Few people have the ability to hate like Louis C.K. can, and in the first two seasons of his sitcom-defying television program Louie, he turns anger into an art form.
Louie is loosely based on the day-to-day life of C.K. himself. Louie is quiet and caustic, but more than anything, perceptive. He is a stand-up comedian, and his onstage performances occasionally interject themselves in the series - the Seinfeld comparisons are warranted. He avoids cynicism and always reminds the viewer there is nothing and no one he loathes more than himself. A typical episode involves equal parts sighs to laughs, but be warned, the show often spreads these moments of hilarity and poignancy amid a vast sea of buildup. Still, the lethargic pace of the show compliments C.K.'s subtle comedic style.
There is no laugh track, and character development is minimal. The series is comprised of mostly independent episodes, and consistency is not a primary concern (In season one, the actress who plays his mother changes without explanation). Usually, the episodes deal with specific themes such as life after divorce and issues Louie faces as a single parent. In one particularly funny stand-up bit, Louie talks about his role as a cafeteria volunteer and the needlessly sophisticated design of milk cartons for small hands.
C.K. writes, directs and stars in nearly every episode, which appears to reinforce the show's central theme of isolation. Surprisingly, this sense of loneliness is perhaps the show's greatest strength. While Louie does occasionally wallow in its self-loathing, it nonetheless serves the valid purpose of making Louie's problems seem human and relatable. His loneliness helps the viewer cope with similar problems. Even though the show is categorically bleak, it often leaves the viewer strangely uplifted. I suspect this comes from Louie's ability to seem like a friend.
Louie is not the friend you want when you are excited or the friend who can instantly cheer you up with a punchy one-liner. He is, however, the friend who does not need orange Wellbeing Week flags to indicate why he is unwell. He knows and probably has something rather funny to say on the matter. Louie is the type of friend who shows you his D-minus in Physics 101 to make you feel less alone.
It is almost time for finals. Louie is your best friend.
More from The Rice Thresher
Rice volleyball’s season came to a close on Friday, as the No. 5 seed Owls lost a five set thriller to No. 4 seed Baylor University in the second round of the NCAA tournament (25-16, 22-25, 23-25, 25-14, 11-15). The loss ended the Owls tournament run and hopes at their first Sweet Sixteen berth in program history. After the game, head coach Genny Volpe was proud of her team despite the loss.
It might not have been how they planned it, but Rice football is going to a bowl game. The Owls will take on the University of Southern Mississippi in the LendingTree Bowl, in Mobile, Alabama on Dec. 17. After finishing the season 5-7, one win shy of the mark needed to secure eligibility, Rice got an invite anyway when not enough teams reached six wins to fill every bowl game. The Owls topped all five-win teams in the tiebreaker, an academic performance metric called Academic Progress Rate.
In the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament, the No. 5 seed Rice defeated the University of Colorado Boulder in four sets to advance to the second round. After the 3-1 victory, head coach Genny Volpe was thrilled with the team's win against a tough opponent.