“Moving.”

FX

“Life is shit wall to wall.”
-Louis CK, Hilarious.

It says a lot about Louie that one of the least dark episodes in the history of the show centers around a middle-aged man who tries to find a new home in a futile effort to absolve himself from the judgment of others, impress his children and purge the final connection to his ex-wife. All of the places Louie can afford are straight from an urban nightmare film of the 1970s, while the one place he sets his heart on owning is comically out of his grasp. The contrasts between the homes within his price range and the Former Home of Lenny Bruce are excellent examples of one of the underappreciated elements of Louie: the direction of the show.  The lighting, camerawork and music take viewers inside each of these homes with Louie. Every location looks and feels like it should.

One of the most poignant moments in the episode came with Louie walking in on a confused elderly man who will likely die alone. Soon. Louie has found regular sources of material in looking back. These scenes of young Louie have been some of the show’s best. We’ve seen young Louie terrified and taunted by religion and girls. We’ve seen a young Louie looking at present-day Louie with disgust. Now, we finish a tour of a depressing, filthy home with Louie looking ahead. And fittingly, the future isn’t bright. The lingering shot of Louie looking eye-to-eye with his future is equally fascinating and crushing. A man who is so clearly aware of his own mortality sees his future self as angry, alone, confused and in his underwear.

The episode was full of surreal moments: a homeless man exchange outside of the old man’s house, a spinning exchange between Louie and his Realtor and the increasingly filthy tale spun by Todd Barry to an oblivious Louie. The scene with Louie and Todd Barry sitting in a diner as a distracted Louie ignores his friend is a scene that has been done countless times in television and film comedies. The friend, tired of being ignored, says something outrageous. The distracted person misses it entirely. As usual, Louie takes the trope to new depths.

The journey ends with Louie sitting on a stoop in front of a home he’ll never own. His declaration that he will some day own this home sounded like a man approaching hopelessness who just wants to experience what hope sounds like when it comes out of his mouth. It didn’t sound right. Of course, it didn’t. Of course, he wasn’t going to own his dream home. We know this. Louis CK knows this. The final scene of Louie and his daughters painting the home he once shared with wife was one of the sweetest moments in a show bereft of sweet moments. But even the sweetness is underscored by the bitterness of failure. Louie started the episode searching for a new beginning, but ends it back where he started. Louie has accepted his fate.

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3 Responses to “Moving.”

  1. cvalentino says:

    The funniest parts of this for me were the little girl doing the adorable and nonsensical ballet pose after saying something that likely crushed her father, and when Louie’s friend asked the old man if he wanted an egg and continued to take away his pickle and make him food that he rejected. Other than that, this episode fell a little short for me. Maybe it’s my nulligravida status, but the stream of episodes about him trying to make his children love him more is getting old to me. It was definitely a sweet episode though.

  2. memphiscreep says:

    Yeah, I think most of the episodes center around a few common themes: Louie is trying to find a lady, Louie is bored, Louie is trying to please his kids or family and Louie encounters an odd stranger. Where the show is exceptional is its ability to play off all of those themes. From my perspective, the premise of an individual episode is essentially irrelevant on Louie. What makes it interesting for me is where he goes from there. For example, I don’t remember what the theme of the first-season episode where the gay comedian talks about the origin and meaning of the word “faggot.” But I definitely remember the impact of that particular moment. I feel the same way about the more kid-centric focus of the second season.

  3. memphiscreep says:

    And yeah, that ballet pose was awesome.

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