Why you should watch “Louie” tonight and every Thursday on FX

By | July 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm | 3 comments | Audio/Video | Tags: , , , ,

The third episode of Louie (season 2) airs tonight at 10:30 pm EST on FX. Based on the preview below, it looks as though Louie’s looking for a bigger place for himself and his two young daughters.

You might not need any more reasons to watch Louie– besides the preview above or the fact that C.K. is deservedly one of the most respected and heralded comedians working right now. But let me submit this: Louie is revolutionary. And don’t you want to be part of a revolution?

Louie has the potential to revolutionize comedy on television. Whether it’s already been said or is, at the current moment, a very presumptuous thing to say, one cannot ignore Louie’s absolute disregard for any previous type of structure for any sitcom or TV comedy series. Just like the arguably most respected dramatic series in television history, The Wire, there’s no exact formula that connects one episode to another.

One episode may have a 10-minute cold open before the first commercial break while other episodes go right into the show’s intro. There may be an entire story line for an episode and there might be a few story lines that are only tangentially connected. The A-B story line framework of nearly every other televised sitcom, multicam or single camera, has no application here.

There are no real series regulars who appear in every single episode. For a comedy, there are many intensely dramatic moments in Louie that make Ross and Rachel finally ending up together on Friends seem like something on a soap opera. Louie doesn’t just get away with it; the show makes the anti-formula it work beautifully.

Most people who aren’t C.K., (even wildly successful comedians who aren’t C.K., could not pull such a feat off. Vignettes inspired by a comedy act bookended by actual stand-up would be, if pitched by anyone else to any agency, studio, etc. would inevitably be left at the bottom of some pile in the mail room for months on end until it disappeared completely.

Luckily, this didn’t happen. FX approached C.K. and negotiated a deal to get an unprecedented amount of control that’s reserved for someone like Jerry Jones. Thus, one of the purest, most unfiltered expressions of a comedic television series has been made contrary to censors, structure, or anything of the sort. Most importantly, it’s absolutely hilarious.

Will it end up changing comedy on television? That has yet to be seen and CK, in interviews, has even expressed interest in having his show not run too long so it doesn’t “jump the shark.” Still, if anyone was wondering where television comedies were going — as multi camera sitcoms are slowly phased — Louie is where it’s going (hopefully).

About the Author

Jake Kroeger

Jake Kroeger has dedicated his life, for better or probably worse, to comedy. Starting and continually running the Comedy Bureau, a voice for LA comedy, by himself, he also writes and performs stand-up comedy in LA and watches more live comedy than is probably humanly tolerable. He's been a daily contributor to Punchline Magazine, now Laughspin.com because he loves and believes in comedy so much. Said of Kroeger, "...without his dangerously insane, unhealthy work ethic, certain comics would not have any press at all."

  • Brooklyn Bridges

    I wasn’t sure I was going to be a fan of the show, but it’s obvious that I can’t stop watching it.  I even record the repeats because it’s worth watching multiple times and I know that DIRECTV customers are upset right now because of the FOX negotiations.  I was a DISH Network employee around the same time this happened last year and I can’t even express how much I empathized with the customers.  Thankfully, DISH and FOX signed a long term agreement so I don’t ever have to worry about missing this channel or any of my FOX channels for years to come.

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  • http://www.justinmorgancomedy.com Justin

    Hopefully “Louie” like his buddy Gervais will take a proper cue from English television. And will limit the show to 3 to 4 seasons max for the exact reason that he’s given in interviews: Don’t jump the shark. As a fan of any type of comedy … I really appreciate the english way of making series feel complete. And not just an ongoing …thing.

    Louie clings to his artistic integrity. Despite missing the show and wanting more if it ends. If he wants to close the show after 2 or 3 seasons … more fucking power to him. We got exactly what Louie wanted us to have the way he wanted us to have it.

    Hopefully afterwards he’ll tour forever.