by Alex Greenberger
That couldn’t have been a more well-timed renewal, because the second part of “Daddy’s Girlfriend” is an emblematic episode of “Louie”—it’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, it’s funny, and it’s even strangely endearing. “Endearing” isn’t typically a word that you associate with an episode in which Liz (and not Tape Recorder, as she led us to believe earlier in an episode) nearly jumps of the roof of an apartment building, but “Louie” consistently inverts expectations, and therefore, I love it so.
I find Louis C.K.’s first forays into narrative sitcoms particularly interesting because of his writing method. Both halves of “Daddy’s Girlfriend” are very much about the plot—they center around meeting and dating Liz, who, it seems, may end up playing a bigger role than I thought this season—and what may be a larger story arc. But considering the episode’s structure, all that seems false. “Daddy’s Girlfriend” is just as deliberately scattered and emotionally unsure as usual, yet it seems surprisingly neat in terms of its overarching story.
The opposition between order and disorder is, I think, used to mirror the character of Liz herself, who, as I pointed out in last week’s recap, is intended as a parody of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl phenomena. There’s something very warm about Liz, about how she helps homeless men without much thought and about how charming she is. Yet there’s also something very dark surrounding her circumstances. In one sequence, a bartender refuses to let her “double-fist Jaegers so early” (“How about a glass of white wine?”). In another, Liz almost throws herself off her building and then subverts Louie’s fears of doing that by giving him an inspirational speech about why she’s saving herself from committing suicide.
Louie’s reaction says it all at the end—he’s so totally bewildered by the whole scene which has just taken place, yet something about his face also tells me he’s experiencing attraction. And then there’s also the fact that Louie does everything Liz asks of him. She’s totally crazy, and yet does climb up many, many flights of stairs for her.
This raises an important question—what will become of Liz and Louie’s relationship? It seems to me that Louie is in this one for the long haul, a hypothesis that is only further emphasized by the black-and-white closing credits, to me. Those images of Posey smiling at the camera feel so French New Wave-y and so endearing. Louie might finally have found a good one.
And this all means another good thing—more Parker Posey! One thing I really love about these episodes is that the character of Liz reminds me a lot of Posey’s personality. Posey is, more or less, playing herself. I got to see a fairly drunk Posey in person after a tenth anniversary screening of Noah Baumbach’s “Kicking and Screaming” about a month ago, and, well, Liz is what she was like. In other words, drunk Parker Posey is a Louis C.K. satire of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. That derivation in and of itself is a worthy enough reason to keep watching for more Liz.
Alex Greenberger is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.