“Bobby’s House” tackles the questions about the Louie-Pamela relationship brought up at the end of “A La Carte”, and it’s a gloriously uncomfortable episode that further beats Louie down. That happens both physically and emotionally, as Louie not only gets into a confrontation with a woman and gets beaten up, but also is flat-out rejected later on by Pamela. The latter is especially a gut-punch for him because it follows a role-playing sequence in which he pretends to be a woman named Jornetha; brilliant name aside, it’s also a clear reversal of gender roles, and the cringe level is ratcheted up to 110% throughout. That’s Louie for ya, folks.
The gender role reversals don’t just occur during the role-playing sequence, though. For example, the aftermath involves Pamela breaking up with Louie, and we immediately cut to a hilarious image of Louie crying through all his makeup. What’s usually (wrongly) expected of the woman–to be more emotional, at least more overtly so–is instead exhibited by the man, and this whole situation also then ties into the Pamela/Louie arc as a whole; after all, women are commonly thought of as the ones who “want something more” or “feel something more”, but it’s the man in this scenario who has those desires.
The episode also takes a nice look at the aftermath of Louie’s confrontation with the woman on the street, and it’s a situation in which Louie feels caught between his own well-being and society’s watchful gaze. In a nice and subtle moment, he looks to his right in order to see if anyone’s watching, and he only decides to throw a punch when he sees that no one is. Still, though, he’s left lying in pain on the sidewalk, and he’s eventually laughed at by his daughter and by Pamela later on. There’s an expectation in society that men shouldn’t hit women, but there’s also an expectation of men being stoic and calm and strong. Both of these instances are great ways to look at gender roles in society, and even better, they’re both still humorous.
The episode also has a nice ending that ties back into the opening Bobby storyline, and it looks at laughter as both a healing force of sorts and as an instrument of humiliation. Bobby’s able to feel better about his own situation because he realizes that Louie’s still just as confused about life as he is (even Louie recognizes this). However, laughter can also be hurtful when directed at you, and it’s this line between flat out pain and flat out comedy that CK expertly navigates each week. It’s what makes this show so watchable, even if it’s sometimes hard to watch.
-I suspect this isn’t going to be the last we see of Pamela–after all, she’s essentially CK’s right hand woman–but I hope Louie the character can realize that he doesn’t need her.
-This puts the rape scene from last season’s “Pamela (Part 1)” into an interesting light. I can tell there will be think-pieces about this episode popping up on the internet throughout the day tomorrow.
-Kudos to Adlon and CK for role-playing the hell out of that scene.
-I can’t believe we’re already halfway through the season. Oh well. Quality over quantity.
Photo credit: FX, Louie