Louie S03E07: IKEA / Piano Lesson and S03E08: Dad

A couple of interesting episodes in the last fortnight of Louie. The first was a bit so-so to me: the return of Dolores (who, as you’ll recall, asked to be spanked as a means of expunging her undealt-with feelings about her father), who in this episode asks him to come to therapy with her. Refusing this outright, he is later persuaded to come to IKEA with her in exchange for a reluctant blow job. Things go terribly when she asks that he be a little more engaged about a rug.

Louie launches into one of his trademark discontentednesses and expounds about how little passion one should afford a rug. “It’s not coated with AIDS. And it’s not a portal to a nether place.” Dolores has another breakdown that concludes with Louie tucking her into a display bed. On the ride home there’s the awkwardest offer of oral sex ever recorded, which is sad and kind of funny but mostly sad, and Dolores jumps back on the list of all the crazy women Louie has met and in whose emotional business become uncomfortably involved.

Speaking of which, the second half of the episode sees the return of Maria Bamford, who calls him thirty seconds into a piano lesson to inform him he has crabs, thusly:

So he goes to a pharmacy where an old lady demands to speak to a pharmacist about her prescription. The doctor obliges her to reveal unpleasant information about her bowel movements in public until she walks away, ashamed. Anyway, later that day Louie is watching a comedy retrospective on the telly and sees one of his performances from the 1980s, followed by guest star Sarah Silverman. He calls her up and gets her to watch until a third performer, Louie’s old friend Marc Maron, takes the stage and Louie remembers that he hasn’t spoken to him in ten years because of a fight they had. He goes to his house to apologise, and kinda pours his heart out while Marc sits there, strangely impassive. Once he’s finished he tells him he made the same speech five years ago and would it kill him to go for a coffee some time. It’s a fair little skit but this whole episode was a little rambly and lacking in bite. Nice to see Sarah Silverman being charming and personable though.

This week’s episode, on the other hand, was an absolute beaut. After a really nice opening in which Louie demands his immensely gifted violinist daughter stop playing: “but it’s beautiful!” “it’s not time to do it, I told you to do your homework.” Sets up their relationship kinda wonderfully. Anyway, after a humiliating experience in an electronics store in which he is shown via cctv to be an even bigger schlub than he thought, he is called to an exceedingly sketchy looking meeting at the Russian Tea Club with his mysterious Uncle Ex, played with gusto by F Murray Abraham and his rich, velvety tones. He demands that Louie go talk to his father for the first time in two years, which causes him no end of discomfort. Uncle Ex then uses an elaborate middle finger/prostitutes and their ‘wretchedness’/prophylactics metaphor to describe the connection between father and son. Exit Louie, ashamed.

Later at a poker game (look at you and your continuity, Louie!) after it’s discovered that one of his friends draws his own pornographic material, Louie randomly pukes over the table. At the hospital, a particularly understanding doctor identifies the problem as having subconscious origins, and tells him he won’t feel better until he either goes to see his father or accepts the fact that he’s not going to see him. The following sequence is just a fantastic bit of magic realism wherein the air steward, car rental attendant and his GPS are all keenly aware of Louie’s problems. En route, a muscular Bostonian gets into a drivers’ spat with him, and then almost instantly sympathises with his predicament, before reminding him that at least his father is still alive, “think about that, queer”. When he reaches the door, a figure in silhouette approaches, and Louie runs. He runs to an outlandish-looking motorcycle then drives to the marina where he jumps in a speedboat and strands himself in the middle of the sea, where the credits roll.

Weird! Weird but amazing and thought-provoking. The tiny bit of music that plays as he drives out to sea, out of breath, then relieved, confused, and strangely overjoyed, is just a remarkable bit of filmmaking. C.K. has one of the best faces on television, and he knows how to use it. In two weeks’ time he starts his first ever three-parter, and I cannot wait.

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