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Sometimes an episode of Louie is disturbing, sometimes they are very disturbing, and sometimes they are like “Bummer/Blueberries” and make you question your own sanity. That is not to say this episode wasn't without laughs, as Louis C.K. always finds a way to squeeze comedy out of unexpected places. Still, this episode wasn't exactly overflowing with mirth, but the beauty of Louie is that there's always something more to watch for than just the jokes.
Both stories centered on Louie being a walking magnet for misery and the macabre, as well as his debilitating loneliness. “Bummer” was appropriately named as Louie was in a state of gloomy introspection for most of it. His effort to fend off the raving homeless man – that ends with the vagrant beheaded by a garbage truck – was definitely out of left field. At the same time, if it was going to happen to anyone it would be Louie. The double bass playing was just the thing to bring the scene together, and played well over the rest of the storyline. As it would for most of us, the event sends Louie spiraling into self-loathing just before meeting a female business acquaintance for a movie. There was a great irony to the depressed and distraught side that he tries to keep hidden from women being forced to the surface and actually winning his “nondate” over. His brutal honesty led to several humorous comments, the highlight of which had to be: “You're gorgeous. And I find you very attractive. And you're very nice...you're not even nice, honestly.” Another big laugh came from his depression being forgotten in an instant when he realizes he has blown it with her, and thus converts back to his usual insane attempts to keep a woman interested. It was made funnier by it being so in tune with his character.
“Blueberries” started as a more down to earth tale about two single parents trying to fill the void left by their divorced spouses. That's how it started anyway. After Dolores, a mom from his daughter's school, makes Louie an offer of no-strings-attached sex, it seemed like our bumbling protagonist would finally find a little relief to his lonesomeness. Of course with Louie involved, casual sex turns into the most distressing scene in an episode already brimming with them. Let's just say Dolores has some daddy issues and leave it at that. The way she goes about discussing and preparing for sex so pragmatically makes the revelation of her fetish all the more shocking. Louie on his part was excellent throughout their brief courtship. It was very true to life the way he kept almost bailing out, before a look from Dolores or the sound of her voice was enough to remind him how much he wanted to be with anyone that was willing. Not even her coming out in an old nightgown to apply lotion like they had been married for fifteen years fazed Louie. The final shot of the two them at the table after Dolores' breakdown was the perfect close to the story. Louie taking it all in stride, too old and too tired to do more than stare at someone who is so deeply troubled, as Dolores discusses mundane matters and eats her blueberries.
It wasn't all enjoyable, as any story that dark and disturbing wouldn't be. The risk C.K. takes by making his series so raw and so rough on the emotions is admirable, but it doesn't change the fact that sometimes it can take the audience right out of the mood for comedy. With nearly every storyline he aims to cut deep, literally trolling the waters of his audience for a deep-seated emotional reaction. When he hooks one, he doesn't let go until he's fully exploited their neuroses. Few shows have ever attempted such, let alone comedies. So the fact that Louie can score any laughs while delving into the damaged mind of your all too typical American is worthy of applause.
Even the standup segments took on a more depressing tone, while still garnering their usual amount of laughs. Starting the episode off with C.K. explaining why he has to have sex with a shirt on was the kind of self-deprecation he has come to master over the years. Comparing his own gut to that of a mother dog was disgustingly hysterical for the mental imagery it brought fourth. Ending the episode with his attack on the group of guys trying to express how well they related to his material seemed to indicate the character Louie might have learned a lesson. Misery may love company, but after what he has been through in the effort to be with someone, Louie is fine on his own.
“Bummer/Blueberries” pushed the boundaries of bizarre happenstance, and managed to be funny while doing it. Well, maybe not the whole time. But this series has never been about eliciting one reaction from its viewers. It's about running the gambit of joy, sorrow, shock, and disbelief, as life itself is. In that sense, this episode was a success, even if feelings of shock and sorrow were the most prolific.