Did we like it?
You can stick your Will & Grace, your Friends, maybe even your Scrubs up your jacksie. A proper dirty sitcom about proper people with proper problems written by the genius that is Louis C.K. Highly recommended.
What was good about it?
• This is a wonderfully refreshing sitcom about Louie and his wife Kim and their struggle to get by on their meagre wages. Louie has lowlife friends, Kim works herself to the bone as a nurse and they have a kid who asks awkward questions. That’s it. People don’t wander randomly in and out of their house, they don’t hang out at coffee shops, and their flat isn’t a prime example of poncey interior design. It’s wonderfully nostalgic in that way, almost like a gritty British sitcom from the 60s or 70s and a world away from the increasingly tiresome polish and sheen of US sitcoms.
• The brilliant signature tune and superb animated titles.
• This week’s episode was probably not as funny as last week’s, which mainly focused on Louie trying to befriend his black neighbour Walter (“For my kid”) and getting caught masturbating to Jessica Simpson in a cupboard (“I wasn’t jerking off to her music,”). But it was still strong. The opening after the credits was particularly startling, with Louie banging Kim on the bed in an uncomfortably funny example of uncaring marital sex. “What are you doing?” asked Kim, “We’re trying to get pregnant – just wrap it up.”
• Louie’s interaction with Walter is consistently funny. He clearly means well but everything he says seems to backfire on him (last week he had to explain why he was throwing away a black Barbie doll Walter had bought for Louie’s daughter’s birthday). Walter despairs of this, but can’t seem to bring himself to really dislike Louie – he’s just exasperated by him.
• This week was all about sex and was courageous and original in its explicit nature. Poor Walter was cuckolded by a large pink vibrator while Kim experienced her first ever orgasm then spent the rest of the programme with Louie trying to repeat the trick. When nothing worked (which amounted to some amusing sex sessions) Kim finally gave up: “I was fine with the way it was before. You’d come fast and I’d get to watch my shows.”
• Louie’s friends are not cool. One is a drug dealer who, as a side project, also sells his clients clean urine, which he has delivered to Louie’s house because: “My Mum opens all my mail.”
• The sets are completely basic: all expense is spared and the stripped-down look is refreshing and comfortingly nostalgic. It also means the acting is a little different – clearly playing to the live audience the episodes almost feel like playlets and this notion is enhanced by the very real and dramatic problems the characters face each week.
What was bad about it?
• We already know that HBO did not commission a new series despite critical acclaim. A real shame.
• Louie’s wife Kim, played by Pamela Adlon, is hot. But her hotness is always cooled by the knowledge that she was the voice of Bobby on King of the Hill. We loved King of the Hill of course, but it feels wrong to lust after a woman who is also Bobby.