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‘Louie’ Review: “Telling Jokes / Set Up”

Louie Season 3 Telling Jokes Set Up
FX

Louie,’ welcome back once more!  ‘Louie’ season 3 sets up its second episode of the year, as Louie tells jokes over dinner with his daughters, and later finds himself set up by some friends to have dinner with a woman (Oscar-winner Melissa Leo).

Last week’s ‘Louie’ premiere “Something is Wrong” saw Louie having difficulty with New York City parking, finding his girlfriend talking them out of a relationship, and buying a motorcycle with shockingly predictable results, so how does “Telling Jokes / Set Up”  get things moving?  What will season 3 of ‘Louie’ bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Louie’ season 3 episode 2, “Telling Jokes / Set Up!”

We begin with our hero, the lovably lachrymose Louie eating dinner with his two children, Jane, and the elder Lily. Jane tries to tell her sister a knock-knock joke, but finds herself largely ignored.  When she finally gets a chance to tell the joke, the table has its laughs, and trades a few more, each more adolescent than the last.

When Jane decides she wants to tell a real joke, the scene becomes an act at the Comedy Cellar, where Louie exclaims how much he loves his daughter’s jokes, given how unpredictable they are even to a seasoned comedy veteran such as himself.  Her latest asked the question of who wouldn’t let a gorilla into a ballet performance, which genuinely stumped Louie, until she answered simply the people in charge of the ballet wouldn’t let the gorilla in for obvious reasons.  Moved by the marvelous simplicity of the joke, and how vividly he could paint the scene in his mind, Louie riffs before transitioning into a story where he realizes, he’s the very first figurative asshole his daughter has encountered.

After the titles, comedian Allan Havey performs a set about not having children with his wife, joking about the nervous penis of younger men before the comedian retires with Louie to Papaya King.  There, Allan invites Louie to dinner on behalf of his wife, to which Louie reluctantly agrees.  On the night of the dinner, Louie bikes out (hey, the bike from last week!) to the suburbs, stopping to pick up wine on the way.  When he arrives at Allan’s home, a woman he recognizes from the liquor store arrives right behind him, revealed to be Allan’s wife’s friend Lori (Melissa Leo).  Gasp, he’s been set up!

After adjusting to the initial awkwardness of having been set up by Allan’s wife, the foursome share a rather quiet dinner.  Attempts to get Louie and Lori to converse largely fail, but the couple begin to bond a bit outside over cigarettes, laughing off how married couples try to make everyone as miserable as themselves.  Things going well, Louie and Lori decide to adjourn to a local bar (to Debbie’s silent glee)!

At the par, the two drink and laugh into the night, eventually leaving amidst jokes of never having to see one another again.  Just then, Lori pulls into the alley behind the bar, and offers to go down on him!  Taken aback, Louie consents, but afterward balks at the idea of returning the favor.  Lori is understandably outraged, but Louie insists that while her going down on him was fine by her values, he thinks of going down on a woman as something more intimate, that he doesn’t like to do right away.

Attempting to turn the tables, Lori next suggests that she can convince him to inside of three minutes, by suggesting that the true reason is that he likes men.  Louie tries to laugh off the implication, but when all else fails Lori slams his head against the window, and wrestles him into submission!  Both parties satisfied, the pair ultimately agrees to go out again sometime, crazy though she might be.

Over the credits we return to Louie at dinner with his daughters, as Jane tells the gorilla joke, cracking Louie up.  He sends the girls to do their homework, grumbling that they didn’t thank him for dinner.

“Telling Jokes / Set Up” wasn’t quite the painfully awkward and honest humor of last week’s effort, but still plenty of food for thought, no pun intended.  As usual, some of the funnier bits come from Louie’s stand-up itself, so it was nice to see his act dovetailing with a scene in real life.  Melissa Leo gives a great turn, but given Louie’s loose continuity, we wouldn’t expect to see much of her again.  Oh well.

Did you get your fill of awkward ‘Louie’ laughs?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Louie’ episode recap of ‘Miami” on FX!

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