‘Louie’ Season 4: Pamela Adlon Responds to Controversial “Rape” Scene
Ecstatic though we were to have FX Emmy darling 'Louie' back for a fourth season, the controversy quotient seemed higher than usual when a recent episode highlighted comedian Pamela Adlon's character in an uncomfortable struggle with rape-like overtones. Louis C.K. himself has kept mostly mum on the matter, but what does Adlon have to say about the difficult scenes?
Where subsequent episode "Pamela Part 2" and "Pamela Part 3" confirmed critical suspicions that the FX dramedy wouldn't revisit the matter of Louis C.K.'s character rather forcefully planting a kiss on Pamela's in the June 2 installment, Adlon downplayed any suggestions of rape in a recent interview with Vulture. In particular, Adlon noted that C.K's stage directions in the script made the encounter more comical than it might have appeared, while the struggle fit with the pair's relationship dynamic:
...the fact people were talking about, Did Louie try to rape Pamela? Was that a rape? Or calling it rape straight-out, which was nuts, because I never saw it like that, because they had this kind of over-the-edge connection and relationship. They do a push-me/pull-me thing. I know that one thing that motivates Louis and drives him is characters that don’t explain why they do what they do. You just see things happen and play out, and you don’t get a neat little button at the end of it. Pamela and Louie are both as flawed as the next person, it’s not cut and dry.
...when I read it I was dying laughing, because in the script he said, “Louie approaches her closing off the ring” — which is like a boxing terminology — and then he said, “and she’s holding on to the walls and furniture like a cartoon cat.” So when I read it, it read hilariously. Then on the day that we were shooting it, I was like, “Let’s really get into it,” and I grabbed the dresser and all of that. And then at a certain point, I looked at him and I said, 'Somebody might get mad.'
Adlon goes on to identify herself as an advocate for women's rights with three daughters of her own, while explaining that the scene (and much of the season at large) had been designed to convey certain "feelings" and sentiments, rather than outright laughs. Opinions and analysis of C.K.'s intentions for season 4 have certainly run the gamut, though we'd be hard-pressed not to feel as if the tone of the scene might have been somewhat stymied by its imagery.
After all, the recent 'Game of Thrones' rape controversy (it pains us to have to be specific as to which) clearly saw a disparate take on the scene between director Alex Graves, actors Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and audiences at large. It's certainly not inconceivable that the Pamela/Louie scene would evoke similarly mixed reactions as well.
What do you think? Does Pamela Adlon have a point about the scene's inherent "feeling" justifying the uncomfortable imagery? Should later episodes have returned to the incident at all? Give us your thoughts on Adlon's comments and 'Louie' season 4 in the comments!