Emmy episode analysis: Pamela Adlon makes an honest woman out of ‘Louie’

pamela adlon louie bobby's house emmys comedy guest actress

Pamela Adlon has recurred on “Louie” since its first season as his on-again-off-again girlfriend Pamela, but her nomination this year for Best Comedy Guest Actress is her first for her work on-screen. However, it’s far from her first recognition at the Emmys: she also contends for Best Comedy as a producer of the series, and she shared a Comedy Writing bid with Louis C.K. in 2013. Before that, she won Best Voice-Over Performance in 2002 for playing multiple characters in the FOX animated sitcom “King of the Hill.” Will she prevail a second time thanks to her episode submission, “Bobby’s House”?

Emmys exclusive: Which episodes are submitted by
Anthony Anderson (‘Black-ish’) and
Louis C.K. (‘Louie’)?

SYNOPSIS: Pamela laughs at Louie after he’s assaulted by a woman, but when he asks her for makeup to cover up his bruises, she’s inspired to make an unusual request: to make him up as a woman for gender-reversal role-play. Louie reluctantly agrees, and she masquerades as Peter to seduce his feminine alter ego, Jornetha. However, when Louie reveals how moved he was by the experience, Pamela realizes that he can’t handle a casual relationship and breaks up with him rather than string him along. She can’t help but smile when she sees his mascara running when he cries.

Will Adlon win her first Emmy for an on-screen performance? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:


“Louie” has struggled for recognition in guest categories, but the last time the show earned a bid in this race, for Melissa Leo in 2013, she won. And like Leo, Adlon plays an aggressive lover who unexpectedly manhandles Louie.

It’s not a dual role, per se, but voters will nevertheless get to see Adlon as both Pamela and her masculine persona Peter, which demonstrates her range.

Though she’s not a household name, her impressive resume and accolades, including two WGA Awards and a PGA nomination, make her a prominent industry figure who voters might rally around, especially if they consider her creative contribution to “Louie” as a writer and producer.


She makes fun of an injured Louie and breaks his heart in the end, so voters may consider her unlikable.

Her scenes are more wry than uproarious, so she doesn’t get to deliver the kinds of showy emotional fireworks or belly laughs voters often look for.

Emmys 2015: Complete List of Episode Submissions

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