The fifth season of Louie is full of the same weirdness that made the first four seasons great and proves it is one of the most unique shows around. Louis C.K. the stand-up comedian is hilarious, but as a writer, director, and editor of his own show he is something entirely different. You can see the work ethic and dedication he puts into the show’s aesthetics when you watch it, in stark contrast with the lazy, piece-of-shit, boring old white guy that he often presents in his self-deprecating stand-up routines. He is hitting his stride as a director and is not only one of the funniest comedians alive, but one of the most gifted filmmakers working today, though if you ask him he probably wouldn’t agree: “If I make a movie I would never say I’m a filmmaker, I would never call myself that. I’m a comedian who made a movie.”
There are entire episodes of Louie that are not funny at all, which is fine because the writing is always great and his fictional character is constantly unpredictable and it is always fascinating to see his life unfold. He uses silence and real-life scenarios much like Woody Allen, often used for comedic effect or to highlight the absurdities of life, but also to provoke the audience and give it time to contemplate what it is seeing and feeling. Some of the surreal sequences (see: Untitled) feel like they live somewhere between a Lynchian dreamscape and the Freudian neuroses of Allen’s movies.
His fictional daughters Lilly (Hadley Delany) and Jane (Ursula Parker) have become increasingly important to the dynamic of the show and whenever they interact with Louie it usually becomes comedic gold. They are two of the very few recurring supporting characters alongside Louie’s on-and-off (girl/best) friend Pamela (Pamela Adlon), his brother Bobby (Robert Kelly), and comics Jim Norton and Todd Barry who play themselves. Ursula Parker is becoming a fantastic young actress whose maturity, understanding of comedy, and remarkable talent is even more evident in season 5. Her monologue at the doctor’s office in “Untitled” about how she can “see that everything is just electrons colliding” and that at any moment she could “just vanish into nothing” is not just funny because of the context and the fact she is merely a child, but also because her delivery is spot-on. She definitely seems like she is going to be a star down the road, maybe as an actress or perhaps she will be playing the violin at Lincoln Center someday.
Every single episode of season five is outstanding, beginning with Louie attempting to socialize with the parents of his daughters’ classmates but showing up at the wrong potluck and ending with a two-parter about his life on the road, where he misses his kids and his life in New York and dreads making small talk with the driver that picks him up at the airport and the opening comic he is forced to share a condo with in Oklahoma. The two clear standouts though are “Untitled”, which is one of the greatest episodes of the entire series and culminates with an outrageous and vulgar “diarreah song”, and “Sleepover”, which has Louie watching seven of Jane’s friends when they come over for a sleepover and sees him reconnecting with and rekindling an intimate friendship with Pamela.
If given the right project though Louis C.K. would blow people’s minds with the quality of film he could make. He has the technical chops and the instincts to become a real auteur of cinema if he decided it was something he really wants to do, although he seems perfectly happy and content staying at the top of the stand-up world and working on his show. The fifth season of Louie is brilliant and he has once again proven he is one of the few real geniuses working in the entertainment industry today.