Louie, Ep. 3.05: “Daddy’s Girlfriend” has the manic pixie blues
Louie, Season 3, Episode 5: “Daddy’s Girlfriend, Pt. 2″
Written by Louis C.K.
Directed by Louis C.K.
Airs Thursdays at 10:30pm ET
If it wasn’t already clear, the second half of “Daddy’s Girlfriend” makes it so: Louie is just about ready to leave comedy behind completely. The standup segments that have appeared in every episode have gotten trimmed to the point of being nearly perfunctory (lately, they’ve been appearing at the top of the half-hour and then never again), and the principal “plot” segments are more exploratory and loose than ever before.
If you’re not fond of that development, “Pt. 2″ is unlikely to change your mind, but for us converts, it’s a hell of a way to spend 22 minutes. After scoring a date with the almost suspiciously pretty Liz (Parker Posey) in last week’s episode (resulting in a climactic fist-pump), Louie meets her outside of the bookstore she works at in order to have their first (and last?) date. Louie is traditionally generous with its guest stars, but this episode takes it to new heights; Louie barely gets a word in edgewise for the entire episode, with Liz rambling left and right about her family history, her near-death experience as a teenager, and whatever else might be rattling around in her brain at any given moment.
The episode walks a fine line, and I’m willing to bet CK knows it. Liz is clearly a variant of the dreaded Maic Pixie Dream Girl, the quirky archetype that exists purely to facilitate the personal development of a male protagonist. “Daddy’s Girlfriend” manages to cannily dodge the icky implications of that cliché, both despite and partially due to its TV-mandated truncated runtime. Liz is quirky, sure, but she’s also genuinely troubled, in ways we never quite get a handle on. (That’s reflected in the bar sequence, in which a bartender turns her away after noting her overindulgence in nights past.) And unlike, say, Garden State, there’s no reason to think that Liz could ever lead Louie to some greater happiness. Their date is mostly a marathon of embarrassment, and even if it leads to a beautiful rooftop view of the city, we never get the sense that there’s real understanding between them.
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