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Louie – Airport/New Jersey

After twelve brilliant episodes, C.K. could have gotten away with phoning in this year's finale, but with “Airport/New Jersey” he gave us two incredible segments to wrap up the second season. They were so good in fact, that we'll forgive him screwing up their order, as “New Jersey” came first and was almost nonstop laughter. While “Airport” had a much more depressing tone, with Louie saying goodbye to his unrequited love, it still brought the heartbreaking hilarity that has been a big part of making this season so great.

He may not have been the most memorable of the two guest starring comedians, but it was a treat seeing Steven Wright(who, if you aren't familiar with standup, is probably most recognizable as the Guy On the Couch from Half Baked). His deadpan delivery is priceless whether he's on or off the stage, and such was the case when he was convincing Louie to stick around after the show to get some “tail.” Watching Louie troll for eye contact amongst the ladies had the cringe-inducing humor that comes with any of Louie's attempts at socializing. If he had just struck out at the bar, Louie's night would not have been so bad, but that just wouldn't be enough misery for the hapless comic. It was pretty much inevitable that Louie's under-stimulated libido would trump the voice in his head telling him that getting into a car with a strange woman offering to expose herself isn't a good idea. Eunice may have lacked subtlety, but her blunt offer was certainly enough to get Louie to bite, and the shock it elicited, in both him and the viewer, shattered the sultry, seductive air the scene had been building to get a good laugh out of a bit of blue humor. As did Eunice's “hands on” approach to silencing Louie's protests as they headed into New Jersey; especially for Louie's open-mouthed reaction. There was more laughter to come when they reached her place and the other shoe dropped.

Getting kicked out onto the street by a couple of swingers isn’t necessarily something that could only happen to Louie, but if it was going to happen to anyone, he's the guy. Luckily for our decidedly unlucky protagonist, friend Chris Rock calls Jersey home and was able to come through in a pinch, and for the audience he brought the funny along with him. Considering the grief he had to take from his wife for the late night escapade, it was only natural that Chis would want to pass some of that on to Louie. In fact, his stone-faced look of exacerbation as his wife forbids him to leave got a laugh before he even headed out to pick up Louie. But it was Chris's jabs at his fellow comedian that brought on the episode's best comedic moments; “I'm not taking you to the city at two o’clock in the morning 'cause you had to look at some crazy woman's vagina. That's not how I plan my life.” They also once again proved that C.K. has the ego of a saint in letting his guest stars take the funniest lines while his character looks like the biggest dope on the planet. Things didn't get any easier for Louie when they made it back to Chris's place, and he was taking grief for settling down but never growing up, which is really the perfect way to describe Louie. Mrs. Rock almost rivaled Chris with her entirely off-screen performance, chiming in with some chiding comments from the other room. And after a night like that, C.K.'s moment of standup about forty percent of his life being too embarrassing to share with anyone else was very fitting.

Television has given us many “will they/won't they?” couples over the years, but the one featured in “Airport” is one of the more endearing, especially because the question of their romantic potential only exists in one of their minds. Louie and Pamela have played off of each other even better in this season than their moments together in the first, and since there has been a greater emphasis put on Louie's hopeless crush, focusing on the two of them was a nice way to close it out. Louie seemed so pathetic trailing after her while repeatedly asking when she is coming back; his denial so great he can't even accept the idea of her leaving until she spells it out. His sullen look of dejection also helped conjure images of a puppy following around its owner who he knows is about to leave. And even though laughing at Louie's misfortune is as natural as breathing, seeing Pamela leave was too heartbreaking not to take seriously; at least for a little while. Louie isn't just losing the woman he pines for, but also his best friend, and after the scene between them previously in the season, when Louie laid out how he felt, Pamela couldn't leave the country without one last attempt at getting Louie to move on.

If you combine what Louie said back in “Subway/Pamela” with what Pamela herself said in this episode, you end up with a conversation that many of us have taken part in, on one side or the other. One person expresses their all-consuming love, and the other person has no choice but to be honest and tell them those feelings aren't returned. As beautiful as what Louie had said was, Pamela was only giving him the cold, but not harsh reality. And she tells him in the most truthful -and humorous- way possible how she herself feels; “It has not been a bummer knowing you. I will say that.” No matter how adamant she is though, there is no way Louie's giving up on winning her heart, and his blind(or deafening in this case) belief that he has a shot helped to create a sickly comedic twist on the cliched airport scene from so many TV and movie relationships. The confusion over the wave ending with Louie yelling out over and over to Pamela that he would indeed wait for her was the perfect way to get us laughing again at the misery of Louie's life. And if it didn't, the tragically comic image of him leaving with his head held high and a spring in his step was certainly enough to do so.

“Airport/New Jersey” wasn't quite the best episode of Louie's second season, but it did place highly. And considering how incredible the past twelve episodes have been, that's saying something. It's going to be hard waiting until next summer for the return of one of television’s best comedies, but this was another episode that proved Louie is worth the wait.



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