Louie Review: Desperately Seeking Sanity (And Sleep)
I mentioned this in my review of last week’s Louie: the show’s storyline and sequencing felt like a dream. Like a less convoluted comedic twist on Inception.
Though there were plenty of surreal aspects to it, we couldn’t fully bring ourselves to believe that the events weren’t happening in real life. We just figured it was Louie’s interpretation of what’s happening. Well, that theme continued on "Looking for Liz; Lilly Changes," with Louie laying out how most of the episode would unfold during his stand up routine.
He reveals he’s having trouble sleeping. For the rest of the episode, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching a bizarre psychological thriller. One in which the audience doesn’t know if he’s awake or dreaming. The first half of the episode had a Single White Female/Basic Instinct feel to it, while the second half had the scent of M. Night Shyamalan.
Chloe Sevigny plays the pushy replacement for Parker Posey’s character at the bookstore. In my review of "Daddy’s Girlfriend Part 1," I noted that Parker had a similar look and build to Maria Bamford – like it was her good twin/bizarre doppelganger. Chloe’s character is like Parker and Maria meshed together; and she’s about five times than the two combined.
Again, it makes me think that these women are manifestations of his subconscious, that he’s creating these female archetypes and that they tend to spill over into each other. His mind is such a mess that he tweaks and morphs, but can’t eradicate these figments. The whole time she’s pushing Louie to reconnect with Liz, I’m thinking, ‘jeez, she’s really getting off on this’. Sure enough, she literally gets off while shouting at Louie in a café near Liz’s apartment.
What makes the show so dynamic is that those weird experiences with women he has are most often reserved for guys in their 20s/early 30s who still haven’t found the one. Not for divorcees in their mid-40s who have kids. Louie’s torn between these two worlds and he doesn’t appear to be handing either all that well, or at the very least, he’s beginning to show cracks. And he foreshadowed all this in that opening stand up routine. Though he thinks he’s doing "happy math," he’s still got that 20s mindset of wonderment.
On to the M. Night portion of the episode. Lilly’s now 10. Her behavior indicates she’s maturing and entering womanhood. This is disastrous for Louie because he basically JUST figured out how to handle children. We’ve seen he can’t handle women. And now he’s got another one entering his life. But the way the episode is shot – from Louie’s bewildered perspective – Lilly’s a great mystery.
When Louie discovers she’s really gone, one can’t help but think of a terrorist plot, spaceship abductions or kidnapping for induction into sex slavery. Yeah, I watch too many movies. However, to a parent, those aren’t completely irrational thoughts. I’m not a parent, but you can imagine the horrific scenarios running through Louie’s head as his youngest daughter Jane vocalizes his own frantic inner voice.
I’d like to think that Louie does what most men would’ve done in that situation – NOT call his ex-wife. Maybe I’m too much like Louie. I either have too much pride or I don’t feel like getting my ass chewed out for the bajillionth time. And for the bajillionth time, Louie is shamed by strangers – in this episode, it’s the cop.
Just like last week, Louie is about to face the music and face his worst fear (which traditional TV programming has taught us concludes with loose ends tied and lessons learned) we suddenly see Lilly walk through the scene wearing what I thought were earmuffs and a blanket totally unfazed by the cops in her father’s living room. Everyone except for Lilly kind of looked around like, “where are we?!” There was that self-aware moment as if to say, ‘shit, this is too strange, we must be in a dream.'
But, as we learned in Inception, that’s when you wake up. And Louie didn’t. Instead, we learned that Lilly likes to read in the closet with her headphones on. Maybe that’s where I’m getting the M. Night/Sixth Sense vibe from?
I haven’t completely ruled out that this season’s arc is one giant build up to a mind-blowing twist in the finale, but that’s just my paranoia/years of ingesting thrillers kicking in. Now that we’ve got a loose grip on Louie’s style, it seems like he’ll leave us hanging. I don’t know that we’ll be upset when he does. But, how many times can you go to that well before it gets old and uninteresting? In my mind, it’s unlike anything on TV, so Louie probably has more slack to explore that trickery than most.