Last night I watched S5E3 of Louie. In a series that has been a steady diet of awesome since it started, this was hands-down the best episode yet.
WARNING – HERE THERE BE SPOILERS
Also – trigger warning for abusive partner / relationship.
The prologue takes place in an upscale kitchenware shop in Manhattan. The owner upbraids Louie for what she says will be him wasting her time looking at professional-grade copper cookware. She reads him for just wanting to interact with her because she’s a good-looking young Asian woman, and more generally for being a middle-aged, middling-dumb male whose generation has ruined the world and left the mess for the smarter, younger generation to clean up. Louie has no coherent response to any of this because it all has at least a thread of truth. He doesn’t even have the self-respect to abandon, at the check-out counter, the other merchandise he was going to buy; he meekly pays for it all and leaves. With no nice copper pots.
And so we have the more benign of the two male-insecurity themes dealt out in this episode. Cue the opening theme.
On his way home with his kitchen crap, Louie encounters a cop, who turns out to be Lenny, his sister’s ex-. This forcefully jovial, incredibly unlikeable brodude-with-a-badge gloms on to Louie in seconds. It’s painfully clear that Lenny has no friends, not even on the police force. As their disastrous outing to try to go to a Knicks game wears on, I’m wincing. I’m waiting with Louie for the MRA-whining that has shaded into emotional abuse to turn physical, maybe even deadly.
Then the crisis comes, and the abuser promptly collapses into a useless bowl of mush. Louie has to go rescue the situation with a most improbable find. On the way home with his prize, Louie must spend every dime of “cops will never hassle the middle-aged white male” currency that he has. His successful return finally elicits a sincere response from Lenny, but you know it won’t last.