school potluck, the young Asian woman who
pre-emptively shames him for being a creepy old man, the girlfriend who won’t
love him as much as he loves her. His moments of victory, and redemption, come
when he’s alone, onstage, working a funny voice and a dumb joke. The whole room
laughs, and Pam, sitting in the audience, looks around in surprise.April 9, 2015 at 6:28 am #345190
Review after review is making a point to single out Michael Rapaport in “Police Story.” Might be a strong guest actor Emmy contender this year.April 9, 2015 at 8:01 am #345191
Episode Title: “Pot Luck”
Synopsis: Louie goes to a pot luck dinner.
Discuss.April 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm #345192
Interesting is the best word I can use to describe the premiere. A pot luck sounds like the perfect plot for a show like Louie, and that part of the episode was good. Louie going to KFC after not taking his chicken was hilarious and the best part of the episode. Once it went into the apartment is when things took a turn. It got dramatic and I wasn’t sure if I was to laugh at having sex when water broke. Overall, a solid premiere, but a bit too weird in the third act.April 9, 2015 at 9:07 pm #345193
Louie will screw anything, won’t he lol? Bless him. Lively premiere. I wished the pot luck storyline had been taken a bit further, like having the mistaken pot luck cult people turn against him once they realized that he wasn’t one of them. The bitter lesbian lady was a bit much, and of course Louie was do the surrogate. Then this incident will be all forgotten once Pamela is back on the scene. Loved the intro bit about the aliens.
Grade for “Pot Luck”: B
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