Friday, July 22, 2011

"Louie" - "Country Drive"

Spoilers for this week's "Louie" after the jump:

There are so many things to admire about "Louie", the biggest of which is probably its range. In most cases, whether or not a half-hour comedy is good comes down to one question: does it make us laugh? Sure, there are isolated episodes of a show like "Community" that strive for a darker tone, but more often than not its success boils down to how funny it is. And that's fine.

"Louie" is the exception to that rule. Many (a majority, I'd say) of its best episodes are truly serious explorations of various subjects such as religion and violence. "Country Drive" certainly does deliver on that account. But what makes this episode so special is that it's funny beyond belief at the same time.

To begin with, there's Louie's impromptu air guitar session in the car. To anyone wondering why Louis C.K. received an Emmy nomination... that's why. Observe the way he continually looks back at his daughters as he's rocking out, only to find them unimpressed. And then he points out a goose, which intrigues them much more.

They're heading out to visit Louie's great aunt, which he believes will be a good thing for the girls. Except it turns out that the woman is a racist, a fact that the girls pick up on right away. When they tell him it's wrong, he agrees but tries to explain that it was a different time. Eventually his daughter quizzes him on why he's trying to hide that fact, since he brought them here to learn about that time. It's an interesting point, and one he can't really answer. It turns out not to matter, though, since (in this show's usual dark fashion) she dies before the girls can ask her anything else.

From there, we head into a stand-up routine in which C.K. takes on one of his favorite topics: derogatory terms. Much like he did in season one's "Poker/Divorce" (in which he dealt with a certain slur directed towards gay men), he uses a particular term as a jumping-off point to explore deeper issues such as societal guilt. As always, it's fascinating stuff: hilarious, too. After last week's minor misstep, it's good to see an episode which has something interesting to say. And one that says it in such funny fashion as well... well, that's just icing on the cake.

Other Thoughts

- That tag scene was a little odd considering the content of the rest of the episode, but for some reason it didn't bother me.

- Is it just me, or do Louie's kids' names change from week-to-week?

- "Wilfred" was good again this week, though still not great. That's all I have time to say right now, sorry. Going to be busy this weekend, so I want to get this review up as soon as possible.

Grade: A

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