Welcome to the second edition of The Teevee, a new occasional feature in which film/music editor Justin Strout, arts & culture/food editor Jessica Bryce Young and staff writer Billy Manes gchat about their favorite shows the morning after.
Also, it should go without saying, but the following is one giant SPOILER ALERT!!!!!
In this episode, Strout and Young dissect the second ep of season two, titled "Bummer/Blueberries.". Enjoy and come back soon!
Justin: Bonjour belle dame
Jessica: Good morning!
Justin: last night's Louie has me feeling Frenchy this morning
"Les Femmes Qui Pleurent" perhaps?
Jessica: are you un homme qui pleurent after that episode?
Justin: I'm a weeping woman indeed!
Jessica: weeping with laughter maybe.
Justin: We should start at the very beginning: Louie thinks good-looking people don't know about life. I have to disagree.
Speaking as a good-looking person, of course...
Jessica: Ha. Speaking as someone who's been both, I have to agree with CK
there are quantifiable differences in people's behavior
Justin: haha, of course there are! I kid, of course. I'm much closer in spirit to the sweaty heap of awful he described. The woman-on-top as merciful act thing. I. Get. It.
Jessica: "It's a six-pack ... just the wrong kind."
yeah, this episode was kind of all about BODIES.
Justin: yes, both dead and alive and gross and grosser
So the first short – and there's no other way to refer to them – began with Louie asking a woman on a date. She's...otherwise engaged.
Jessica: in an ambiguous way — she's in a big fancy closet/dressing room getting dressed up for dinner or something, but it seems like she's with her husband. But then, why would she be talking to another guy? So ... brother? GBF? open relationship? Puzzling. Until she hangs up and says to the guy ...
Justin: "He might be something someday." The worst. There is no more awful feeling than being on a date with someone who has no stakes in the game
Jessica: Yeah. It's like an informational interview.
Justin: of course, there's a whole other NY entertainment biz aspect to her attitude, but overall
Justin: it's a sinking sensation. you're looking for someone to connect with (read: fuck), she's looking for...what? a free dinner sounds too simplistic. it's not attention-seeking either
Jessica: nope, just ... seeing if there's anything to glean.
Justin: but knowing there's probably not
if you women could be more like us
Justin: base and caustic
Jessica: i felt like she was just doing it as a career move, right? And she knew that he thought it was a date, and she clearly didn't, but she felt no regret about that.
Justin: or was it closer to doing it for the story to tell later. like jennifer aniston and jon stewart
Jessica: oh, I totally thought she was just "networking"
Justin: it's double the insult. cuz if he was "somebody" already, she'd just fuck him
Jessica: The contrast between her life, what we saw of it, and Louie's was interesting — kind of emphasizing the philosophical difference between them: that she's the self-interested/calculating type, and he's the feeling/empathetic type.
Jessica: Her nice walk-in closet, her husband (?) in a suit, and Louie in his t-shirt sitting in his messy tenement apt.
Justin: and then... Louie on a New York street, where apparently terrible things happen.
Jessica: I'm sorry to bust out the postmodern theory here. But, physical disaster (untrustworthiness/fear/pain) on a small scale = Louie's body; physical disaster on a larger scale (all of those same things) = the city. The city is like a representation of his body or vice versa
Justin: people get hit by busses in that place. i'd have so much street anxiety if i ever went to NYC!
Justin: but yeah, fear, representation. totally.
Jessica: I'll stop with the sub-sub-sub-Acker, but again: the whole episode is about bodies.
Justin: but it wasn't a bus – it was a MOTHERFUCKING GARBAGE TRUCK!! trash. death.
Jessica: be honest: how many times did you rewind/slo-mo to see the actual head pop off?
Justin: none cuz i'm a normal!
Jessica: um, maybe twice?
Justin: haha, we'll get to your darker secrets in "Blueberries"
Justin: So a homeless/crazy/both man yells at Louie
Jessica: and he reacts... logically
Justin: makes a run at him
and Louie breaks out the awkward kung-fu!
Justin: or should i say jujitsu?
Jessica: didn't he just step aside? "let him complete his movement"?
Justin: no, there was definite touching
Jessica: aha. anyway, he avoids the guy
Justin: the homeless/crazy/both man's momentum takes him into the street where...
then more dead
homeless guy: now with more head-popping action!
Justin: Louie, in a daze, makes his way to the theater where two films are playing: Les Femmes Qui Pleurent and Touch a Ball. And this is where I get a little nuts.
I should say I'm a marquee whore. ANY time there's a marquee in a movie/show I need to know what's on it.
Jessica: how much do we love DVRs?
(also: I used mine to watch the head roll; you used yours to scrutinize the French film title)
It's Simpsons damage, anyway: you're trained to read all the names of the stores
Justin: I still remember poring over Back to the Future to see the many variations of marquee titles in the Courthouse Square over the years.
"Orgy American Style"
But this was something else altogether
Les Femmes Qui Pleurent, as Google tells me, translates to something approximating "The Weeping Women"
And the poster a few frames later backs that up
Justin: maybe a nod to Picasso? The poster was slightly avant garde
or a dig at chick flicks?
Jessica: just seemed like typical French movie fodder to me
the kind of stuff that an urbane New York gentleman might take a lady to see on an afternoon date
Justin: ah, see I don't know from "urbane New York gentlemen."
Jessica: (I mean, before we know what we find out later, it just reads as "generic French film the set decorator mocked up")
... they both do
Justin: i feel like i get close, though. at least as close as Orlando allows. Consider: yesterday I saw a man masturbating downstairs at our offices, then watched Uncle Boonmee. I mean...that's urbane-ish, right?
Jessica: haha yeah
not a great first date, though
Justin: sez you
Jessica: "Let's meet at the Angelika"
"Let's meet at my office, witness some public indecency, then peep a screener on my laptop"
Justin: Speaking of the downstairs incident... the other film on the marquee. What's up with that?
Touch a Ball
Jessica: well, I think both of those titles speak to the second half of the episode, no?
Justin: yes, which we should get to. cuz THAT girl might go for my urbane night
so Louie gets castigated by a teacher for his daughter's subpar math skills
Jessica: and gets drawn into awkward fellow-parent convo with that "typical" New York woman: blunt, pragmatic to the point of harshness, supercritical, no filter.
Justin: who i was shocked was not played by Lili Taylor
Jessica: i think she would have come off too nice. srsly.
this lady was hard-edged.
Justin: Joe lies. Louie doesn't.
Justin: she goes into some bullshit about a plasma screen and brainwashing through advertising or whatnot
Louie: "I don't really care." And DING! We have a winner.
Jessica: this is the kind of woman Louie runs into a lot more frequently than the other girl. That is to say: just as fucked up as he is.
Justin: lucky for him, most of the time
Jessica: with a lot of the same baggage: the single-parent thing that warps the rest of your life.
Justin: yes, the single-parent wasteland. what is it my angel said about that woman at the park's tits?
Jessica: she'd let you come on them just to forget her own shitty day? I'unno, something like that. but that character (Pamela Adlon, not on this episode) is married, I think
Justin: is she?? nooooo
there was a convo about her kid's father, or maybe a half-convo
she's "off of men," remember?
Jessica: oh, OK
Justin: maybe she's fucking Louie's mom?
i absolutely love the awkward kiss, followed by this ep's single-parent nightmare Getting Ready For Bed.
Jessica: it's like, "sex = married life" for this lady
it was SO AMAZING
at first you think she's just nuts, but then it comes clear: she bought an hour of husband, not an hour of sex.
Justin: that gown looked like stole it from her grandmother's corpse
Jessica: the flannel nightgown, the lotion on the elbows, the total lack of romance
Justin: The Hubby Experience
Justin: even sad sex needs a little romance, no?
Jessica: I mean, there's that thing of "preserving mystery" and how long you do it
Justin: you do the dance
pretend everything's new
Jessica: in a relationship: a few months? your whole life? every couple is different
like, my grandma got up and put on makeup before my grandpa woke up. Me? not so much
Justin: she jumps right in ... then a little further. she asks him to run out and get some condoms, some Vagitine and blueberries
Justin: and lube. which means the Vagitine is NOT the lube. which is extremely disturbing.
Justin: he goes to the store, clearly deflated, and has to ask perhaps the funniest walk-on i've ever seen to help him.
Jessica: the thing about that kind of closeness is: it can be part of how you show you love someone, taking care of them or being willing to show your vulnerability, and "preserving mystery" can be a way of putting distance between you or a sign of insecurity.
but NONE of that has any place in a one-night stand
Justin: that's true
there's nothing more annoying than a woman who can't ask you to buy her tampons or pads or whatever. especially after so many years. it's like saying, "I think you're a caveman," but couching it in insecurity.
of course, for some guys that IS torture, but I think those guys just watch too many hack stand-ups
Jessica: and it's true that this wasn't a "one-night stand" which implies a level of hotness or even attraction
it was more like setting up a play date
a play date for our genitals
Jessica: but damn, that was some clinical BS
Justin: yes, total BS. he would've had every right to unleash a patented takedown. but he doesn't... he goes to the store.
accompanied by a wonderful plinking piano, the large black man says, "Lubricant, aisle 7. Vagitine, aisle 3 next to the tampons. Condoms are behind the counter. We ain't got no blueberries."
Jessica: so great.
Justin: "WE AIN'T GOT NO BLUEBERRIES!!!" it slayed me.
Jessica: who was that?
Justin: Isaiah Stokes
Jessica: well-played, Isaiah Stokes.
made the most of that line and got another year of SAG health insurance
Justin: haha, absolutely. mmmm...SAG health insurance
as he checks out, he talks to single-parent nightmare and they have, well, a moment. i know this affected you. splainy?
Jessica: right, he calls her to say they don't have blueberries (which, huh? He called? He fell right back into husband behavior. He so follows her lead in this whole encounter)
Justin: he does!!
Jessica: and this horrible person, who has been a total stereotype up until now, to the point I felt a bit betrayed by Louie, like c'mon man, enough with the "harpy bitch" thing
... she says "Please get blueberries?"
and just ... with one phrase, she's human.
It was fucking genius.
on her part or his, I don't know.
but the actress nailed it, that switch from control-freak to yearning.
and it was like jazz.
Justin: she absolutely did
Jessica: the mask slipped, you saw who she was under there, and that maybe this harshness was the only way she can keep control over her life .... and the berries, they were like this bit of nature or pleasure in the drab, clinical vagitine-and-condoms-but-get-the-right-kind control freak horror.
and they were the thing that broke through that behavior, too.
Justin: btw, the harpy was played by Tony-nominated actress Maria Dizzia. Brava, Maria.
so then... the grand finale. The touch á ball. "Daddy."
Jessica: yeah ... one flash of humanity and then right back into the horrible
"Spank me," etc.
Justin: i have to get all straight-guy on you here: Despite EVERYTHING that came before, and would come (literally) after, Dolores' enthusiasm in her sexual demands was plain, straight-up hot. "Spank me and I'll suck you off, I promise." That ain't an altogether terrible night. Yet.
yeah, but it's so unvarnished. she bargained for it just like she bargained for the Vagitine
it's like Louie was airdropped not into a hot night of no-strings sex
or even a let's help each other out, we're both busy single parents thing (where at least they could be NICE to each other)
but instead, into someone else's marriage
Justin: Finally ... sadgasm
Jessica: "we rejoin this broadcast already in progress"
Justin: i wondered how much he was expecting the torrent of tears. Louis, I mean. He comes this close to looking straight at the camera.
Jessica: haha, I forgot, my little symbolism-seeking friend: "Dolores" means "sadness"
Justin: So The Weeping Sadness Woman Has a Sadgasm. Worst. Night. Ever. (For someone like Louie. Not necessarily to someone drawn to savior situations like, oh I dunno, the single me.)
Jessica: hmm. maybe I'm sleep-deprived, but I feel like we didn't do justice to the utter brutal hilarity of this episode
i mean, it was funny.
I thought it was closer in spirit (though certainly not in plot) to the Catholic-school ep. Something to chew on more than spit out, so to speak
"We're constantly right on the edge of existence and nothing, and we live in total disrespect of that." "We think this is the important place. It's bullshit. It's meaningless." Not the stuff of busting guts. But brilliant, nonetheless.
"I could get thrown out of a ... helicopter." dropped me to my knees, though. I do admit that.
Jessica: yeah, he's right back into that whistling past the graveyard, might as well laugh at the horror thing.
That's where I seem to like him best.
Jessica: "helicopter" -- from that meandering monologue to his "date"?
yeah, we didn't talk about that!
Jessica: for a moment there, it feels like he's being so raw, so real, that she might be attracted to him
and then he throws down the big it-could-go-either-way:
"I witnessed this terrible thing and still I came to meet you."
in a romcom, that would be the thing that bonded them!
but no, Louie's all about the real, so
"are you out of your mind? goodbye"
Justin: and was that a cello in the bg?
Jessica: oh please. the music is SO
Justin: SO brilliant
and it's not Reggie Watts anymore, is it?
Jessica: I don’t know who the composer is, but the music supervisor is gone
Justin: there are SIX names credited for the music this ep
Jessica: Louis CK is doing it himself now. Maybe he'll run out of money halfway through the season and there'll be no music at all
Justin: speaking of nerdy credit whoring real quick: I believe this is the first time we've seen another name in the writing credits! guess who?
Justin: Pamela Adlon
Jessica: haha, your lady
Justin: She's also a "Consulting Producer" this ssn. Love love love love.
OK, let's wrap this bitch up. Favorite one thing. Go!
Jessica: OK, uh. Has to be that moment on the phone — I know we hashed it out already, but it really got me. (Though I did almost die over the way she was slappin' on that lotion)
Justin: excellent choice
Jessica: your fave?
Justin: So much to love. But the circling camera move when he and stuck-up girl kiss. So beautiful, then so awkward, of course. A full 360 would've been tough to pull off, and maybe too over-the-top rom-com. So the camera stops halfway, jiggles a little, then comes back the same way, haha. Hilarious in a really geeky way
Jessica: nice one.
Justin: And your one least favorite moment?
Jessica: I really didn't like some of the way Dolores was portrayed. I get that they were going for an unsympathetic character, and they redeemed themselves with that one line on the phone, but ... I feel like it was a bit lazy, the stereotypical NY bitch. Hacky stand-up bit. Anger disguised as humor.
But I only hate because I love. LOUIS, I KNOW YOU'RE BETTER THAN THAT.
what was yours?
Justin: my least fave relates to that exactly. the moment she launched into the "irri-tant" bit about no stimulants, no lubricants, etc. she was redeemed, as you said, but that was caricature. but yes, we hate out of love.
let's do this again next week!
Jessica: will do! and will be better! as will Mr. CK.
Justin: We're "Moving" next week, yes?
Jessica: oh yes.
Justin: Can. Not. Wait.
Jessica: well, we'll have to
until next week. can you bring the blueberries?
Justin: I ain't got no blueberries.