Apr 24, 2015

TV Recap: Louie - "Cop Story"

Left to right: Michael Rapaport and Louis C.K.
Hello and welcome to the TV Recap series on FX's Louie. Join me every Friday as I recap all of the events that have happened over the course of the fifth season. Join as the show reaches new highs and news lows while following the stand-up career of Louis C.K. with his family and friends. Will it be better than the overtly ambitious season four? Will the show produce its best season yet? You'll have to read on to find out all of the juicy details along with plot descriptions and opinions on every memorable moment.
If there is one thing that is odd about this week's Louie episode, it is that it addresses an issue from a different angle. Instead of going for controversial subjects like rape or obesity, he chooses the address police incompetence through the loss of a cop and his gun. While it has all of the free form charm of the best episodes, it does seem striking counter-commentary on contemporary issues that are all over the news. The most interesting part is that while it sympathizes them, it doesn't let them off the hook either. In a sense, this is Louie finally meeting its balance of style and importance.
Clara Wong

The episode opens with C.K. in an antiques store trying to get a cabinet opened. He is obsessed with something and keeps trying to flag down the manager (Clara Wong). When he yells at her at the counter upon finishing his shopping, she claims that the reason that he feels uncomfortable around young people is because he wants to see them succeed but in return feels inferior. This results in him feeling baffled and not any closer to getting that antique that he was wanting.
Cut to C.K. walking down the street and getting harassed by a police officer. He isn't doing anything wrong, yet he is being stalked by this law enforcer. It is quickly revealed that it was Lenny (Michael Rapaport), who almost married C.K.'s sister. He insists on hanging out and going to The Knicks game later that night. C.K. reluctantly accepts as Lenny is a bit boisterous and bothers him into doing what he wants.
When they cannot get into The Knicks game, they decide to go to a bar. They discuss their life before Lenny makes fun of C.K.. It doesn't go over well and C.K. just tries to shrug off all of the complaints. However, as Lenny becomes physical, C.K. asks him to stop. This results in Lenny getting a piece of C.K.'s mind that ends up making him panic. He worries because he realized that he lost his gun. C.K. decides to go looking for it and ends up finding it right where they were fighting. He returns it. The episode ends with C.K. showing Lenny how to knit.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I am unsure specifically how I feel regarding the opening credits. While I sorely missed them during last year's experimental season, they haven't been the same - literally- this season so far. Where we usually see him walk to the Comedy Cellar, we have seen him walk to a barrage of places. In fact, we don't even hear him do stand-up in this episode. It isn't a problem, but I feel that something is off in their decision to cut that out in favor of immediately transitioning into the episode. There has been a formula to it that actually sets up the show nicely. Does it say something deeper about the program's future?
The opening segment of the show may be one of the finest openings that the show has done. It is essentially a moment to stomp all over C.K. and his desires, but it also has some profound wit to what Louie has been about. He has been trying to make life better for his family but remains miserable. In a catty response, the younger generation succeeds because he wanted them to. It is messed up logic, but it manages to set the continuing tone of the season, which began with C.K. talking to his therapist about how boring he is. There's a sense of irrelevancy forming this season, and it is paying off with some of the best return to form episodes that we have seen in awhile.
As for the central conflict of this episode, it seems like an odd choice. The show has been known to go dark in necessary moments. However, Lenny is an odd character because he wants to be liked but is aggressively against that with his personality. In fact, there's a sense that he's almost a bully and while we don't see any brute force, it does seem like a subtle commentary on police brutality through the guise of Louie. In a time where this subject matter is taken very seriously and causing all sorts of problems, it is fascinating to see this story play out on a white man who is allegedly a friend. This isn't to say that Lenny is without his merit. He is as flawed and suicidal in his self awareness that we'd expect.
However, the very notion that C.K. would have to retrieve Lenny's gun is an astounding premise considering how dangerous it would seem. While the show has managed to skirt past the issue by simply cutting moments short in the past, this one plays out in an uneventful C.K. savior moment. It may help to tie everything thematically together, but it does raise questions on Lenny's negligence, especially since he has been a mediocre cop for quite awhile now. What else does he do that we're not aware of? If he gets upset over small things, when will he snap? By not showing it, Louie addresses it in the most complicated way possible.
Most of all, this otherwise striking moment isn't nearly as preachy as it could have been. Instead, it comes across more as a feud between two men. Who could blame C.K. for snapping? Lenny was obnoxious to a large degree. It didn't necessarily make for great comedy, but it does help the episode dive into discomforting moments with ease. This is the side of the show that while not exceptional is what I would hope it does more of. It has these odd character moments that aren't like anything else on TV. For that, this season has been hitting pretty strongly in its short, short run so far. I can only hope it keeps things up.

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