Louie, Season 3

Things Are Going Well For Louie. This Can't Last
Talking television.
Aug. 31 2012 7:00 AM

Louie, Season 3


Things are going well for Louie. This can't last.

Louis C.K. in Louie.
Louis C.K. in Louie.

Courtesy FX.

Jonah, you’re right—tonight we got the first real Louie cliffhanger. “David Letterman is retiring,” Garry Marshall’s network honcho declares. “Do you want his job?”

Cut to teen agent, Doug, stunned. Roll credits.  

Life, as Louie tells us in his opening set, “is good, and so we want it to be better.” Then we ruin everything by trying to make it so. Following that logic (plus knowing that this is Part 1 of a three-parter), I suspect that Louie’s gonna go for it—prepare yourselves for the New York Sports Club weight-loss montage! Maybe this is a nutty pipe dream, but wouldn’t it be incredible if he beats out Seinfeld for the gig and all of next season is C.K.’s take on The Larry Sanders Show? Think big!


Louie, of course, prefers to think small, assumes he’s getting bumped at every turn; just having the option of life-improvement is horribly excruciating for him. (“Shit, now I don’t have time to jerk off” is Louie’s response to getting a meeting at CBS.) That Garry Marshall monologue was terrific—from the camera angles to the score to the delivery—but instead of inspiring Louie, it clearly freaked him out/pissed him off. Is he angry about being challenged to greatness? Or does he simply not want to be disturbed in his post-peak professional life?

Even if he can’t embrace it, things are tentatively looking up. Every section of this episode set him (and us) up for failure and instead delivered success. The Improv gig? Great, says Ross Mark, and at 4 minutes 30 seconds, perfectly timed. Don’t change a thing. Tom Cruise bails on Leno and Louie has to fill in? He goes viral. There is no higher compliment! Mystery meeting at CBS? Biggest professional offer of his career.

This is not how things usually go on this show. Given that C.K. does not seem willing—or even able—to give us a traditional rags-to-riches (or $80k to probably under a million) story, I am going to guess that the moral of this arc is not going to be that taking risks nets great reward. (As Jonah said, the theme of this season does seem to be risk, but so far, no payoff.) I would like to see Louie go for it; I would like to see Louie get it; I would like to see the prize fall under the general category of: satisfaction only comes when you stop looking for the best (Blu-Ray player). I don’t want to see Louie spectacularly fail, not because I’m necessarily rooting for the character (though I am), but because that would be boring and expected.

One more thing: Jonah, I also loved the industry-insider feel of the episode. That anonymous P.A. shouting “don’t swear!” at Louie as he walked out onto the Tonight Show set was one of my favorite lines of the night. (The other was “Just. Don’t ever clean in here ever again.”)  But this week the emotional disconnect between working-Louie and life-Louie was starker than ever. Sleeping in until 11 a.m. on a weekday, sunlight just waiting to pour into his comped Standard Hotel room, may make Louie absolutely miserable, but on stage, he’s delivering, he’s comfortable, he’s smiling.    

Velveeta Juice,



Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.