Louie, Ep. 3.03: “Miami” a tragicomic travelogue

Louie, Season 3, Episode 3: “Miami”
Written by Louis C.K.
Directed by Louis C.K.
Airs Thursdays at 10:30pm ET on FX

One of Louie‘s emerging strands over its two-and-a-bit seasons is that it occasionally takes the form of a travelogue. Whether Louie finds himself in Afghanistan (actually a military simulation ground in Texas, but whatever), New Jersey, Alabama, or in this week’s case, Miami, Louie takes pleasure in taking Louie out of his comfort zone and into strange new directions in unfamiliar environments.

For future reference, if you ever want to stay lily-white and not have any idea where a forthcoming season of Louie will take you on a thematic level, you need to avoid watching CK’s public appearances. One of his late-night promo interviews, with Jay Leno, featured a very funny bit about heterosexual men, and their unique, crippling need to be identified as such; that bit appears in identical form as the capper to “Miami,” in the season’s only tidy piece of thesis-stating so far. Maybe it’s partially due to the familiarity of the gag, but compared to the first two episodes, the underlining of CK’s pet theme this week felt a little too pat.

With that said, “Miami” is still a very fine 22 minutes of TV. The nearly-wordless first few minutes are fairly standard-issue Louie (if such a thing exists): Louie finds himself in a beautiful, sunny city he’s been to any number of times before, surrounded by beautiful people who make him feel like shit, resulting in a binging-on-room-service incident that feels akin to the ice-cream incident from Season 1. (This is followed by one of the episode’s most wonderfully surreal moments: the cabal of freed, overweight, middle-aged men who take over the beach after peak hours have subsided. They emerge like members of an ancient, secret order.)

“Miami” arrives at its true subject when Louie is “not” rescued by Ramon (Miguel Gomez), a young, fit, handsome lifeguard who eventually comes to see Louie perform, leading to the two striking up a friendship. In a bit of real-life synchronicity, Louie reveals to Ramon that he’s fluent in Spanish, having lived in Mexico until he was seven (also true of CK); Ramon, deciding Louie checks out, decides to invite him to a family shindig in order to show the traveling comic the “real Miami.”

“Miami” employs the same wonderfully freewheeling vibe of Season 3’s other episodes so far, every one of which features at least one sequence of Louie on the road. If there’s a common thread to the season so far, it’s the notion of discovery, and this week finds Louie grappling with the limits of new adult friendships between men. After all, Louie is in his forties and divorced; don’t most people assume by them that they’ve made all the significant friends they’ll ever have? Louie is as unprepared for meeting and “falling for” Ramon as he is with breaking it off with his girlfriend in “Something is Wrong”; if anything, he’s even less articulate here. There’s something almost tragic about their last scene together, with neither party getting at the truth of what’s just happened between them; as usual, it’s up to Louie in stand-up form to cut to the heart of the situation.

Simon Howell

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1 Comment

  1. John says

    I watched this episode a few times. It starts as Louis trods and stumbles through the glitz around him in Miami, introspectively taking in his surroundings. He makes some broad statements about the culture there, calling the scale of fashion and physique necessary to be comfortable on the Raleigh hotel beach, “bullshit”. Later in the episode, Louis is able to find the comfort on the beach he was looking for initially after the chizzled abs and curves of the younger crowd have left with most of the sun; but even then, the beach chair he was using gets scooped up by an indifferent hotel staff member. At this point in the episode, Louis’ fortune turns better when he gets unnecessarily rescued from the water by a lifeguard on duty, Ramon, and from then on, Louis sputters out the start of a heartwarming tale of finding some real companionship.
    They get to know each other further after Ramon watches Louis perform that evening, and the two explore the city together, go to a party, and Louis eventually ends up in a car with Ramon and his friends yelling cat calls and hoots through the street on their way to get Louis to the club in time for his final performance in Miami.
    Something I was wondering: What does Louis yells out of the car when they drive through Miami? He yells a phrase out of the window in Spanish and erupts the car into laughter. He’s gotta know some amount of slang from Mexico or parts of Latin America. Anybody have a translation?
    I really like how in his traditional epilogue bit at the end of the episode, he sums up the one of the last scenes in the hotel bar, when the two try to unsuccessfully elocute something about their time together, as men juggling the difficult, unspoken nuances and maneuvers that are required to maintain a heterosexual male “status”.
    Anyway, totally delightful episode that seemed to break new ground in portraying the strangeness in approaching a new friendship between adult males (and an audience) that had a really “wonderful” time together.

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