“There’s more than one way to be together. Do all roads have to lead to ruin?”
Louie’s been in a rut for a while now, unsure of where exactly he wants his life to go and what he’d like to do outside of comedy. At certain points, he’s simply giving up, unable to push himself to move forward and unable to be “fun”. It’s a theme that’s been emphasized over and over again during the show’s run, and “A La Carte” tackles it nicely throughout its three vignettes. This is a half hour that brings up memories of the early episodes of the series, and it’s one of the most purely hilarious episodes we’ve seen in a while.
That comedy, of course, comes mainly from the opening sequence, in which Louie desperately needs to go poop at the supermarket. It takes him and his daughters through the streets of New York, and whether we’re talking about the “No Dumping” sign or asking the police officer for help or the “Sacrifice me!” war movie parody at the end, it’s a wonderfully crafted sequence structured around the most basic of jokes. One of the best moments is when a deli worker owner calls Jane a “little white bitch”, and you can tell that there’s a moment of conflict there for Louie: Do I defend my daughter, or do I go relieve my bowels? He chooses the latter, and sadly–but also hilariously–enough, he realizes that he won’t be able to make it back to the apartment.
After this bit, the episode delves into a short interaction between Louie and Bart Folding, an unfunny comic who performs at the open mic night that Louie’s hosting. Interestingly enough, the advice Louie gives to Bart ends up landing the kid a spot on Jimmy Fallon, and his “silly voice” shtick helps him win the adoration of the crowd; at the same time, we also see that Louie constantly uses “silly voices” as well, e.g. during the North Carolina/South Carolina bit. So, it feels like Bart’s set up as the guy Louie could’ve become, but didn’t.
It also feels like the Bart-Louie and Pamela-Louie interactions tie in together thematically. The position that Bart’s in during his interaction is very similar to the passive position Louie’s in when he’s talking to Pamela, and that brings up the question of whether this situation might actually be good for Louie moving forward. After all, what she’s saying certainly makes some sense: they both already have relatively stable lives outside of each other, and she doesn’t want to get caught up in a cycle that leads to divorce and pain and heartbreak. For some others, this may not fly, but it seems to make sense for Louie and Pamela. Parmesan Cheese Lady is waiting, Louie.
-Lauren Doucette plays the parmesan cheese lady at the restaurant. Nate Fernald is Bart Folding.
-The French black and white movie is hilarious.
-Always nice to see Steven Wright.
-Pamela cutting Louie off before his third grade flashback is pretty much in response to season four’s critics. I have to say, though, I loved season four. I mean, we got “In the Woods” out of it, which was a masterpiece.
Photo credit: Louie, FX