Louie: Pamela Part 2
June 17, 2014 8:24 PM - Season 4, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Louie & Pamela go on a date.

Louie takes Pamela on a romantic date to an outlandish art exhibit, then to the park for a lovely evening under the stars. In this episode Pamela finally embraces Louie as her lover.
posted by ob1quixote (14 comments total)
My husband and I just watched these two episodes and promptly made out. Our hearts were so warmed.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:48 PM on June 17, 2014

I will never doubt you again Louie. After spending this whole week wondering if I was a complete shit head/rapist-by-association for not being that outraged by last week, he opens by examining the nature of art and the concept of the narrator vs the subject vs the artist vs the audience. I Love Louie.
posted by bleep at 10:04 PM on June 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I might need to watch the Pamela parts again in quicker succession. These were easily my least favourite episodes of this season.
posted by dogwalker at 1:56 AM on June 18, 2014

So charming. I love that the Pamela character is written as someone who simply is emotionally different from a lot of people (particularly female stereotypes!) and that Louie has to learn to accommodate himself to that. He's starting to stand up to her a little more, too, and the resulting conversations are much more fruitful and honest. I won't spoiler Part 3 other than to say there's just more charm on the way.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:31 AM on June 18, 2014

Pamela is such a great character. Love her.
posted by Dag Maggot at 6:36 AM on June 18, 2014

Also I loved the art gallery sequence. I've been to so many shows like that--where everything is funny and uncomfortable and sort of nightmarish.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:37 AM on June 18, 2014

“The Internet Has a ‘Louie’ Problem,” Andy Greenwald, Grantland, 18 June 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Please be aware that Grantland article has major spoilers about episode 14, if you're reading this (as I am) after watching episode 13 (the subject of this thread) but before watching episode 14.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 11:46 PM on June 18, 2014

slappy_pinchbottom: “Please be aware that Grantland article has major spoilers about episode 14, if you're reading this (as I am) after watching episode 13 (the subject of this thread) but before watching episode 14.”
Indeed. The linked recaps treat the two episodes a single entity too. It's been a challenge with the two-episode format all season. It's yet another way that Louie is trolling the Internet.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:37 AM on June 19, 2014

I finally got around to watching these last two episodes. This season was such a triumph.

But boy, did I ever cringe a lot during these last two episodes. I was rooting for Louie, but I also felt like he was unbearably emotionally manipulative with Pamela. He can be such a bullying, emotional child that he came very close to losing my sympathy in a lot of scenes. I don't imagine that Pamela will stick around.

Interesting that Pamela addressed his ex-wife being black... especially since she was not black in the flashback episode. It's like Pamela has a kind of insight into metatextual features that only the audience is privy to. Louie basically broke down when she challenged him about how any of this made sense.
posted by painquale at 8:38 PM on July 4, 2014

Hmmm I didn't get that sense at all. I also didn't get the sense that Pamela would put up with any kind of bullying for a second. It doesn't seem in her character.
posted by bleep at 8:57 PM on July 4, 2014

I'm thinking of, for instance, the scene where Louie says that he loves her and then passive-aggressively demands that she say the same thing. When she doesn't want to, he calls her an asshole. That's horrible emotional bullying. Or when she says that she had fun on their date but doesn't want to sleep over, he grumps over to a chair and is reclusive and mean. In both situations, she tells him that he's hurting her, but he keeps being a huge dick. And it works! In both cases Pamela is the one who makes a move to smooth things over even though he's the one generating the conflict. She's totally susceptible to this kind of childish bullying.

He hardly ever tries to see things from her perspective or is even remotely respectful of what she wants: he ruins two nice dates because he suddenly escalates, puts all sorts of demands on her, and inflicts emotional abuse when she doesn't respond in the way she wants. It's so teenagery. Let her take it slow and talk about things in her own way, Louie. That's what she was essentially telling him in the tub at the end.
posted by painquale at 6:08 AM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ugh. Louie's way with women has been problematic from the beginning and I don't see that there's any plan to reconcile it. He lunges at Joan Rivers, pressures Amia and physically blocks the door and then he physically assaults Pamela -- grabbing her arm, restraining and cornering her.

Clearly we're supposed to see that he's just plain inept and maybe even that a more confident man would have just let the women leave, try again a better day or at least save his self-esteem. The problematic part is that there are a lot of men in the pick-up world that use phrases like "last minute resistance" to swap tips on pressuring women into sex. The problematic part is that victims of sexual assault often fall back on being silent out of fear.

This interview with Pamela Adlon (http://www.vulture.com/2014/07/californication-pamela-adlon-interview-louie-rape-scene-tv-recap-culture-debbie-harry.html) explains that the script had them in a metaphorical boxing/cornering scenario and it was Pamela Adlon's idea to have the struggle be more physical than a stare down. But then she also makes it clear that she's offended by people being offended which is just tone deaf to the fact that rape can play out in subtle ways that look exactly like that scene.

So, pretending that that scene is meant to be benign, the relationship is still abusive. The abuse flows both ways. The way that Pamela denigrates Louie in front of his kids is awful and we're clearly supposed to sympathize that it's awful, but to what end? Forget caring about Louie's feelings being hurt, that's a harmful way to act with children.

They've both done irredeemable things, with Louie's being far, far worse, and yet we're supposed to empathize with them?

I get that Louie CK is going for some other layer of meta-context here but I'm a pretty smart guy and I can't quite put my finger on what it is so I'm sure that there are some pretty dumb guys who are just absorbing the layer where "Act Alpha, even ineptly so --> get laid." It must be okay because Louie says he is a feminist! He even gives fat women a voice (for one episode and then we never see a fat woman character ever again.)
posted by Skwirl at 11:19 PM on July 5, 2014

The more I reflect on these final episodes, the less and less I like them. They feel a lot like the conclusion to a Judd Apatow movie. A man is rewarded for being a big abusive man-baby and we're meant to feel good about how all his moping has lead him to break through his love interest's icy veneer. (Want a woman to respond to your declarations of love? Call her an asshole. Maybe she'll finally recognize that she's an asshole for not declaring her love back to you.)

The difference is that the Seth Rogan protagonist is never really presented as deeply pathetic. Louis wrings a lot of humor out of how deeply pathetic his character is. Still, these last episodes have not left a lot of interpretive leeway for being critical of Louie's behavior. They are stuffed full of with narrative trappings that convey that Louie should be celebrated for being a big sulky baby. The romcom sensibilities, the sappy music, the closure involved in taking the bath... it's all a partial vindication of Louie's childishness in the previous episodes. The authorial voice was never so determinate.

They could have still filmed a sweet ending without doing this. The conclusion to the Amia plot was outstanding.

Unfortunately, these episodes have made me think less of the season as a whole. I would have recommended the season wholeheartedly beforehand. Now I'm not so sure. I'd definitely be tempted to put in disclaimers.
posted by painquale at 12:20 PM on July 6, 2014

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