I don't think I've made it a secret that Louis CK has had a huge impact on me over the years. Seasons 1-3 broke every mold I thought I knew about comedy. And while it's certainly not the first show ever to walk a tight-rope between two genres, the absurdity and heightened characters surrounding this bumbling, confused dad always separated itself from the pack by keeping a toe to the ground. No matter how insane and hysterical things got, there was always an undercurrent of sadness and truth. That's what inspired Doorman and, really, nearly everything I've written since.
Just like (500) Days of Summer, Louie taught me that the world you paint is yours for the taking. There are no rules in how you convey what you want to your audience. As long as there is some emotional resonance, you can really do whatever the fuck you want.
THEN Louie took a year and a half hiatus, regrouped, and made season 4. Almost flipping his original model for the show, he turned it into a drama, sprinkling in the occasional big laugh or two. The results are really some of the best television I've ever seen (the 6-part Elevator episode... fucking brilliant.)
Here, Louie encounters Vanessa, a charming, confident, woman working at the Comedy Cellar who repeatedly asks him out. In-between turning him down and a gross display of gluttony at an Indian restaurant with comedian Bob Kelly, Louie finally breaks and agrees to go out with her.
If you haven't seen this monologue, check it out below. It's beautifully written, beautifully performed by Sarah Baker, and it all happens in one continuous take (it probably had me at one continuous take). I don't necessarily think it's Louie's grand-statement in standing up for all the heavy-set women out there, so much as a personal reflection on his own behavior and hypocrisy. And he is absolutely not alone here. I know it rang true to a lot of things about me.
I wrote about something similar about this in my post about GIRLS. What Louis CK is so great at is taking those ugly, hard-to-admit truths about ourselves, throwing a magnifying glass on it, stepping back, and seeing what happens regardless of the backlash.
Remember: this is the same show that, a year prior, had an entire episode devoted to a punchline where a ten year-old-kid "diarrhea-ed" in a bathtub.