Welcome to the fourth 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 fourth ep of Louie, Season Two, titled “Joan.”. Enjoy and come back soon!
Jessica: Good morning, D-word!
This week Louie tries to quit a job because he SIMPLY CAN'T BE RESTRAINED.
He's gotta be him, man.
Justin: Good morning! I'm a bit slow on the uptake this morning.
STILL recovering from the BOO party
and my Quaker Oatmeal To Go bar hasn't switched on my brain hole yet
the best part of waking up!
(there is a distinct part of my brain devoted to 70s coffee commercial jingles)
Justin: we got quite the amorphous, weirdly linear ep last night, didn't we?
Jessica: OK, who's gonna be first to say it ...
Jessica: Woody Allen?
Justin: Oh absolutely!
Louie's always nodded to Woody. Last night was a Woody Allen terrorist fist jab
Jessica: Broadway Danny Rose.
I expected Uncle Miltie to pop up out of his grave. Or at least part of him. (I guess Louie took care of it.)
Justin: You know, I have NOT seen Broadway Danny Rose.
I don't even think I've THOUGHT about Broadway Danny Rose before, haha
Jessica: The music was what did it for me, though I'm not sure if it's fair to peg that kinda trad-Dixieland jazz over a montage of crowd scenes as automatically Woody
but he does kinda own it. So, there's that.
but the whole Atlantic City, faded-glory, over-the-hill comics, Mr. Saturday Night kinda theme
Justin: that's funny, cause i don't automatically go to Woody in that situation, I picture Altman
Jessica: it was like C.K. nodding to his roots
Justin: isn't King of Comedy very similar?
have you seen it?
Jessica: yeah, there's definitely a subgenre of elegiac comedian movies
and the plot was kinda corny/nostalgic too: that do-the-right-thing, be-a-good-man jazz that screenwriters are so enamored of
and that Louie is usually a bracingly realistic counter to.
Justin: "screenwriters are so enamored of" – you mean an arc? lol
Robert McKee will strike you down, madam
speaking of which, there's apparently a chapter in Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant's new book called "Structure, or Robert McKee Can Suck It." Genius!
Jessica: no, I mean the unrealistic/simplistic pop-psych "stand up and be a man."
most movies/TV shows celebrate that man-discovers-his-inner-nobility BS.
kinda leaves those of us with feet of clay cold. Louie is like us.
Justin: yeah, it gets old sometimes. but i mean, what are you gonna do. that's how it goes in the cinemateque
who needs growth?!?
Jessica: meh, growth. All screenplays are written by men in therapy having the same goddamn epiphanies ... it's a light bulb for each individual one of them, but it gets a bit samey after you watch movies for 92 years like I have.
Justin: i totally agree. it's part of that weird film language, where audiences expect someone to go from selfish/self-loathing/self-destructive to constructive over the course of 2 hours. it's extremely rare to see something without that growth. i can't even really think of one. and women screenwriters are noooo different
Jessica: OK, we are soooo off-track though.
while we're off track, should we mention the Emmy noms?
Jessica: diarrhea? crying sister? 60 bananas?
Justin: Louis C.K. for Lead Actor!
Jessica: that. is. awesome.
Justin: i know, especially since there was an entire ep devoted to how he's not an actor
Jessica: will he win?
Justin: absolutely not, lol
Steve Carell is a shoe-in solely for leaving
Jessica: if only he won and Ricky Gervais presented the award
it would be three minutes of hilarious in three hours of yawn.
Justin: oh, Ricky will present it...to his successor
David Brent Part 2.
Jessica: or both. did you notice the crudely scrawled whiteboard sign that said "COMEDY TONIGHT" at the entrance to the lounge?
Justin: so good
Jessica: "Don't do it! Don't play blackjack!"
Justin: that's his big build-up
Ladies and Gentlemen...Comedy!
Jessica: in psycho 5-year-old writing
I also love the moment where the chef cusses him out in French and boots him from "ma cuisine"
Justin: which is a great thematic lantern: It's comedy, people. This. is. comedy. And, spoiler alert: It's a sad, sad thing.
"Is anyone listening to my voice right now?"
something i'm sure every comedian has asked himself every night
Jessica: and in the main theater: Miss Joan Rivers and her cavalcade of old-nuts jokes
Justin: and she makes him laugh. i get the feeling he's laughing in recognition of her act and its effect and longevity than the jokes. like 'Wow, she knows what she's doing.'
Justin: "You will not make jokes about gambling disparaging gambling."
Jessica: technical appreciation
Justin: yes, that's how you do it
Jessica: you will, however, make fun of saggy boobs, because that will make the audience chuckle self-knowingly ... then head out and try to gamble away their fear of mortality
Justin: can we admit to the world right now how much we both adore Fashion Police? The mighty Joan Rivers, people. I remember years ago I thought she was done. Rambling red-carpet mistakes, throwing to her daughter to keep from drowning...
Jessica: yep, she's a survivor
Justin: She found her 3rd or 4th wind
she just keeps trying, she certainly doesn't stop to wonder "Is this cool?" Hell, as long as the checks clear
We talked a little bit about how he kinda let Joan Rivers take this episode over.
Justin: I remember my mom letting me watch her on Tonight Show some nights. I loved her and my mom knew it and the fact that Rivers enabled my staying up late made me love her exponentially
Jessica: In the section where they're hanging out drinking ...she's rambling, the pacing drags, she's not exactly imparting any revolutionary wisdom
Justin: he did. deference, and I liked it! I mean, why not? That's some dough he can just tuck away for next week
but i think it's also an acknowledgment and advancement of a great fucking trend in comedy: Talking about comedy!
I really think it's a golden age for comedy right now, mainly because of that new openness
Jessica: yeah, it was (sorry, jazz again) like when the leader lets an elder great sit in, and leans back to let him solo ... even if he wanders a bit, he's still due the respect
Justin: absolutely. go, daddy!
Jessica: I think the explosion of channels and other delivery systems enables that meta-comedy you're talking about
everyone gets their niche.
Justin: "You know what's wrong with you guys? You don't know when you're lucky." – Joan Rivers to (Lucky) Louie
it's true. if you'll allow me a brief rant...
This ep made me consider how much I enjoy listening to comedians talk about comedy and how much is out there. I mean, last few months, I've fallen in love with the Marc Maron podcast, read the Bill Carter Late-Night book, watched Talking Funny on HBO... not to mention the incredible number of comedy podcasts about comedy out there. Kevin Smith, Doug Benson, Paul Scheer, Kevin Pollack is fucking fantastic with that. Just hours upon hours of comedy talk.
and this, I think, was influenced by that. He knows there's a growing audience out there for comedy talk
"What we do is not a job, it's a calling. We make people happy."
cue awkward kiss
Jessica: yes, Louie took it back ... punctuated all of Joan Rivers' elegiac, bitter, hard-won nuggets of wisdom by planting one on her surgical mask of a "face"
man, that lady blinks diagonally. and the space between her nose and her mouth looks like it's built up out of mortician's wax. it looks so fucking weird.
we love her.
(but not as much as Louis, sorry)
Justin: it IS weird. but you know what? Have you seen her doc?
(documentary, not her doctor)
Jessica: no, not yet, but I heard her talking about it on some radio show. She is SO FUCKING AWESOME
Justin: it's remarkable
Jessica: she is just so ... clear-eyed.
Justin: but it has old footage of her on talk shows and everything – like wayyyy back, when she still looked like Betty Draper
Jessica: (metaphorically speaking.)
Justin: and she's ALWAYS been a little off-looking, facially
granted, comes with the comedian territory, but damn
Jessica: oh, the best: "I thought I had old locked up, then Betty White dusted off her tits!" hahahahahaha
Justin: and she talks about never being the pretty one
Jessica: "You NEVER quit because you're lucky to have any job."
Justin: love love love Miss Joan
so we should also give shout-outs for Louie/Louis' other 2 nominations: "Poker/Divorce" is up for writing and his special, "Hilarious," is up for best variety special
he won't win for writing, either, but maybe special?
(he's up against that Modern Family where the kids catch Phil and Claire fucking – one of TV's best half-hours this year, for sure)
Jessica: yeah, the Academy will gently smack down the interloper
Justin: are you an MF fan? it's weird that I don't know if you are or not!
Jessica: "Here's an award for your STAND-UP SPECIAL, because you are a STAND-UP."
i have never watched it, except for clips around the Emmys last year.
this is my plea: Netflix the first season
Justin: it's balletic in terms of the sitcom. it leaves me dizzy sometimes with its brilliance
AND AND... synergy ... one of its nominated stars, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, was a guest judge on my all-time favorite summer show last night
which happened to get 8 nominations itself...
and 5 out of the 6 choreography slots
SUCK IT, DANCING WITH THE STARS!
I'm letting you have this moment.
Justin: i appreciate it
Jessica: just looked on Netflix for Modern Family
Justin: yeah, you have to get the discs
you didn't turn off the discs, did you?!?
Jessica: DISCS OOOOONLY, WHYYYY NETFLIX
Justin: Don't turn off the discs, Jessica! Don't do it!
Jessica: so spoiled by instant.
Justin: oh yeah
Jessica: ugh, we won't.
Justin: i dropped instant
Justin: i never want to sit at my desk and watch anything. i do that most of the day anyway.
Jessica: i guess there are a lot more disc-only things than instant-only things
right, gotcha, I wouldn't either. Our new TV is wireless-enabled or whatever (tech stuff!)
Justin: i'm a little ashamed, but yeah, the selection just isn't there. and the studios are fighting them on streaming anyway, so why bother swimming upstream? gettit? stream? COMEDY TONIGHT!
Jessica: i gotta tell you though, the other day at the hair place when everyone was on the Casey Anthony thing, I was watching A Very Long Engagement on my phone and tuning that shit OUT. boom.
Justin: abso. it's different if you have an iphone.
Jessica: i do think that discs will get phased out soon, though.
Justin: i'm a caveman
oh, me too. i HOPE they get phased out. I want instant and on my TV...NOW
i just don't want to pass a physics exam first
have to say, it was a good week for TV, don't you think?
starting with Jaycee Dugard on ABC, big event TV like the old days...
Joan Rivers/Louis C.K.
Jessica: I'm the caveman now ... I saw none of those things. oh well. I appreciate it all!
Justin: for the summer anyway, there was some good appointment TV this week
Jessica: you know who really likes Jaycee Dugard?
Justin: dare I ask who?
Jessica: i think you do. hahahah
Justin: I don't! caveman!
(baiting you now)
Jessica: JOLIE HOLLAND
that's going online, missy. prepare for the wrath.
Jessica: oh hell.
all right, anything else we should mention?
like...oh, i dunno...Louie FUCKS JOAN RIVERS?!?!?
Jessica: I think this week's love letter is complete. We've used the F-word, the N-word (wait no we didn't) and the D-word.
Justin: what's the D word?
real quick, a point: Louie's track record in the sack ain't exactly something to write home about, have you noticed?
Jessica: you mean, he doesn't get laid?
Justin: he gets laid as much and as easily as anyone else on TV, but...
Jessica: or he gets laid ... unusually.
Justin: girl he knew in school
and now Joan Rivers
daddy and mummy
all right, we've said enough. Besides, Melissa still thinks I'm a virgin.
Jessica: Don't try to get fancy, let's just go to the deli and buy a NY Post.
Jessica: Pulp? Pulp? Pulp? Oh never mind. See you next week.