When you really get right down to it, most if …
Lucky Louie tackles some fairly dark subjects in its first season. Racism, misogyny, and homophobia are just a few topics the show uses as sources of humor (and for which I’ve called it out in this space for handling poorly). That being said, it’s at least had the decency to avoid rape, which it was hard to imagine the series being any more deft at handling.
If nothing else, “Control” makes for a very focused episode of Lucky Louie. In a series crammed full of B plots and skits which feel forced in only because Louis C.K. didn’t know where else to put them (i.e. the “Why” sketch from the cold open in “Pilot”), it’s refreshing to see an episode which clearly develops a single idea.
Throughout this Louis golden age, SNL has been an integral part creative space, because the show is practically the only place where he is able to satisfy his sketch comedy itch, whether that be a shoemaker who is doing all he can to resist dominating his worker elves or a Lumberjack with a Glory tear because people no longer by wood products. Louis’ energy permeates SNL whenever he hosts the show, giving the writers and performers implicit permission to go all out resulting in the hands down best episode, soup to nuts, of the season. And there is no better way for the show to end its 40th season than with a real barn-burner of an episode.
Louie returns Thursday for a fifth season of life lessons and awkward experiences. The loosely structured yet acclaimed FX comedy, given free reign by the network, comes back true to form while still finding the ability to surprise its audience anew. After a Season Four filled with some mini-arcs that missed the mark Season Five returns to the episode model of earlier years, deploying episodes and through lines in a seemingly random order that still finds a way to make perfect sense. The show doesn’t go as far as completely abandoning the abbreviated story arcs CK has come to rely on, but after a stretch of almost looking like a more traditional half hour cringe comedy Louie is back to its old ways.