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‘Louie’ Review: “Barney / Never”

Louie Season 3 Barney Never
FX

Louie,’ you  Emmy-nominated sad-sack, you sure do apologize alot.  ‘Louie’ season 3 sends a Robin to its sixth episode of the year, as Louie and Robin Williams bond over the death of a mutual acquaintance, and later finds himself taking in a problem-child for the afternoon at the behest of a fellow parent.

Last week’s ‘Louie’ episode “Daddy’s Girlfriend, Part 2” saw Louie’s date from the previous week (Parker Posey) leading him on a wild night through the streets of Manhattan, full of new experiences and manic pixie dreaminess.   So how does “Barney / Never” keep things flowing?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Louie’ season 3 episode 6, “Barney / Never!”

It’s a grim scene for our hero Louie, as the comedian walks silently (and mono-chromatically) through a desolate, rainy graveyard.  He finds himself alone before a friend’s fresh grave, when another man shows up to pay his respect…Robin Williams?

At a local diner afterward, Robin (yes, the actual Robin Williams) joins Louie, the pair having recognized one another.  Louie knew the deceased, Barney, from working at the same club, and Robin knew Barney as his ex-wife’s brother-in-law.  Before a beat, both men admit just how much they hated the cheap, petty man, but felt too guilty at the thought of no one showing up to the funeral.  Barney himself even stole money from Robin, flaunting it in front of him, as both Louie and he reminisce that Barney always wanted people to hang out with him in spite of his attitude.  Barney always invited people to a strip club named Sweet Charity, but as far as Louie knows, no one ever did.  You know what that means.

At the strip club, Robin and Louie politely turn down dances, before explaining to the girls working their that they only showed up to pay tribute to their dead friend Barney Ross.  At the mention of the name, all the girls start tearing up, and the news spreads throughout the club.  Suddenly, the mood turns dour, as the DJ pays tribute to the “good, generous” man, and even the patrons’ mood seems to be affected.  Awestruck, Robin and Louie exit the club, before bursting out into laughter.  They part ways, agreeing to go to one another’s funeral should the other die.

On another day, Louie picks Lily up from school, when another mother asks in desperation if Louie can watch her son “Never” while she heads to an emergency consultation…to have her vagina removed.  Yeah.  Though Lily protests Louie agrees, and the mother informs him of the conditions that she never says “no” to Never, and he can’t eat anything with carbon in it.  All the while, Never pushes a woman’s (empty) stroller into traffic, causing an accident with a chemical truck.  Artie Lange barrels out of the truck screaming for everyone to run, as the chemicals pour out behind him, and amidst the mass panic Louie and the children blithely stroll away.

Arriving back at home, Lily heads straight to her room, while Louie makes an effort to feed Never.  He’ll die if he has peanut butter sandwiches, eggs, or apples, but plain dislikes carrots, and ultimately settles on a bowl of raw meat, something he apparently eats regularly.  Just then, Louie ‘s agent Doug calls to ask him to do a radio interview to bolster ticket sales in Kansas City.  Louie protests at first, but reluctantly agrees.  Meanwhile in the living room, Never tosses a rug out the window, and Louie watches as some folk downstairs carry it away, giving him the finger.

Never next asks if the comedian will give him a bath, but Louie of course refuses pointing out how inappropriate it would be.  After setting Never up to take a bath on his own, Louie’s call from the radio show comes through, leaving the young boy to it.  Louie mostly goes through the motions of the obnoxious interviewers, all seeming well until the show asks his opinion of Kansas City.  Thinking it funny, Louie calls Kansas City one of the worst places he’d ever been to, and possibly in North America at large.  Understandably taken aback, the radio hosts quickly dismiss him off the air.

Immediately after, Lily alerts Louie to a horrible smell coming from the bathroom, to which Louie enters to find that Never made diarrhea all throughout the tub.  Sending Lily out, the comedian awkwardly fumbles to address the situation, without crossing any horribly awkward boundaries.  Later, Louie sits with a cleaned up Never, and tells him that he’ll be there if the boy ever wants to talk about anything strange going on with his home life.  Never asks why Lily doesn’t like him, to which Louie explains that he does these strange, disgusting, destructive things, for which no one will want to be around him.  Never counters that his mother says any choice he makes is fine because he loves himself, but Louie retorts that his mom is wrong.  Never says he’ll tell his mother he said that, and Louie happily agrees to take the heat.

Over the credits, Louie and Robin watch as the gravediggers pour dirt on Barney’s coffin, one speaking with a thick African accent, while the other (J.B. Smoove) complains that he can’t understand him.

“Barney / Never” is an understandably lighter, and less serialized episode for the series, coming off the two-parter with Parker Posey that took something of a dark turn toward its endpoint.  Of the two stories, certainly the appearance of Robin Williams lightens up the ominous mood posed by Barney’s death, even if the whole vignette seems to be a setup for the comic relief at the end.  “Never” feels more like a contained story of Louie interacting with an unusual child, but doesn’t achieve quite the same payoff.  Still, a satisfying episode overall.

Did you get your fill of awkward ‘Louie’ laughs?  What did you think about the episode? Let us know in the comments and check back next week for another all-new ‘Louie’ episode recap of “Ikea / Piano Lesson” on FX!

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