Louie Season 4 Review: The Most Experimental Show on TV

Photo Credit:http://www.nerdist.com/2014/04/a-new-louie-promo-offers-a-taste-of-season-4/

That extra year off did the trick. Not only was this Louie‘s best season, it also solidified the fact that this is the most innovative, artistic, unpredictable shows on TV. By default, that also means it is one of the best. If not the best.

These 14 episodes are pretty easily dividable. The first three were pretty standard episodes of Louie, easing us back into the formula of the show. The next six were the Elevator arc. The season closed with In the Woods, Louis CK’s art film, and the three part Pamela arc. So let’s pick this season apart piece by piece.

Back was the only episode of the season that played out like a Louie episode from seasons ago. It was a nice welcome back and had some solid moments (the garbagemen still crack me up). The next two singular episodes were a bit more meaty.

Model played like a reality warping fantasy that questioned what on this show is real and what isn’t. Meanwhile, the last scene from So Did the Fat Lady went viral for a reason. Shockingly constructing what romance is like for someone other than Louie, this episode stood among the best individual half hours of the season.

Next came the six part Elevator arc, which, to be fair, may have been better off being five parts. It started with Louie saving Evanka (Ellen Burstyn) from being stuck in their building elevator and the romance that ensued wither her Hungarian speaking daughter Amia (Eszter Balint).

Throughout, Louie’s love life is consistently interrupted by his daughter Jane acting up in school and having to deal with his ex-wife. But Amia slowly becomes a bigger part of his life. She’s great with his daughters and the couple has great chemistry.

With Season 4 now complete, the Elevator arc feels like a clear setup for what was to come in the Pamela arc. When Louie’s ex-wife asks what he’s doing with a woman who is leaving after a month and doesn’t speak English, the point of these episodes comes forward. Louie is wasting his time with something he knows won’t work out.

He’s even presented with Pamela in Part 3, showing that he may not even be ready for the only person on this show to even come close to being his soul mate.

The Elevator arc wasn’t without its tangents though. Part 4 tried to show us Louie’s very first marriage, even before his current ex (at least we think). It was a nice insight on Louie’s past, but felt a bit like wheel spinning.

Then, Part 5, the worst episode of the season, had Louie’s friend Todd go on and on about his traditional daily routine. These are examples of Louie, the most experimental show on TV, failing its own experiments.

But Part 6 got things back on track very quickly, giving us a fascinating take on what Hurricane Sandy did to New York City, showing us what is actually important in Louie’s life, and giving us a conclusion with Amia.

The Pamela arc was broken up with In the Woods, what is essentially a short film that was also one of the best things on TV all year. Taking a break from the, uh, “traditional” Louie formula, we got a hour and a half story about young Louie learning how to take responsibility for his own actions. It had a great cast and was the best thing about the season.

But the Pamela arc was hardly a come down. Yes, the first episode was a bit clunky, but the final two were the two best “romantic” episodes Louie has ever produced. Pamela Adlon returned as Pamela with the same honest, bombastic personality that Louie is attracted to.

The season ended with Louie and Pamela in the bathtub, the latter explaining that she may not be able to say all the things Louie want her to say (read: “I love you.”), but that she’s happy to be with him.

If Pamela is in fact still around in Season 5, it could redefine what Louie is (as if he doesn’t do that every other week anyway).

But that’s the joy of this series. Louis CK has a lot of raunchy stand-up material. In this medium, he’s an artist pure and true. While not every episode is perfect, when Louie succeeds, it’s the most powerful show on TV. For all its ambition and sheer artistry, I can do nothing but praise this unforgettable batch of episodes. I can’t help but thank Louis CK for bring us these stories, as well as FX for giving him complete creative control. Louie is what television is capable of when it is simply two things: an artist and his vision. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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