TV Recap: Louie, S05E06, Sleepover

­From Louie’s most surreal episode so far to one that most closely resemble a traditional sitcom format – well at least one that also makes time for a black and white tall-tale vignette. After Louie’s problems this season (with Pamela, with the violent woman, with the surrogate) it’s nice to watch him appear more in control of his situation and have things kind of just go right for him.

However, Louie’s inter-generational confusion does come to the fore once again when he takes his daughter Lily to a big-star Broadway play (cameos from Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, Michael Cera and John Lithgow). Louie is very moved by the show, laughing and crying, but he looks over at his daughter confused that she’s not doing the same. During the play’s most devastating scene he sees her playing on her phone and is incredulous. When they leave he goes into full on chiding ‘dad-mode’, demanding that she hand-over her phone because she was texting her friends and doesn’t appreciate what she’s just seen.

In actual fact he’s raised an intelligent, curious, multi-tasking individual and he doesn’t realise it. Lily was just trying to learn more about the play while she was watching it to deepen her understanding. She can Google and appreciate at the same time, and she’s doesn’t cry because she’s “not a baby”. It brings us back to one of this season’s concerns – the gap in understanding between generations. It’s something we saw most prominently in “Cop Story” and Louie’s interaction with the young store owner, who asked Louie if he was the kind of parent that wanted his daughter to be smarter than him or not.

But it’s also about a parent dealing with their child growing up, out growing them and standing up to their ideas and opinions. This is reinforced at the beginning of the next scene when Lily scoffs at her dad for worrying about her taking the bus to her friend’s house – “Dad, it’s 10am, no one gets raped or killed on Saturday morning.” He’s still needed more as a dad for Jane though (“What is raped?” “It’s just bad, bad things…a financial thing”) as she’s having a sleepover for her 10th birthday.

Even though he’s the centre of a madhouse filled with eight little girls (with brilliant names like Afghanistan and Tranquilitay) he flows with it, tries to offer some good advice to a girl whose parents might be getting divorced (that she unfortunately doesn’t know about), chills out with an iPad and tries to order pizza (“one cheese, and one half cheese…and half…cheese”). What really gets to him though isn’t the tweens but Pam texting him.

We thought “Bobby’s House” saw the end of their relationship but, even though she can’t bring herself to form the words, Pamela misses him. Despite the talk of retarded tits it’s a sweet conversation with a lot said with the facial expressions that the other can’t see. There’s something different in the way they talk, with Louie seeming much surer of himself, much more in control. He’s the one who instigates the call, who gets her to say she misses him and takes control of the phone sex. Unfortunately it’s also built on lies as Pamela is dishonest about where she’s calling from (some dude’s bathroom), and Louie fails to mention the horde of screaming kids outside the door that he pushes a chest of draws across as he plans to take his pants off. Is their relationship a healthy one? Are they better off without each other? Or perhaps more importantly, is there any more that we can learn from this plot point? Has it run its course?

The rest of the episode revolves around the other prominent pain in Louie’s life – his brother. Bobby calls him up late at night from jail, telling him he has to get down there in the next hour or he’ll have to spend the night. Louie does the first thing he can think of and takes all the girls down to the police station. These kids are like a force of nature in the cab and in the station, and it’s great watching them cause havoc and actually enabling Louie to get Bobby out sooner. Louis C.K. then indulges his more artistic filmic instincts with a black and white vignette of Bobby’s tale to the girls of how he got arrested. It’s filled with lovely little details, especially at the end where he’s shoved into the back of a wagon and an innocent black man walking by is waved in too by the policeman. All ends well with Louie, the kids, Bobby and their cab driver getting ice cream.

It’s an easy-going episode of Louie after last week’s craziness, filled with great jokes and lovely little moments between characters.

Louie airs on American channel FX Thursday nights.

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