Asking someone out is both exhilarating and terrifying, a dicey proposition overall. What's the worst that could happen? Ostensibly, it's just getting shot down. When that outcome actually happens, though, it's hard not to view the declined romantic invitation as a referendum on your looks, your brain, and basically your whole character. Whereas if you simply contemplate asking someone out and then conclude that this person is out of your league, you might be wrong . . . but you'll never have to have the fear validated for sure. Maybe it needs to feel awful getting rejected, however, in order for it to feel as good as it does when someone says yes.
On tonight's episode of Louie, our hero is looking to meet a woman. He's had romantic entanglements before (hell, he's had at least two so far this young season), but now he is focused and on-mission. At one point, Louie does a stand-up bit about the celebratory fist-pump thing guys tend to do after they've successfully procured a phone number or a date. He compares it to high-fiving after a tennis match victory, but for only one person. Apparently, this touchdown-dance-in-miniature is something you never outgrow. Watching Louie prepare to ask out Parker Posey, all nervous and vulnerable, you get the feeling that this is how it's always been for him, experience and success be damned.
Here are the five most uncomfortable moments from the latest episode.
1.) Being single can be rough enough already, but when your own daughters are calling you out on your crappy sex life, it may just be time to mix things up a little. At the top of the episode, Louie is taking his daughters out to eat when Lily mentions "Mom's friend, Patrick." Although bringing up this potential stepfather prompts both daughters to chide Louie for not having a girlfriend, the real uncomfortable part is when Jane emphasizes that Patrick is really funny – the one trait Louie actually feels confident in himself about.
2.) The great Maria Bamford appears in this week's episode, playing a hopefully exaggerated version of herself. When she and Louie wind up in bed together after performing sets at Caroline's in New York, it's implied that these two have had an occasional hookup thing going for a while. Their post-coital bliss is anything but blissful, however. The two talk about the night's forthcoming second round of sexcapades like it's the least exciting thing that's ever happened. It's no wonder they're both engaged in the surreal reality-TV parody they're watching to keep from fully engaging each other. After Louie suggests that Bamford meet his kids, things go from bad to worse, though, prompting an unmitigated attack on Louie's sexual prowess. Ouch.
3.) You know the scene in movies when the male hero sees the woman of his dreams for the first time? It's often depicted in slow-motion, accompanied by doo-wop to imply a feeling like coming home. Well, most of the time that scene doesn't end with the dream woman (here, a teacher at Louie's daughter's school) slamming a door in the hero's face. This outcome alone would be a funny enough send-up of that particular cliché, but then Louie keeps having the same slow-motion appraisal of every other teacher he sees on his walk through the hallway, rendering the "at first sight" moment as arbitrary as it actually is in real life.
4.) Louie's quest to find a woman brings him to that famous hotbed of sexual tension, the book store. It is here that he sees Parker Posey (whose character goes unnamed) and hears that doo-wop music again, without the slow-motion this time. As he makes his approach toward the counter to talk to her, though, he is intercepted by another bookstore employee. "Can I help you?" the hapless guy asks. "No," Louie responds, and looks at the dude as though he were an insect or a detour sign.
5.) After Louie finally does talk to Posey's bookstore clerk, it turns out that she is incredible. Not only is she able to tell Louie things about his 10-year-old daughter's life based on her reading preferences, but she is funny without trying too hard and seems receptive to his charms. Pamela Adlon, a consulting producer and occasional actor on the show, shares a "story by" credit with C.K. for this episode, and it shows in the feminine insight of this scene. When Louie finally asks out the bookstore clerk, he basically holds her vocally hostage, making sure he gets out everything he wants to say in his sweet sales pitch before she's allowed to respond. "I don't date guys, I'm a lesbian," she says, and it seems like the perfect awkward ending for the episode. She was joking, however, and the two make plans to have dinner later that night. Louie's resulting fist pump feels duly earned.
Last episode: I Wasn't Drowning, But I'm Glad You Saved Me