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Worst Cable Content

Louie on FX

Christopher Gildemeister

Release Date: 6/26/2014

“What is it with guys that if they can prove you’re not doing anything, then you hafta blow ‘em?”

And another charming episode of FX’s Louie (10:00 p.m. ET) gets underway – the June 16th episode providing the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

The poser of the delightful question above was Pamela, the woman Louie previously sexually assaulted. Her response came in answer to his asking her out. (Pamela initially responds by saying she’s busy. When Louie asks, “Doing what?”, she replies, “Searching for baby elephants up in your mother’s vagina. What do you care?”, following it up with the wonderful quote above.

(Maybe in the incestuously insular community of professional comedians, TV writers, and hangers-on/wanna-bes, everybody talks like this. But they don’t throughout most of America – even though those are the people paying for the show, as noted below.)

Despite her initial refusal, Pamela agrees to “hang out” with Louie. “On a DATE!” Louie exclaims triumphantly, then hangs up before she can gainsay him. Said “date” consists in part of the (verbally) abusive Pamela and the (physically) abusive Louie singing “S**t in my mouth!” together; Pamela proclaiming, “I love to eat horse penises on Broadway”; and the two of them looking up at the stars. (Admittedly, the last is rather sweet, if atypical for this program’s relentlessly nasty tenor.)

Back in Louie’s apartment, once again Louie slams the door and keeps Pamela prisoner when she tries to leave, though at least this time he doesn’t assault her, force her to kiss him, or fondle her against her will. Instead, Louie pouts that Pamela wants to leave, and tells her to “just go.” In response, Pamela asks, “What if I let you see my underwear? You wanna see?” Instead of replying, “What kind of a question is THAT?”, Louie enthuses, “Yeah!” Pamela “sexts” Louie a picture of her crotch with her cellphone (though whether she’s actually wearing underwear or not is unrevealed), then demands Louie do the same. He does, and Pamela says, “Okay, let’s do more.” After they presumably sext each other their naked genitals, Pamela says, “You wanna really see?” When Louie says yes, she replies, “I’m sure you do, stupid!” and walks toward his bedroom, where they inevitably have sex.

There was one scene in the episode which was particularly revealing. In the course of their date, Louie and Pamela go to an art gallery and mock the pretentiousness of the art world, stopping to view a bag of dog feces. “It’s an artistic piece of art,” Louie snickers. “It’s titled, ‘Bag of S**t.’ “

It smacks more than a little of the pot calling the kettle black for this program to mock such pretension. There are moments of honesty in Louie; but mostly, such moments are depressing depictions of the life of a schlubby, pathetic career failure. Much of the rest of the show is merely crass, offering up profanity, sexually explicit (not to say grotesque) dialogue and situations, and even sexual assault – and then (unlike patrons of an art gallery, who choose to pay for admission) forcing every cable and satellite subscriber in America to pay for it.

Naturally, television’s so-called “critics” gush over Louie, with the 4th Critics' Choice Television Awards nominating Louie for Best Comedy Series, and Louis C.K. himself for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. Louie may indeed be an accurate reflection of the lives and dating experiences of the self-proclaimed “creative” types who inhabit Manhattan and Hollywood; but like art critics who believe that a “bag of s**t” constitutes art, TV’s “critics” only reveal themselves as hopelessly out of touch with the sensibilities of mainstream Americans. The season 4 premiere of Louie hit an all-time viewership high of 941,000 viewers...out of a cable audience of more than 100 million, all of whom are forced to subsidize Louie and similar programming through their monthly cable and satellite bills.

Let’s be clear: those allegedly “sophisticated” individuals – largely comprising people working in entertainment industry, self-proclaimed “critics,” and narcissistic writers who write about TV shows about writers who write TV shows about writers – should certainly be able to watch Louie if they wish to do so. But why should over 100 million Americans be required to fund a program less than 1% of them watch? Why isn’t Louie carried on a premium cable network, where such “sophisticates” could seek it out – and be the only ones who have to pay for it?

“The Pretension Channel” could be a good name for such a network.

For forcing everyone to fund a show only a tiny minority care about, FX’s Louie is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

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