Judge Daryl Loomis' price for flight is around 75 bucks, give or take.
"Just because you like to hang out in your underwear on your couch doesn't mean the United States wants to see it."—Jack Dahl
God, it just keeps getting more depressing. If you love having your sides ache from laughter, then Louie: The Complete Third Season may not be your best choice. But even without the more plentiful gags, the show remains one of the best, and most unique, shows airing today. Unfortunately, Fox doesn't appear to think so highly of it, though, because they basically just punted an on-demand DVD release for the show's fans, but I'll get to that.
Facts of the Case
Good ol' Louis (Louis C.K., The Invention of Lying), the Charlie Brown of television comedy, is still at it; still working the club circuit, still raising his kids, still looking for love. As he schleps around New York City this time around, he finds new adventures with the death of a friend, a brief encounter with an enchanting, damaged soul (Parker Posey, Henry Fool), and biggest of all, gets the chance of a lifetime when the head of CBS informs him that Letterman's retiring. All that sounds great, but like almost everything in Louis' life, it won't end particularly well.
The first two seasons of Louie weren't exactly laugh-riots, but they were sure a lot funnier than season three. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because in lieu of laughs, Louis C.K. delivers the smartest and most emotionally resonant episodes of the show's run.
I didn't realize it when I watched the season during its initial run of FX (nearly two years ago; get with it Fox), but marathoning it this time around, I realized why I wasn't laughing so much, and it opened my eyes to just how clever C.K. really is. Comics like C.K., Doug Stanhope, and Richard Pryor don't tell jokes, they tell stories. And like any good storyteller, the stories are funny. In general, though, the tales they tell are based on real events, or at least exaggerated ones, and they nearly always range from the uncomfortable to the humiliated and even to the tragic. What Louis C.K. has done here, and I guess he's been doing it to a lesser degree the whole time, is give you the stories behind the jokes. I don't laugh; I get sad.
That said, there are some absolutely hilarious and bizarre moments in the season, so it isn't a complete downer. My personal favorite is from the episode "Barney/Never," which opens with Louis attending a lonely funeral for Barney that only one other person attends (Robin Williams, World's Greatest Dad). They have lunch afterward and, in tribute to somebody neither guy liked, visit the strip club Barney frequented. It's a normal club until Louis tells a stripper that Barney is dead. Then, it becomes the saddest club on Earth, as the DJ, in his own tribute, puts on the awful "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger as the dancers cry and hold one another. It's a brilliant, insane moment, but since we're still laughing directly at misery, it fits the tone of the season.
In all this strange, sad comedy, Season 3 features some really fantastic guest performances. In addition to Robin Williams and Parker Posey, who is simply brilliant as the tragic Liz, we also get Gaby Hoffmann (Uncle Buck), Melissa Leo (Homicide: Life on the Street) in a weird rapey role, F. Murray Abraham (Scarface), Chloe Sevigny (Zodiac), and weirdest of all, David Lynch (Lost Highway). Add in the array of Louis comic friends: Maria Bamford, Sarah Silverman, Nick DiPaolo, Marc Maron, Jim Norton, all playing themselves, and there is plenty to enjoy throughout the season. Just don't expect to be rolling in the aisles.
After this season, it's no wonder that he needed a break from the show. I don't necessarily know this, but the season finale sure does look like a signal of this. After the sadness and tragedy of the episode, which is based around the holidays, Louis spontaneously goes away, seemingly without warning to even his family. He needed some fresh air, both in the show and in real life, and I'm glad he got it because his comedy, when he wants to be funny, is better than it has ever been.
I can't say that for the DVD release, though. It's not like previous seasons have been technical marvels or laden with extras, but on-demand Fox? What The Hell?! The thirteen episodes are split over two discs that might as well be screeners. The image isn't terrible, but it's worse than broadcast, with some digital errors and a lack of detail and vibrancy. The sound is perfectly fine, but certainly not as good as it can be. And not a single extra. Ridiculous!
Fox was pitifully lazy with the release of Louie: The Complete Third Season and, hopefully, do better when they put out Season 4. Because of its extended absence, I completely forgot that the show came back, but hopefully, there are a few more laughs this time around. It isn't that I don't like Season 3; in many ways, it's the smartest of its run. I can only take so much crushing existentialism in my comedy, though, and he lays it on pretty thick.
Louie: never guilty. This DVD: solitary confinement.
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