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Louie “Pamela Part 2″/ “Pamela Part 3” Review (4×13/4×14)

17 Jun

louie-season-finale

“Can this just be okay?”

Season 4 of Louie has made it abundantly clear that our titular character has women and relationship problems: he’s slept with a model, he’s learned something from the woman he spent time with in “So Did the Fat Lady”, and he’s had a connection with Amia, but at the end of it all, he’s left with very little. So, as we saw in “Pamela Part 1”, he attempted to force Pamela to have sex with him, to rekindle a flame that he desperately hoped was still there.

The final two episodes of the Pamela arc don’t do much to address this issue–one of the main problems with this finale–but then again, that’s a relationship; some inconsequential things drag on for no reason, and some essential things are dropped immediately. I’m by no means trying to justify what Louie (and remember, what Louie the character does in the show is not a reflection of Louis CK the person’s beliefs) does, but considering the season’s emphasis on the surreality of various interactions, I can sort of see how that issue would be glossed over here. It’s something, however, that I wish the show would have addressed, because it’s a pretty jarring transition, both tonally and character-wise.

Of course, that aside, these two episodes work very nicely as a sweet ending to a fairly dark season. Let’s not kid ourselves: Louie-Pamela is a very self-destructive relationship, and I can easily see it ending by or during next season. However, that doesn’t take away from the pure joy permeating Pamela’s scenes with Louie’s daughters or Louie and Pamela staring at the meteor shower or the two sitting in the bathtub at the end of the episode. It’s nice to see something going for Louie.

Pamela, who’s played brilliantly by Pamela Adlon, can get on your nerves, and she’s contrasted with the soft and sweet Amia. The finale re-creates that aforementioned scene from “Pamela Part 1”–which was already a bit of a re-creation of the Louie-Amia sex scene back during the Elevator arc–but this time, Pamela participates in her own, underwear picture-taking ways. There’s something inherently sad about Louie suddenly telling her to stay after she offers up the underwear picture, but it’s Louie in a nutshell.

Throughout the episodes, we also are privy to an interesting handling of gender roles, with the show emphasizing the inversion for what we’d normally expect from Louie and Pamela. Louie, for example, is the one who initiates the “I love you” and is the one concerned with body image, while Pamela has trouble putting her emotions into words and is consistently vulgar and abrasive. Even the way they’re positioned in the bathtub is strikingly not what we’d expect.

Simply, Louie must accept and be happy that someone’s in the bathtub with him, someone who’ll tell him to go make a TV show and someone who’ll joke around with him. When physical and emotional vulnerabilities are exposed, when they sit down in that bathtub and tell the stories of their first kisses, when the water overflows and they laugh: that’s something he should hold onto.

Maybe it’ll slip away and the water will drain away, but at least the tub was once overflowing, too small for two people, but just the right size for a couple.

GRADE: B+

SEASON GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS

-The art museum sequence? Hilarious. I’ve seen some critics say it’s “too easy”, but I don’t care for those criticisms at all. It’s refreshing to get something like that after the (albeit brilliant) drama we had up to this point, and you can tell CK had a blast shooting and writing that. I mean, bags of shit? The brilliant “Jews” painting? A button that plays the n-word and various other noises? Louie’s face replacing the screaming black man’s in the projection? So crazy, and so awesome. I love it.

-Nice to see Pamela question the whole black mother, white daughters situation. It’s the first time the show’s addressed it.

-One more round of applause for Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker. They did fantastic work this year.

-Marc Maron’s cameo completely takes me out of the episode. It doesn’t add anything new, aside from serving as the very representation of what Pamela can’t express at the moment–he, after all, does not try to gloss over anything–but it is a clever inversion of Louis CK’s real life comments.

-This season’s been great. It’s been more dramatic than most–culminating in last week’s brilliant “In the Woods”, which was preceded by the “Elevator” arc–and I believe the long hiatus helped CK craft the vision he wanted for the season. Bravo.

-Louie poops out of his back, in case you ever wondered.

-So, I wonder when next season will drop. It all depends on CK, and I have complete faith in him. Bring it back in a month or two years. As long as we have the quality, I’ll be satisfied.

Photo credit: FX, Louie

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