"Louie" Recap: "Barney/Never"
There’s a black and white cold open (no theme song on this night) and Louie walks through a cemetery to a still-open grave, where he meets Robin Williams—or at least a nameless guy played by Robin Williams.
No words are exchanged, but the next thing we see is the pair at a diner where they discuss the late, not-so-great, Barney Ross.
Turns out Barney used to run a comedy club Louie worked out back in the day and he wasn’t too keen on playing his employees on time or treating them all that well.
“I’m pretty sure Barney was the biggest piece of s*** I ever knew,” Louie says to Williams, who laughs in agreement.
Williams lost out on a $500,000 investment in Barney’s club and another $100,000 the guy grifted from him, but because Barney was a relative on his ex-wife’s side, Williams had to keep his mouth shut.
The irony was that Barney still wanted people to like him, so he would always initiate attempts to hang out with Louie and the other comics and he asked Williams to come check out the boat he had purchased with Williams’ money.
They realize there’s a place Barney always invited them to go to, but neither took him up on the offer: a strip club named Sweet Charity. Naturally, they head there to pay respects to Barney and once inside, they get some immediate offers for some dances, but neither is interested. The dancers probe and find out Barney’s dead.
Suddenly, the girls are inconsolable and they play Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” in Barney’s honor. Louie and Williams can’t help but just look at each other in a “WTF” kind of way. A moment later, they’re back outside and break out into simultaneous laughter. They both agree that when one of them goes, the other has to go to the funeral, lest they end up like Barney.
I think the issue with this part of the episode is that it feels like an inside joke. We have a lot of the bits and pieces about Barney and we can probably extrapolate that he put a stripper or two through college. While it’s enjoyable to see Louie and Williams laugh about the whole thing, it’s too short of a vignette to get much more out of it than that.
“Never” on the other hand, is just impossible not to enjoy. Louie and his daughter, Lilly, expect to have a nice “daddy and me” kind of afternoon when he picks her up from school. That bubble is quickly burst when another parent tells Louie she has an emergency, and Louie is the only person she can trust to take care of her son, Never.
That emergency? “I’m having my vagina removed,” she explains (can’t say “Louie” ever holds back).
Louie agrees although he’s warned that Never can’t eat anything with carbon in it because, “It all comes from China.” Lilly immediately protests to her dad and that gives Never a chance to push an empty baby stroller into a busy street, where a truck carrying hazardous chemicals crashes to avoid the stroller.
You know it’s bad when the truck driver yells, “Holy s***! Run!” But of course, Louie is so indifferent he nonchalantly takes the two kids out while the chaos ensues in the background.
Feeding Never remains a challenge however, as Louie frankly doesn’t know what it means to not be able to eat carbon. A box of ground meat catches Never’s eye, but it’s not burgers he’s into.
“I can’t have it cooked. Just raw…In a bowl.” If you didn’t think this kid was weird before, that pretty much sealed the deal.
Louie acquiesces, but he has a new problem when his agent asks him to go on a Kansas City radio station to promote a tour date. It means leaving Never alone for a moment. Never wants to play with Lilly, but as Louie so gently puts it, “she’s not into it.”
So Louie decides to tells Never that if he sits still in the bath tub and if he doesn’t mess anything up, he’ll be rewarded with another of meat and this portly young fellow in suspenders and a bow tie accepts (although, initially he only wants to do it if Louie personally bathes him—obviously a reasonable request).
Louie’s phone interview is pretty much your standard radio jock deal (the jocks played Opie and Anthony) that mercifully ends when Louie tries to make a joke about Kansas City being a dump.
When Lilly comes up to Louie after his complaining of a wretched smell coming from the bathroom, the pair goes to investigate and find quite the scene.
“I diarrhea'd in the tub,” Never proclaims, stating quite the obvious, and it’s, um, quite the visual gag, if you want to call it that.
The episode ends with a good life advice from Louie to Never. When Never asks why Lilly doesn’t like him, Louie deftly explains, “Because you eat raw meat, and you s*** in the tub and you wreck everything. And as long as you act like that, no one’s going to like you.”
“My mom says that any choice I make is okay as long as I love myself,” Never retorts.
“Your mom is wrong.”
Louie isn’t saying anything we weren’t all thinking. Regardless, Never has quite the ways to go, and it’s probably for the best that he hears it from Louie than from the bullies who will inevitably take his raw meat from him at lunch.
-Between Robin Williams being on “Louie” and “Wilfred” in the last month, the guy’s quietly having a pretty good summer.
-It’s always good to see J.B. Smooth, a.k.a. Leon from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” getting some work in a FANTASTIC tag. Leon always brings the ruckus to the ladies, but he apparently isn’t down for going to the adult learning center to learn “African” so he can be able to tell his coworker he “doesn’t want to hear that African s***.”
-Suffice it to say that you shouldn’t name your kid “Never.”