The 'Louie' Scale: 'Misery Is Wasted on the Miserable'

Last night's episodes saw the end of one arc and the beginning of another, bringing two of the most devastating scenes of the season so far. 

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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.

After six episodes of "Elevator," Amia was finally able to tell Louie how she feels in words he can comprehend. After an opening in which Louie chased her into a church, prayed and bargained ($1 million to understand Hungarian) with god, and an interlude of Hurricane Jasmine Forsythe (which killed a sizable chunk of Brooklyn's population) that served as a reminder that Louie is a father first and lovelorn sad-sack second, Amia brought Louie into a Hungarian restaurant and had a waiter translate a letter she'd written him, some time at night.

And that's where our arc ends. The "peaceful happiness" that Louie and Amia have been enjoying, which "someday maybe could be love," has to end here, because, as Amia said, "This is not my world." She has a son, who has a father, back in Hungary, and countless other people she misses so much more than she can explain to any other human being – the kind of missing Louie will know soon enough – and she could never stay in New York, even if Louie could understand a word she was saying without a intermediary.

So that's it. Six episodes, all because Louie happened to walk into his apartment building the minute Evanka got stuck in the elevator, and in the end we're just like the Hungarian waiter caught in the middle, wiping our eyes, standing up, and getting back to work.

"Elevator Part 6"

"Pamela Part 1" was the start of a new arc on Louie (which will be broken up by next week's two-parter "In the Woods") but it largely dealt with the fallout from "Elevator." The episode began with Louie walking into a deserted apartment 2B to find it unrecognizable, except for a certain red couch. It's almost more heartbreaking that we didn't get to see Louie say goodbye to Amia.

But there was Dr. Bigelow, back yet again to remind Louie that he was being an idiot. "Misery is wasted on the miserable," Bigelow told him, explaining that this sadness he feels missing Amia, what Amia felt for her family in Hungary, is what love really is. "The bad part is when you forget her," Bigelow said, as if knowing there are still four episodes left in the season, leaving Louie literally holding dog shit.

And then, with one text message, Louie moved on.


Because Pamela has returned, and now Louie was ready for the guy-girl type thing she proposed back in "Elevator Part 3". But he missed his chance, she told him, because that's how it goes with Louie. "Why are you so mean to me?" he asked her. "Why do you like it?" she replied.

That second scene with Pamela, though, when he finds her sleeping on (yet another) red couch. "This would be rape if you weren't so stupid," Pamela said, and she's right: it looked and felt like a crime, Louie turned into a monster, lunging after and grabbing for her. He just saw the woman he loved (Amia) slip away from him, but when he fought for Pamela it was brutal and gross. Todd VanDerWerff, at AV Club, makes the point that the seven-minute long stand-up routine (which was just casually in the middle of an episode of primetime television) seemed "carefully positioned to prove both Louie and Louis CK’s feminist bona fides." As if Louis CK was giving us the chaser before the shot.

But it didn't work, really, and "Pamela Part 1" was one of the most uncomfortable episodes to watch in the series, seeing Louie devolve like that.

"Pamela Part 1"

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