Sometimes all you really want to say is, "Wow," and that was the case with this week's Louie. Thirty minutes of television excellence, minus the commercials, some of which had Russell Brand in them.
Say My Name
After a brief standup clip in which Louie (Louis C.K.) talks about the horrors of dating, he's shown meeting Tape Recorder (Parker Posey) outside the bookstore for their first date. Okay, her name isn't really "Tape Recorder". That's just an odd joke she plays on Louie. In fact, she spends half of their date messing with him. She eventually tells him that her name is Liz.
Denial of Service
Liz seems a bit manic right from the start, and warning bells go off when a bartender refuses to serve her Jägermeister "after what happened last time." But of course, Louie doesn't hear that. Instead of drinking, they go for a long walk. Louie amusingly claims to enjoy walking around the city, but when Liz confronts him about it, he immediately admits that he hates it. She wants total honesty, but he's walking regardless.
Gold Lame Dress
Over the course of their adventurous night, they end up at a thrift store, where Liz goads the weak-willed Louie into trying on a vintage gold lame dress. "Maybe it's a test," she tells him. He seems to pass with flying colors. They also visit New York City's fine Russ and Daughters Appetizing for smoked herring and other treats, and when Louie hands his leftovers to a homeless man (Casey Siemaszko), Liz insists they go back and really help him. Louie ends up paying for the guy's prescription and getting him a hotel room.
The Long Way Down
They end up climbing a gazillion flights of stairs (and when Louie tries to give up, Liz transforms momentarily into a scary drill sergeant) to a view Liz likes, and what might be one of the best written and acted scenes I've ever seen on television. Liz, who survived cancer as a teen, expresses this infectious love of life that wins Louie over. And then, very quickly, a cloud seems to pass over her, and she wants to go home. It's a great show that encompasses the hilarity of Louie trying on that dress, the thrilling ambiguity of Liz's manic, forceful and potentially disturbed personality, and the poignancy of those last moments.
With any other show, I'd be wondering how things will go with Liz next week. One of the exquisite narrative frustrations of this unique program is that I don't even know if Posey will be on the show again, or if they'll even refer to her character again.
"Yes, you're fat. And I have no t__s. Let's be honest. It's the only way I'll continue this date with you."
--Liz lays down the law to Louie.
"Well, what do you wanna do? You wanna say the list of things you think might impress me, or you wanna try this on and make me really like you, just for having the guts. Plus I think it'll look pretty on you."
--Liz gets Louie to try on a dress.
"I love to pine for North Dakota. I don't wanna give that up by going there."
--Liz explains the joy of longing for things.
"Louie, you put on a dress tonight and you saved a man's life, and you are going to do this."
--Liz persuades Louie to walk up many flights of stairs.
"That's why you're afraid to come over here. Because a tiny part of you wants to jump. Because it would be so easy. But I don't wanna jump, so I'm not afraid. I would never do that. I'm having too good of a time."
--Liz talks about why Louie is afraid to come closer to the ledge.