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Episode 2: "Poker" – the aforementioned opening discussion on homosexuality; it's frank and honest and vulgar and, like almost everything on Louie, turns from bawdy guy-talk (I love that C.K. takes one of the most "manly" pastimes, and turns it into a discussion about homophobia and the use of the word "faggot") to genuine and insightful conversation (and inquiry) about the history of the word "faggot." It's more than just bullet points being checked off for quick laughs, and it's appropriately placed at the beginning of the season as it acts as a great precursor to just how unpredictable and different Louie is from everything else on television.
C.K. will never allow himself to be holier-than-thou, though, so even though he feels superior to the heckler (despite, deep down, trying to hook up with her by making her feel bad, so his convictions are suspect; I love that punchline), he won’t allow himself to come out of it looking 100% clean as is seen with the second half of the episode, "Cop Movie." C.K.'s agent gets him assigned to a movie being directed by Matthew Broderick. However, C.K. is horrible at acting and at times even seems to be purposely messing around and ruining takes because the whole acting thing is just not for him. When Broderick confronts him about his not liking to act, he says, “you may not like acting, fine, but respect other people’s work and start acting like you give a shit.” The circular message of the episode is brilliant as C.K. – who so obviously got one over on that heckler – isn't seen as someone who is always in the right. His win at the comedy club is only a win because that's his home field. By episodes end, he's just as rude and obnoxious on the film set – causing all kinds of breaks in the momentum of the shooting of the film in the same way the momentum of his set was being stunted by the heckler – as the heckler was interrupting his standup.
And from there the scene devolves into a pretty dramatic moment where C.K. tells the parents what happened, and the parents yell and hit their kid. C.K. yells at the parents for hitting their kid and that they shouldn’t act surprised that he’s a total dick bully and beats people up. This sets off the mother who begins to slap at C.K. and yell at him for having the nerve to tell her how to raise her son (an astute criticism, if you ask me, about parents with out-of-control kids that love to spew hate towards people who call them out on their shitty parenting, instead of actually listening). And then, in keeping with the unpredictability of the first season, C.K. takes it a step further by having the father meet him outside – no, not to fight which is what the conventional television show would waste time building false tension towards – to simply talk about how in over his head he is raising his kid. This leads to not just a nice moment between the two fathers – as they share a smoke and shoot the shit (and even elicits a chuckle out of the father when he says he’s a comedian) – but a really damn poignant one that reminded me of the Philip Larkin poem "This Be the Verse" (which has an appropriate ending that feels very much like something that could have influenced C.K.especially the final lines that are both poignant, "man hands on misery to man/it deepens like a coastal shelf," and sardonic, "so get out while you can/and don't have any kids yourself"). You just don’t expect this types of moments on television comedies, yet C.K. peppers astute, sobering observations such as this (which, by the way, says more in the brief 20 minutes than any kind of false, “gritty” documentary about bullying could) throughout the first season constantly keeping the viewer on their toes