‘Louie’ Lightens Up With Hilarious, Breezy “Sleepover” (TV REVIEW)


“Is it really so wrong to enjoy something on two levels?”

This is the question that’s more or less plagued this season of Louie, to great entertainment. In “Sleepover,” the question is directly expressed aloud and just as swiftly answered. The absurdities, poignance, and complex narrative that Louis C.K. stretched so well over the first five episodes of the season come together quite nicely here — with room to expound, with skilled brevity, on each.

After learning a succinct life lesson from Lilly following their attendance of a seemingly brilliant play (written specifically for the show, sadly) starring John Lithgow (with pitch-perfect delivery of the phrase “a goddamn man of the world,” even when viewed without any solid context whatsoever), Glenn Close, Matthew Broderick, and a suicidal Michael Cera, we shift to a vacuum-toting Louie preparing the apartment for Jane’s planned and dreaded sleepover. Expecting “8 or 9 or maybe 12” in attendance, Louie prepares for the worst by seemingly preparing very little at all. As the white noise of a flock of children reaches a fever pitch, Louie seeks a hiding spot and starts texting the inscrutable Pamela, eventually landing a phone call – a subtle callback to the episode’s opening sequence.

As the episode descends into a breezy, hilarious trip to rescue Louie’s brother Bobby from jail, Louie — and the audience — get a break from the (thoroughly enjoyable) onslaught of emotional, visceral messiness which defined the first chunk of Season Five. Children have a way of simplifying that messiness by viewing it from a higher plane — a vantage point not obscured by expectation, narcissism, or previous failures. For them, Louie’s reluctant trip to jail to bail out Bobby is great fun indeed.

After incessant begging from Jane to build an “ice cream sundae station” in the apartment, Louie finally caves after enduring Bobby’s ludicrous jail story (hint: involves a goat, a sandwich, and nary an ounce of truth). Here, Louis C.K. gives us another respite from the perpetual indifference of the world outside — a world that almost always includes Pamela, in some form or another.

Turns out, there’s a lot more to being a “goddamn man of the world” than simply being.

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