Well, we promised rankings of the second season of Louie, and we followed through. It took us several weeks, but we followed through. If you want to see how Josh and John S broke down this summer’s best comedy, just keep reading…
Now, to preserve some individual accountability, here are the individual rankings:
9. Airport/New Jersey
4. Oh Louie/Tickets
3. Country Drive
1. Come On, God
10. Airport/New Jersey
5. Country Drive
2. Oh Louie/Tickets
1. Come on, God
Josh: These rankings were difficult: Besides my first and last ranked episodes, I did not find significant variance between episodes. “Joan” was easily the weakest of the season: Quitting after being frustrated by the Atlantic City audience and then being compelled by Joan Rivers to ask for his job just was not a very exciting plotline for me. And “Joan” did not feature any of the typical things I love about Louie such as interaction with children. Our mutual favorite, “Come on, God,” interestingly did not features Louie’s daughters, but was the best mix of absurd, honest, and funny of the season. John and I disagreed most on “Moving”: I don’t strongly oppose the episode; in fact, my review of it at the time was mostly positive. Upon reflection, there just wasn’t much memorable about the episode, except perhaps the homeless man swap, which may qualify for the most absurd moment of the season. Overall, this season of Louie proved to me—at least for now—that I need not worry about the show becoming stale. This is aided by C.K.’s willingness to change settings: “Duckling” is the most obvious example of this, but “Country Drive” and “Halloween/Ellie” are other examples of where different settings allowed Louie to explore different material, even if it involved similar themes like interaction with his daughters. And the fact that C.K. doesn’t care about continuity (for the most part) also gives me confidence that the show can keep producing novel plots. (I predict Louie will have twelve sisters by the end of the show’s run). I’m already intrigued and excited for Louie’s third season.
John S: First of all, I find it unbelievable that Josh thought there “wasn’t much memorable” about “Moving,” an episode that featured Louie visiting an apartment with a toilet in the kitchen, another apartment whose only previous occupant was “somebody named Lenny Bruce,” and a desperate attempt by Louie to explain to his manager that a $17 million home was “actually really cheap… for what it is”–all this on top of the homeless man swap that Josh mentioned. Of course, opinions diverge, which make rankings interesting. Though these rankings were really interesting for the extent to which they DIDN’T really vary. What’s noteworthy about these rankings, to me, is how the bottom half is composed of episodes that occurred at the very beginning or very end of the season. The top half is mostly episodes that occurred over a five week period, from “Country Drive” to “Duckling,” when Louie was at its best. It’s almost pointless to say anything else about that stretch of episodes; for that five-week period you couldn’t read anything about television without hearing about how Louis C.K. was breaking the mold. Even I was getting sick of reading/writing about these episodes, since you can only say “It was good” in so many ways. But I never got sick of watching Louie, even when its later episodes failed to reach the very high bar set by episodes like “Come On, God” and “Oh Louie/Tickets.” Like Josh, I remain very excited about the show’s third season–though I probably will not be eager to write about it.