Lucky Louie (2006) (TV Series)
Here is something a little different; I’m going to share my thoughts on a completed series of television. Even thought “Lucky Louie” was cancelled after it’s first season, I think the 12 episodes demonstrate some of the most creative, interesting and innovative sitcom to have come out in the 2000’s.
After finished the last episode last night, I would put “Lucky Louie” right along side “Arrested Development” and “The Larry Sanders Show”, as my favourite comedy shows.
I had seen about 6 episodes as the show aired, but I was unable to see the rest until I got the complete first season. Having been a fan of Louie C.K.’s comedy, you can see much of his material in the show. Louie plays, more or less, himself, except he is a mechanic. He and his wife, Kim, have a daughter, Lucy. The show revolves around their interactions with each other, and their neighbours and friends.
The show is very odd, there’s no doubt about it. It was the first HBO show to have been filmed in front of a live studio audience. It is shot and lit in the standard ‘4 camera’ sitcom set up. Think of the visual difference between shows like “Seinfeld”, “The King of Queens”, “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Roseanne” and shows like “Scrubs”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” etc. With the former shows there is only ever one side of the room that we are looking at. This is because the studio audience is on the other side. The latter films only have one camera and usually don’t take place on a stage. So, “Lucky Louie” falls very much in the former section.
“Lucky Louie” is not only filmed in the sitcom style, but its jokes are also written in the same style as a normal sitcom. This is one of the most interesting things about the show; its utter commitment to the format. It would be very easy for the sitcom style to wear old. All the swearing and sexual references etc obviously aren’t compatible with the sitcom format, so presenting those jokes in that style is a joke in itself. But having the dirty jokes writing and delivered in the same way as all the jokes in, say, “The King of Queens”, it shows a commitment to the format and also elevates the style of the show from a joke to a way to tell the stories.
The jokes are still very funny and the show definitely earns its R Rating. I believe that because of the show’s complete commitment to being what it is, it transcends the format and even showcases some profound moments of real pathos. The episode where Kim realises that she has grown to hate Louie is oddly funny but also very melancholy and touching.
What I think I like most about the show, as well as its commitment to its genre, is that while being very very funny and very smart, its humour is in service of something larger. They don’t always swear or talk about adult topics because of the shock value, but it contributes to the overall idea of the episode.
P.S. If you enjoy his stand up or this show, be sure to watch his new show "Louie", now in its second season.
Top 5 Things About “Lucky Louie”
5. Jim Norton’s Rich.
4. The credit sequence animation.
3. The cold open of the pilot.
2. The way the jokes are written according to the sitcom formula.