by Alex Greenberger
As Lena Dunham proved earlier this year with “The Return,” the episode of “Girls” where Hannah leaves Brooklyn to see her parents in Minnesota, comedy can accomplish great things when it steps outside of its boundaries. I guess “Louie” doesn’t really have a comfort zone, because the show is so constantly determined to prove that Louis C.K. isn’t interested in setting boundaries for himself, but I would definitely say that with “Miami,” C.K. moved the show in a completely different direction.
Part of that is due to the change of locale. C.K. drops the dull bronze shades of New York in favor of super-saturated shades of aqua. Miami is, after all, a beautiful place with, as C.K. visually points out many times, many beautiful women. The change from the West Village to Florida is a jarring one, and it’s a flawless transition. But with that said, it’s perfect in the fact that it feels extremely imperfect and raw.
The switch of setting also creates a massively different style of humor, although it was one I liked very much. A lot of the episode revolves around making fun of C.K.—how fat he is, his awkwardness, the New Yorker persona he carries. Admittedly, it’s pretty fun laughing at C.K. when he eats a chicken wing in a secluded hotel room after feeling self-conscious in comparison to Miami hard-bodies on the beach.
There’s something very cathartic and hilarious about this, and I really love that C.K. chose to keep the first ten minutes largely dialogue-free. The opening of the episode, which juxtaposes shots of a nearly shirtless C.K. with bikini-clad models, makes you realize C.K.’s skill at directing—something that can so often take a backseat to the fabulous performance C.K. gives in every episode.
The larger portion of the episode is focused on parodying “bromances” in a way that only C.K. could do. We’ve seen many, many bromances in the past few years (“Ted” and “21 Jump Street,” to name a few recent ones), but they’ve all been, well, bro-y. They focus on boozing and schmoozing with the ladies and doing drugs and whatnot. But that’s not C.K.’s style at all. “Miami” finds Louie befriending a lifeguard named Ramon, who, in a particularly funny sequence, saves what he believes to be a drowning Louie, even though Louie is simply flailing his arms to grab the attention of an ignorant hotel employee.
The friendship largely works for most of the episode, until Louie ends up spending more time in Miami than expected solely to hang out with Ramon. Naturally, this leads to a confrontation about Louie’s sexuality. Ramon’s squirm-inducing talk with Louie is really great, because it’s the kind of thing you’d never see in “Superbad” or anything in that line of comedy. It’s daring and fresh, and in other words, Hollywood will never go there.
But really, “Miami” works because of the little moments, my favorite of which is the one where a model grabs one of Louie’s strawberries and Louie gets angry at her. I love it because it’s such a New York moment, since most Floridian men would cut the model some slack for looking spectacular in a bikini. And this all leads me to think that “Miami” is a modified fish-out-of-water bromance story. You can take “Louie” out of New York, but you can’t take the New York out of “Louie.”
Alex Greenberger is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.