Turn off the Lights

Louie – Halloween/Ellie

Louie had been on course to have
a perfect season, but with “Halloween/Ellie” the series saw its
first bad episode of the year. Even then it was only half bad, and
in fact “Halloween” was one of the more memorable segments.
“Ellie” didn’t generate enough humor or have any poignant message
behind it, just taking us back to somewhere the series has already
been.

Whenever C.K. is railing on kids in the
opening standup segment, you know he is going to be spending some
time with the girls during the episode. And since Jane and Lilly are
always comedic gold, the anticipation for the episode was high while
listening to his diatribe on how coddled American children are.
Whether it was bubblegum flavor or not, we all vocalized our disgust
for cough syrup growing up – some of us probably still do. Just as
with the series itself, C.K.’s strength as a comedian has always come
from how easy his material is to relate to, and how effectively it
cuts to the bone. Anyone reading this, and me writing it, are all
spoiled when compared with most of the world, and have been all of
our lives. So has C.K., which some may say makes him a hypocrite,
but he is more of an impartial observer of all things negative.
Which is why he can speak so well to the truth of our over pampered
society, while directing it at his daughter, and it still be
hilarious; “You’re wearing clothes made by children your age
professionally.”

The incredible thing about “Halloween”
is that in a scene with a young girl traipsing through the streets of
Manhattan in blackface, it actually won’t be the center of attention.
Not that Lilly’s version of Fredrick Douglass wasn’t an eye-catcher,
and a hilarious one at that. Louie knows the reactions her costume
will receive, but what his daughters want, his daughters get. Which
is made even more obvious when a little begging from Jane is all it
takes to make Louie agree to keep trick-or-treating after dark. Of
course, being able to one up his ex-wife -who would never be cool
enough to let them stay out that late- definitely played a part in
that decision. With Louie being Louie, it’s a decision that can’t
help but have disastrous consequences.

Lilly walking around looking like
Lawrence Olivier in Othello
wasn’t even registering once the two costumed street toughs started
following them. Relying on all the classic horror film tropes, the
scene managed to be both funny and genuinely unnerving. The first
time watching there is a very real sense of dread as to what hell
Louie and his girls will have to endure. The grainy shots, ominous
music, and creepy taunts of “Daddy!” from their pursuers, all
built a frightening atmosphere. The two bullies themselves are as
off-putting as you’d expect them to be, and then some. However, once
you know the outcome, all those elements become comical in how
kitschy they are. The sketch even went with the cliched, “I think
we lost them” scenario, only to have the two freaks jump out right
in front of them. Jane proved the stalkers were all bark and no bite
by backing them down with her rant about them ruining Halloween.
Which gave Louie the chance to save the day with an ingeniously
pacifistic solution. After taking out the store window, there was no
better way to end the storyline than with Louie needing a drag off of
the discarded cigarette, as the three of them wait for the police to
show up.

Unfortunately the second half of the
episode didn’t provide the punch of “Halloween.” Louie’s time
spent in a roundtable rewrite of a movie script did provide a few
chuckles, and it was interesting to see all the stereotypical takes
on the kind of talent that ends up in those rooms. The young comic
who still hasn’t realized he’s not funny, the older -but still way
too young to be that bitter- writer who would rather complain than
contribute, and the older guys like Louie who know life is at it’s
funniest when it’s at its most depressing. And they almost seemed
like they were writing the show Louie shares Thursday nights
with. A dog that is continuously making his owner’s life a living
hell isn’t far off from the plot of Wilfred. But beyond those
things, there wasn’t a lot to take from it. It was still more
entertaining than the business lunch that resulted from Louie adding
the best material to the rewritten script.

Ellie turned out to be a vice president
of Paramount, and in a position to make Louie’s dreams come true.
Just as his failed series, “Oh Louie” was going to change Louie’s
life for the better. Which was the main problem with the story; it
was just a rehash of that same segment he did a few weeks ago. Louie
pitches a horribly dismal idea that only people like him and his fans
could find funny, and it ruins his chances at a better career. Plus
the segment was really a long setup to single punchline. Ellie,
played by Veanne Cox(best known from Seinfeld, as Elaine’s
annoying coworker who almost loses her pinky toe), is so enthusiastic
about working with Louie, so overly exuberant at the opportunity to
make this man a star. Combine that with Louie’s absolutely abysmal
luck, and you can see what is going to happen next from a mile away.
The storyline just wasn’t up to Louie’s usually high standard.

Though “Halloween/Ellie” had the
only bad segment thus far in Louie’s second season, it also
had one of the better ones. The episode pretty much broke even, but
C.K’s final piece of standup did leave a sour taste behind. The
fart-filled pillow bit was all crass and no cleverness; an even rarer
and more disappointing occurrence than one of the episode’s
storylines flopping.

Rating
7.5

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