Louie, Season 3

Maria Bamford Tells Louie He’s “Bad at Sex”
Talking television.
July 20 2012 9:45 AM

Louie, Season 3

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“You’re bad at sex.”

Still from Louie.
Still from Louie.

Courtesy FX Network.

Hmmm. I’m not sure what to make of the fact that the one married person in this TV Club refers to “convincing someone to make a family with you” as “the long con.” I agree, in any case, that Louie, at least in this episode, approaches the matter that way: The decision to find a girlfriend doesn’t grow out of some deep-seated loneliness or itch for romantic company but rather the desire to please his daughters—and to prove to them he’s just as capable as their mother, whose boyfriend is “pretty funny,” in Jane’s words.

Jonah, you mentioned the roll C.K. is on when it comes to casting and directing Louie’s romantic foils this season. I am once again impressed at how well he casted and directs Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker, who play Lilly and Jane, respectively. They have gradually grown into fully realized characters in their own right: You can easily picture Lilly as the serious, bookish girl staying up and reading “mysterious and depressing” YA novels and getting “a little wrongful thrill,” to quote Parker Posey’s great advice. And Ursula Parker, as Jane, consistently cracks me up. (She’s also apparently a violinist who played Carnegie Hall at age 8.)

Early in the episode, as Louie and Lilly sit at yet another diner, they talk about pronouncing “tyranny.” Right after that Louie takes some of Jane’s food as a “tax.” Is this apparent allusion to the war for American independence thematically meaningful? It seemed so deliberate, and yet if C.K. intended something with it, his idea went right over my head.

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Like you, Jonah, I loved the fist-pump joke, both the first and second times—though if C.K. thinks “only tennis players and golf players do that,” he must not be a big fan of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Derek Jeter, notable fist-pumpers all. Those guys don’t disprove his point, necessarily: While they play team sports, their fist-pumping is a moment of solo celebration amid all the group effort.

And Louie’s solo celebration is well-earned: His self-deprecating asking-out is, as you both suggested, a tour de force. Did it remind anyone else of when he professed his love for Pamela? That got me wondering how serious this relationship will become. Will Parker Posey meet the kids? I’ll add my kudos about her performance, by the way—and my hope that, after Josh Hamilton and now Posey, C.K. is on his way to eventually casting everyone from Kicking & Screaming. (Someone get him Carlos Jacott’s number, stat.)

It’s interesting that with the Posey character, C.K. becomes much more traditionally guy-like. This season has been full of gender reversals, but a mousy bookstore employee is a far cry from a landscaper with a pickup truck or a hunky Cuban lifeguard. (I almost wonder if C.K. was already familiar with Miss Representation, a documentary about gender identity that someone suggested he watch after the Tosh incident. He retweeted the suggestion.) We did get one more such reversal before Posey arrived: With Maria Bamford, Louie was once again in the more stereotypically feminine position. He suggests a more serious and emotional relationship, only to be rejected because she just wants sex. “Now you’re trying to add features to this thing,” she says, hilariously, after he asks if she’ll let him make her dinner so she can meet his kids. “You really ruined my night in two ways now,” she adds. “You’re bad at sex. It’s one thing you’re not good at, Louie.”

As it happens, Bamford is one of my very favorite comedians (and one of C.K.’s, too, as he has pointed out on more than one occasion). So I asked her if she would tell us what it was like to work on the show, and she agreed.

Thanks and welcome, Maria!

David