After the heavy lessons of last week's 'Moving' episode, Louis C.K. throws us yet another curveball this week, only with an enlightening spin from an industry veteran and legend for reasons that only the most attentive (and elderly) truly understand: Joan Rivers is a frickin' genius.
With a structure and format coming at us with little regard to consistency other than quality and honesty, "Louie" remains one of the most refreshing shows to come around in years. He walks a balance of matter-of-factness that keeps him on pace with our own egos, fragile and struggling through the expectations of those around us - including ourselves. And so we're not too taken aback when he opens the show with a stand-up discussion about having diarrhea in public places, and the awkwardness of having to bring your kids with you so they're not taken by some stranger.
Louie's in Atlantic City, suffering under the soul-crushing futility of performing at a mostly empty Trump casino, doing stand-up in front of depressed, sad sacks who are despondent as can be after getting cleaned out at the tables. Is this a real scene from an actual performance? We're not sure, but that's how convincing the teeth-grittingly uncomfortable experience is.
The management has seen the show, and a demeaning recap of the house rules in an impromptu meeting in the kitchen area leads to a hasty decision.
"Well, you know what, you better fire me, because I can't get through the weekend if I can't say how much I hate it," Louie confesses, sticking to his artistic guns. He appears genuinely helpless when admitting that even he doesn't know why he simply can't follow the rules. On his way out of the casino, he sees a sign for Joan Rivers' show and steps in. He's clearly inspired by her brutal onstage honesty, and waits around after to meet her. She knows who he is and compliments him, inviting him to hang out, have a drink and "talk shop".
Louie meets Joan alone in her suite, casual and jovial, and over drinks she admonishes him for quitting his job at a Trump moneypit simply because he can't adhere to simple regulations. "This is not an easy business. You wanna try my life sometime? You've got a job! How lucky are you?"
Appreciate where you are. That is the core message within the episode, and the point Joan continued to drive home. "I thought I had a lock on old. And then guess what! Betty White dusted off her old dumb tits and trotted 'em out. That Dane...Crock? That guy? That asshole? He could come and take your job from you!" *Dead*
Louie tries to explain his dilemma, but she has no patience to listen to his shit. "Do you know how many blowjobs I had to give to get where I am?" She attacks him on the couch when he guesses forty.
"I wish I could tell you it gets better. But it doesn't. YOU get better." And that's when it hits him. And that's when it hits us. There's no new turn on this merry-go-round. You must carve out your own path and find your own way to betterment. That comes from within, not from waiting for things to get better or sabotaging what's around you. The gifts you're given hardly ever come packaged the way you might expect or even hope. Sometimes it just takes the right perspective shift to realign your priorities.
....And then Louie tries to make out with Joan Rivers. And, naturally, she freaks the hell out, having put no suggestive moves forward. He apologizes.... but then the old bag drops a shocker:
"Oh what the hell... come on. But don't you tell anyone! And that's for your sake, not mine. Nobody likes a necrophiliac." Mercifully, the screen goes dark after that.
Cut to the credits, and Louie finding his old boss. We don't hear the words, but we see the agreement as he followed the advice of someone far further along down quite the same path he's on now.
He got his job back.