TV Club

Louie recap: Louie goes to Ikea and visits with Marc Maron

I did not like this episode.

Louie still.
Louis C.K. as Louie, Marc Maron as Marc.
Photo by K.C. Bailey/FX.

I did not like this episode. Alan Sepinwall over at HitFix thinks that this was one of those multipart Louie’s where each part feels like it goes with the other, but to me it was structurally disjointed and tonally lethargic.

Part 1: Louie is chased down by yet another mom outside of school, this time Nelson’s mother Delores, who you may recall from a terrible sexual encounter last season. “I’m having some residual feelings about what happened,” she tells Louie, before asking him to join her in therapy. When he declines, she chooses the second best place with a couch for couples to work out emotional baggage: Ikea. (Like so many women on this show, in return for his accompanying her to the Elizabeth, N.J. store, she promises him a blowjob.)

So, Ikea. This has been done, yes? Most recently on 30 Rock, when Liz and James Marsden’s Criss head to the Brooklyn location (why Delores chooses the Garden State option is a mystery) to see if their relationship would make it through furniture shopping. Then there’s the Amy Poehler line: “Ikea is Swedish for argument.” (According to Google auto-fill it’s also Swedish for “divorce.”) Even Ikea itself has made the joke.

Yes, OK, I laughed. THE IKEA THING IS A FUNNY JOKE. When the camera pulls back to show Louie and Dolores fighting in the background, like any other tense married couple trying to decide between the Ivar or the Sven, it resonates. The best moment was when, after fighting over a rug, Delores collapses into Louie’s arms, sobbing, and he tucks her into one of those oddly-sized Ikea toddler beds (that only fit Ikea bedding, BTW). But it’s well-worn territory, and I don’t think Louie did it in any especially interesting way.

Part 2: Another sex buddy from Louie’s past tracks him down. This time it’s Maria Bamford from just a few episodes back, calling during Louie’s first home piano lesson to tell him that she has crabs. “You were inside me last week, so you do, too.”

Commence crabs humor. Louie sticks his phone down his pants to take a picture of the mayhem and immediately heads to the pharmacy, where we get an extended scene of a pharmacist fucking with a busybody old lady requesting a consultation for her antibiotic prescription. It was moderately funny.

Let me just pause here to say that Louie doesn’t have to be funny! Some of the best episodes or moments are often not. But this episode in particular seemed to be entirely riding on laugh lines or the awkward humor of so many modern sitcoms, so when the payoff is only eh, then so is the episode.

Part 3, the one I’ve been waiting for! Marc Maron guest spot! Maron, a comedian who came up with C.K., briefly hosted a show on Air America, and is now firmly in his cultural moment with his popular interview podcast, “WTF with Marc Maron,” has had a notoriously complicated relationship with C.K. Basically: They were once very close, had a big falling out, and now… unclear. The C.K. episode of WTF is one of its finest, and the old friends definitely talked through some of their shit on it, but Maron’s follow-up indicated that they didn’t rekindle their friendship after the podcast’s recording. Thanks to WTF, we know about the duo’s mishigas, but mostly through Maron’s eyes, so the opportunity to see it all through C.K.’s on tonight’s episode was definitely an exciting one for me. But we didn’t get much more than a (very) funny punchline, with some indication that C.K. was the asshole in their falling out, and not very self-aware about it (except that he is self-aware if he’s writing himself that way on his show, which, if any of this is true to life, would annoy me if I were the victimized friend).

Did you guys find that scene in Maron’s apartment more poignant than I did? Is it childish of me to want more personal details? I did love the Sarah Silverman cameo, and how she made fun of her earlier self on Retro Comedy Showcase.

Jonah, since you solved it for me last week, can you tell me, other than all sections featuring encounters from the past, how this all fit together, if at all?

Fuck you! Or … sorry. I don’t know which one,