TV review: "Louie" returns to funny form

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You never quite know what direction Louis CK will go with any given episode of “Louie,” and that’s part of what makes the FX series so great. The first four episodes of Season 5 harken back to the earliest seasons, while sprinkling in elements of Seasons 3 and 4. If this continues, it could result in the best season of “Louie” yet.

The opening foursome of “Louie” episodes are packed with those strange, hilarious, uncomfortable, heartfelt and downright weird vignettes that defined the first two seasons. There are also a couple moments — involving the ever-wonderful Pamela (Pamela Adlon) — that feel very much like last season.

Nearly the entire handful of vignettes in Season 5 rank right up there with some of the best stuff the series has done. [Spoiler alert] Louie deals with pooping problems, has incredibly awkward sex, catches a beat-down in perfectly typical “Louie” fashion and hangs out with Bobby (Robert Kelly). If you like “Louie” when it’s funny — in the way only “Louie” is —you’re in for a treat.

Are you a fan of the more serious, contemplative moments the show has done in the past? There are a couple (very strong) moments of that too.

While I quite enjoyed when “Louie” sojourned into more dramatic, longform storytelling (the “Elevator” storyline), the smaller moments from Season 4 resonated the most (the speech at the end of “So Did The Fat Lady,” or the ongoing humiliation of Louie in “Model”). Season 5 of “Louie” packs an emotional and wistful punch with short stories.

There is a good — and appropriate — amount of time dedicated to the relationship between Louie and Pam in a couple episodes, and that’s where the heartwarming/breaking stuff comes. These are also very funny excursions — it’s Louie and Pam for Christ’s sake! — but there are some incredibly profound observations about dating, relationships, commitment, sex, et al. (coming from Pam, of course).

Whatever CK does with “Louie” is fantastic and should be appreciated for its complexity and unpredictability, but there are just some elements I like more than others. Season 5 represents a lot of elements I like, and I’m pretty sure “Louie” fans will feel the same way.

"Louie"

10:30 p.m. Thursdays on FX

4 stars