The first season of “Louie” gave us a new style of television comedy to look forward to each week. It was dark, blunt, and funny as hell. Episodes were dramatic and depressing at one moment — making us feel like nothing less than shit — then raunchy and hilarious the next, completely reversing our expectations and daring us to predict what might happen next.
And the real beauty of the show? Each episode was a standalone story, allowing creator Louis C.K. to craft these bipolar vignettes one by one, free from constrictive storylines or character obligations.
That’s partly why the show’s second season — set to premiere this week — is every bit as good (if not better) than the “Louie” we were introduced to a year ago. It can be about anything or anyone, offering up new characters and plotlines at will to be warped and analyzed and skewered by C.K.’s discerning comedic style. And it does. In the first episode alone, we jump from kids to death to family to neighbors and back to kids again. It would almost be too much if the whole thing wasn’t anchored firmly in place by C.K.’s never-ending stream of outsider analysis. He’s a tour guide on a trip through the realest portions of life, pointing out the absurdities and the contradictions and the shitty-ness around us that we all know so well but can’t quite vocalize.
Of course, that’s not for everyone. C.K. is just as stark and realistic as ever, maybe even more so, and all that talk of fading dreams and aging bodies can be a real downer. But that’s the point. Life can suck, the world can suck, and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it except savor the things that don’t suck and deal (preferably through laughter) with the things that do. It’s a shitty, messy, crap-fuck world, but goddamn if there aren’t a few spots of sunshine hidden under it all, and goddamn if Louis C.K. isn’t the man to show them to you.