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Louie: The Complete Second Season(TV) (2011)
Take the regular ingredients for a run-of-the-mill TV sitcom: an overweight and unattractive husband, a wife that seems way out of his league, their adorable but bratty child, and some whimsical neighbors. Add in the plethora of expletives folks have come to expect from HBO television, some occasional male nudity, and terribly raunchy one-liners. Mix those up with a live studio audience, cheap sets, and an overall low budget look, and Lucky Louie is what comes out. That being said--the show is intelligent and hilarious.
For more about Louie: The Complete Second Season and the Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release, see Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on June 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Louis C.K., Hadley Delany, Ursula Parker, Pamela Adlon, Jim Norton, Parker Posey
Director: Louis C.K.
» See full cast & crew
Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review
“Louie, Louie, you’re gonna die.”
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, June 19, 2012
What would happen if a cable network gave a celebrated comic's comic a small budget but complete creative control? The answer is Louie, Louie C.K.'s semi-autobiographical sit-com, which is utterly unlike anything else on television right now. The series has its antecedents, of course—Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and even The Cosby Show—but Louie differentiates itself with a kind of indie cinema aesthetic that turns each episode into a short film, made up of vignettes drawn from the same observational genius of C.K.'s bleakly insightful stand-up comedy. The show is very funny, but usually painfully so. C.K. prefers hard truths over easy laughs, and the episodes wring humor out of adult absurdities, most connected to the difficulty of being an under-sexed middle-aged single dad trying to raise two daughters in New York. Tempting creative burnout, C.K. writes, produces, stars in, and even edits every episode himself—at home, on his laptop—which makes it doubly impressive that the show's second season is just as hilariously depressing as the first.
If you haven't seen Louie yet, don't be shy about jumping headlong into the second season. Sure, you'll want to go back and watch season one at some point—simply because it's all-around great television—but the show doesn't get too hung up on narrative continuity. There's no overarching story, per se, beyond the premise: Louie C.K. plays a hyperbolized version of himself, a regular-gigging comedian and divorced dad who just wants to raise his girls—five year old Jane (Ursala Parker) and nine year old Lilly (Hadley Delaney)—as best as he can.
Everything you need to know about the tone of the show can be observed in the first scene of the season two premiere, "Pregnant." The episode opens with Louie brushing Jane's teeth while she matter-of-factly informs him that she loves her mommy more. Louie finishes up, and as Jane runs out of frame to bed, he lifts his middle finger to her back in a dejected-dad salute. So it goes. The thanklessness of parenthood is a common theme, especially in some of the stand-up comedy sequences that break up each episode's vignettes, where Louis makes it clear that though he loves his kids more than anything, there are times when he wishes he could go back and change the entire chain of events that lead to their births. "That's just how it is," he says.
But he does love them, and there are moments where the show is bizarrely touching, without ever being syrupy. In "Moving," Louis wants to buy a $17 million dream house for his daughters but learns from his accountant that he only has $7,000 in the bank. When he takes the girls on a "Country Drive" to visit their great aunt—who's fond of using the n-word—he struggles to explain why old people are so racist. (In the stand-up section, Louie gives a great explanation of the difference between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.) And in a special one-hour episode where Louie goes on a USO tour of Afghanistan, his life is potentially saved by a duckling that Jane smuggled into his suitcase. Fatherhood isn't all bad.
Louie's love life, on the other hand, is. The comic's romantic mishaps give the show its sublime awkwardness. A supposedly no-strings- attached romp turns dark when a fellow PTA parent's request to "spank me, daddy" leads to uncontrollable sobbing. Another date goes sour when Louie recounts how, on his way over, he witnessed a homeless man get decapitated by an 18-wheeler. And in the innuendo-laced "Come On, God," Louie goes on Fox News to defend self-pleasure in a debate with the sexy virginal spokesman of a group called Christians Against Masturbation. Needless to say, Louie blows his stack in more ways than one. The season's only overarching storyline involves Louie unreciprocated crush on his friend Pamela—played by prolific voice actor Pamela Adlon—who gently spurs all of his advances. I've got to give it to C.K. for being unafraid to portray himself as an unattractive schlub so desperate to get laid that he'll hop into the car of a complete stranger who propositions him outside of a club. The woman drives him all the way out to New Jersey only to introduce him to her swinger husband, and the episode culminates with Chris Rock—of all people— giving Louie a lesson in responsibility.
That's not the only high-profile cameo. Although Ricky Gervais unfortunately doesn't reprise his season one role as a horribly insensitive personal physician, Louie does get advice from Joan Rivers and settles a long-standing dispute with Dane Cook. Comedians Todd Barry, Godfrey, and Stephen Wright all show up as loosely fictionalized versions of themselves too. In one cold open, we get a flashback vignette of Louie getting fired from a traditional recorded live in front of a studio audience comedy pilot when he complains to the director that the dialogue is unrealistic. His part goes to Bob Saget, who's always game for self-deprecation.
What's so refreshing about Louie is that it takes what might now be seen as a cliche sit-com scenario—single dad ineptly raising daughters— and deals with it in a mostly realistic and often uncomfortably truthful way. It's not easy being a parent. It's not easy growing old and sexless and undesirable. It's terrifying to confront the futility and unfairness of life. But there's surprisingly little bitterness in C.K. worldview—you live, you do the best that you can, and you laugh at the rest.
Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
In one of the commentaries on the season one set, Louie C.K. promised a slightly different visual aesthetic for season two, but the only way you can consider that promise kept is if you emphasize the word slightly. Not that this is a bad thing. Like season one, this collection of episodes was shot digitally using the Red One camera. The only difference this time around is that C.K.'s production crew bought and used their own collection of vintage cinema lenses, giving the image a warmer, intentionally softer, less digital-y look. When I say "softer," though, I mean almost imperceptibly softer. The 1080p/AVC Blu-ray encodes are still plenty sharp, with fine detail visible in just about every frame. Color is realistically graded and nicely saturated too, with strong black levels and accurate skin tones. You may spot a few instances of aliasing and some fleeting banding in fine color gradients, but otherwise there are no overt visual distractions. For a comparatively low-budget show, Louie looks fantastic. There are two episodes that also feature some black and white 16mm footage—possibly sharp 8mm material—and this is used to a Woody Allen-in- Manhattan effect, poeticizing the sights of New York and its citizens.
Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
When it comes to season two's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presentation, I'm basically going to reiterate what I wrote for the season one set. The show's sound design is serviceable and unobtrusive, so much so that you rarely notice the audio in any way, good or bad. On-location dialogue does seem more cleanly and clearly recorded this time around, but once again the surround channels are given little to do beyond quiet ambience and bleeding room for the musical cues. The music is wonderful and totally unusual for a sit-com, though; there are dark, almost mournful piano-and-violin numbers, peppy jazz tunes, and even a kind of Irish jig. For those that need or want them, the disc includes optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles, which appear in easy-to-read white lettering.
Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I'm just going to come out and say it: Louie is one of the best shows on television right now. It's simultaneously funny and depressingly honest and at times bizarrely moving. Season two follows the same basic template of season one—short film-like vignettes separated by stand-up routines—but Louie C.K. isn't repeating himself. This batch of thirteen episodes includes several of the series' best. There are fewer special features this time around— C.K. does only five commentary tracks instead of eleven—but the two-disc Blu-ray set comes highly recommended for longtime fans and newcomers alike.
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Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: June 19-26 - June 17, 2012
This week, Season Two of Louie debuts, in anticipation of the third season's upcoming premiere on FX. The series is wholly unlike most contemporary comedy "sitcoms," with creator Louis C.K.'s unique worldview unfolding in a manner equal parts hilarious, poignant, ...
• Louie: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray - April 4, 2012
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will bring Louie: The Complete Second Season to Blu-ray in June. The brainchild of writer and comedian Louie C.K. (The Chris Rock Show), this hit FX television program takes a surreal and often hilarious look at life in ...
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