After last week’s stellar full episode storyline, I was a little disappointed with what appears to be a lackluster entry. This is saved by the last minute twist that connects both this week’s disjointed stories. Part 1 of the episode deals with Louie having to host an open mic night, which again has a surprising lack of laughs again. We meet Bart Folding, a young man who asks for Louie to critique his act, which Louie reluctantly agrees to. What follows is an extremely uncomfortable standup bit involving bedwetting and spanking with a really understated punchline. The following dinner that Louie shares with him isn’t much better, it’s actually as awkward as the standup bit, and Bart forces Louie to come out and say that he doesn’t see a future in the business for him. This makes Bart proclaim he would die first before giving up, which leads Louie to halfheartedly tell the kid to maybe try doing a funny voice.
Then we’re off to the next part, which finds Pam and Louie off to a very weird French film involving a woman getting yelled at by an off-screen male counterpart. I enjoyed Louie opening up to Pam on why he likes to go to museums and foreign films, because he feels like he’s getting the culture he missed out on by never going to college. This leads to what appears to be a flash back of Louie in third grade, but as soon as it starts we cut back to Pam telling Louie she doesn’t want to hear it. That moment perfectly encapsulates this episode; it’s all about false starts. When we see Louie talking to Bart we’re expecting him to take the kid under his wing and help him out with his act. Even the cold opening about Louie finding a toilet to go number 2 in a public restroom, multiple times we run into incidents that should lead to some kind of plot point but each time it shuts down and we continue moving forward.
Later in the episode, Louie feebly asks Pam to move in with him after the “kind of” relationship they’ve forged since Season 4. Of course, she somehow gets Louie to agree that it’s for the best that they continue doing what they’re doing, and so they can both be free and have fun (“scary is fun-ruining. And I like fun.”). We end the episode with Pam and Louie enjoying a sleep-over, when Bart Folding ends on the tonight show doing the same bit from the previous segment but this time in a funny voice which leads to thunderous applause and laughter.
This last minute addition to “A La Carte” was the saving grace of an episode that felt too disjointed and devoid of any big laughs. There’s a lot of potential and I can appreciate that they’re trying to go for tone that you don’t typically get from a network comedy, but the episode never lives up to whatever it is aspiring to be. Here’s hoping that Louie can pull off a better episode next week, maybe try doing it in a funny voice.