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Louie – Something is Wrong

There’s a refreshing sense of identity to everything Louis C.K. produces, simultaneously self-assured and self-deprecating. There’s no bigger vehicle for this identity than Louie, but after two seasons of its titular character being rejected, embarrassed, threatened, and shunned I was starting to feel the effects of diminishing returns looming over the show. C.K. himself promised season three would be fresh and different, and while Something is Wrong is definitely very much Louie, it offers a few new comedic wells to fall into as the season progresses.

The show certainly isn’t getting any happier and still has the cobbled-together, Woody Allen-esque feel to it despite C.K. now more than ever having the finances to make his show more glamorous. Opening with a surreal stand-up segment from the Comedy Cellar about getting a new penis, then cutting into a vignette where Louie gets dumped by his girlfriend, it’s obvious from the first few minutes that the show isn’t changing too drastically. The schizophrenic pacing and sudden left turns in style are present and correct, illustrated by Louie buying a motorcycle, being caught in the middle of a showboating biker gang, and then crashing his bike into a truck within the space of minutes.

Something is Wrong beats Louie down, really hard. Before we’ve seen him go through a lot of stressful situations, but this episode really chucks issues of every variety at him thick and fast. From the big things – crashing his bike, breaking up with his girlfriend – to the little things like trying to understand contradictory parking notices, it’s almost frustrating how downbeat he is about it. Perhaps this should be the season where Louie finally snaps and gets violently even with the world, Falling Down style. It’s not a classic episode, mainly because it feels a little poorly paced and even more fast and loose with the core concepts of the show than ever.

It doesn’t really make any gigantic waves in the format, and for that reason fans of the show will find it easy to like. As an introductory episode to ease us into new characters, it works just fine. We finally see Louie’s ex-wife who, in keeping with the show’s tendency to give two fingers to societal assumptions, is black. It’s hard to get a read on Louie’s new love interest, and it’s going to take a monumental effort to make me stop missing Pamela. I hope Pam returns in season three, if only for a cameo. She was the next best thing about the show besides Louis C.K. himself and one of the best female comedic characters on TV in the last couple of years.

So if there’s one word to describe Something is Wrong, it’s “promising”. It didn’t make me laugh or tug at the heart strings enough to put it on the pantheon of glorious Louie moments, alongside episodes such as Subway/Pamela or God, but it provides a new start for Louie in season three. Instantly knocking him down to the bottom of the barrell, at least it looks as if things can’t get much worse. For as much as I enjoy all the awkward situations he gets himself into, it’s difficult not to want to see some success for the guy. Although seeing as the real life C.K. is at the peak of his popularity right now, I think it’s more likely he will use the show as an outlet to escape the many sycophants and pressures success can bring.


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