Louie, Season 3
Step. Breathe. Step. Breathe.
Photograph courtesy of FX.
You know those marathon dates that only happen in the movies or your dreams or New York Times Vows columns? The ones that involve lots of running and laughing and nonstop connecting, often with a roller skating montage, before ending in late-night street food and a sweet, sweaty, it’s-all-been-leading-up-to-this kiss? Well, tonight’s episode of Louie was that kind of date, only dark and weird and leading to who knows what.
Picking up where things left off last episode (which is nothing I’ve typed before about this show), Louie meets Parker Posey’s bookshop clerk outside the store for their first date. (Posey’s co-worker is closing up, and, in one of my favorite exchanges of the night and the first clue about Posey’s still nameless character, she says, “Thanks, Mark.” And he says, “My name’s Roger.”) She suggests a drink, and leads Louie down some steps into a very loud, very dark, very crowded bar—just the kind of place you take someone who you don’t really want to have to talk to. But they’re not there long. Posey orders shots, and the bartender turns her down: "Not after the last time you were here. I’m not going to start you off two-fisted with Jäger, sorry." Clue No. 2.
Posey storms out, and back on the sidewalk, the woman is unleashed. “Let’s just walk,” she says/demands, and then aggressively spills the personal details of her life—a childhood bout with cancer, issues with her mother—gesturing wildly and pausing only to gulp in some breaths. “I’m sorry I told you. I tell everything,” she says at one point, acknowledging for the first time that she’s actually been talking to someone, not just talking.
Did you guys think she was crazy at this point? Or just intense? Louie seemed pretty overwhelmed by the sheer force of her—Posey’s performance is, I mean, wow—and that’s before she drags him into a thrift shop and strong-arms him into trying on a nude, one-shoulder, glittery gown. This girl is beyond quirky. Let’s put her on a reality show with Zooey Deschanel and Adam from Girls and watch her eat them alive.
Speaking of, it’s time for dinner. The date moves to Russ and Daughters, a famous Jewish deli on the Lower East Side. (Have you guys been? I have not. Let’s go now.) Out of the many, many food montages of film and TV—Tony and crew scarfing pasta at Artie Bucco’s place in The Sopranos, the chocolate of Chocolat, the timpano of Big Night, My Dinner with Andre, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle—I don’t believe we’ve ever seen anything quite like this. Bagel porn! Has it been done? Maybe a Woody Allen movie I missed? Anyway, it was awesome, as Louie and Posey chowed on raw sturgeon and pickled onions and schmears with caviar on top, washing it all down with giant hunks of rugelach. Bless my ancestors.
Full as they must be, the date isn’t even close to done. They still have to rescue a homeless guy (who may only be a little more nuts than Posey) and climb a bazillion flights of stairs to a rooftop where Posey will have an extreme mood swing before finally revealing that her name is Liz. In the stairwell scene, lines like “It’s a long way up, but it’s worth it” are clearly weighted with double meaning in a way that seemed pretty anvil-y for this show. But then Posey screaming at Louie like a crazed personal trainer to “STEP. BREATHE. STEP. BREATHE. STEP. BREATHE” was actually kind of moving, and also very good advice.
All season, Louie’s been looking for something—a person to share his life with, I think, but also just a way to manage that life. At 44, he’s still figuring out what the fuck he wants, what makes him happy, how to, you know, step-breathe to someplace good, or good enough. I don’t think Liz is the answer, but I also understand why he didn’t bail on the date. The line between totally fucking insane and kind of awesome is thin, as is the one between attraction and repulsion. Louie didn’t say much this episode, but his face throughout revealed a guy trying to determine if this crazy person is good or bad for him. And the answer is something like: ?!?!?!?!
I’ll take that over a tidy resolution any day. Also, you’re fat, I have no tits, let’s just be honest,