I love the FX show Louie because it doesn’t try too hard. Most comedies (mostly network comedies) have these overwrought FUNNY-HA-HA jokes that are very specific, clean punchlines, but just aren’t very funny.
Louie is a stand-up comedian at heart and so he’s very used to being funny physically and vocally with subtle hints and changes, where as actors in a comedy series just always seem to do everything over-the-top and punctuate every joke with a screech or obvious facial emotion. They present these plot lines that are so perfect and wrapped up with a bow that would never happen in real life.
Louie’s plot lines are messy and disjointed and usually end up dark and disappointing. And to me that’s funny, because it’s real.
It makes perfect sense that a bald, overweight man in his 40s doesn’t get the hot chick every time or never actually. That he struggles to understand his young daughters, that he has immense self-doubt and loathing, that he questions his life decisions and gets annoyed at stupid, petty things like everyone else. I love that because I can relate. Although I’m nothing like Louie, I struggle with inadequacy and trying to fit in a world that bases goodness and worth on age, race, beauty and general ignorance and stupidity. Louie addresses these issues and makes them humorous, but in a way where he’s not trying desperately to pull a laugh out of us. He doesn’t really care if his show is a hit (as proven with his break from HBO), he wants to make his show his way and if you don’t laugh then you just don’t get it.
It’s refreshing when a comedy TV show does whatever it wants, stays true to its identity and still strikes a nerve in people who have been numbed by the four-camera sitcom.
If you couldn’t tell already, I really dislike network sitcoms.