Louie Season 3 Episode 2 Recap – ‘Telling Jokes/Set Up’
A very different episode of Louie, dark and slow, which started with a lengthy – and funny – pre-title stand-up Louie gave about his daughter telling a joke, and continued into a set-up dinner that ended in a date rape, with Louie on the bottom.
What just happened (episode summary): Louie is having a funny dinner with his daughters; A comedian-friend is inviting Louie to a surprise set-up dinner, that ends in a tragic way for Louie.
How it happened (the chatty TV critic):I wasn’t sure at first if it was proper to call what I saw on Louie tonight a ‘date rape’. But in fact, the only reason I wasn’t sure what to call it was because it was presented in a funny, intelligent way, very different than the usual sentimental version that we see often on TV. Telling Jokes/Set Up was darker than expected. Louie had no chance to avoid doing what he didn’t want to do to the woman in the truck, and the question whether he should have wanted to do it or not is not relevant to this decision. But this all happened at the end of the episode, which started in a sweet way, that broght back Louie’s girls to the frame.
I loved the pre-title sequence, both of its parts – the family dinner and the stand-up that followed it. The Telling Jokes part of the episode was quieter and lighter than the Set Up, but was no less revealing about Louie’s life and character. The gentle tension between the girls, and the place it allowed for Louie, were a good way to wrap the Set Up scenes.
Comedian Allan Havey has invited Louie to a dinner, following his wife’s request (“your wife doesn’t like me”, said Louie, and by the end of the episode I suspected maybe this was exactly why she’d organised this dinner). When he arrives the place he understands it’s a set up, and things are not looking better at the table, as the woman makes even less effort at being at least polite at him.
But later, when Allan and his wife are arguing in the kitchen, Louie and the woman are leaving for a drink. They have great time at the bar, laughing at married people and marriage at all. Then the woman stops her truck (she took Louie with her in her truck, while he probably left his motorbike at the friends’ place – yes, he still has the bike after last week’s accident (episode 1, Something is Wrong), and the question ‘where is the bike’ didn’t matter so much like it didn’t matter how come Louie’s ex-wife is black, on last week’s episode) and offers Louie a quick pleasure – which Louie takes with no hesitations.
But after that, when she asks for return, he refuses – “I don’t want to do it”, he says, and explains it would have make him feel like a whore doing what she did – because how he feels about it. She gives him the short version of Gender Studies 101 (“you know how many dicks I sucked that I didn’t want to suck, cause I’m a good kid, cause I do what’s right”), but he’sstill won’t do it. Then she bets with him on $200 he will surrender in two minutes – and he accepts the bet. She calls him a fag, even hits him and breaks the window next to him in anger – he still doesn’t give up, although he does try to explain he’s not gay. Then she just jumps on him and forces him into it.
Of course it is not exactly a date rape, since Louie could resist. And maybe he didn’t because the woman did make him feel bad, guilty for the pleasures he took without returning along the years. Maybeit has something to do with the fact that he is a single father to two young girls. In any case, it was wonderful.
What are we left with: Louie succeeded in being so relevant, so fierce and criticising (and I heard for the second time this season “Obama”) – and without being judgmental or sentimental – that is an achievement. Besides that the family moments are just wonderful, and the jokes simply work.