HBO has decided to take a chance with a show unlike any other original series they currently have out there. From The Sopranos to Entourage to Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO has won over cable audiences by creating great comedy and drama through originality and moving away from what makes some broadcast television dull to watch. So it must have made HBO subscribers gasp at the thought of a half-hour sitcom taking the stage on Sunday nights, right after Entourage.
Lucky Louie, starring Louis CK as broke-ass, balding family man Louie, is everything the network sitcom is not –and yet, it is. The first episode of its debut season starts off with a classic bit – classic in the way that the "Why?" bit is an old cliché. What Lucky Louie is trying to do with this opening, though, is show you why it is different and why it belongs on HBO. Does it succeed? Well, yes more than no. Louie's daughter starts a barrage of "Why?" and Louie's answers begin in the way you would expect in any old sitcom. Gradually, the answers are more unexpected and the bit ends strong. Sadly, there are one too many whys, so the laughs of the live audience die down after about the fourth "Why?"
I can't really say that this bit was even needed, but as I said before, Lucky Louie has to prove that it belongs and it's not the uncoordinated doofus trying out for the varsity team. As the episode goes on, Lucky Louie impresses you and then lets you down. There is daughter Lucy's birthday party scene, where the new black neighbors come in to join the festivities along with Louie's friend Mike (Mike Hagerty, we'll get to him later) and Jerry (Rick Shapiro) the creepy, shady uncle. The scene feels a bit forced, but it's the jump-off point for all the other issues that come up in this episode.
There are racial issues concerning the new neighbors, namely the unnecessarily uncomfortable situation Louie creates whenever he talks to his black neighbor, Walter. There is also the issue of sex (or the lack thereof) between Louie and his wife, Kim (Pamela Adlon). Louie has the sudden urge to take a teen magazine and hurry into the closet to pleasure himself. Now, this closet masturbation didn't seem right at all because I know that most guys would go to the bathroom to get rid of some frustration, but I see where Louie wouldn't have his wife barge in on him using the facilities. Thankfully, the conversation between Louie and Kim is hilarious.
The middle of the episode is by far the strongest, with the hilarious dialogue with Mike Hagerty and Jim Norton (as Rich) just stealing the show. Now this is what people want from HBO. They want moments like the one Louie has in the coffee shop with his strange friends. I feel that the whole family thing isn't even needed, but that's just me. I don't care what life Louie is given, but I just want more of the com and less of the sit.
Pamela Adlon is funny in the vein of all the sitcom wives you know and love. If I could compare her to anyone, watching her feels like you're watching Sarah Silverman. She's attractive, without a doubt, with that feeling like she's spent a few years in the wilderness with savage men. But whenever there's a scene with the family, I'm not as interested as I am when it's about Louie and his awkward racial fumblings with the new neighbors or the aforementioned talk with his friends. I also liked when Kim was chatting with her friend about her sexual issues in a supermarket.
I hear that this is definitely the "cobwebs" episode, the absolute definition of a pilot episode, and the very best is yet to come. Still, I have to judge Lucky Louie based on what I’ve seen, and for now I hope luck is on Louie's side. HBO audiences might not know what to make of the show, so next week's going to have to prove that Lucky Louie is not simply some sitcom with curse words peppered in.
Lucky Louie appears on Sundays @ 10:30 PM on HBOPowered by Sidelines