Louie Season 4 Finale Review: Crazy. Stupid. Love.

By Tim Surette

Jun 17, 2014

Louie S04E13 / S04E14: "Pamela, Part 2" / "Pamela, Part 3"

Can we even call this a season finale? It's hard to label the double-bill "Pamela, Part 2" and "Pamela, Part 3" as such due to the odd way that Louie's fourth season was structured. A pair of extended arcs, a 90-minute episode, and a few standalone installments made Season 4 an unusual one even for a show that regularly defies convention. Not that it matters, because Louie doesn't care what attributes we associate with finales. (There were no explosions? OMG!) 

The two "Pamela" episodes that wrapped up Season 4 didn't try to leave us with something deep, like the trip to China that helped Louie find his place in the world at the end of Season 3. Instead, the focus was on Louie's adventures in a new relationship—specifically, the latest chapter in his somewhat on-and-off-again thing with Pamela (Pamela Adlon).  

The courtship played out honestly in every sense, showing off both the sweet and ugly aspects of young—or mid-40s—love. Louie was abnormally aggressive for a schlub who usually recedes into walls, pestering Pamela until her armor cracked just enough that he could get underneath it. After Louie's scary sexual advances in "Pamela, Part 1" you couldn't blame her for being wary of him; he was uncomfortably assertive, to the point where he physically accosted her and prevented her from leaving his apartment until she let him kiss her. Maybe the fallout from the "Elevator" arc sent Louie into a crazed fit of ME WANT SEX NOW to prove that he still can get it, or maybe he saw Pamela—a woman who'd previously said she wanted to be with him—as his last chance at having a meaningful romantic relationship. Either way, this is not the Louie we've grown accustomed to. 

I was totally creeped out by Louie's actions in "Pamela, Part 1," but like some others, I opted to reserve judgment until after the arc had run its course. And now that it's over, we know that nothing really happened because of it. That's pretty disappointing. I'm not going to play watchdog and write 5,000-word thinkpieces on what constitutes rape on television, a common practice on the internet these days; what's concerning to me is that it was Louie—lovable Louie!—who acted this way. It just seemed way out of character for him, and made me root for Pamela to stay the heck away from his grabby hands. What made him behave like that? Did it have any consequences beyond inspiring critical ire? 


On the flip side of Louie's over-eagerness and near-psychotic need for coupling, Pamela was distant and emotionally absent, resorting to shock humor to avoid talking about anything even remotely serious. Maybe she just wanted to have fun, maybe she was feeling stung by Louie rejecting her earlier, maybe she just wanted to make sure she had one hand on her rape whistle. 

Regardless, it was clear that their individual attitudes toward courtship didn't mesh. Louie was apparently in a rush to call her his girlfriend, while Pamela just wanted to have a good time. But at times it seemed like they were perfect for each other, each one receptive to the other's needs, or both of them sharing the joy of laughing at a piece of art that was dog poop in a bag. These two episodes didn't romanticize romance, and I think that was the point. Two people can overlap and have a fling, and it can be just as interesting as two people who would travel the globe to find each other because they were meant to make out in the rain (or whatever it is that people who are actually in love do).

Despite the high points—the meteor shower, the final bath tub moment—I don't think Louie and Pamela are meant for each other, nor am I confident that their relationship will live to see next month. These final two episodes of the season were merely a reminder that finding that special someone is an alternating series of rainbows and trap doors, and that the only way to make a relationship truly work is through compromise and the occasional exchange of crotch pics. 

Louie has done better story arcs, and it's done better season finales, but there was something endearingly sweet about watching these two, who are probably better off as friends, give a relationship a go. 


NOTES

– After all the uproar over Louie's actions in "Pamela, Part 1," the issue was barely addressed in "Part 2" and "Part 3." Pamela mentioned the incident on the phone when Louie called to ask her out, and that was about it. And she still went out with him after he behaved that way! 

– I don't think I really like this pushy, aggressive version of Louie. It's interesting that he only acts this way around Pamela, a woman who previously tried to be romantic with him after rejecting him when he tried to be romantic with her. It's like he thinks she still owes him a relationship because she wanted one before. Expectations—whether valid or otherwise—were a big theme of this arc.

– The art show scene was great; for a second there I thought Louie might be making a statement on art by showcasing all that ridiculous art as part of his own show, which is also a form of art.


What'd you think of the "Pamela" arc? What about Louie's fourth season as a whole? 


  • Comments (16)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • BigPoppaShizzle Jun 21, 2014

    Much better than the previous two episodes which were my least favourite from Louie. The bath scene was fantastically awkward.

  • KimLundstrm Jun 19, 2014

    This was probably his best season yet, I really loved it, and I dont mind that the comedy was tuned down a bit.

  • Devon39219 Jun 19, 2014

    Well, I thought this was supposed to be a comedy show but the last episodes have been really heavy on the drama. I liked the flashbacks and everything, but this show just gives me the feeling Louie CK is working out a depression or something through this show.
    I actually liked not knowing about the afro-american mom being half caucasian because I liked how the show worked with it. Sometimes some things don't have to be explained. They just are.

  • crenshawdk Jun 19, 2014

    If there's something Louis is good at it's making the viewers feel uncomfortable (did we have to see his crack?:)
    His style of comedy is really honest and it works fantastic when told on a stage but when acted out makes you feel really uncomfortable. He walks a fine line when trying to make every day situations funny, sometimes it gets a little too serious. The best episodes, i think, are when he spends an entire episode with another comedian and they just get into all sorts of antics.

    The art scene was fantastic. It probably didn't have any intended message other than showing how well they work together, but I found out something about art that've previously eluded me. At first glance everything in the art exhibit seemed absolutely ridiculous, which it was, but at second glance it kinda blew my mind simply because it was so ridiculous, which was probably the artists intention in the first place.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 18, 2014

    This was an okay finale. I liked most episodes of season four.

    I never imagine Louie actually getting naked and showing his body for all to see.

    He finally decided to let Pamela ask about why his ex-wife was African-American when his kids look so white. That was a much talked about topic when his ex-wife came on for the first time.

    In the end, the tub scene was endearing. Two very different people have a tender moment.

  • AssandroJourn Jun 18, 2014

    I don't know. I feel very ambiguous about this season of Louie. I think he fucked it up with attempted rape scene in pamela 1. Weird uncomfortable vibe was there after "Punching model" episode. I don't get the point of that story at all. Also sex scene with Amia was kinda uncomfortable. She was hesitant but Louie broke her hesitance with his agressive touching and kissing. And why was she so upset after sex? And why did Louie feel the need to say sorry to her? Want passion sex, look Sea of Love. I don't know Louie is like awkward bear who shouldn't have sex with anyone. Where did all this agressiveness come from? Seems out of character. Season had gems. Especially with young Louie and great Jeremy Renner as drug dealer of 70s. But I think Louie shouldn't bring back Pamela. She's too much sarcasm and cynicism. I don't know what's there for Louie and Pamela. They're different completely. This season got involved too much into relationship stuff. And it isn't always that exciting or refreshing. Should have more absurd stuff.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 18, 2014

    She was upset because she knew she is going back and did not want to get too emotionally involved with Louie. She knew sex would make her emotionally involved. Louie said sorry because he did not understand her but still decided to say that to make her feel better.

  • AssandroJourn Jun 18, 2014

    may be. but still sex scene was very uncomfortable.

  • soutarm Jun 18, 2014

    Maybe Louie behaves aggressively as a defence against Pamela's endless annoying behaviour. My god she's annoying. If someone threw out all my lounge furniture I would not have a cute chuckle with them in the kitchen, there'd be police involved and maybe an ambulance. I can accept that she "acts out" as a method of pushing Louie away but you don't just throw someone's furniture out.

  • kmacciomei Jun 17, 2014

    i felt that the 'rape' scene was meant to be seen as purely comical since it parallels the romantic scene between louie and amia just 2-3 episodes previously. and where amia recieved the aggressive actions of louie more openly, pamela is completely against it. showing how clueless louie is on courtship.

  • ananke Jun 17, 2014

    It wasn't a RAPE, it was louie being creepy and forcing a kiss, which of course it is not a normal thing to do but I think it was within the tone of the show.

    Nobody say anything when Melissa leo force him to go down on her. It was just creepy-funny-louie style.

  • AssandroJourn Jun 18, 2014

    it wasn't rape but it was close to it and it was very uncomfortable to watch as scene with Amia. Coz I think Louie kinda forced her to have sex with him. It looked that way. She was very hesitant coz she was married or whatever. But Louie agressively broke her hesitance. And why did he say or feel sorry after that sex scene with her? These both scenes had very uncomfortable vibe about them. I don't want lovable Louie behave like that. I don't get all that stuff with punching model and forcing Pamela to sex. It was useless and weird in bad way.

  • animeslave20 Jun 17, 2014

    I agree so hard at the Melissa Leo statement. I don't remember the concept of forcing a kiss to be rape. It was a bold and stupid move on Louie's part but rape that is taking it too far. Also, Pamela obviously didn't find the situation dangerous or should wouldn't have made a joke out of it. I mean she even said "This would be rape if your weren't so stupid" Do we really expect a character like Pamela to stick around with Louie and discuss being "raped" or attempted raped. I feel like that word is being used incorrectly. Did he force himself on her...yes. But, rape...I highly doubt.

    That being said I loved the finale. I actually identified with Pamela in many ways. In a fear of getting hurt in a relationship it is quite difficult to express everything that we are actually feeling. I love the Bathtub scene i got a bit misty even though i was also laughing when the water overflowed. I loved this arc forced kiss or no forced kiss.

    Did anyone else notice Louie's face on the projector during the art gallery scene or the fact that Pamela finally called to attention the fact that Louie's ex wife is Black but his kids are very much white. That made me chuckle

  • apjccjqa Jun 17, 2014

    Well, I thought it was an alright finale. At least it wasn't 90 minutes of teenage Louie smoking pot.

    That said, I'm sort of mad they brought Pamela back. I wanted Louie to move on from that after she rejected him, hoping he'd have grown a bit. And maybe we're supposed to think that his aggression with her means he's grown (for better or for worse) but really he's just still chasing after something that doesn't work. Which is just being stubborn.

    But generally the 2-part episode was fun. The art show and the overall way that the two characters seem to love being around each other despite being different in so many ways was fascinating and Pamela's odd say-anything humor plays well with Louie's trademark "well, what the hell" dumbfounded look.

    It was nice to have Louie back on TV this summer and I'm excited to tune in next year.

  • See More Comments (1)