Living in a Weird Era: The Success of Louie and the Art of Subversion

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Over at The Analytical Couch Potato, I’ve written an essay about Louie, which, for my money, is the best show on television. It’s a minor pity that FX and Louis C.K. have announced that the show will not be returning until 2014, but hopefully its year-plus hiatus will give C.K. a chance to reenergize his batteries (while simultaneously touring the country with a new stand-up show) and give the show an opportunity to build its audience Arrested Development-style, via discovery on Netflix.

On my end, Louie‘s extended hibernation will give me an opportunity to experiment with the television recap form, and for a television show that’s actually still relevant. Starting next week, Fear of a Ghost Planet will begin offering weekly re-caps of Louie and Arrested Development in preparation for the return of both shows, WWE Monday Night Raw and Parks and Recreation because both shows are currently on the air, and 1966’s Batman because I feel like it. Here’s a snippet of my ACP article on Louie. A link follows.

In 20-minutes, Louie sees his daughters off, declines an invitation to visit his sister, meets an old flame, watches her die, and visits China because, when reading a book to his daughter, the two agreed that the Yangtze River would be a nice place to live. That’s a gross oversimplification of an episode that manages to contrast both the joy of children on Christmas with the agony of the parent who gives all credit to Santa Claus and the joy of a group of hospital employees when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day with the agony of someone who has just witnessed an acquaintance die, but Louie goes places—literally and figuratively—most comedies would be unable to locate on a map. Those turns are often dark and almost always absurd, but the leaps of faith Louie takes routinely reward the viewer. When a regular comedy goes for a big, sentimental cliffhanger, it feels cloying. When Louie goes for one, there’s a sense of relief. The world hasn’t crushed the poor bastard yet.

Living in a Weird Era: The Success of Louie and the Art of Subversion

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