John S: Sometimes I’m not sure if Louie is trying to make me laugh or cringe. Last week I praised the show for being “daringly serious,” but sometimes this gets uncomfortable as a viewer. Of course, I wouldn’t change anything about Louie: It’s a rare kind of show that is totally unlike anything else on TV. With that said, I think there has been a recent trend in comedy to confuse the uncomfortable with the comical (I blame The Office U.S. for this). People will watch something like the disturbing sex scene in the “Blueberries” half of last week’s episode and find it funny, when in fact it’s really sad. Of course, my favorite episode last season (“God”) was a very serious and potentially disturbing one, so there’s definitely an appeal to these episodes. It’s just that at this point I basically detest any comedy that seems to be saying, “Isn’t it hilarious how awkward this situation is?!” and sometimes Louie borders on that. My favorite parts of “Bummer/Blueberries” weren’t the overt stories or jokes, but the small details C.K. is so great at: things like Louie showing up for “intercourse” with a bottle of wine to class things up or telling his date, “I’m going for a walk. You can come if you want.” Things like this are what people mean when they talk about the show being purely C.K.’s vision, and they make an otherwise cringe-inducing episode like last week’s fun.
Josh: This episode’s focus was on the “too-good-to-be-true” nature of Louie’s interactions with women. First, Louie gets his date, Janice, to like him by being completely honest with her, but then when he goes all the way and explains what has prompted his reflective mood, Janice walks off. (This scene reminded me of the “Bully” episode last season, where Louie’s date left him at the donut shop when he wouldn’t stand up to the teenage bully.) Second, an attractive female flatly asked Louie if he wanted to have sex, without accompanying complications. Of course, there turned out to be plenty of complications. I agree with John about this episode being a bit more outlandish than last, but the fact that (sad) outlandish scenarios will be laughed at isn’t a concern for me. Louie has a few scenes whose entire arc is intentionally humorous, but that’s the exception: much of Louie consists of scenes that are not supposed to be humorous, or, at best, have some elements of dark humor. We’re not supposed to laugh at the homeless man getting run over by the car. These are distinct from the “funny because it’s awkward” scenes that became too prevalent in The Office in the sense that C.K. often has no comedic purpose for having the scene in there. On a different note, some material from this episode seemed to too closely mirror material from other episodes, though, such as the opening stand-up bit where Louie demeans his sexual appearance and performance. But, the “Blueberries” bit more than made up for some of the more non-original elements of the episode.