Louie, Season 3

Conan Gets Replaced by Jay Yet Again
Talking television.
Aug. 31 2012 9:58 AM

Louie, Season 3

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Conan gets replaced by Jay yet again!

Louis C.K. in Louie.

Courtesy FX

My favorite moment in this whole episode was when Louie’s impossibly young-looking agent Doug pops his head out from behind Garry Marshall so he can blurt out an incredulous “No?!” after Louie turns down what sounded like an offer to host the Late Show on CBS. Which is fitting: “Late Show: Part 1” was Edward Gelbinovich’s finest half-hour. C.K. even gave him some extra screen time by showing an extended take of his backstage reaction shot as the credits rolled. I’m a little surprised that Gelbinovich’s two upcoming credits on IMDb are playing characters called “Burnt Child” and “Skinny Kid,” but perhaps this episode will be his breakout moment. And Jonah, he only looks prepubescent: Those basso pipes of his command authority.

My second favorite moment was that tornado of cosmetic preparation that swirled around Louie before he walked out on the Tonight Show stage. This was, as Allison mentioned, very much a showbiz episode—and that whole scene with Garry Marshall was a tour de force (even if I half-wish C.K. had cast Paul F. Tompkins in that part). Its most striking showbiz lesson concerned the proximity of wild, improbable success and painful, desperate failure. “You’re gonna crack your head on the ceiling, and you’re gonna go down, probably for good,” Garry Marshall tells Louie. Then he paints a picture of life after the road not taken. “In 10 years, you’re gonna be teaching comedy at a community college to support your kids, and falling asleep to the Late Show … with Jerry Seinfeld.”

We already know Seinfeld himself will appear at some point—he managed to tape an episode somewhere in his busy schedule of driving cars and getting coffee—and that his role will be “very different from what you’re used to seeing him do.” So I can envision two very plausible trajectories from here: 1) Louie goes for it, losing the weight, giving his all—and then bombs, after which he gets some kind of stand-up-life lesson from Seinfeld and walks off into a more modest sunset with his two daughters, and maybe Liz; or 2) Louie agonizes over the decision, knowing that late-night talk-show host is not really his calling, but finding it hard to resist the big paycheck and the professional validation. Then he turns it down.

Advertisement

Or perhaps 3) Leno will somehow sabotage both Louie and Seinfeld, and screw up CBS’s plans.

Speaking of which: Do you think it stung Conan O’Brien just a little to see C.K. recreate his “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy” moment in an episode that guest-starred ... Jay Leno? That career-altering riff was delivered on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and, as you may have heard, Conan and Leno don’t exactly get along. Also, Conan gave C.K. his first big comedy job. Perhaps this is neither here nor there—and, in any case, C.K. has defended Leno and the “old, shitty” show he hosts before. Plus it makes more dramatic sense to stage this scenario on the Tonight Show than on TBS. But I found it hard to stop thinking about this.

Also: Do you think C.K. wrote those dumb bits we saw Leno do, the before-and-after joke and the Velveeta coupon typo? If so: pretty good parody of Leno’s Tonight Show. If not: pretty good self-parody of Leno’s Tonight Show.

In any case, I’m eager to see how things play out. And I’m glad you pointed me to Matt Shafeek’s essay about “slow comedy,” Jonah: C.K. has said this three-episode arc is “what we put the most effort into” when filming this season, and I suspect he will unfurl its pleasures patiently. This felt like prologue. The scene-setting music—not to mention that intense cliffhanger—hinted at dramatic things to come.

One last aside before I go: I was glad to belatedly get Louie’s rationale for not doing any Blu-ray-player research before that disastrous trip to Best Buy or wherever in “Dad.” He doesn’t want to go to Amazon and read “a really long review written by an insane person who’s been dead for months because he shot his wife and then himself after explaining to you that the remote is counterintuitive.”

They’re all the same, these machines. They’re all made from the same Asian suffering.

David

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 10:23 AM From Fringe to Mainstream: How We Learned to Panic About Terrorists Crossing the Border
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 18 2014 9:57 AM “The Sun Never Sets Upon the British Empire,” Explained in GIF by an Old Children’s Toy
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?