‘Louie’ Serves Up 3 Funny Shorts ‘A la Carte’

GameStop, Inc.

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Last week’s episode of Louie, Potluck, established that series would drift closer to its roots in a decidedly more comedic tone than the previous season. In the second of episode of Season 5, A la Carte, the series has taken a turn towards earlier episodes, with a series of vignettes that range from filthy hilarity to introspective comedy. In the three vignettes that make up A la Carte, Louie hits all the right notes

A la Carte starts out with Louis C.K. shopping with his two daughters, played by Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker. While at the checkout line, Louis is gripped with an aching pain. He has to take a dump. Due to his neuroses, Louis won’t use any public restroom. This creates a mad dash for Louis, fighting through pain to make his way home. It’s a 3-minute little short, but it builds tension and provides multiple laughs. In almost any other show, it might drag down the pacing or the narrative, but Louie is a show that doesn’t always concern itself with such matters, and, more of then not, that’s a distinct advantage.

From there the episode has Louis taking a gig hosting an open mic night at the comedy club. The host dropped out and Louis agrees to take the gig for $400. In between hosting, Louis is approached by a young comedian (Nate Ferland) who seeking advice from the journeyman jokester. The young man’s set is, well, pretty awful. When asked, Louis tells the aspiring comedian the truth. This little segment takes up around half the episode’s running time, and gives us a closer look at the world of stand-ups while providing us with plenty of cringeworthy laughs. Like so much of Louie, there’s this mixture of tragedy and comedy.

For the final vignette, Louis meets with Pamela (Pamela Adlon), confirming that their relationship did carry over from Season 4. After busting Louis’ balls about going to a French film, the couple goes to the theater. After the film proves to be a dud, Pamela tries to egg Louis on to fooling around in the theater. Following that, the couple goes to a nice Italian dinner. As he’s prone to do, Louis tries to inject a serious topic about their relationship in their conversation. Though it seems as though Pamela is evading Louis’ statement, she then approaches it head-on, breaking down the emotional reality of Louis’ proposal. Without divulging further information about the nature of their conversation, just let me say that Pamela is such a great foil for Louis. Known mostly for her vocal talents in voicing Bobby Hill, Pamela Adlon is such a wonderful actress, her upbeat energy counteracting the hardboiled cynicism and insecurities of Louis.

Two episodes into Season 5 and Louie’s pivot back towards comedy has been remarkably strong. The show’s been able to coax big laughs from little moments and then amplifies these moments with some shocking jokes of questionable taste. Amazingly, with its focus decidedly pointed towards comedy, A la Carte proves that Louie still hasn’t lost its heart.

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