Louis C.K. really wants to be a good person. On television, at least. I have no idea if this is true in real life, but let's assume it's the case.
And it's that attempt to constantly improve himself that often drives this hilarious, unique FX series, even if Louie often fails and even if it results in some of the most awkward moments on television.
Enter the Season 3 premiere, "Something is Wrong." It's based on a very simple premise: Louie no longer wants to be dating a woman played by Gaby Hoffman. But he can't bring himself to man up and actually say the final words. If any guy out there hasn't been in this exact scenario at least once in his life, he's either lying... or the girl he wants to dump is sitting next to him at this very moment.
Both the opening and closing scene of this episode are terrific, Louie at its simple best.
C.K. scarcely utters a word. He just contorts his face and his mouth and acts like he'd rather be anywhere than in these exact moments. In the hands of a lesser comic and/or on a traditional sitcom, there might be some forced joke here, some contrived punchline that breaks the silence or spells out for the audience just how much of a dufus the guy is being.
But none is needed here, largely because the guy isn't being a dufus, he's just being... a guy. Louie is divorced in real life and I can't hazard a guess about how that relationship went down, but it's safe to assume the closing speech from Hoffman summed it up perfectly. In an effort to be nice in one moment, how many people out there have made a decision they later regretted for years to come?
For a show that begins with a stand-up routine about prosthetic penises and reading glasses when one jerks off, Louie somehow manages to be the most relatable show on television.
It's a masterful balancing act pulled off by C.K. He makes you squirm, he makes you think, he makes you laugh. And in the case of this premiere, he does so while barely speaking.
Louie isn't a bad guy by any means, but he's a somber soul and it's his quest to figure out how to be happy - by sticking in a less-than-ideal relationship? By riding a motorcycle? - that makes this quite possibly the best show on television.