What happens when you give a comedian Cart Blanche to produce, write, direct and star in his own series? If you do it cheap enough you get Louie, a critically-acclaimed show about standup comedian Louie C.K and his wacky adventures and friends through New York City.
The show follows Louie starring as a fictional version of himself and his persona that mirrors his own personal life in many ways. Focusing on his life as a working standup comedian and single dad to two daughters, Louie essentially gives a fictionalized version of his life and all the things that make up his life. With many of his friends in the comedy field guest starring as versions of themselves, or occasionally as other characters, Louie is an odd sitcom in that it functions like a darker version of Seinfeld.
With no laugh track, and Louie occasionally mocking everything about his life including some of his old sitcoms and his directing career, this is a comedian given just enough money to make something but not too much. That’s the thing that stands out about Louie the most: it has a professional look but with a more intimate feel. It’s a couple steps up from a being a home movie project from famous people, oddly enough, but that’s part of the charm.
This is a show by a comedian without a net; FX essentially gives C.K a decent sized amount of money per episode ($350,000 or so) and lets him shoot what he wants because he also edits and directs every episode. It’s amusing to see the kind of creative freedom it allows him to have because he doesn’t try and make himself look like the greatest man who’s ever lived. This is a fair and balanced portrait of a man who knows himself well enough to not try and make himself appear to be anything but mortal. If his prior shows caused him to feel like he was selling part of his soul for fame and fortune, which he tackles in an episode this season, this is significantly more personal and autobiographical.
There’s something pure about it that allows you to connect with this normal guy who just happens to successful at what he does.
Louie C.K offers up Commentary on a handful of episodes and there’s a Fox Movie Channel piece about the show as well.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents Louie (Season 2). Created by Louie C.K Running time: 314 minutes. Not Rated. Released: June 19, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.