Louie Season One – review

Is Louie the ultimate boys club? Or a programme that for once shows a sympathetic, responsible, and likable father-figure, all without being obnoxious?

Louie is about failure: landing in it, what constitutes it, the values attached to it. Whether dating, reluctantly acting in a cameo for Matthew Broderick, or sticking his foot in every imaginably unfortunate situation, Louie is constantly attempting to recover – with an endearing level of, well, failure. He’s flawed in the everyday way that all human beings are, unlike the over-dramatised way of so many other TV fathers: Phil Dunphy, Don Draper, Charlie Harper.

While his defining responsibility and priority in life is being a newly-divorced father – navigated to a greater degree of success than the aforementioned TV padres – each episode of the 13-strong first season cuts to and fro from Louie’s mundane daily encounters where he’s just trying to ‘do life’, to his performances on stage as a regular at a comedy club where he’s invariably sardonic yet poignant. In ‘real life’ his comedic observations fall flat, seemingly incompatible with an increasingly literal world.

To be expected from long-time US stand-up Louie CK, his foul-mouthed realism might be offensive to some; his well-intentioned cynicism is best taken On Demand in a controlled weekly dosage, to let the laughs really sink in.