|Louis CK making his Louis CK face.|
Season 2, Episode 4 "Joan"
Joan Rivers guests stars on the nearly-always-funny Louie. After a hit and miss season, the show was renewed for a second and while the series premiere certainly left a lot to be desired, the other episodes have been hilariously, and brutally, honest. That, I suppose, is the allure of Louie. It's not like a Seinfeld, that makes light of being just-a-guy that does just-a-guy things. Louie is the gritty reboot of the main character-focused sitcom. If The New Adventures of Old Christine had an older, alcoholic brother that'd had a rough time, it would be Louie.
And while that all sounds terrible, there is a refreshing sympathy and occasional empathy that you feel while watching the show. Watching Louie do the things he does and say the things he says is an exercise in pure cathartic delight.
After making a string of gambling and Trump related jokes at the Trump Casino, Louie takes the moral high ground and quits on principle. After catching a bit of Joan Rivers' set, he sees her after the show. The episode is not so much consistently hilarious, but the earnest, self-depricating humor and comedy-business wisdom that Rivers' spews will draw you in, whether you're laughing or not.
You can feel what Louie feels for a minute; completely self-righteous and over-confident until an objective, experienced party sets us straight. That's the greatness of the show, you feel genuinely bad for Louie when bad things happen and when he's succeeding at something, you're rooting for him. (Who else hoped he'd buy the $17 million dollar mansion?) For some reason, he's set the barometer for the lovable misanthrope while also managing to be not all that different than the viewers are. That's what makes the show so strong, and the episode "Joan" is no exception.