Louie: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

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Louie S03E04: "Daddy's Girlfriend"

After last week's incredible journey into masculinity and that thing we call feelings, the Louie-goes-to-Miami episode "Miami," things were a little more straightforward this week. Had Louie have any sense of continuity, "Daddy's Girlfriend" might have been seen as a reaction to last week's sorta-gay encounter with Cuban stud lifeguard Ramon. But Louie starts anew each week, and tonight's episode continued the season's so-far pervasive theme of finding that someone to connect with.

So far this season, we've seen Louie breakup with a girl who wasn't really his girlfriend, arguably get date raped and punched in the face by a woman he was set up with by his friend, and question himself when his eyes were opened to a new world by the aforementioned hunky Ramon. It's been episode after episode of awkward relationships in Season 3, but they've all been tied together under the guise of Louie lookin' for love and finding it under odd circumstances. In "Daddy's Girlfriend" there were no subtle tricks or unexpected turns or odd circumstances. It was just Louie looking for more than a quick lay.

Louie has a way of really connecting to its audience by being so relatable. The show has been accurately compared to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but there's one big difference between the two. When we see Larry David crash headfirst into an awkward situation, we're watching a neurotic old man do his thing, and it's fantastic television. When we watch Louie plod through life's misadventures, we imagine ourselves in his shoes and instantly compare them to similar times in our lives. Maybe it's just me; I definitely relate more to Louie's lack of confidence than Larry's bullheadedness. But there's something so real about how Louie portrays these instances that goes beyond the normal audience-television-show relationship. We're not just watching a show when we watch Louie, we're sharing experiences.

That was evident in two scenes in particular. Louie went on a tear where every woman he saw cued the '50s Motown love tunes and become objectified, and everyone who has been in searching mode has gone through this. In that time, we're so desperate and yearning that the opposite stops being people and starts becoming opportunities. It's a natural human reaction to look for signs of attachment (Wedding ring? Move along...) and check out lady bits (or man parts) during this obsessive stage, and Louie brought that to the screen in a way that was natural but not perverse. And later, when he finally mustered up the courage to ask out the bookstore lady (Parker Posey, a perfect guest star for the show), he vomited up a horribly executed proposal that they get a drink with just the right amount of sheepish charm that sometimes works with chicks that are sick of the game themselves. Fellas (and probably ladies, too), we've all acted that way in front of someone we were instantly smitten with and in our heads we probably remember it the same way it was shown in "Daddy's Girlfriend," though all we really remember is her answer to the question.

And all that doesn't mean a thing unless we believe the character is in that headspace, and Louie has done a fantastic job with showing us where Louie is mentally. In "Miami," Ramon's family party and the rush to get Louie back to the hotel so he could do his show were great times for Louie. We could see it in his face, we wished we were there, and they seemed like real things that could happen. We understood why he wanted to stay longer in Miami after that, and that made the final conversation that much more incredible. The same thing happens here with Posey's character. By the end of their second encounter, we all have a crush on her and get why Louie absolutely positively needs to get out of his comfort zone and ask her out right then and there. She's not just a pretty face that coyly blinks at us from behind a book, she's a completely three-dimensional person that feels like she's existed before we and Louie saw her. That doesn't happen in television that often. It's these little details, and the effort that goes into creating these characters, that makes Louie one of the best shows on television.


Notes

– How awesome was Louie's face when Parker Posey left him alone after saying yes? Did your heart explode, too? I felt that victory just almost as much as Louie did, and was very proud.

– "Do you have any depressing novels about people's heads falling off? Terrible things happening?"

– For a guy with no self confidence, Louie sure does get laid a lot.

– I'm not totally sure how that fake reality show fit into the series. It seemed kind of sketch-y for a show I think is so grounded.

– Louie's daughters, played by Hadley Delaney and Ursula Parker, are frickin' amazing actresses. And in case you needed more reason to wonder what you've done with your life, here's Parker, who plays youngest daughter Jane that I just want to put in my pocket, kicking ass on the violin two years ago. When she was 6.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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