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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.