Louie S03E03 Recap - "Miami"

Louis C.K.'s job as a comedian gives him the excuse to venture out of Louie's normal New York setting every once in a while. We had an episode in the Midwest in season one, and season two took us to Afghanistan in the show's best episode so far, "Duckling", and this year, Louie decided to take his act to Miami, for a couple of shows and even a little R&R by the beach.

But despite this new setting, new directorial and writing opportunities, the outcome was pretty much the same for the show's titular main character in "Miami". Once again, it was full of shame, euphemisms, sexual aggravation and eventual acceptance for Louie, who's placed in a situation that he must adapt to after initial discomfort, only to have it quickly yanked away from him when he's finally found acceptance. There was, however, a difference this time around, as it wasn't his girlfriend breaking up with him like in the season premiere, or Melissa Leo essentially raping him the next week. No, Louie's escapades had more to do with accidental and implied homosexuality this week.

In the episode, Louie heads down to Miami, and decides to take a swim. He goes out to the beach, but intimidated by all the attractive bodies, he decides to wait it out until most of them have gone back to their hotels. Alone on the beach with a couple of fat guys, he heads into the ocean, but a guy cleaning up the chairs on the beach takes his stuff. He waves at him, but the lifeguard thinks he's drowning so he goes out to save him. He tries to explain that he wasn't drowning, but much like he does later in the episode, he accepts the lifeguard's accusations, but makes a friend with him, his name Ramon.

They head out and spend the day together the next day, going to a party with his family and eventually racing back to the hotel so Louie can do his show. Louie's had such a good time that he decides to stay an extra few days, but Ramon gets the wrong impression, and that leads to an incredibly awkward conversation where Ramon tries to stop Louie's sexual advances, which are of course non-existent. Louie has trouble expressing himself, as we all know, so he eventually accepts the accusations and lets Ramon go on his merry way thinking that Louie was interested in him sexually. He's never going to see this guy again, so what's the big deal.

But this seems to be a part of a bigger realization on Louie's part. Why should he even care if some young Cuban lifeguard in Miami thinks a middle-aged half-Mexican comedian from New York is gay? What's with this obsession on the part of heterosexual men with convincing every living soul around them that they like pussy? Louie goes into this with a bit about how women aren't concerned with people thinking they're lesbians, or gay men concerned with people thinking they're straight, but us heteros (see what I did there?) need to make sure that everyone around us knows our sexual orientation. It's also an interesting way to present the Ramon character. As much as Louie shouldn't care what Ramon thinks, why does Ramon think that he's gay? The simple announcement that he extended his vacation soured Ramon to Louie, even though they seemed to have a pretty good friendship going in a short time span, because that's not how straight men are supposed to act. They're not supposed to say "wonderful", and they're not supposed to extend their vacations just because they had fun with some dude.

It's fascinating, and Louie spreads it all out for us to see in a way that only he can. And it's really been like this for all three episodes of season three so far. Louie takes a subject that's utterly fascinating about white, middle-aged, straight men, and lays it all out for us to see how ridiculous it could be, and has them result in the most awkward, bone-cringing ways possible. The three subjects have definitely been a little interrelated as well. In week one, it's about Louis' inability to communicate his feelings, and that comes back in episode three when trying to convey that he isn't gay. In episode two, it's about a man's crazy standards when it comes to sex and sexual topics, and that comes into play here as well with the discussion of heterosexuality and our need to proclaim it to the world.

These topics are uncomfortable to a lot of people, but they probably shouldn't be. Louis C.K. is bringing them to the table and making them purposely and outlandishly awkward, all while keeping it sincere and relatable, even if the overall situation they're presented in might not be commonplace.

As a comedy, season three of Louie certainly hasn't been Louis C.K.'s best work on TV. There have been few laugh out loud moments and you usually just wait for the stand-up bits to lighten the mood. But they've been work of arts. They've been deep, they've been meaningful, and they've shown some serious growth and maturity in a comedian who makes a living telling jokes about his aging penis. Louis borrows heavily from his inspirations, in this episode in particular from Woody Allen, but there's really nothing else on TV like it.

There's a theme developing in Louie this season. It's about truth, about saying what we mean and our inability to do so, about the pain that the inability to be honest brings us, and our acceptance in lying simply because honesty might bring us a smidgen of unhappiness itself in the moment. There was a line Ramon had about how if you say you don't know something, you could learn everything, and that felt so fitting for this season and what Louis has seemingly tried to convey. And it's pure genius. "Miami" continues this theme. And while it might be the least "funny" episode of the three, it also struck me as the most meaningful, as if the themes of the first two episodes finally started coming together. One can only wonder where he's going to take it next.

And all Louie wanted was to make a new friend.

"Miami" gets 8.5 stolen strawberries out of 10.

Bits & Pieces:

  • I found the scene with Louie's (black) ex-wife to be interesting. It tied everything together nicely, allowed an outlet for some dialog in an episode that didn't have much (or much plot, frankly), and it posed the show's biggest question. Did Louie actually meet someone, like his wife accused him of, even though it was a man?
  • While I liked the scene with Louie's wife for its purpose, I'm still a little uncertain about her being black. Again, it's not a racial thing, or even a matter of making sense of the genetics, it just feels a little unnecessary and maybe even broad. I really hope they have an episode coming up where they delve a little deeper into their (former) relationship to clear this up.
  • Once again, the directing and visuals were fantastic. Louis' really starting to master his craft, and he made excellent use of his Miami setting (as he obviously won't get to use it often) to show off the culture. Again, it was very Woody Allen-esque.
  • The very short line of standup at the beginning about how Louie didn't like balloons was totally a euphemism for boobs.
  • "What are you doing?" "This?"
  • The strawberry bit with the girl who took one even though he didn't want her to was just one of those Louie things. It was a little more obvious than the stuff he usually does, but I also liked the bit where there was just a shirtless guy standing in the hotel lobby when he was checking in.
  • The end tag showed Louis trying to direct a scene in the middle of the ocean as the waves were hitting his face. They've broken the fourth wall with these a couple times before but this was just fun to see for a show that's so cinematic.
Comments 2
titanius719's picture

I just finished watching Louie at Dish Online and I think the Miami setting was a nice change of scenery. I personally believe that every episode of Louie should be watched twice. A lot of the humor and deeper meaning are subtle. An example would be how Ramon saved Louie’s life by showing him the real Miami even though he wasn’t “drowning”. If you didn’t catch it don’t feel bad, my coworkers at dish didn’t either.