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The television show “Oh Louie' takes us back to one of the more depressing times in a life filled with little else. C.K. was at his most self-referential in the episode 'Tickets', exploring two parts of his life that those unfamiliar with his career might not even know about. The episode explores the subject of plagiarism.
first segment was a flashback to Louie's aborted run at his “own”
show. Saint Louie was
a CBS pilot produced in 2004. It never made it to air; and it later became the inspiration for the “Oh Louie” story. With little of the
comedian's own influence -and way too much of the network's- the
script was bled dry of any heart and realism.
In this pilot, we see how Louie felt about the situation. We get some laughs. Louie complains about the poor writing, and the litany of TV stereotypes it represented. The wife, who is too hot for the husband, was a particularly perceptive jab at traditional sitcoms. The actress who plays Louie's wife was convincing. Her exacerbation was hilarious, and focused on her career well. Especially when she was informing Louie and the producer, in no uncertain terms, that this is her last shot, “In another couple of years these fake tits are gonna look stupid.” Louie's home life adds to his frustrations.
Louie hasn't exactly been living in marital bliss. He and his wife have a newborn. His wife is not happy he is unable to help her at home while he works during the day. Things only became more depressing as Louie shares a conversation with an infant Lilly. In one scene, he tells his daughter the expectations and ideas of his sitcom; specifically how it would allow him to stay home more often. Louie capped off the story with one of his most disturbingly dismal pieces of stand up. The tone of the story takes a downward turn when he mentions a girl hung herself while performing a sex act with him. Despite its exceedingly dark tone, the black comedy still provided the laughs needed to move past the disheartening storyline.
“Tickets” starts with Louie trying to find a present for one of his daughters, and ends with a poignant discussion between two men who have reason to dislike each other. The focus shifts quickly from caring if Lilly would see Lady Gaga to mentioning the name Dane Cook. Even Louie's odd, pubescent lawyer couldn't draw from the anticipation of seeing the two comics face off. Fellow comedian, Jim Norton describes Cook as a comedian who steals three jokes from C.K.'s material.
Then Cook comes to defend himself. I was impressive to see the Louie and Cook debate. It was hard to watch Louie have to ask this man for anything, and it only got more difficult as Cook tried to blame Louie for the “rumors” of plagiarism. Rather than have Cook speak intelligently and thoughtfully on his own behalf, C.K. wrote their scene so that its him that actually comes to Cook's defense. He does so with an explanation that is so good, it may be used as precedence in any future accusations of joke stealing between comics. Cook, defends himself being portrayed as a blindly arrogant jerk, actually managed a few laughs with his performance.
Though “Oh Louie/Tickets” was far from upbeat, there was a positive takeaway. Louie, the always struggling comedian, went from Saint Louie, that never made it out development to Lucky Louie, his HBO series which only lasted a season. Louie has full creative control, and with his latest -and most humbly named- series he has earned more acclaim than his previous two ventures. So as long as Dane Cook doesn't decide to start his own show, C.K. should be just fine.