May 15, 2015

TV Recap: Louie - "Sleepover"

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.
Continuing the winning streak this season, Louie manages to show another side to his dedication to being a good dad in the face of bad issues. As he faces conflicts with both Lilly (Hadley Delany) and Jane (Ursula Parker), he manages to shrug them off with an eye roll and a whole lot of confidence. While "Sleepover" isn't the greatest episode of the season, it is really hard to match the energy of last week's episode, which put surrealism on Louie to its masterful heights. At least here, we can understand why Louis C.K. doesn't get nearly as much sleep as he deserves.
The episode opens with C.K. and Lilly at a play full of noteworthy performers (Michael Cera, Glenn Close and Matthew Broderick). C.K. is really enjoying it and beginning to feel moved by the entire thing. As it reaches an emotional climax, he looks over to see Lilly on her phone, ignoring the show. Afterwards, C.K. demands to take away her phone. However, she claims that she was looking up information about the show to better understand it. In a confusing moment, he lets her keep the phone. After arriving home, Lilly reveals that she's going out with friends and that she believes that nobody gets "raped" at that hour of day, which sends panic through C.K.'s heart.
Jane ends up being involved with a sleepover that C.K. has to organize. As all of the friends show up, he finds it hard to watch over them. One has a divorcing parent while others are so loud that he cannot order a pizza. He goes to the other room to have phone sex with Pamela (Pamela Adlon). It is going well until the girls in the other room begin yelling for ice cream. He goes to help them, eventually getting another call from his brother (Robert Kelly), who needs to be bailed out of prison.
With no other choice, he goes down to the police station with the screaming girls. They cannot stay in the car, so they're yelling in the station. After bailing him out, he explains to them that he was arrested for abandoning a goat. They believe it as they head out for ice cream. When C.K. later asks for the real story, he claims that it was because a prostitution ring was raided by the cops and he just happened to be there. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Left to right: Hadley Delany and Louis C.K.
There is something interesting with the deteriorating theme of the opening credits on Louie this season. While it started off somewhat similar, each week seems to be making it shorter and shorter. Or at very least, there hasn't been a consistency. It could just be a coincidence, but it also could be the sign of something more fascinating on the show. Is it that it's tearing away something in order to reveal something else? With two episodes left to go this season, it doesn't seem like there's going to be any grand reveal, though I am starting to think that this has secretly been building to something. There is a vague sense of continuity.
It doesn't seem immediately clear because the show doesn't follow a progression of plot. Instead, it follows themes. In this case, there has to be more than a coincidence that Robert Kelly and Pamela Adlon have been frequent guests. Could it somehow all be tying into the opening episode where C.K. reveals that he thinks that he is a boring person? There has to be something to it, especially as each week has proven his life to have varying degrees of interesting. Of course, most of them are self-sacrificing, so it would make sense why he doesn't think that highly of himself. Either way, there's something that is going on.
However, there's a weird aversion that I have to this episode. In general, screaming children bother me. I cannot stand the idea, and it is a big reason that "Never" remains a low point in the series for me. I know that the show is going against conventions, but this managed to tow a line unevenly that was both relieving and a little problematic at points. I get why that they existed and they did allow for the show to force a sense of innocence on its cast, but it also was still screaming children without C.K. really expressing any control over them. 
It could just be that the episode was all about expecting the unexpected. Whether it was Lilly revealing that she was learning about the play or the placement of the children later on, the episode chose to show how odd situations influence us. The way that phone sex leads into kids screaming for ice cream or having to cover up a sexual story to appeal to children. There's a lot that can be taken away. It's all comical in the way that it puts a face to the man who has to pretend to be happy to please others. Maybe that is the point of the season. Either way, I am enjoying the show's continuity in ways that are seeming too slight to be more than speculative, but in a way that feels rewarding.
Louie is shaping up to have one of its best seasons yet. I am looking forward to see where things go from here. Most of all, I'm looking forward to the possibility that there's a revelation to this whole thing. Will there be? If there is, I'll be happy. If not, I will just laugh at myself for thinking that way about a show about an aimless man. Either way, there's a lot of themes building, and it is doing wonders for the show. I didn't know how much I enjoyed seeing Pamela on a weekly basis until episodes like this. She definitely brings a spark to the series that elevates the overall production.

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