'Louie' - 'Travel Day/South': These things go down! These things go down!
A review of tonight's "Louie" coming up just as soon as I look at it with my real eyes...
I fly to California tomorrow for my Comic-Con/press tour double feature (which means "Louie" reviews may be on hold for a few weeks, depending on screener access and writing time), and so I already had travel anxiety on the brain(*) before I watched this one. The "Travel Day" portion of the episode did not help.
(*) My latest irritation - and one that absolutely led me to make an entitled, "What is the meaning of this?" gesture that Louie would no doubt disapprove of - is that Continental has started charging $80 bucks extra (per flight, not round trip) for sitting in the exit row seat. I'm 6'3". Even when I'm relatively thin, a coach seat is not designed to fit me. So for all these years, Continental and I have had an unspoken arrangement: I get the necessary extra legroom of an exit row, and they in return get an able-bodied man who is ready and willing to help people get off the plane quickly in event of an emergency. Now I'll just be a schmuck with my knees pressed up to my chin in a standard seat. Grr...
Sorry. Anyway, back to "Louie." I didn't love the "South" half of the episode, as it seemed too easy a joke on Southern stereotypes, even as Louie was acknowledging that he didn't want to view the South as different. "Travel Day," on the other hand, was hilarious, even as it made me cringe about what I'll have to endure tomorrow.
What makes the show work is Louie's deadpan, indifferent reaction to everything in life. He barely blinks at the three cabbies literally fighting over him(**), is only a little fazed at the news that his previously-scheduled flight crashed and that he'll have to fly standby, unapologetically tells the TSA agents about his bottle of lube and what he intends to use it on, doesn't speak up when the very large Dennis sits next to (and on top of) him, etc.
(**) And in what part of town does that happen? I always have the opposite problem: too few, not too many.
This is just Louie's life, for good or (mostly) for bad, and he largely accepts it, and that resignation breathes new life into familiar settings we've seen many times before. What comedian or sitcom hasn't done a bit about the hell of the airport check-in counter? Yet it was fresh and funny because of Louie's reaction to the robotic clerk ("I'm showing..."), and his attempt to avoid making eye contact with the vitriolic man in the next lane. (Louis C.K. the director did a nice job shifting the focus in that scene.) I also got a kick out of C.K. providing the voice of the airplane pilot, another familiar gag made new and shiny with the matter-of-fact, oft-inaudible way the pilot delivered the increasingly bad news.
What did everybody else think?