We’re counting down the Top 10 Comedies of 2011. Each selection will be revealed on Hulu’s homepage every day of this week. Selections 10-4 can be viewed here.
3 – Louie
After reinventing the traditional sitcom format last year, Louie’s sophomore season proved to be even funnier and darker than the first, astounding viewers who couldn’t believe that he “went there.” Finding inspiration in the banality of his day-to-day life, Louis C.K.’s contemplative scenes about being a single father, a standup, and even a New Yorker were delivered in slow burns, but they provided much more satisfying laughs than other sitcoms that rely upon Furley-esque levels of confusion. It was plenty easy to see ourselves in the exact same scenarios he endured each week.
And in a time when most of us were affected by the wars, Louis not only acknowledged them (not typical of contemporary sitcoms), he actually set an episode of his show on a USO tour of the Middle East. The episode was presented without agenda, and it proved to be both moving and respectful, ultimately proffering that soldiers are our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world in the lands of a people not that different from you or me.
But Louis didn’t stop there. What really made this season superlative was his running commentary on the comedy machine in Hollywood by bringing on the most surprising of visitors. Bob Saget showed up in an episode where C.K. explored his disdain of the typical American sitcom and his refusal to sink to their levels. Joan Rivers dropped by to perform an impassioned soliloquy about why comedians are such masochists. And in what was perhaps the “Rumble in the Jungle” of the standup world, Dane Cook turned in a frank portrayal of himself, finally addressing the joke stealing rumors that have plagued the internet (and his career) for years.
Louis C.K. is the envy of showbusiness now. He also writes, directs, and edits his own show. He’s been granted final cut of each show. But with other people in the mix to second guess his decisions, we wouldn’t have the truths that drive the humor of the show. Other people are crazy. Life isn’t pretty. And, frequently, there is no resolution. Just like in real life.