The 'Louie' Scale: 'Feelings Are Gross and Boring'

The end of "Pamela" and the end of the season finally let Louie be happy. Right?

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It's no secret that Louie is more than a comedy. The show can range from the happily hilarious to the utterly depressing. So for this fourth season, we're going to plot each episode on "The Louie Scale" to figure out just how comedic or dramatic it was.

"Pamela Part 2" opens with Pamela finally, reluctantly, agreeing to go on a date with Louie. And the date is, miraculously, perfect. There's the art gallery, in what is possibly the funniest scene of this season since "Model," which features art that could only exist in Louie's universe: a bag of dog shit, neon nooses. There's walking into Central Park at night without getting murdered. And, of course, the perfectly timed shooting stars. It's one of the very few times (maybe the only) that the show lets Louie get everything right, everything he wants.

At his apartment, only briefly does the show address Pamela's distance – "Either you want to hurt me or you don't care," Louie says – before brushing past it to get to more of what Louie wants: sexting each others pictures of their underwear while standing face-to-face, and then sleeping together. There's still reason to feel unsettled – the way Pamela, in the morning, tells Louie's daughters, "That's supposed to be my boyfriend? I deserve better than that" –  but then they go to make breakfast, and Louie follows, struggling to pull on his pants. Louie is letting its namesake be happy, and yet we can't help but expect the rug to be pulled out from underneath. 

"Pamela Part 2"

The season's finale, "Pamela Part 3," more obviously addresses our question: Should Louie be happy?

Pamela literally cleans house and gets rid of all of the terrible stuff in Louie's apartment. She won't let Louie wear his glasses. She meets Janet and asks, "How is your ex-wife black?" (We're not given an answer, really). She sees his stand-up for the first time and doesn't laugh once. "What's the suicide rate for comedians, like 76 percent?" Pamela asks. We're reminded that just maybe Louie and Pamela shouldn't be together.

But then Marc Maron appears, armed with a new TV show in a world where Louie never got his, and tells Louie, "You've been a shitty friend." And Louie agrees, until Pamela gives him the saddest of pep talks. "You're not happy with your life," she says, telling him to "do something about it." "Get a show and be a star." If Maron can do it, so can Louie. "You're just guys." Maybe Pamela's the whole reason Louie exists at all.

When Louie, reaching back to three-year-old feelings, tells Pamela he loves her, all she says is "Okay." "Feelings are gross and boring," she tells him, before finally giving him the shared bath three-years in the making. Again, Louie seems happy. So why don't we believe him?

"Pamela Part 3"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.