Much as I really like this show and was happy to see Louis CK take home two Emmys this past week, Louie kind of lost me for a few episodes this season. I mentioned this a couple of months ago, but sometimes the episodes got weird past the point of being actually enjoyable -- not always in a bad way per se, but I need to wait to watch Louie for when my head is clear and I don't have to immediately tune in to something else afterward. I also have mixed feelings about the Late Show arc, but in the interest of time, let's get to "New Year's Eve," an episode that was equal parts great and strange.
Christmas Morning Reality
It's such a simple, genius concept to cut a cherished Christmas morning with the horrible mess that parents go through to make those moments so magical. Louie's kids are so sweet and grateful that they made the gag that much better, but the real star of the scene was the eye-less doll. Moments that made me crack up: the third eye, "Shit on my father's balls," and then Louie wiping sweat off of his forehand with the doll, getting superglue in his eye, quietly sewing the doll up, pissing on its head and cooking the crayons... followed by no actual explanation of what happened and how this doll can possibly be in one piece after all of that.
Louie's Little Sister
I think it's safe to say that Louie is never going to kill himself in the middle of an episode (right?) but the next best thing to making me feel really sad is having Amy Poehler guest star as a worried little sister. The look in Debbie's eyes was heartbreaking (as I mentioned in today's Parks and Recreation review), because come on -- the world is not ready for Sad Amy yet. On the bright side, Debbie's Mexico vacation to go see Abuelita sounds adorable, and her husband was charming in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. And for the record: I much prefer Poehler on this show playing Louie's sister than Louis CK on Parks and Recreation as Leslie Knope's love interest.
The Dream Sequence
There's always some risk involved when you're inserting a dream sequence into a scene as a plot device, but grown-up Lilly, Jane and Louie were so funny that it was totally fine by me. As usual, the small details that came from excellent writing are what sold it: Career-y things, "I'm probably an artist, and hopefully it's going well," and sad old man Louie eating pinwheel cookies by his lonesome. The things this show does with junk food really is remarkable.
The most out-of-body moment in an already surreal episode, Parker Posey's Liz died the way she was introduced: confusingly. It was a little on the nose, but I liked the choice of having her time of death be 11:59 PM, followed by partying from the rest of the hospital. Though, like the dream sequence, it was all a big vehicle to get Louie to take some action, some small part of me would have preferred to watch Debbie and Louie eat hot wings together in Mexico.
The Yangtze River
A perfect disorienting way to end a bizarre season, the whole trip to China is one of those things only this show can pull off. The music was beautiful, the confusion made it that much more compelling and the happy ending with both charmingly misunderstood strangers and ducks officially canonized "New Year's Eve" to "Duckling" status. I'd argue that this episode might even be better, but, as with all good Louie episodes, I still need some time until I can get back to you on that.
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