C.K.'s always been one of my favorite comedians. I watched him rise, fall, and rise again (all with never having had him masturbate in front of me) and remained loyal, at least to his comedy. It's not like I know the guy personally.

I think I'd watched almost the entire run of this series some years back, but this second viewing was interesting from the standpoint of post-cancellation C.K. He wrote and directed every episode, and if you slide even a blurry, armchair psychoanalysis lens on you'll see that much of the writing is on the wall. He didn't hold anything back.

A lot of this show is uncomfortable to watch, but that's the point. C.K. makes it clear in one episode where he talks with a Hollywood producer about making a show where the lead character never learns, never grows, and only horrible things happen to him. That's Louie in a nutshell. The starting seasons try to be funny, and it feels like those were set up as traps so that we had to endure the cringe and discomfort of the later seasons. The series even ends on an unsettling note, like a balloon that's been deflating for years and finally gives up the last of whatever stinky air was inside.

None of this is to say the show's not enjoyable. It's got a lot of heart, and it's very artistic. It's very New York, if New York was a collection of neurosis that someone turned into paint and then splattered a canvas. But by the last season I was missing the standup interludes that made the early going so bearable. I think that if you're going to ask an audience to trudge through the darkness with you, you have to turn the flashlight on once in a while.

2024.03.12 – 2024.03.17

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