Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Louie

by | April 24, 2014 | Comments

Louis CK is considered one of the best comedians of our time, but his FX show, Louie, still flies under the radar for many TV viewers. With season four premiering May 5, and the first three seasons available to stream on every major service, this is the perfect time to binge Louie.

Here’s what you need to know before you walk the mean and hilarious streets of NYC with Louis CK.

 

Louie

Louie

What’s the premise? In this quasi-autobiographical FX series, Louis CK plays himself, a stand-up comedian and single dad living in New York City.

What’s it like? Even though he’s following in the tradition of many successful comedians who landed steady sitcom gigs (Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano), Louis CK’s show is unique to the space. Certainly, Louie is derivative of Larry David’s creations (the show even features stand-up interstitials like Seinfeld), but it would be better described as similar in tone to Woody Allen’s European-influenced movies. Louie is not constructed like a traditional sitcom — you won’t get a bombardment of jokes centered around 22 minutes of conflict — but rather it feels like a series of short films, all based on the same mostly-optimistic-yet-woefully-misguided main character. Anyone who has watched Louis CK’s comedy specials knows that he is a master of irreverent, hyper-honest observations, and in Louie the same perspective holds — only the point of view is tailored to the medium of TV rather than stand-up comedy. It’s normal to enter Louie’s head through flashbacks, fantasies and even hallucinations to see the world how he sees it. The results are often funny, although — as with Woody — they cross into existential territory.

Where can I see it? All three seasons of Louie are available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and iTunes.

How long will it take? In total, Louie is 40 episodes, each running just over 20 minutes. Short vignettes comprise a single episode in most instances. A few exceptions include a three-parter about Louie’s bid for a late-night show, and a two-episode courtship of a bookstore employee played by Parker Posey. If you were to binge all the Louies in a row, it would take you a few days (assuming your life includes other activities), but watching every episode before you dive into the new season is unnecessary; Louie doesn’t rely on continuous viewing to make sense.

What do the critics think? All three seasons are fresh on the Tomatometer. In her review of season three, Maureen Ryan of the Huffington Post said, “There can be no doubt that Louie is the best comedy on television.” Matt Roush of TV Guide wrote “This masterful character study of a midlife comedian’s melancholy misadventures is pretty marvelous.” And Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture called Louie “bizarre, inventive, and bold.” Be aware, however, that the show dips in the blue ink quite a bit. Verne Gay who wrote a positive review for season three in Newsday warned, “It’s not for all viewers — there’s a lot of vulgarity here.”

Why should I watch this? There’s nothing else like Louie on television right now — and that’s mostly because Louis CK holds a majority of the artistic control (a deal he made for a smaller chunk of change in early negotiations with FX). He writes, directs and stars in all the episodes, and even edits some of them, making him one of the few — if the only — true auteurs of television. CK’s encapsulation of the human experience, which he portrays as simultaneously beautiful and repulsive, hilarious and heartbreaking, takes place in New York City, the perfect setting for examining everything wonderful and awful about people.

What’s my next step? If you enjoy Louis CK’s perspective on things, you should definitely watch his specials — especially Chewed Up and Oh My God. He also has stand-out roles in two smash films from 2013, Blue Jasmine and American Hustle. HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm picks up a number of Louie’s threads, such as the question of how much the real person is like his TV counterpart, or how we feel about ourselves when we identify with the main character. There will be cringing. For shows that accurately portray the modern verve and grime of New York, check out How to Make It in America and Girls on HBO, and Comedy Central’s new cult fave, Broad City.

What do you like about Louie? How would you explain it to a newbie? Get in on the conversation here.

Tag Cloud

Rocky 24 frames suspense a nightmare on elm street American Society of Cinematographers know your critic Marvel Warner Bros. 2019 black comedy dc rt archives 007 scene in color film series harry potter Television Academy Lifetime Writers Guild of America Native BET indie kong cats Comedy 2021 binge hispanic what to watch TV One Acorn TV Sneak Peek OWN Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Western Music A24 renewed TV shows 90s HBO Go canceled TV shows summer preview saw ABC Signature dexter Box Office Action TV movies 1990s DGA Star Wars transformers Film Festival Broadway comedies spanish language Rock comic book movies basketball cults cancelled TV shows vs. The Walt Disney Company Syfy political drama APB aapi period drama New York Comic Con ABC medical drama Sony dreamworks richard e. Grant spy thriller Mary poppins screenings finale science fiction politics scorecard book reboot Sony Pictures trailers OneApp crime thriller Kids & Family serial killer Apple TV+ Awards Tour fast and furious cancelled Film SXSW 2022 women directors Exclusive Video Spring TV Esquire classics Pirates adaptation italian Fall TV toy story Food Network cops rotten movies we love quibi Mystery Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Disney indiana jones supernatural Summer The Walking Dead Spectrum Originals crime reviews universal monsters halloween tv LGBTQ Sundance TV Comic-Con@Home 2021 DC Universe Character Guide DC streaming service sequels Comedy Central A&E Britbox debate psychological thriller Rom-Com Nat Geo Apple TV Plus WarnerMedia TCA MTV animated nbcuniversal australia blockbuster 2020 werewolf The Arrangement lord of the rings TV renewals PaleyFest stop motion Fox News CNN concert spider-verse Funimation superhero Sci-Fi Nominations anime robots leaderboard rt labs critics edition heist movie Pixar CW Seed The Purge X-Men independent Starz video Teen Election Crunchyroll Shondaland Classic Film Paramount Indigenous Instagram Live Bravo football comic RT21 Holidays Horror documentaries legend Song of Ice and Fire discovery FX on Hulu festival Black History Month biopic Tomatazos true crime USA Network Reality Competition Awards Binge Guide sitcom jamie lee curtis new york adventure CBS All Access toronto teaser See It Skip It TV cancelled television Endgame 71st Emmy Awards unscripted hist HFPA Logo 99% Marvel Television The CW Hallmark Christmas movies stand-up comedy vampires Baby Yoda justice league romance adenture genre asian-american Universal foreign Red Carpet facebook Paramount Plus Cartoon Network Ovation Creative Arts Emmys golden globes Apple VOD 20th Century Fox Trivia Showtime Year in Review children's TV scene in color series El Rey GIFs Fargo Emmy Nominations TNT BBC One christmas movies video on demand slasher MCU Geeked Week Focus Features 45 Television Critics Association streamig comics San Diego Comic-Con elevated horror Amazon Prime Amazon TBS best mcc new star wars movies ITV superman Video Games black Netflix Christmas movies Super Bowl YouTube Red kids south america boxoffice Paramount Network twilight NBC 73rd Emmy Awards Fantasy Disney+ Disney Plus Arrowverse war Disney Plus TIFF godzilla based on movie mob singing competition films President dark GoT Country comic book movie obituary streaming The Academy MGM E! series target diversity halloween Best Picture Mudbound AMC Plus Neflix trophy Universal Pictures Best Actress feel good festivals FOX live event posters DC Comics psycho Comic Book BBC America Opinion Heroines Stephen King ratings Academy Awards Chernobyl Women's History Month SundanceTV PBS Mary Tyler Moore game show Superheroe RT History zero dark thirty streaming movies ABC Family TCA 2017 Hallmark rt labs child's play hispanic heritage month Disney Channel spider-man cartoon Toys Thanksgiving new zealand Podcast Grammys Oscar royal family IFC Marathons spanish 2018 TruTV hidden camera sopranos breaking bad IMDb TV olympics NYCC doctor who TLC Reality cancelled TV series Tags: Comedy Elton John batman high school 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards japan all-time Best Director golden globe awards Infographic mockumentary Oscars USA Extras Sundance telelvision Shudder Best and Worst 2017 Spike docudrama Amazon Studios Premiere Dates french BET Awards crime drama natural history spain YouTube Premium Rocketman IFC Films CMT TCM satire Star Trek MSNBC Legendary space Black Mirror hollywood Drama Netflix game of thrones travel Fox Searchlight Epix Turner Classic Movies theme song disaster Dark Horse Comics broadcast dragons Disney streaming service Hulu zombies Family Tokyo Olympics canceled Amazon Prime Video deadpool YA Marvel Studios Set visit tv talk summer TV Star Wars Celebration versus award winner screen actors guild king arthur dramedy HBO Max Anna Paquin History Pride Month police drama worst 94th Oscars television South by Southwest Film Festival archives Holiday Pacific Islander Peacock interviews Sundance Now romantic comedy art house dceu Martial Arts Superheroes cars Travel Channel E3 mission: impossible Ghostbusters action-comedy Trailer Pet Sematary prank Polls and Games nfl franchise PlayStation revenge critics Watching Series latino Trophy Talk venice SDCC Biopics historical drama TV Land SXSW biography 93rd Oscars Avengers nature 4/20 21st Century Fox WGN Hear Us Out zombie book adaptation casting Pop Freeform news king kong Alien stoner movies die hard Musical crossover Emmys Photos popular composers monster movies Tubi remakes Tarantino emmy awards slashers ViacomCBS parents cinemax pirates of the caribbean DirecTV Christmas japanese Vudu cooking VICE documentary Columbia Pictures Countdown marvel cinematic universe james bond 2016 marvel comics TCA Awards scary movies Comics on TV sports fresh Interview worst movies young adult FX summer TV preview blaxploitation Animation Paramount Pictures TCA Winter 2020 Valentine's Day BBC Tumblr Wes Anderson ESPN First Reviews Winners mutant sequel free movies witnail Nickelodeon scary Cannes FXX Masterpiece criterion Quiz laika Lifetime Christmas movies Musicals blockbusters GLAAD Pop TV rom-coms Captain marvel BAFTA social media Lionsgate target scene in color gangster technology 79th Golden Globes Awards Discovery Channel international Cosplay spinoff First Look movie Hollywood Foreign Press Association comic books 2015 AMC scene in color Brie Larson The Witch HBO live action National Geographic dogs kaiju LGBT strong female leads critic resources docuseries CBS jurassic park miniseries Adult Swim sag awards VH1 aliens Mary Poppins Returns Schedule chucky Ellie Kemper joker Best Actor YouTube green book wonder woman Lucasfilm name the review rotten ID Prime Video Walt Disney Pictures NBA Image Comics Crackle obi wan Mindy Kaling razzies thriller ghosts comiccon Calendar Winter TV Turner 72 Emmy Awards Certified Fresh talk show boxing anthology