‘Louie’ Finale: A Bittersweet Trip to an Awkward Ending (SPOILERS)

Louie Season Finale

Louie’s” fourth season came to a rather awkward end Monday, and in the show’s quirky, jaundiced view of the world, that’s not a bad thing. About all that’s missing from comic Louis C.K.’s deeply personal series — on which he does pretty much everything except man the craft services table — is French subtitles, signaling the melancholy tone of a show that’s both meticulously crafted and also at times the furthest thing from a comedy.

Having taken his time between seasons, Louis C.K. (I still can’t figure out how to shorten that) came back with romance on his mind, placing his alter ego in two strange relationships: The first with a woman who didn’t speak English, and the second in a renewed romance with the peculiar, warmth-phobic Pamela, played by Pamela Adlon, who also serves as a producer on the show. (As a footnote, she was also Louis C.K.’s wife in his short-lived HBO comedy “Lucky Louie.”)

Like so much on “Louie,” it’s hard to determine what to make of the Louie-Pamela pairing, although the final episodes did yield a couple of explosively funny moments — including her rather impertinent decision to question the show’s color-blind casting.

Still, a season of “Louie” is ultimately defined more by its bittersweet ambience than anything else, which explains FX’s decision to run episodes back to back, since it’s hard to think of a half-hour series — on its network or anyone else’s — that would go with this rough-edged little gem.

Perhaps foremost, the last two half-hours (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched) lead to the seemingly inescapable conclusion that this current relationship is both a bad idea and a reaction (or rebound, if you prefer) to the previous one. In both situations, moreover, we see Louie as someone insecure enough to settle for a girlfriend who comes laden with built-in impediments to success — first someone who can’t communicate with him, followed by somebody who won’t.

Notably, all of that was preceded by what also might be as good a half-hour as the series has produced (although Melissa Leo’s horrible date episode is hard to top), in which Louie is pursued by an overweight waitress (Sarah Baker), putting the title character in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable position of rejecting somebody interested in him.

The show also made a poignant detour into the past with the episode in which Louie catches his daughter smoking pot, triggering an extended flashback about his own early experiences smoking and selling weed, as well as his strained interaction with his divorced parents.

Given the numerous accolades Louis C.K. has already amassed — including a record seven single-year Emmy nominations, for the show and a stand-up special, in 2012 — he certainly has no shortage of industry admirers, although “Louie” remains not surprisingly malnourished ratings-wise. Over the last three weeks the program has averaged a mere 500,000 same-day viewers, per Nielsen, and even with the requisite delayed DVR bump, overall tune-in remains squarely in TV’s version of the art-house tier.

Then again, FX has clearly afforded the comic the latitude to make exactly the show he wants to do, and as his relationships this season would attest, life and TV shows are commonly characterized by the tradeoffs we have to make.

For “Louie” fans, at least, that’s a pretty good deal.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 3

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. I have SO much respect for Louis CK as an artist.

  2. jamiegreco says:

    I feel like this show bumps up against real life more than any other. Sometimes it can be painful to watch because it cuts so close to the bone, but I appreciate the courage it takes for Louie CK to open up and show what seems to be the most private areas and thoughts in his life. Crawling into the bath as a less than perfect model of the male figure took guts, especially as it was preceded by his insecurity about taking his shirt off. If I had a hat on, I’d tip. Well done.

  3. Matt Leaf says:

    These last couple shows were excellent. So fun.

More TV News from Variety