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‘Louie’ Review: “Late Show Part 2″

Louie Late Show Part 2
FX

Louie’ could finally get his big break this week, but he certainly has to earn it.  ‘Louie’ season 3 finds the road to success proving stressful  in its eleventh episode of the year, as Louie finds that his chance at David Letterman’s job proves to be an uphill battle with that even his closest friends might betray him for, if he’s not careful

Last week’s ‘Louie’ episode “Late Show Part 1” saw Louie’s fortuitous success on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ leading to an unforeseen offer that could change his career forever.   So how does “Late Show Part 2” continue the epic saga?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Louie’ season 3 episode 11, “Late Show Part 2!”

We return to our hero Louie sharing lunch with his ex-wife Janet, tepidly breaking his confidentiality agreement to tell her that David Letterman will eventually retire, and that he has a meager shot at tacking the job if Jerry Seinfeld falls through.  Louie attempts to assure her that he wouldn’t do the show no matter what because of his commitment to the kids, but Janet presses that he could get the job if he wanted, and his years of stand-up would be worthless if they weren’t working toward something exactly this great.  She realizes that Louie wants her disapproval to be an excuse not to pursue the job, and while she holds no resentment over their failed relationship, their girls are better off with a role model than an available father.

Making some slight effort, Louie does his best to get in shape with jogging, before pausing another day in front of the Ed Sullivan theater.  Louie next meets Doug at the office of Jack Dall (David Lynch), the man who can supposedly prepare him to be a host.  Rather dismissive, Jack asks Louie to read a joke off a cue card, taking a full minute and twelve seconds to get through the line, out of his own confusion with the scenario.  Advising him to work on his timing and come back, Jack dismisses the pair.

Another day, Louie shops with his girls when Jane points out a nearby woman shoplifting, alerting the store guard against her father’s advice.  Back at his apartment, Louie receives a call from Jay Leno to confirm that he’d heard about Letterman’s retirement and Louie’s opportunity, congratulating on his success.  Louie asks the legendary host if the job is worth the effort, to which Leno advises he pass, given the difficulties of being hip and funny night after night for years at a time.  Still, he jokes that he hopes the comedian gets the job, making  that call the last time they’d speak as friends.

The next afternoon, Chris Rock tells Louie over lunch that Leno had lied to him, loving his job, but wanting to eliminate the competition of the “Late Night Wars.”  Louie recognizes the truth in Chris’ words, and leaves with renewed enthusiasm, though once alone Chris places a call explaining to an unseen figure that Letterman is soon to retire.

At an empty theater, Jack Dall watches Louie on stage from a monitor and urges him to start a show, though Louie isn’t certain how to begin.  Jack demonstrates some simple tactics of coming out and acknowledging the audience, as Louie imagines the applause in his head, before Jack decides to move on to another exercise.  Louie reads yet another dated joke from a cue card, this time with somewhat better timing, though Jack moves on to the next matter: EVERYTHING about Louie’s appearance.  For as much as he can make himself TV presentable, Louie still refuses to wear a suit as the other late-night hosts do, wanting to preserve his distinct style.  Jack gives him a card to see a man named Alphonse at a specific location the next morning.

The next morning, the address turns out to be a boxing gym, and Alphonse his trainer.  After Louie dresses himself in spare gear, Alphonse orders Louie into the ring, where one of the primed, conditioned fighters promptly beats him into submission inside of a minute.  While the other trainers laugh, Alphonse tells him to come back tomorrow.

That night, Louie puts frozen peas over the bruises on his face, before seeing a report on Extra that word of Letterman’s retirement has gotten out, and Chris Rock has emerged as the contender behind Jerry Seinfeld.

Over the credits, Louie continues arguing with Jack Dall’s receptionist over how to pronounce his last name, inter-cutting between several actresses in the role.

As with most ‘Louie’ episodes, we feel a distinct sense of failure on the horizon.  Engaging and thought-provoking a dramedy as the show tends to be, the particular scenario carved out by “Late Show” in all its parts doesn’t feel particularly truthful, given the Louie’s lack of enthusiasm or effort toward such an incredible opportunity.  Understandably, we’re experiencing a study in failure and missed opportunity, but the premise stretches thin when nothing is offered to at least raise our hopes that Louie might prove successful before the end.

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 the epic conclusion “Late Show Part 3” on FX!

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