A fly on the wall, a kidnapping, Tony Soprano’s talking fish dream, a battle on The Wall, a beach house, a sitcom episode form the 90s, Annie’s Boobs, every posible outcome of a speech, a flashback that shows the loss of a child in the 80s, a flashback that show the entire history of an island… These are all special episodes of our favorite series. Episodes that did not follow the scheme we have grown familiar with, episodes that focused on a simple, concrete storyline that did not continue the serie’s plot, but rather highlight a single idea or concept. And then there’s Louie (FX, 2010-?), could a show be only constructed from ‘special episodes’?
Louie is one of those auteur show we discussed long ago with one single man, Louie C.K., directing, producing, writing, and starring his own series. It is the clearest case of authorship we can find nowadays in a piece of art as collective as a TV show and hence its unique structure. Victory, redemption, love, shame, alienation and a long et cetera, are some of the concepts Louis has made an allegorical episode out of. Its latest masterpiece, “Bobby’s House”, is just another paradigmatic, pathetic bold, conceptual instance revolving around gender roles and gender stigmas in contemporary society.
We open up with a shot of Louie sleeping on the couch, a call from his brother Bobby, and a conversation in the later’s apartment about how successful a man Louie is. The next 15 minutes will attempt to deconstruct how ‘successful’ Louie’s masculinity actually is.
Louie is now standing at a bus stop, waiting. A woman is pushing and insulting a man right next to him when Louie asks her to cut it off. Right away, the woman starts attacking Louie, first verbally and, eventually, punching and kicking him off while he lays on the sidewalk; unable to defend himself and fight back due to the (positive) sexist social contract that men can not hit women. A girl can slap her boyfriend, a woman can beat the crap out of a random guy, it is socially accepted, but, obviously, not the opposite.
When Louie gets home, his two daughters laugh at him even his dad is badly injured. Next, his ‘lover’ Pamela does more of the same and to Louie’s request for a makeup layer in order to hide his bruises to his audience she answers giving him the whole girlie setup (mascara and lipstick included). Louie accepts with the condition of some later role-playing sex during which he gets, let’s say, ‘forced’ by a truck-driver-Pamela. Once again, if this was the other way around -as it did happen last season- people would be talking about rape.
Cut to the after sex. They both lay in bed and after such an intimate experience Louie wants to ask Pamela to be with him. Pamela, playing the tough woman, did not wish for a relationship but a no-strings-attached kind of deal (a traditionally male attitude) and so she decides to break up with him, leaving Louie crying with his mascara smeared all over his face.
In the final shot we see Louie eating lunch back with his brother Bobby, face to face. Louie is quiet, Bobby keeps laughing and laughing. The circle is closed elegantly, questions are raised, and Louie C.K. signs another perfect ‘special episode’ about the pathos of human condition, one more, adding up to a sort of behavioral encyclopedia of the modern man.
“Louie, Louie, you are gonna cry”.