Louie (Louis C.K.) continues to be uncertain about whether he should go after the job replacing David Letterman on the Late Show. But he does begin the training program assigned to him last week, with oddball, old school producer Jack Dahl (Lynch). Dahl's workspace is a singularly Lynchian place, with a receptionist, whose appearance changes from shot to shot, and odd temporal dissonance (even those faded striped curtains on the set of the mock talk show).
Louie Stands His Ground
Louie, with his pubescent agent Doug (Edward Gelbinovich) in tow, gets some interesting advice from the brusque Dahl, who gives Louie some outdated jokes to read and demands he read them faster. Dahl also urges Louie to clean up his appearance, but despite Dahl's evocation of every other talk show host (and his insults), Louie draws the line at wearing a suit. Dahl sends Louie on an odd regimen with Alphonse (Isiah Whitlock, Jr. of The Wire), a boxing trainer. The plan is apparently for Louie to get beaten up regularly.
Louie's Support System
The episode opens with a sharply written scene with Louie's ex-wife Janet (Susan Kelechi Watson), who knows Louie well enough to realize he's hoping she'll tell him he can't take the job because of his parental responsibilities. Watson plays the perfect ex-wife combination of encouragement and frustration. Later, Louie takes a call from Jay Leno who suggests he turn down the job, because if he takes it, he won't be the hip, cool comic anymore.
Chris Rock Lends a Hand
Then there's a scene with Chris Rock, who Louie ill-advisedly tells about his opportunity and conversation with Leno. "Watch your back," Rock tells him, before stabbing Louie in the back. I haven't seen 2 Days in New York yet, but I was really impressed with Rock's acting here. The sort of been-there, done-that attitude and barely veiled hostility were right on point. It felt authentically showbiz cutthroat.
With those three great supporting turns (Lynch, Rock and Watson) and a satisfying storyline that effectively traipsed surrealism, I thought this was one of the best episodes of the season.
"Ah, forget the kids. I got the kids. You go do this. You go get this job."
--Janet urges Louie to pursue the talk show gig.
"Sent here? What are you, a letter? Nobody sent you."
--Jack Dahl responds to Louie saying he was sent to him.
"I hope you get it, and if you get it, it's the last time we'll talk as friends."
--Leno wishes Louie well.
"Listen, if you're gonna be televised, you gotta be easy on the eyes. It's no good if people hate looking at ya. You need a suit. A tie. Some Brylcreem."
--Dahl wants Louie to clean up his act.
"Jack Paar. Steve Allen. Carson. Letterman. Not a t-shirt in the bunch. Just 'cause you like laying around your house in your underpants doesn't mean the United States of America has to see it. You put on a suit, brother."
--Dahl stresses his point, to no avail.