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Louie “Elevator Part 4″/ “Elevator Part 5” Review (4×07/4×08)

27 May

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“A small bird died today from sadness. It was six years old.”

At first, it comes across as a funny one-liner to end the episode with, but we slowly realize that it’s Louie–and this elevator arc as a whole–in a nutshell: it’s the story of a sad man, a small man, someone who seems to be losing himself in a surreal environment.

And I don’t mean surreal in a good way. This surreality is framed by the various newscasts that pop up through the hour, newscasts that embrace absurdity and always have an undercurrent of death and destruction. They’re hilarious, too, but Louie doesn’t seem to notice the first one on the TV; in fact, neither do his daughters and Amia. He’s pulling everyone into his circle, but personal pain and disappointment seem like nothing compared to the fact that 12 million people died or that Cuba is now underwater. He’s just one guy screaming out the window in a city of millions.

Louie wants a simple life. He wants comfort. He is essentially every one of those people clapping for Todd Barry at the end of that magnificent story, one that’s simple in its sadness: all the rewards Barry receives seem like nothing–they are nothing–but the guy’s able to sell it so well that that’s what Louie wants. Louie wants lots of things, though, just like the rest of us.

He wants Amia, for one, and he wants his daughters to have a good life. His storyline with Janet is a nice contrast to the Todd Barry monologue, with the chill contrasting with the warmth. Young Louie and Young Janet can find momentary pleasure, but they’re making an agreement that still has its ramifications now. The episodes deftly navigate the flashbacks and the present day, and Louie and Janet get a wonderful scene on the streets of New York City: Janet –and later Evanka–question the fact that he hasn’t slept with Amia yet, and these are two instances in which he’s forced to face the harsh reality of the situation. If he wants something, he has to get it.

It all culminates in the awkward, yet realistic, sex scene between him and Amia. This is Louie realizing that he can’t expect to maintain a relationship if he’s closed off, but the morning after scene is devastating. He’s once again without communication, and he can only watch helplessly as she leaves the room. He can only watch helplessly as he loses himself.

GRADE: A- for both parts

OTHER THOUGHTS:

– “For that kind of money, we can pay to have Jane killed.” Janet’s reaction to that was sublime.

– “We are reporting the death of Lebron James, the rest of the Miami Heat, and 12 million other people.” Can these newscasts be a recurring segment, please?

– “He smells like kale.” Also, loved his huffy “I have to GO now.”

-Awesome casting for Young Louie. He really nailed the mannerisms down.

-So, a white woman was cast to play the role of young Janet. I’m sure it’s an intentional choice on CK’s part, and I like this take on the decision from the AV Club’s Todd VanderWerff: “I think what Louis C.K. is getting at here is something elemental: Young Louie and Louie are part of the same continuum. Young Janet grew up into literally a different person because of what happened. She has changed and evolved. Louie hasn’t. And that’s all the difference.”

-According to a commenter elsewhere, this is what Amia says at the end: Dear Louie, Thank you for leaving your shirt on during sex. Love, Amia.

Photo credit: FX, Louie

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