On more than one occasion I’ve seen Louie described as depressing, and if it’s said by more than two people, maybe there’s some truth to it. I like to think of it as more along the lines of uncomfortable, but any way you slice it, it probably isn’t the kind of show destined for marathon viewings. Two or three episodes in a row are plenty for one day. But therein lies some of its genius, as this is a thinking person’s comedy series, and rarely does it aim for disposable “yuk yuk” laughs.
Louis C.K. tried series television once before with Lucky Louie on HBO, a series that’s as different from this one as Full House is from Arrested Development. That show was canceled after only one season, but if C.K. keeps doing on FX what he’s doing here, this one could go on for years. Outside of the central character being a stand-up comic and a divorced father of two daughters, there is no solid premise to the show, so there isn’t really anything to wear out over the long haul. Each episode features one or two ideas that C.K. describes as “stuff that doesn’t fit into my [stage] show.” Occasionally these ideas stem from him being divorced or a comic or a single dad, but mostly they just emerge from him being a middle-aged man fraught with insecurity. The show is brutally honest and there are episodes that cross over into dramatic territory by not actually being funny at all. That’s not to imply that the jokes fall flat, just that the material goes into too dark an area to even be considered comedy in these moments.
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