Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TV: Lucky Louie

I've watched four episodes now of Lucky Louie, and I give up. It's just not funny. I like star/creator Louis C.K.'s stand-up, and I like some of the performers on the show, especially Laura Kightlinger, but it doesn't translate into a good sitcom.

I guess a lot of it depends on whether you think the idea of The Honeymooners with swearing and blowjob jokes is inherently funny. I don't. I'm all for raunchiness. "Yay, raunchiness" -- that is my motto. But there's no focus to it here, it's just heaped on top of standard lame sitcom gags. Having Louie say "Fuck that bitch" about his wife when he's sneaking donuts behind her back doesn't make it funny; it's still just recycling a gag from 20 years ago on The Cosby Show (and other shows before that), but with profanity.

Some of the bits from Louis' stand-up act translate well to the sitcom, such as the conversation with his daughter in the first episode, in which she keeps asking, "Why?" and he keeps trying to answer, getting weirder and darker and more abstract, until he winds up at, "Because God is dead and we're alone." That's still the funniest scene in the series. Other bits don't translate well, such as his wife catching him masturbating in the closet. The show is trying to push boundaries, but with seemingly no purpose or direction other than just the pushing of boundaries itself. And that's not funny to me.

A big deal has been made about this being the first HBO comedy shot in traditional three-camera, live-studio-audience style. The problem there is that it just makes the show look cheap. The sets, the direction, and the video quality are very poor.

So, I give up. It's not often an original HBO show comes along that can't hold my interest. Lucky Louie is one of those rare exceptions.

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