Louie: “Bobby’s House” Season 5 Episode 4 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/05/01/louie-bobbys-house-review

Over every other artist in the medium, Louis CK continues to demonstrate a superior understanding of our society and an unmatchable ability to critique it using humor. This week, we got a complete deconstruction of gender norms in a number of different settings.

Louie gets beat up by a very intimidating woman at the bus stop. She knocks him down to the ground and kicks and punches him until she’s had her fill. Louie did very little to retaliate. Even when someone is physically assaulting him, he peeks his head up to look around to see if anyone is about to witness him punch a female. Even though he’s already losing the fight, he knows things can get a lot worse if someone sees him hit back.

Then his daughters laugh at him because they’ve been raised in a world where it’s funny for a woman to beat a man in a fight. But “Bobby’s House” doesn’t mine comedy from that, instead getting us to laugh at the fact that Louie tries to turn his loss into a progressive lesson for his daughters. “Women can be strong too!” he tells them, trying to undo years of backwards thinking to save himself some embarrassment and get his daughters up to speed with today’s world. But they just keep laughing.

The cut from them to Pamela mid guffaw was genius too. But Pamela is closer to Louie’s level. She knows women can be strong (I wouldn’t want to piss her off) but still phrases it as “You got beat up by a girl!” Pamela is supposed to mirror how the show wants us to see the situation, Louie being unable to defend himself because the social norms of a woman beating a man up are still vague. Pamela is laughing because Louie was in one of the worst social situations you can be in in 2015.

But the exploration of gender roles doesn’t stop there, as Pamela puts makeup on him to hide the bruises before a show and then promises him the best sex of his life if she gets to go all out. Pushing Louie into an even more uncomfortable situation for him, Pamela puts on a baseball cap and tucks her hair back, calling herself Peter, while Louie is intended to act like a woman. You’ll also notice that Pamela is on top once they start fooling around. She then flips him over and goes pretty hard on the anal play. Pamela doesn’t believe their genders have to limit how they achieve orgasm. She doesn’t think there have to be roles each person has to play in the bedroom and truthfully thinks this will be the best sex Louie has ever had. It’s very forward-thinking, once again illustrating Pamela as a person way ahead of her time.

But then Louie brings up their relationship again. He keeps wanting more, probably because Pamela has very little emotion to give. We know she loves him from “A La Carte,” but that doesn’t seem to be enough for Louie. Pamela knows this and doesn’t want to hurt him when she can’t deliver what he wants. So she cuts things off. The scene feels uncomfortably real, as Louie is exploring a modern relationship using a very progressive character (Pamela) and a character so desperate to be progressive that he may be holding himself back (Louie). The punchline comes when Louie starts to cry and the mascara spreads with his tears. It’s a beautifully melancholy moment of pure comedy. He can’t be more emasculated than in that very moment. Louie wants to show us that there’s nothing wrong with that. Even if his brother laughs at him anyway.

So yeah, what an episode, right? Louis CK once again tackles the evolution of our society in an impactful manner in just over 20 minutes. “Bobby’s House” is a masterful deconstruction of gender norms and the tip-toeing around their evolution. It’s fascinating, funny, and eventually very sad. Most of all, it feels complete, like nothing else needs to be said. Bravo. Grade: A

 

Some Other Notes:

– In some weird shared universe between Louie and Girls, there is likely a very funny scene where Pamela beats up Adam in the same way Louie was here.

– Robert Kelly returned as Louie’s brother Bobby for some brotherly bonding. After the scene between them in the beginning left them in very different places, it was great to have the tag of Bobby laughing at Louie for getting beat up by a woman.

 

By Matt Dougherty

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