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This week we were treated to a double dose of Louie with two back-to-back episodes. The duo started with “Come On, God” an episode that explored a subject close to Louie's heart: masturbation. C.K.'s unrelenting self-deprecation reached new levels in this episode, and made for a hilarious installment. A very memorable performance from a relatively unknown actress also helped make it one of the series' funniest episodes to date.
“Come On, God” started with a scene that felt like another of Louie's surreal fantasies. I kept waiting for the protagonist to snap out of his dream in which he was finding himself publicly defending masturbation on a nationally televised news segment. Such was not the case, and Louie really had agreed to come on television and speak out in the name of self-love. Even real life news anchor, Greg Gutfeld, was surprised anyone would be willing to come on his show and debate the morality of masturbation. Don't get me wrong, if there is one man for the job, it's Louie C.K. Voicing the views of the other side was a woman who had started an organization dedicated to staying way more chaste than anyone needs to be. The scene was a laugh riot from start to finish, thanks greatly to the outlandish views of Louie's opponent.
It was clear Ellen had sipped a little too much of the sacramental wine in her day(especially when claiming that the genocide in Rwanda was actually less tragic than this plague of self-abusers), but that didn't stop her from digging right into Louie's subconscious. Asking him if he has ever been happy was enough to shut down any intelligent argument Louie could make. The melancholy cello music that seems to haunt Louie from episode to episode kicked in at the perfect time and was a nice touch to the moment. Louie turning into a petulant child after realizing this silly girl just called him out was a hilarious closing to a scene that had already scored a ton of laughs. Before storming offstage, the comic got in one last remark that has to be one of the crudest things a man could say to a woman; granted it is hilarious so long as it isn't a woman you know. “And later I'm gonna masturbate and I'm gonna think about you, and there's nothing you can do about it.”
The role of the devout and virgin anti-masturbater was filled by an actress who isn't well known, but deserves to be after her performance in “Come On, God.” Liz Holtan had her work cut out for her in playing Ellen. In addition to the difficulty of not cracking up around C.K., her character had numerous lines of her own that would have been hard to deliver with a straight face. Ellen also impressed in her scenes outside the news segment. After offering Louie an invitation to attend one of her group's meetings(Which by the way he should have jumped at, if only for the material it would give him), the character began to come out of her shell. She even encouraged Louie to come along just to mock the whole thing, and their “date” afterward garnered an equal number of funny moments. It was surprising to see Ellen actually had a sense of humor, but she was laughing it up for Louie's story of losing his virginity ending in farts and shame. And God bless Louie for trying to make her understand that virginity is something you want to lose when you are young, if only so you can forget about how awkward it was.
It would be all to easy to dismiss Ellen as another religious yahoo for her views on self-abuse, but she is plainly smarter, wittier, and more open-minded than many of her fellow Christians Against Masturbation. Even if she does let her faith blind her to common sense sometimes, there was more to her argument than than just what she had been taught growing up. Having never heard someone express what saving themselves for marriage actually meant to them -as opposed to just regurgitating what their religion mandates, I was surprised by how beautiful a picture Ellen painted. Louie was as well apparently, but as he said in his standup segment: a man cannot have a beautiful thought about a woman that isn't immediately followed by a disgusting one. So after Ellen's eloquent and impassioned speech just to him, Louie winds up in her bathroom doing what he does best – besides comedy that is. The telltale sound of his flatulence, while crude, was a nice tie in with the story he told of his first sexual experience.
Like most episodes of Louie, “Come on, God” found enormous amounts of humor in awkward and depressing situations. Even more so than normal though, it was the protagonist's indifference to embarrassment that made the episode so good. It wasn't the first time C.K. has brought up masturbation, and it surely won't be the last, but he definitely earned his right to “love thyself” this time around.