Louie, Season 3, Episode 4: “Daddy’s Girlfriend: Part 1”
Written by Louis C.K.
Directed by Louis C.K.
Airs Thursdays at 10:30 PM ET on FX
Continuity has never been high on the list of priorities for Louie. Normally, this would be a hindrance, but Louis CK has managed to use the freedom gained by not having to follow up storylines by telling tales whose ambiguous endings better serve the story, most notably in season 2’s Eddie, just as a single example. This season, however young it may be, has already seen the show lean more towards establishing running ideas that thread the episodes together—seeing Louie’s motorcycle make a return appearance is a big deal when one recalls that his niece has yet to make another appearance since her mother got arrested—making this the season in which Louis takes on serialization, in his own unique way. In the spirit of that continuity, this episode once again picks up on Louie’s woes at holding down a steady relationship with a female, something that has been touched on in a significant manner now in each episode this season.
Following a lunch session where Louie is quizzed by his kids on why he doesn’t have a girlfriend yet, a nice nod to the season premiere where April spoke about not having met Louie’s daughters, we met Maria Bamford, playing what really boils down to Louie’s friend with benefits. Maria is a Queen of awkward conversations and situations, and this segment did a great job of playing to her strengths in that regard, providing for an interaction between two characters who were socially underdeveloped in unique ways.
The segment also presents an interesting defense of reality shows. The Big Brother-esque show that’s playing on the television provides an interesting contrast to what’s occurring between Louie and Maria, and in some ways hypothesizes on why these shows are so popular; because, as hysterically over the top as they may go, on-camera stabbings and all, they remain more entertaining than the alternatives in most people’s lives, like opting for bad sex with the same partner twice in one night out of boredom. Louie has never been a show that takes shots at easy targets; instead, there’s a genuine attempt on Louis’ part to understand them, it seems, and this reality show segment joins the likes of anti-masturbator Ellen Farber in that regard, opening the audience’s eyes a bit in the process as well.
The second segment of the episode sees an uncharacteristic second major recognizable figure in the guest of the segment role; Parker Posey. But we don’t meet her until we’ve taken a stroll through Louie’s mind and seen what makes a good girlfriend for him, as he silently assesses the teachers at his daughters’ school. While the scenes are hilarious in their earnest cheesiness, they also serve to reinforce the idea that the most important things in Louie’s life are his children, as each fantasy involves the woman in question spending a fair amount of time with the children for so long that only one woman gets to the stage of sex with Louie in his own fantasy. The show’s decision to display this parental love, rather than just have someone tell it to the camera each week, is another major strength that it clearly hasn’t forgotten. His attraction to Posey’s Liz also fits right into this sensibility, as she is already able to understand and empathise with Louie’s daughters despite never having even met them. It should be interesting to see what the show chooses to do with this storyline next week, whose episode title promises further developments to the relationship.
Overall, this is another solid outing for the show. Bamford and Posey are both fine additions to the cast, and it’s a shame that the door seems to be closed on Maria’s return. Jane’s assertion that her mother’s new boyfriend was “pretty funny,” and Louie’s reaction to that statement, was a quietly hilarious moment in the episode, as was Bamford’s entire stand-up segment. The show’s newfound storytelling boldness has already led down some interesting routes, and how Louis CK handles a two-parter remains to be seen, but if the first episode of the two is anything to go by, potential disappointment will not be a concern.