Louie Season Premiere Review: “Back”/”Model” (Season 4, Episodes 1&2)


It seems like a lifetime ago that Louis C.K. was a mere stand-up comedian hoping for his big break. Not even those who noticed the sheer quality of his material would have ever guessed that, many years later, that same man would be responsible for the slick work of pure genius that is Louie.

Over the last three seasons, we’ve witnessed the many facets of the lead actor, writer, director and former editor of the show. On one hand, the raunchy, distasteful comedian who prides himself with being a masturbation fan and a “professional a-hole” provides us with easy laughs solely based on penis and fart jokes. On the other hand, C.K. offers one a first-class seat on a journey through his brilliantly twisted mind and, as he revisits heart-crushing memories—decades-old grudges and ancient mistakes—we are treated to a spectacle of magical realism that’s purely based on self-awareness.

The degree to which the comedian knows himself and his own limitations is quite outstanding. If one pays close attention to his routines, C.K. will mostly poke fun at his own shortcomings, and the fact that he subsequently found a way to adapt this perpetual self-loathing into a well-rounded TV show is nothing short of extraordinary.

But what does Louie exactly deal with? If there’s anything that I’ve learned from “Back” and “Model”—the first and second episodes of season 4, respectively—it is that, while the dramatic aspect of the show is of vital importance to its development, the downright ridiculousness that plagues the eponymous character’s every-day life is accountable for Louie’s success.

The premiere opens with a trio of extremely loud garbage men waking the main character up from his slumber, thus he’s already off to a bad start. He subsequently has unpleasant encounters with a maintenance worker, a friend, and even his own children.

The fictionalized version of C.K appears to find solace at his regular comedy club, and at poker night with fellow comedians—which has been a recurrent segment in several other episodes—where he first learns from Jim Norton about a new, allegedly better way of pleasing oneself with a vibrator. Naturally, he appears to dismiss it and laughs it off with the rest of the group. Even though he’s been shown to be a pushover multiple times in past episodes, Louie seems to possess some leadership within his clique, as they rarely taunt him or Sarah Silverman.

Possibly unbeknownst to his group of friends, he develops curiosity over the effectiveness of Norton’s method, and consequently arrives at a ladies’ store in order to get a vibrator, though he is shown as uncomfortable as any insecure man would when put in a similar situation. However, he throws his back out after a sudden movement, and rushes towards a doctor’s office.