Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Television 09/27/12: Louie Finale

In 'New Year's Eve', Louie spends some truly bittersweet christmas and, you guessed it, new year's eve in an episode that functioned as a great cap for Louie's journey this year. From the beginning of the season, it seemed like this time was all about Louie looking for that something special that will fill up his life. From the first episode in which his girlfriend has to break up with him all the way to this carpe diem-ish finale.

The biggest difference between this and previous seasons was Louis C.K.'s embrace of continuity. Whereas in the previous two seasons there were very little aspects of the show that continued from week to week (mainly Louie's job and his daughters), this year we got things like Louie's motorcycle as well as his more active than ever pursue for a love interest. This change of mind about continuity allowed Louie to make storie stretch out through multiple episodes. 

Louie's genius was as present as ever, but it was novel and interesting to see him tell longer stories for a change. It was not only something that worked for the show to remain fresh, but for the stories themselves. Had we not seen the setup and the motivations for Louie asking out the Parker Posey character had 'Daddy's Girlfriend (Part Two)' (heralded by many as the best episode of the show's history) worked the same way? Similarly, we wouldn't have felt the epic element of Louie's struggle with self-realization in the Late Show Trilogy. And all of that made his trip to the Yangtze river all the more meaningful.

At a point where the show was no longer as big of a novelty as in its first two years, the build up of an arc with such a powerful pay-off made the season shine as bright as the two that came before. 

What Else Was On?

The Office: "Roy's Wedding"
Pretty much like last week, the story involving Jim and Pam felt pretty interesting. I watched 'The Job' earlier today and watching this episode tonight made me think even more about Jim and Pam's journey from cute office crush to actual husband and wife. The rest of the episode, however, felt too broad and most characters just felt too dumb. Case in point: The chore wheel and Erin's fake interview. (Having said that, I absolutely love Ellie Kemper and hope she gets a great role once this show's over).

Parks and Recreation: "Soda Tax"
After its trip to Washington last week, 'Parks and Rec' has gotten kind of political. In this episode Leslie comes up with a tax on soda that mirrors New York Mayor Bloomberg's similar taxation plan. The sub-plot regarding Ben having to suck up to his well-related interns is also up the political ally. These aspects were amusing, but didn't elevate this outing above a standard 'Parks and Rec' episode. But hey, a standard 'Parks and Rec' episode is still a very good episode of television.
I complained about the broad and dumb characters in 'The Office'. This show has similarly broad and dumb characters. The difference is that the broadness of the 'Parks and Rec' players has been well established from the beginning and the silliness in behavior always comes from a place that feels true to the characters.

Up All Night: "Home/Office"
Sean Hayes dropped by tonight, to keep Maya Rudolph busy with a musical storyline (which incidentally produced some good laughs). The rest of the episode focused on the new status-quo of Reagan taking care of Amy and Chris working right at home. The chemistry between Will Arnett and Christina Applegate is still pretty good, but the show just doesn't work as well as it should. In this case I can only say the situations feel tired and the comedy isn't quite there. 

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