"Louie" Recap: "Telling Jokes/Set Up"
Tonight “Louie” gave us two different stories that were linked by a similar thread: what’s not fair.
The first “Telling Jokes,” has a very simple premise. Louie is eating dinner with his two girls and they start sharing knock-knock jokes—the type of jokes you might’ve shared growing up with your family. “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Moo.” “Moo who?” “I didn’t know you were crying, cow.”
It’s not at all the kind of humor you would think to hear on “Louie” but it works and it’s a lovable moment to see the three laugh and enjoying one another. The only hiccup is when his younger daughter doesn’t get a joke and proclaims, “that’s not fair.” Louie wisely moves on and asks her to share another joke.
As Louie later explains in his standup, he’s been around comedy for 25 years. He knows how most jokes end. But his seven-year-old daughter’s jokes? They’re unlike anybody else’s and that’s what keeps them funny.
The second act, “Set Up,” explores Louie’s personal life. Definitely not new territory but the approach is unique, to say the least. His standup friend, Allen Harvey invites Louie over to dinner, where his well-intentioned wife is going to set Louie up with her friend, Laurie (Melissa Leo).
When Louie gets there, he realizes what’s going on but it’s far too late to bail. As it turns out, Laurie is a no BS, plain Jane-type who drives a pickup truck and owns a landscaping company.
The dinner is, not surprisingly, rather awkward given the circumstances. But Louie and Laurie actually manage to bond over the absurdity of it all when they step outside and laugh at the bickering married couple still inside.
They hop over to a bar and few beers later she’s driving him back to his bike. It’s here where things get R-rated. She pulls over and offers him oral sex and of course, Louie isn’t one to turn down that offer.
But then, “how about some payback?”
Louie politely declines. “It doesn’t seem like a big deal to you,” Louie says, “But for me, it would be to do that to you.”
With (probably) a legit beef she retorts, “That’s not fair…I’ve never left anyone hanging”
The amusing debate ends when she bets $1000 him he’ll end up returning the favor in three minutes. Louie thinks it’s an easy $1000 until she suggests the reason he won’t do it is because he’s gay. It gets a little weird (and arguably off-target) after that, with Louie’s head being smashed into the passenger-side window but, yep, he ends up losing the bet.
Ultimately,“Set Up” just missed the landing to what was otherwise a very well-acted and well-written episode. As unexpected as the ending was, I’m not sure funny is the right way to describe it exactly.
Either way, Melissa Leo deserves a lot of credit because she’s very convincing and a lesser actress would’ve simply come across as crass in the same role. And since after it was all done and um, done, Louie was still up for going out with Laurie again, maybe it won’t be the last we see of Leo.
Also deserving of a lot of credit are the two young actresses who play Louie’s daughters. They aren’t really Louie’s daughters, but boy, given the chemistry they’ve had with C.K., they could’ve fooled me.
A gem Louie shares via his daughter: “Who didn’t let the gorilla into the ballet?” “Who?” “Just the people who are in charge of that decision.”
There’s a little bit of continuity this week with Louie still owning the motorcycle (for better or worse).
One the other hand, it seems that Louie’s girlfriend, April from last week won’t be back. No clue whether or not Leo will be back anytime soon either but her IMDB page suggests this was a one-time thing. All of this just to say that I’m looking forward to the return of Pamela Adlon because she’s just great.