With the third season of Louie currently airing, it was of course appropriate for the second season of the critically acclaimed series to arrive on Blu-ray, around the same time. I am a huge fan of Louie and the work of Louis C.K. in general, so even though I have already watched these episodes multiple times during the week of their individual releases, when initially airing on television, I was happy to go back and rewatch the season once more and provide an evaluation of this Blu-ray set. Of course, I would say that this show still holds up and continues to impress in the way that it improved upon the first season and managed to be more than just a comedy series, by adding on layers of absurdity as well as the sublime parts of life and some of the darkness that comes with it. I only wish the series was expanded on through the use of more special features, which are unfortunately light on this disc. Read on to learn more about this Blu-ray release.
The series revolves around comedian Louis C.K. living in New York as a fictionalized version of himself. The series as a whole does not so much feature an arc for the character, though there are some story beats and supporting roles that get expanded on to at least provide a skeleton for the season. The second season picks up with Louie having better settled into his life as a divorced father, who shares custody with his two young daughters. The show’s episode structure general consists of unconnected vignettes that have the feel of short films that feature the same character. Sometimes these vignettes carry over throughout the whole episode and other times the episodes are divided into having two or three vignettes, which sometimes have their themes carry over and shared between the two. A majority of the episodes also feature Louie doing standup routines, which generally bookend the episodes.
Season 2 includes the following episodes:
- “Country Drive”
- “Oh Louie/Tickets”
- “Come On, God”
- “New Jersey/Airport”
While billed as a comedy series and featuring a lot of episodes that are really funny, Louie works for me as a series in spite of that aspect. I do enjoy being able to laugh with the show, that is for sure, but I also really enjoy the poignancy seen in a lot of the episodes. The first episode of the season, “Pregnant”, may climax with a fart joke, but it is setup in previous scenes with characters talking about their lives with one another, followed by what to do in times of desperation. An episode later in the season, “Eddie”, revolves around the adventures Louie has with a former best friend of his for one night, which is a lot of fun, but it then delves into darker territory, as the friend reveals that he is ready to kill himself. And on the more positive sides of things, the episode “Subway/Pamela” features Louie eloquently describing his love for his friend Pamela (played by friend, recurring guest, and consulting producer Pamela Adlon), despite her rejection.
All of these episodes tend to revolve around certain themes or ideas, with a few that just seem like Louie wanting to have some fun. The clearest influence in the style of this show is Woody Allen, but one can see where this show draws from other media. There is a distinct cinematic style, however, which feels exclusive to how Louie has developed his own feel for this show. I enjoy that fact that not all of the episodes are the same and there is only a loose continuity held throughout the series. One of the best examples as to how the series has its own unique identity is the wonderful extended episode “Duckling”, which revolves around Louie’s USO Tour in the Middle East and how he dealt with being a comedic fish out of water over there. It is the kind of episode that is humorous and introspective at the same time, with the sort of laid back pacing that could put off those who would rather see a more rapid-fire, joke-based sitcom (not that there is anything wrong with that, hello Community or Parks and Rec).
Beyond just the content of the series itself, a lot of my appreciation for Louie comes from the fact that Louis C.K. is in complete control of this series. He is the writer, director, and editor for every episode (though he shares credit with others for a few episodes this season) and gets to make the show that he wants to make. It is of course fortunate that it is a show that people have responded very positively towards, but it is an aspect that I find significant nonetheless. For a limited budget, compared to other TV shows, not only does Louie get to recreate actual experiences from his own life and delve into other stories, but he gets to craft his series to exactly match his vision for the show. It does not hurt that he gets a lot of fellow comedians to appear on the show as well, including Chris Rock, Joan Rivers, Stephen Wright, Todd Barry, and even Dane Cook (for a specific reason).
Even with all of the other redundant shows that currently exist on television, there are still plenty of really quality TV series in existence as well. Louie is, in my opinion (and many others), one of the best shows on television. Despite serving as a “comedy” or sorts, overall, the show is so ingeniously thought out, scripted, and performed, that it has gone beyond the realm of comedy and is simply a genius show all together. I was already a huge fan of the first season, but Louis C.K. managed to do even more with the second season, bringing in all sorts of broadly comic moments, darkly comedic moments, scenes of surreal absurdity, and moments that contain pure poignancy. Having C.K. in complete control of his own show, which he writes, edits, and directs himself is a great joy to behold.
Given that Louis C.K.’s desire is to make his show as cinematic as possible, it is no surprise that Louie cleans up pretty nicely on Blu-ray. The 1080p AVC-encoded transfers for each of the episodes all look pretty great. C.K. and his crew all utilize the Red One camera to film the show, but while season 1 certainly had a more digital feel to it, as C.K. explains, the decision was made to utilize a variety of different lenses to bring an even more cinematic quality to the show that feels more in line with the types of films I am sure he admires. As a result, the various textures, colors, and filter changes all work well on Blu-ray, while managing to show off the varying visual aesthetic applied to the various episodes. It is not a dramatic shift between all the episodes, but it is enough to be noticed and it looks good for this Blu-ray release.
The audio presentation is certainly above average here as well. Being a show that is mostly dialogue driven, with a lot of jazzy beats peppered in throughout, the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack does proper justice for this Blu-ray. Everything sounds clear and properly mixed in regards to characters talking and various background noises. Given that the show is fairly low-budget, it makes it somewhat impressive that it comes out as good as it does.
It is a bit disappointing that there is not more here. Especially given that the first season received more in the way of commentaries, while this (more highly acclaimed season) receives less. It is fortunate that the commentaries are fun and informative, but I wish there could have been more to take away in the form of special features.
Audio Commentary by Louis C.K. on Select Episodes – Only five commentaries, which are all solid, I just wish there were more. Fortunately, the AV Club did a substantial interview with C.K., going over every episode of the season, which I will happily link to HERE.
Fox Movie Channel presents World Premiere Louie Season 2 – A small red carpet featurette.
Louie is what I consider one of the best shows on TV right now. It is a show that, while comedic at its core, is allowed to be exactly what it wants to be, due to being low-budget and fitted with creative freedom for Louis C.K. Sometimes the show is very funny and outrageous, other times it is introspective and poignant. I like it all and anticipate every episode. I wish the Blu-ray would have been more substantial in regards to its special features, but at least it comes off well in the audio/video departments. Regardless, I am happy to have this set on Blu-ray and will welcome future seasons as well.