‘Louie’ Review: “Elevator Part 6 / Pamela Part 1″
FX's ‘Louie’ season 4 keeps the dramedy rolling with Tuesday's double-installments "Elevator Part 6" and "Pamela Part 1," the first half of which sees a hurricane complicating Louie's ultimate goodbye with Amia, while the second installment sees Louie looking to take Pamela up on her offer of a relationship.
Last week’s ‘Louie’ episodes “Elevator Part 4 / Elevator Part 5" saw Louie and Janet attempting to resolve their issues for the sake of their children, while the second installment, after which Louie stressed about the dwindling seriousness of his relationship with Amia. So how do "Elevator Part 5" and "Pamela Part 1” continue the cycle of amiable misery?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Louie’ season 4, episodes 9 and 10, “Elevator Part 6” and "Pamela Part 6"!
Louie tells his friend how things between he and Amia have soured, remembering a day in which Amia left one of their dates and evaded Louie in the interior of a church. Inside, Louie attempts to communicate with her, lamenting that their earlier coupling might have made her ashamed. That night, Louie begs Ivanka to translate his feelings about her night together, though Amia grows irritated about having to discuss her sex life through her aunt, and smashes dishes, before Louie joins in.
Suddenly, the news brings the report that Hurricane Jasmine Forsythe has necessitated a mandatory evacuation below 23rd street, as Louie realizes that would put both Jasmine and his children in harm’s way. Louie attempts to call his ex-wife, though the mood downtown has shifted to panic, as Janet reveals that several of the windows have been shattered and Patrick is missing. Louie returns home, loading up on plastic bags and flashlights to begin the trek downtown, and renting a car from the surprisingly peaceful Hertz counter. Louie braves his way through the storm downtown, eventually finding Janet and the girls in their apartment, as Louie calms Janet down and helps evacuate the three to the car downstairs.
Some time after the hurricane passes, Amia takes Louie to a Hungarian restaurant, asking the waiter to act as a translator to read Louie a tender note. The waiter relays that Amia’s time with Louie has been a wonderful and unexpected adventure for her, one that could perhaps have led to love, though she has her own life and family back in Hungary, and couldn’t take her son away from his father. Hearing that Amia cherishes their time together and will always remember him, Louie cuts off the waiter to say that he agrees, and would perhaps have only traded their time together for one wherein they could have more easily communicated, something that moves the waiter to tears.
"Pamela Part 1"
With snow firmly planted on the ground, Louie returns home to find Ivanka’s apartment emptied, save for the red couch on which he first glimpsed Amia sleeping. Louie returns outside to relay his depression to Dr. Bigelow (Charles Grodin), though Bigelow insists that the heartbreak after a tender relationship is the part to cherish, while the eventual forgetting that comes with getting over someone is the true sadness. Bigelow walks off espousing how boring and miserable Louie is, before Pamela texts with an image of her middle finger.
Louie meets with Pamela for coffee, though Pamela insists her prior offer of starting a romantic relationship has since gone off the table. Louie next learns that his babysitter has to cancel for the night, though Pamela volunteers to take the job so Louie might make it to his gigs that night. Later over a lengthy set at the Comedy Cellar, Louie dissects the notion of a male God or the potential for a heaven, theorizing that men are afraid of women from a time when women controlled the world, while abuse had become so commonplace in America that “wifebeater” remains an acceptable term.
Following an awkward subway ride wherein Louie sits next to a man talking to himself, the comedian returns home to find Pamela waking up on the couch. Louie attempts to force himself on a resistant Pamela, despite her pleas, before Louie finally corners Pamela and insists he doesn’t believe their relationship is truly off the table. Still making her discomfort known, Pamela reluctantly accepts an awkward kiss and leaves the apartment, something Louie takes as a victory.
The next day on the bus, Louie reminds Lily to be mindful of her surroundings for the future, before getting into an argument with a male passenger about spitting on the community bus.
Oh boy. Look, we all have our means with which to create and absorb internet content, and YouTube commenters not withstanding, everyone has their own unique voice whose place in debating the various forms of art over the internet proves justified by the end. From a personal standpoint, I tend to bemoan the overindulgence of certain so-called “think-pieces” these days, which oftentimes feel like clickbait opportunities to share intentionally controversial stances on TV series or scenes that frankly, aren’t worthy of the outrage. I roll my eyes because the days are long, and while I sometimes wish I myself had the bandwidth to craft something as eloquent and passionate as some of the writing I’ve seen, other days I’m relieved not to over-analyze or troll for headlines.
‘Louie’ in particular has run the gamut in its fourth season, and while I myself found some of the earlier complaints about Louie’s dalliance with Yvonne Strahovski off-base, particularly with regard to comparisons to ‘Girls’ “One Man’s Trash” (‘Louie’ is deliberately surreal, as was the entire encounter), I remain firmly on board with pieces in support of Sarah Baker’s anti fat-shaming monologue from the very next episode. With that in mind, what…happened…tonight?
Every inch of my brain, both rational and otherwise wants to believe that two incredibly intelligent and talented people like Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon might have a subversive and eloquent reasoning behind tonight’s unmistakably rape-like struggle between the two characters. We’ve been through this issue hundreds of times in the past (most recently with the very public reaction to ‘Game of Thrones’ adaptation of Jaime and Cersei), and whatever context through which you view Louie and Pamela’s relationship , and however you might ascribe that Pamela could potentially have needed Louie to “take control” of their relationship, how in the world does anyone justify such a grotesque and uncomfortable scene like that?
And like with the recent ‘Game of Thrones’ controversy, there were any number of editing, blocking, or writing adjustments that Louis C.K. might have made to give the scene a less aggressively uncomfortable tone. Instead, both performers went the whole nine yards for rape hallmarks, to the frequent “no's,” to Louie’s dominant figure grasping at Adlon’s tiny frame, dragging, furniture fumbling, and exceptionally little measure of consent by the end. Our knowledge of Pamela and Louie as characters even feeds into the former’s insistence that Louie isn’t capable of such a malevolent attack, rather just stupid enough to unintentionally mimic it in the first place, though it hardly allays such a difficult, and unexpected encounter. Not to mention, topping it all off is Louie’s self-congratulatory gesture in private, as if to have no awareness of how absurdly dark things just became.
Even to consider the lengthy stand-up bits beforehand requires a backwards approach to reviewing, as we’re forced to dip back through the episode itself for some measure of clue into what Louie intended to say about the relationship between the two characters. Many of the pieces are there, as the set discusses the backwards nature of men coming to dominate women, while mothers themselves are responsible for keeping existence in motion, though these two pieces of the episode require a bit of rewatch and reconfiguration to see the satire. Certainly moreso than you’d want, when choosing to prevent such a divisive and initially appalling scene like that of “Pamela Part 1"s ending.
It’s a shame, considering that tonight’s hour was otherwise rife with some of the stronger material of the season, including an excellently-staged and shot hurricane that both brought a few of Louie’s core family dynamics to the surface, while externalizing the frustration of Louie’s deteriorated relationship with Amia. The same goes for Amia’s heartbreaking, but ultimately sweet exit scene, and the strong sentiment expressed by Dr. Bigelow that sadness over lost love is the true time to cherish, rather than looking forward to forgetting such raw emotions. It’ll be interesting to see what the internet at large makes of tonight’s installments, but by golly, if that appalling ending doesn’t dominate the focus.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of awkward ‘Louie’ laughs? Did tonight's installments hold up to last week's duo? Let us know in the comments and check back next week for more all-new ‘Louie’ episode recaps of "In the Woods Part 1," and "In the Woods Part 2" on FX! Hooray for continuity!