“Bummer/Blueberries.”

FX

The first moment of romantic warmth in the history of Louie followed a decapitation, while a planned romantic tryst finds a fate worse than death.  I have seen some terrible reviews of the show that attempt to compare Louie with current or past television shows. I can’t think of another show that has ever aired that can be fairly compared with the mishmash use of standup, absurdity, drama, slice-of-life or tragedy that can sometimes make up a single 22-minute episode. Comparing it to Seinfeld, for example, is wrongheaded in every conceivable way. There has only been one show like Louie.  “Bummer/Blueberries” confirmed this.

The fact that it takes a decapitation for Louie to lose all artifice and nervousness is telling. It also illustrates his point. We don’t live like we could die at any moment. I know I probably wouldn’t have watched Zapped! starring Scott Baio and Willie Ames about a month ago if I was truly aware of how fleeting my own life really is. Louie’s slightly-blundering, slightly-profound dialogue to his date is a series highlight. Two lonely, unsatisfied people who are on that date for two completely different reasons connect at the thought of their own mortality. It’s beautifully macabre and incredibly romantic. The kiss could have been taken from a 1950s TV melodrama.

But it can’t continue. Not in Louie’s world and not in ours. A traumatic experience can give us new perspective, but in the end, we tend to fall back into the roles we played before. Once Louie explains why he came to his conclusion about the fleeting nature of life, his date is repulsed. They are back where they started. A disinterested, superficial woman and a bumbling, sad man. The entire vignette was full of lightning-quick changes in emotion. It was a pleasure to watch.

After a decapitation in the first vignette, the second part of the episode is a slow burn that feels like a noir film in its gradual unraveling. The conversation between Louie and his fellow parent begins with Louie admitting that he has no opinion on a planned plasma screen at the school. In an age of knee-jerk and loud opinions, one of the greatest sins is not having one. It’s one of the observations about 2011 America that I have never seen on television or film. The parent casually and disturbingly tells Louie that she is available for no-strings-attached sex. But even in her odd description of why she’s available for consequence-free sex, we already hear the sorrow that will eventually devolve into one of the series’ darkest moments. The next shot is Louie awkwardly standing at her door with a bottle of wine.

An increasingly horrible night is kicked off with the date instructing Louie to take off his shoes before walking in. All of the beauty and passion in the kiss with the previous date is completely missing in a difficult-to-watch kiss with the fellow parent in the kitchen. The stakes are continually raised throughout Louie’s evening of horror: the date comes out of the bathroom wearing a gown befitting Ma Kettle, while all of the planned “intercourse” is delayed so Louie can fetch his date condoms, lubricant and medicine for her irritated vagina. And blueberries. Throughout the night, Louie is just seconds away from walking away. But each painful moment continues without Louie being able to comfortably cut ties.

The sex scene is nightmarish. Going back to Lucky Louie, Louis CK has specialized in hellish sex scenes. This was the Citizen Kane of agonizing sex. A person with the level of self-loathing of Louie (and perhaps, Louis CK) is unable to temporarily forget the absurdity of sex. Even the eventual reward of sex is full of psychological mine fields that make the experience an exercise in embarrassment and trauma. Suitably, it ends with his date loudly crying and apologizing to her “daddy.” The fact that something as dark as the sex scene in this episode is on TV is a marvel.

The final scene of the vignette shows his date briefly sucking from a can of whipped cream and despondently eating blueberries. In a move that couldn’t have been a coincidence, the “Created by Louis CK” credit appears directly on Louie’s head. Yes, this is what’s going on in Louis CK’s mind. All of the ugliness, sadness, darkness and humanity is Louis CK’s. We’re entertained.

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One Response to “Bummer/Blueberries.”

  1. cvalentino says:

    This episode was definitely super dark, and I couldn’t believe I was watching network television with the spanking, crying, and daddy issues. I like that it sort of leaves us wondering if she fulfilled her portion of the “agreement” they made with regard to the spanking, and found it even creepier when she ate the blueberries and whipped cream afteward, like it had been part of her plan the whole time. And the framed photo of herself on her bedside? Perfect little detail.

    I love the line up of this and Wilfred on the same night, and the past two episodes of Wilfred have had me cracking up the entire time. The ridiculous phrases like “knuckle busting your anus hole” perfectly play into my immature sense of humor, and the dark undertones of it are a great, though obviously more absurd, compliment to Louie.

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