Louie: So Did The Fat Lady
May 13, 2014 12:59 PM - Season 4, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Louie meets somebody new.

Louie is romantically pursued by a Vanessa, a waitress at the comedy club. Louie and his brother celebrate their commitment to lose weight by doing a "bang-bang". After rebuffing Vanessa's advances, Louie finally concedes to a date where things take an unexpected turn.
posted by cazoo (68 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Man, that last speech by Sarah Baker was incredible, like she'll win an Emmy incredible.
posted by mathowie at 1:01 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Loved this. People really hyped up the long unedited shot in True Detective but when I saw it, it was just an action sequence with no cuts. The 7minute shot at the end of this episode blows that out of the water with just excellent writing and performances. (Camera work wasn't too shabby here either.) This is my preferred use of long takes, something where the director uses it to tell the audience they can't turn away from what is happening just because it's too uncomfortable.

I hope Sarah Baker does generate some Emmy buzz for this only if it means more people will watch it.
posted by dogwalker at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2014






Louie & Fat Girls (Shakesville)
posted by box at 2:39 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sigh... I was really hoping this episode wasn't going to be the "internet thing" I was pretty sure it was, and that, if it did become an "internet thing" that people would look at it with the subtlety it deserved.

First off except for a few false notes with the speech written for Sarah Baker, Vanessa, I thought it was a great episode. But those few false notes really soured the whole thing for me.

The point of the episode is that people who are unattractive, in particular who are fat and even more particular fat women, have it rough.

After the introduction of Vanessa and Louie's initial soft rejection of her he and the obese comedian (further to be called "OC" because I have no idea of his name) go for a "bang bang". Two full meals following each other. They do this on the premise that this is a final blowout before they turn their lives around, start eating kale, and hitting the gym. Implicitly they know they aren't in good shape.

After a huge Indian meal Louis and OC hit up a deli and eat their second meal. A fairly attractive waitress comes over and strikes up a conversation with Louis and OC asking them about their meal. Louis starts to flirt, but then OC, to Louis' chagrin, tells her what they're doing. She becomes visibly repelled, probably thinking Louis is going to resemble OC in the near future and that she doesn't want anything to do with that.

Louis and OC go outside the restaurant and prove the waitress' point, they decide not to go to the gym tomorrow. Nothing more is heard about the diet. I half expected Louis to be eating a hamburger in the next bar/comedy club scene.

Then Vanessa pressures, and lets not pretend it's not, Louis into going out with her by giving him the hockey tickets. She, of course, does deny it. "I'm not asking you out again. I know how it looks."

Then we get to the "Woe is the fat girl" speech. For the most part I liked it. I get cries of desperation. Hell, if Louis, the tv-show, needed a different title "Cries of Desperation" wouldn't be bad, but a bit too on the nose.

But then she asks, "Why?" Please. Vanessa is a smart woman. We're smart viewers. Everyone knows why. Most people don't want to sleep with obese people. The waitress didn't. Louis didn't. Vanessa knows this. Liking someone is one thing. Wanting to fuck them is a different one.

The speech tries to cover this up with "most guys have slept with a fat woman." Well, yeah, and there are lots of reasons for that. Puberty is a hell of a drug. Outside that sometimes you spend years getting the message "you shouldn't care what people look like" so long that you think, "Well, I should try this. Maybe this woman who I really like as a person, and who seems to be into me, really is the one for me." And then you try it. And you're miserable in bed. Your dick doesn't get hard. You have a hard time looking at her. You find yourself pretending to be else where. You want to be elsewhere. But still you fuck her because you don't want to have the crying "Why not?" conversation after going so far. There are lots of ways to be a dick and now you're in dick catch-22 land. Leave, you're a dick. Stay, you're a dick. You figure you'll hurt her less by staying. It's the worst sex of your life. You don't do it again.

Now you're talking to someone. Someone who grew up in a world of internet porn and advertising, of hundreds movie starlets which all together teach one lesson: Fat people? The people who are sexually into that are in a minority. They exist. But it's not mainstream. That someone says, "Why not fat people?" You know they know the answer. You know the answer. And they're being an ass. They're being the telemarketer who won't get off the phone unless you say, "Fuck off" and hang up. But that fat someone keeps at it, won't take your obviously deflections. Won't accept your soft no. Louis, by the way, did. The waitresses turned him down and he backed off.

Well, Louis is a professional comedian. He's dealt with hundreds of hecklers. He knows how to cut through the bullshit. He should have ripped her rude ass an new one.

But that, that wouldn't have made it on tv.
posted by bswinburn at 2:44 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are lots of ways to be a dick

True that.
posted by box at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2014 [23 favorites]


I found that speech really moving and it simultaneously made me really anxious and uncomfortable. I don't know if I've ever experienced that particular blend of emotions before.
posted by painquale at 3:40 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


He should have ripped her rude ass an new one.

Considering that this is a TV show written to tell a story, and the writer (Louis C.K. himself) has choices in what kind of story to tell, I think this is a weird tack to take.

Like, why include this impassioned speech of the intent is for Louis to shit all over it?

I could see saying "I wish this episode didn't exist" or whatever, but clearly the musings about being a fat woman, and the double standard of being someone like Louis C.K. (overweight and not conventionally attractive, but still totally gets laid) and refusing to date a fat woman on principle -- all the while saying bullshit like "you're so pretty" and "you're not fat" and "no really I would totally date someone like you" -- is kind of the point of the thing, no? I don't see why the show would do this episode and end on HAHALOL JUST KIDDING FATTIES ARE THE WORST AMIRITE.

It's very much not Louis' style, if nothing else. I think you're looking for a much meaner and bleaker show, if that's what you came to Louie expecting. Just about every time the show does one of these big "conversation" episodes (the anti-masturbation woman, the guy who plans to commit suicide, Joan Rivers, Dane Cook), usually Louis C.K. as both a character and a filmmaker gives his interlocutor the benefit of the doubt. It's not really a show about how this funny dude totally got one over on a bitch.
posted by Sara C. at 3:42 PM on May 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


Also FWIW in terms of whether Louis "got it right" or not, or whatever, I've seen quite a few female friends posting about this episode on social media today with things like "NAILED IT" or "this speech is exactly how I feel" or "I love Louis C.K. so much for doing this." I mean, I don't know I can't quibble with Slate and am not even going to read the Shakesville link because I know it'll get me riled up, but in general my sense is that actual real life women are reacting positively to this episode and Vanessa's speech specifically.
posted by Sara C. at 3:49 PM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying he should have ripped her a new one because she was fat, and I hope that's not how my comment is being widely interpreted. I'm saying that he should have ripped her a new one because she was being an ass.

In short: Louie treated her politely and fine through the entire episode. She wanted more. Louie politely declined multiple times. She said, "I'm not asking you out." Louie says, "Ok, lets hang out." Then she gets angry when Louie won't treat it as a date.

That's asshole behavior.
posted by bswinburn at 3:59 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess, but ripping people who aren't Louis C.K. a new one pretty much never ever happens on this show. It seems weird to start here and not with fucking Dane Cook.
posted by Sara C. at 4:06 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Louie treated her politely and fine through the entire episode. She wanted more. Louie politely declined multiple times. She said, "I'm not asking you out." Louie says, "Ok, lets hang out." Then she gets angry when Louie won't treat it as a date.

This is where he was flipping gender roles directly, and we're (as viewers) usually totally fine with dudes doing this to women, which we usually call persistent or confident or just a guy pursuing a woman he likes and screaming "friendzone!" when the person being pursued doesn't want to call it a date.
posted by mathowie at 4:23 PM on May 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Well, Louis is a professional comedian. He's dealt with hundreds of hecklers. He knows how to cut through the bullshit.

Yes, Louis knows how to cut through the bullshit. But Louis wrote Vanessa's speech! Her speech is meant to be the thing cutting through the bullshit. I think it's pretty clear that Louis is working through his own false consciousness about his attitudes towards overweight women by making Vanessa the strongest possible opponent that he can. You might not find Vanessa's argument compelling, but Louie (the character) certainly does.

Why does Louie find her argument compelling but you don't? You say that people just aren't sexually attracted to obese people, and Louie should have ripped her apart for not realizing this. That's a big generalization about the way that others think about obese people... but there is no way that we should debate this in this thread, so let's not. What's important is that this is not the reason that Louie refuses to go out with her. Neither Louie nor Louis share your reasons for being unattracted to obese people. You can tell that this is so because Vanessa's speech was specifically written to hit him where it hurts... which is why some people have thought her speech rings a little false, like the author of the Slate article that box links to above. She's not a speaker for all overweight women nor even a fully realized individual. She is written to be the character that can most forcefully expose Louie's own bullshit to his face. If Louie tried out your "obese people kill sex drive" maneuver, Louis would have had Vanessa hand him his ass, because Louie would have been lying to himself and arguing in bad faith.
posted by painquale at 4:27 PM on May 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


"You say that people just aren't sexually attracted to obese people, and Louie should have ripped her apart for not realizing this. That's a big generalization about the way that others think about obese people..."

No, I did not say that. I said, "Most people don't want to sleep with obese people." And I put that in terms "Someone who grew up in a world of internet porn and advertising, of hundreds movie starlets which all together teach one lesson: Fat people? The people who are sexually into that are in a minority."
And, again, I'm told I said "Louie should have ripped her apart for not realizing this" when I did not. I already have a clarification where I specifically say that.
Maybe you should look at your own into your own feelings why you want to misrepresent what I said so badly. Just because it's easier to beat up on a strawman doesn't make me a strawman.
posted by bswinburn at 4:34 PM on May 13, 2014


I think the thing is that it just wouldn't work to have a seven minute scene about what our culture does to fat women, and then Louie's response is "stop pressuring me to go out with you jeez that's totally not fair!"

In a screenwriting sense, it just doesn't follow. That might be a real conversation that two people could have in a situation like this, but as a scene it doesn't work because Louie's response would be a total non sequitur. You can't set up a scene about weight and looks and double standards and then suddenly it goes in a different direction about people who are overly persistent in asking for a date.

Also, in the way that the show is plotted and the specific way the scene was actually shot, taking the focus off the thing that the writer and director very clearly want us to be focusing on -- what Vanessa has to say here -- and defusing it with a "yah but" from Louie ruins the whole effect.

And lastly, adding that in just wouldn't be funny at all.
posted by Sara C. at 4:44 PM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


As far as screenwriting I think it could have worked, there was groundwork for it. Again, I point out that Louie backed off from the women. He could have had an ending where he realized he was the same as the women turning him down both for better and worse.

Of course, he chose not to write that ending, also for better and worse.

As far as the speech itself, I think that's where we have to focus as it's clearly the climax and main point of the episode. And I think it's flawed because it turns her into an ass. And it didn't need to.

I'd have to rewatch it to make sure, but I'm pretty sure all they would need to do would be to take it out of the bit where she says, "“On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys: Why do you hate us so much?”

That take, arguably, saves her speech by (a) taking it out of the realm of personal attack and into a good old rhetorical question rant; and (b) not making her look stupid by pretending (and I say pretending because we have good reason to think she's clever and quick witted elsewhere in the episode) that she doesn't understand the dynamics of what's going on.
posted by bswinburn at 5:03 PM on May 13, 2014


I don't get how she was being an ass. Louie was patronizing her by calling her pretty and not fat and she called him out on it.
posted by bleep at 7:05 PM on May 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Maybe you should look at your own into your own feelings why you want to misrepresent what I said so badly.

I don't think I'm misrepresenting you. Here is what you're saying: Louie should have ripped her apart. Why should Louis have ripped her apart? Because "she's being an ass." Why was she being an ass? Because she "understood the dynamics that were going on" and was willfully ignoring them. What are those dynamics? Louie is not attracted to fat people, and she is fat, and both of them knew this. She won't accept his "soft no" in the face of his obvious lack of attraction. I guess you're relying on some premise that there is no criticizing peoples' sexual tastes and it's rude to push them on this when they politely turn you down.

But all of this is a misreading of the scene. That argument presumes that Louie doesn't find overweight people sexually attractive, and that they both know this. But the show takes pains to show that this isn't the case by having him talk about how he has slept with overweight people. Also, Vanessa claims that Louie would have slept with her if she just threw herself at him, and he does not deny this (and given the fact that Louis wrote the scene, it's probably true). For some reason, you reject all of this evidence and go into a paragraph about how very few people get aroused in the presence of the obese. I can only assume that this is supposed to lead to the conclusion: so clearly Louie couldn't have found Vanessa sexual. I was trying to point out that, although your argument depends on Louie being unable to have sex with overweight women, the show is crystal clear that Louie is willing to sleep with overweight women. He does not want to date overweight women because of what it would reveal to him about himself.

Vanessa didn't get angry because Louie made it clear that he was not attracted to her. If Louie just said that he wasn't attracted to her, then that would have been that. She got angry because he said a bullshit and patronizing lie that could not pass without comment. That made all his bullshit lies available for comment. She was frustrated because it became obvious that he's lying to both himself and her about his reasons for turning her down. It's one thing to turn a person down because you're not attracted to them; it's another thing to not let yourself be attracted to them because you're afraid of being seen holding their hand in public. Maybe it's rude to get angry at a person for their sexual tastes, but this is something that licenses a bit of verbal challenge.
posted by painquale at 7:10 PM on May 13, 2014 [17 favorites]


Again: I said, "Most people don't want to sleep with obese people."

You said, " You say that people just aren't sexually attracted to obese people, and Louie should have ripped her apart for not realizing this."

Unless I'm badly misreading you that's an implicit "all" vs. "most". Hence you're misrepresenting me.
posted by bswinburn at 7:31 PM on May 13, 2014


Which is kind of nitpicking because this isn't about being attracted to fat people or sleeping with them. Vanessa said as much. It's about refusing to be seen with them as romantic partners. And the fact that the only reason Louie turned her down was because he would feel socially demeaned. He didn't turn her down for not being funny or pretty or smart or nice or good at sex. She's (he's) rightfully stating that it's not fair.
posted by bleep at 7:42 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't feel it's ever nitpicking when someone claims that I have beliefs which are arguably sexist, ablest, or whatever that I don't have.

As far as Louis reason for turning her down, bleep, that's not the impression I got watching the show. And the reason that I'm not arguing, where painquale brought it up, it is because I think it's a fair reading based on what I remember; even if that's not what I came away with. Art having multiple readings and all is pretty common.

I would have to rewatch it and start dissecting the episode even more than I already have to see if I think your position is untenable, and I'm not that invested in the show.
posted by bswinburn at 7:54 PM on May 13, 2014


Unless I'm badly misreading you that's an implicit "all" vs. "most"

Yeah, there's no implicit 'all'. Generic statements aren't universal statements. "Mosquitos carry malaria" doesn't imply all mosquitos carry malaria (or even that most mosquitos carry malaria).
posted by painquale at 8:02 PM on May 13, 2014


Oh please, if I say, "Girls are stupid" that's not read as "Some set of girls, perhaps a very tiny part of all girls, are stupid." People would rightly take me to task for saying such an idiotic thing.
posted by bswinburn at 8:08 PM on May 13, 2014


I liked the point in the Slate article that an actual confident fat girl would demand more than just holding hands with a guy as their dream. I have some friends who are bigger than Sarah Baker who demand more than that. I'm thinking of one woman in particular who is a newish friend and is gorgeous, has what seems like a lovely marriage, and a super exciting, successful media career. Sometimes I have honestly bit my tongue to not girlcrush at her because she is just so cool. I don't know if she could relate to this speech, but she seems like the kind of confident fat girl Louie seems to be representing here.

On the other hand, the point about how Louie didn't want to be seen with a woman like her because he fears they're actually at the same level seemed spot on to me, but that seemed like more of a Louie thing than a Universal Man Fact.
posted by sweetkid at 8:10 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I identified, I've been on both sides of it.
posted by bleep at 8:19 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


more of a Louie thing than a Universal Man Fact

So, I've had reason to see who comedians date, lately, and the whole comedy scene and how male comedians signal status to each other. I've, to an extent, been part of that performance of status, which makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Everything that's said in this scene rings 100% true to me.

1. Yeah, dudes -- or maybe just comedian dudes, or maybe just comedian dudes in Los Angeles, though it's worth noting that Louis C.K. is New York based -- definitely derive status from the perceived desirability of their romantic partners. It's worth noting that this is relationships/girlfriends and adamantly not sexual conquests. There is a status in presenting an attractive woman and introducing her as your girlfriend. I can't believe I'm writing it on this website, but I recently had a conversation where I realized my comedian boyfriend has (at least on some level, probably not in a self-aware way) scored points against his peers based on the fact that they think I'm attractive.

2. You can tell how successful a comedian is by how hot is girlfriend is. And, yes, by "hot" I mean young, conventionally attractive, thin, etc. Up and coming important comedians date models, or really really pretty actresses who could basically be models if they wanted to. I was at a party this weekend and I could 100% tell which dudes are on TV based on how hot the women standing next to them were.

3. It's disturbingly taken at face value that even moderately successful men in the entertainment industry date women who are drastically more attractive than they are. I'm pretty sure this is why wives are hotter than husbands on sitcoms: because the male writers, producers, actors, etc. don't even see this as being unusual. Wives are just hotter than husbands. Obviously. Durrrr. It is known.

I don't think any of this stuff is necessarily true among regular people, but from Louis C.K.'s perspective it's kind of the elephant in the room. I'm glad he recognizes the elephant and has decided to talk about it, even if this is not something that is universally true of all men and there are plenty of fat women in this world with great relationships who don't consider themselves unworthy of love at all.
posted by Sara C. at 10:15 PM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't think there's anything that's universally true of all men. But I don't think this is even a man thing. It's the same reason the Louie character gets turned down by women.
posted by bleep at 10:36 PM on May 13, 2014


This is such a common phenomenon in real life I'm surprised this is the first time I can recall seeing the subject tackled so honestly in a fictional format. This episode hit uncomfortably close to home for me. I can definitely think of a few, specific relationships with otherwise great women who I really clicked with that I never quite let get off the ground because, like Louie, I was subconsciously subscribing to the "I shouldn't be the type of guy who needs to date a woman with (aesthetic imperfection)" concept. While certainly not a part of myself of which I am most proud, I really appreciated this episode for putting something that felt so true, even if unflattering, up on the screen.

On preview: I don't know that using wives and girlfriends as status symbols is something that is at all limited or unique to the comedy world. I've been in technology sales for close to 20 years now. From the very first Christmas party I attended as a rookie rep in the mid-90s through today, one thing that has remained constant is that even without any sales numbers to reference, you can frequently gauge who the top salesmen are at a company by noting where the largest discrepancies lie in physical attractiveness between a saleperson and his date.
posted by The Gooch at 10:37 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's the same reason the Louie character gets turned down by women.

I'm honestly not sure if you're watching the same television program that I am.
posted by dogwalker at 12:19 AM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


This has probably been written about and noted elsewhere by people far more into film studies than me, but I'm really digging the way Louie's aesthetic is evoking Woody Allen in his better days. Little things like signature font on a black background, quiet and evocative music, slow and deliberate pacing. This really feels like it is emerging into something very special.
posted by jbickers at 5:22 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Louie was patronizing her by calling her pretty and not fat and she called him out on it.

see, this is the only thing about this that made me cock an eyebrow - because I genuinely do think she's pretty, and genuinely don't think she's fat. She's not "skinny", no, but she is nevertheless not the body size I would personally define as "fat".

Granted, I'm a woman who digs guys, but I'm sure that there are guys who would feel the same way, who agree that empirically she is pretty and feel that she is not what they would call fat. And such a guy may also have their own completely-alternate reasons for not wanting to date someone. So I just couldn't help but feel that, as valid as her thoughts were, that was she sure she was right in her assessment about him being patronizing?

Still, though, I do also grant I'm kind of an outlier. This is showing up on my own Facebook feed as well, posted by some of my friends with the accompanying "finally someone says what I feel" comments. And yeah, in the script it was indeed him being patronizing, and I'm sure there are nuances I'm not seeing because I didn't have that background. But I do wonder now how to say "I don't think you're fat" to someone in such a way that they understand "no, seriously, I mean that."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on May 14, 2014


That's asshole behavior.

I agree. Everyone's entitled to decide who they are or aren't attracted to. Her aggressive inability to accept that came across as bullying to me and it struck me as unrealistic that someone as not shy as Louie would tolerate it. I think she eventually wore him down by guilt due to his own chubbiness and I'm not seeing that as a positive.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:47 AM on May 14, 2014


was she sure she was right in her assessment about him being patronizing?

I think the script indicates that she was correct in her assessment.

In the same episode Louie is shown trying to hit on a more conventionally attractive, much slimmer waitress from the comedy club, which would seem to indicate where his own aesthetic preferences lie. One would think if he genuinely felt this woman was pretty and not fat he wouldn't have been so opposed to and uncomfortable with the very concept of going on a single date with her, since he is very open to the idea of dating from the waitress pool generally.
posted by The Gooch at 7:25 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


It was patronizing because if Louie really believed she wasn't fat, they'd be dating.
posted by bleep at 7:26 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jinx, Gooch.
posted by bleep at 7:27 AM on May 14, 2014




In the same episode Louie is shown trying to hit on a more conventionally attractive, much slimmer waitress from the comedy club, which would seem to indicate where his own aesthetic preferences lie. One would think if he genuinely felt this woman was pretty and not fat he wouldn't have been so opposed to and uncomfortable with the very concept of going on a single date with her, since he is very open to the idea of dating from the waitress pool generally.

I don't deny that It Was In The Script, but...are there no other reasons someone may choose not to date someone else?

....I may also be kind of a weird case anyway, because I don't think Louie's fat either, so I also don't get his grumbling about that either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:35 AM on May 14, 2014


As a friend of mine said about the "patronizing" part:
When you tell a fat person, "You're not fat," it doesn't make him or her feel better. All it does is make it clear that you think fat people are unacceptable, but since you like the specific fat person you're talking to, you're having cognitive dissonance, which you resolve not by thinking "Maybe I should change my disgusting opinions" but instead "Maybe I should pretend my eyes don't work."
It's "You're one of the good ones," essentially.
posted by Etrigan at 8:35 AM on May 14, 2014 [23 favorites]


It's "You're one of the good ones," essentially.

Ah, gotcha. I'm gonna go into memail with ya, Etrigan, lest this get totally derailed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on May 14, 2014


I just feel like he went way out of his way to show her as someone he would otherwise like.
posted by bleep at 8:50 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


because I genuinely do think she's pretty, and genuinely don't think she's fat. She's not "skinny", no, but she is nevertheless not the body size I would personally define as "fat".

One thing I think was interesting about it is that the scene itself immediately gets away from all the subjective "well I think she's pretty/not-fat/whatever" stuff. Because here's how the story plays out:

We saw last week that Louie perpetually asks out the waitresses at the comedy club, to the point of being a nuisance. To the point that one of the waitresses has to actually tell him that it's getting inappropriate.

So here's this waitress at the comedy club, and she asks him out. Great! Match made in heaven, right? Nope. This is the one comedy club waitress that not only has Louie not asked out, he turns her down flat. Despite being, let's be honest, kind of overweight* and not a dreamy hunk of man meat or anything, himself. Clearly, the show has established that, in the universe of Louie, Vanessa is fat.

The show does a great job of making this about Louie, not about whether this girl is "fat enough" or whatever, in my opinion.

*One problem I do agree with you about, Empress, is that both of these people are sort of "TV Fat", not really obese. But I think casting an actress in the same league as Louie -- maybe even prettier than him -- is important. If the show had cast someone who was really obese and noticeably unattractive, it would have been impossible to make the point they want to make, since the first reaction would be "Well yeah obviously he's not going to go out with her, she's a total dog." It needs to be someone we think would actually be good for him.
posted by Sara C. at 11:10 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


it struck me as unrealistic that someone as not shy as Louie would tolerate it.

I'm starting to wonder how many people in this thread have ever actually watched Louie before.

I've been binging on it lately, and I'd say that about half the episodes in a given season revolve around Louie being humiliated by a woman, often to the point of something we'd call rape. There is one episode in Season 3 where he is raped by a woman, to the point that it was triggering for me, as a survivor of rape, to watch.

One of the ongoing themes of the show is Louie's passivity in the face of female attraction. It would be way out of character and off the tone of the show if he did suddenly start speaking up about it. Especially since the show has a strong history of letting characters who aren't Louie speak their piece. If Louie were a more conventional network sitcom, yeah, the story beat would be a sort of "Father Knows Best" kind of thing where straight man Louie is presented with a wacky lady we're all supposed to laugh at, and then he gets the last word as the rational man. But Louie the actual show that really comes on TV for true in real life flips the script on that. It's the whole point.

OK I'm going to stop long-form essaying about Louie now. Sorry.
posted by Sara C. at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


One problem I do agree with you about, Empress, is that both of these people are sort of "TV Fat", not really obese. But I think casting an actress in the same league as Louie -- maybe even prettier than him -- is important. If the show had cast someone who was really obese and noticeably unattractive, it would have been impossible to make the point they want to make, since the first reaction would be "Well yeah obviously he's not going to go out with her, she's a total dog." It needs to be someone we think would actually be good for him.

Note also that, in her first appearance and the first turning down by Louie, all we can see of Vanessa is her face.
posted by Etrigan at 11:29 AM on May 14, 2014


I just did a big binge on it too, Sara. I have all the feels. I do think this ep, and all of the episodes, exist in the full context of the show and make more sense that way. And I want more. MORE! Ps someone do a thread on the next episode? I'm on my phone.
posted by bleep at 11:35 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's weird, I went from totally hating Louie the first couple episodes (despite generally enjoying Louis C.K.'s standup), to being obsessed with it now.
posted by Sara C. at 11:38 AM on May 14, 2014


I think one of the things about Louis (the show and the comedian) that people who aren't fans may not realize is that he is occupying a very uncomfortable space - shame, humiliation - and doing his comedy from there. It's an extension of "awkward-moment" comedy where you don't know whether to cringe or laugh, and you probably end up doing both. If you don't have that context, I'm not sure how the scene would read.

I think it was a really good episode and one that was written in such a way as to emphasize (maybe even overemphasize) Louis' dickishness and him getting a well deserved comeuppance.
posted by jasper411 at 11:45 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I went from totally hating Louie the first couple episodes

Seriously? You hated the one where he goes in to kiss a woman and she runs away into a fucking helicopter, and they stay on it as it zooms over the horizon? I hate cringe humor, but I laughed so hard at that scene that my DVR automatically moved the show to the top of my priorities list.
posted by Etrigan at 11:47 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, I didn't think the first few were objectively bad. It just took me some time to really get what he was doing. In fact, I should go back and rewatch the first few episodes now that I get it.

I often hate the first 2-4 episodes of any show. It's a personal failing.
posted by Sara C. at 11:51 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]




more of a Louie thing than a Universal Man Fact

So, I've had reason to see who comedians date, lately, and the whole comedy scene and how male comedians signal status to each other. I've, to an extent, been part of that performance of status, which makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Everything that's said in this scene rings 100% true to me.


What I meant by this was that in the scene I felt like Louie was projecting his own insecurities about "my darkest fear is that I belong with a woman like this/we are in the same league" and yeah, other men are going to relate to that but I didn't feel like it was one of those "As a man, I gotta say..." kind of deals. I also felt like the woman's speech was more of a projection of his own insecurities than meant to be something someone like her would actually say. At least not to a man on an early date.
posted by sweetkid at 12:06 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]



I often hate the first 2-4 episodes of any show. It's a personal failing.


But this is how you taught me to watch television.
posted by sweetkid at 12:06 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


...he goes in to kiss a woman and she runs away into a fucking helicopter...

Also, holy crap, that was Chelsea Peretti.
posted by Etrigan at 12:34 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to wonder how many people in this thread have ever actually watched Louie before.

I've watched every episode.

One of the ongoing themes of the show is Louie's passivity in the face of female attraction.

Agreed but passivity does not necessarily equate to shyness, and in this case I think it was her hyper-aggressive behavior and not her gender or her size that were intimidating Louie. She was the one who was making it about her weight and I think he was eventually bullied into accepting her premise. Imagine if the situation were reversed and he was coming at her like that. Oh wait, that did happen when Louie pursued an unknown Black woman all the way to her front door because he didn't want to take no for an answer.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:37 PM on May 14, 2014


I think he was eventually bullied into accepting her premise

This is literally the plot of every single episode of the show, except when it comes to Pamela.
posted by Sara C. at 12:54 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Agreed but passivity does not necessarily equate to shyness, and in this case I think it was her hyper-aggressive behavior and not her gender or her size that were intimidating Louie. She was the one who was making it about her weight and I think he was eventually bullied into accepting her premise.

Hyper-aggressive? She asked him out -- something that he does to so many other waitresses that he was literally asked to stop doing it to every other waitress just last week. He turned her down. Are you willing to stipulate that asking a dude out is so aggressive that it turns men off independent of the woman's society-approved attractiveness? Because we saw -- also just last week -- that when a woman who looks like Yvonne Strahovski asks Louie out, he is all over that shit.
posted by Etrigan at 1:04 PM on May 14, 2014 [8 favorites]


Bullied into accepting her premise?? So...the big speech, given however many minutes of airtime, was meant to be read as just completely off base? So instead of seeing Louie sort of laid bare we're supposed to take the end of this script as the story of someone who just won't shut up about their pet issue, and we're supposed to cringe while thinking How is Louie going to back away from this crazy person? That sounds like maybe more of a Seinfeld episode.

As for bswinburn, suggesting it's daft of her to ask Why? when "Everyone knows why": You seem to be aware that these structures of attraction are largely if not almost entirely socially constructed, so why can't someone ask -- in a moment of vulnerability, no less -- why this systemic and arbitrary injustice exists. Sure, it's socially unacceptable to call someone out for participating in such a widespread and self-evident injustice, and sure -- most might feel individually helpless to change what's been ingrained in them -- but it's not ridiculous. By insisting such behavior is "being an ass" you're just participating in that injustice further, which is why you've been responded to as though you were being more than a bit of a jerk.

Lastly, back to fuse-theorem (though bswinburn seemed to be making a similar point), 'hyper-agressive' doesn't seem like an appropriate descriptor. The character is forward, but she's been designed to approach him in such a charming way -- smiling, for example, not at all nervously, to communicate that rejection isn't going to shatter her or anything -- that apart from maybe the hockey tickets she doesn't cross the line into creepy.
posted by nobody at 1:46 PM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


I was going to make a thread for the next episode but apparently it's one of four. Should we do a thread for each of them or one big thread? Or no threads? How will that work?
posted by bleep at 3:32 PM on May 14, 2014


I'm confused. Do you mean it's Episode 4? If so, then just make an Episode 4 post.

If you mean they're releasing 4 new episodes at the same time, it seems like last week when two episodes were released, Mathowie did two separate posts, so probably we should do the same.
posted by Sara C. at 3:35 PM on May 14, 2014


Well the next episode is part 1 of 4 so it sounds like there's a big arc coming up. But you're right, I should just do that.
posted by bleep at 3:59 PM on May 14, 2014


If it's like previous multi-part episode arcs, I'm assuming each one will stand on its own.
posted by Sara C. at 4:02 PM on May 14, 2014


(To clarify: the second episode that aired this week was called "Elevator Part 1" and the next 5 episodes, airing two at a time on the 19th and 26th, with the last on June 2nd, form parts 2 through 6, at least according to the episode titles.)
posted by nobody at 4:02 PM on May 14, 2014


Okay, I submitted it. Whee!
posted by bleep at 4:18 PM on May 14, 2014


Are you willing to stipulate that asking a dude out is so aggressive that it turns men off independent of the woman's society-approved attractiveness? Because we saw -- also just last week -- that when a woman who looks like Yvonne Strahovski asks Louie out, he is all over that shit.

No, I'm not willing to stipulate that generality at all. I was put off by her unwillingness to accept that he wasn't attracted to her for whatever reason. IMO, who he does happen to be attracted to and quickly accept overtures from is none of her business.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:59 PM on May 14, 2014


I was put off by her unwillingness to accept that he wasn't attracted to her for whatever reason.

"Whatever reason"? Do you honestly believe that there was any reason besides exactly what she was talking about?
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 PM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Forgot to add: Because, frankly, Louie clearly didn't believe there was any reason besides exactly what she was talking about. You're defending someone who tacitly admitted that his behavior was indefensible.
posted by Etrigan at 8:19 PM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't know about how much the episode spoke for women, but it absolutely nailed how it is for forty-something dudes who have straddled the line between "thick" and "fat" their whole lives.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:49 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think she was aggressive in asking him out. Just forward and self confident. She was far less aggressive than we have seen Louie be in the past (as we are reminded of when the other waitress tells him to just stop it).

I do think it's interesting that her behavior is being interpreted this way though. And I suspect this was intentional. She was a perfect example of one of my favorite LouisCK bits, where he gestures at his body and says something like "yeah, I know, but just let me talk to you for a minute". Because he knows that his attractiveness for many people lies in his mind and personality, and in this episode he was showing how it's hard for many women to get that same consideration. Vanessa is this smart, funny, thoughtful and pretty woman (who is overweight), she is a female version of Louie himself. And he doesn't want to give her the same consideration he wants for himself.

As usual, a beautifully written episode where Louis CK beats himself up to expose one part of what's wrong with the world.
posted by biscotti at 6:16 AM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm just catching up on Louie episodes, so I know I'm coming in late. But here's what I liked about the episode:

I like how Louie realized that in that moment, he is a representative of his gender, like it or not. It didn't cost him anything to listen, he gave in to listening. In fact, hearing what she was saying was his responsibility in that moment. His willingness to hear it was important and personal. It didn't really matter whether he agreed or disagreed. He doesn't need to assess what she's saying, verify or resist it. The only thing to do, finally, is to listen.

Internet discourses are dominating right now, and it's a platform for people to agree, disagree, dissect and judge the veracity of other people's experiences. But what is human is to listen to and accept that people's experiences of the world are THEIR experiences, and not up for judgement or verification or scrutiny. It's not all "data." And it doesn't cost anything to listen. (Even if you disagree. Even if you feel like you're not the person she's accusing you of being.) It's not debate. It's relatedness. It's intimate. It's a human gift exchange.
posted by vitabellosi at 1:18 PM on May 21, 2014


« Older Adventure Time: Sad Face...   |  Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey: ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments