Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon on "Louie." CR: KC Bailey/FX The happy couple!
Credit: KC Bailey/FX

In the opening seconds of the first episode of the Louie finale, we feel like we’re back to the format of the show that we know and love; Louie exits the subway to the tune of jaunty jazz music as the screen goes black to show the title. In the last two episodes of the season finale, Pamela is back, and she and Louie find themselves bumbling towards a relationship — finally!

Pamela Part 2

In their awkward and antagonistic way, Louie calls Pamela and tells her he wants to take her out, to which Pamela replies sarcastically, “out of what, my comfort zone? Louie tells her it’s a date and then hangs up laughing before she can contradict him. Both spend the afternoon preparing—Louie by trimming his nose hairs and examining his wrinkles in the mirror, and Pamela by considering buying a dress before thrusting it back on the rack in disgust. On their date, the two visit an art exhibit featuring all sorts of wacky things that can barely be described as art; neon nooses, oversized dirty Q-tips and an actual bag of dog poop. They laugh their way through the exhibit and we can tell C.K. is poking fun at the pretentious New York art scene, and seeing Pamela and Louie have fun together is something we’ve all been waiting so long to see.


The two stop by a Chinese restaurant where Louie picks up a bag he’s left there earlier and some takeout, and head to Central Park. “No one goes to Central Park at night!” Pamela protests, but Louie has a plan. He lays out the blanket and tells Pamela to lie down, while she complains the entire time about his schmaltzy moves. But when she learns he’s timed their evening to view a meteor shower, she is completely overwhelmed with emotion. Suddenly, she’s not the ironic, too-cool-for-school Pamela; she’s genuinely touched and kisses him deeply after telling him “good move.” Wow, Louie! I’ve never seen you act so suave … ever. Is this what successful dating looks like for these two? The scene ends in the appropriately weird and sweet way—with Pamela feeling and kissing Louie’s very bald head.

The two go back to Louie’s apartment, where Pamela tries to pull one of her disappearing acts to avoid getting close to Louie. “You’re gonna make me try to do things!” she says, possibly alluding back to a few episodes ago where Louie got handsy and Pamela cried rape. Louie tells her that he’s frustrated with her jerking him around—telling him one minute she’s interested, but then pushing him away when Louie tries to get close to her. It’s perhaps their most intimate conversation and it leads to Pamela acquiescing and agreeing to stay. To show him she’s interested, she takes a camera phone shot of her undies and texts it to him and asks him to do the same. This exercise in odd flirtation eventually leads to the bedroom.
It finally feels like Louie and Pamela are growing out of their stunted, weird selves and are maturing into a relationship together. These two crazy kids might actually have a shot!

When Louie’s kids come busting in in the morning and find Pamela half-naked in bed, they don’t freak out, and to her credit, she doesn’t either when the girls call her “daddy’s new girlfriend.” Instead, she gathers them to her and together they make fun of Louie: “That’s supposed to be my new boyfriend? I deserve better than that! Look at his body! ... He has zero ass. I’m supposed to have a boyfriend with zero ass?” The final credits roll as the four head to the kitchen for breakfast, like one big happy family.

Pamela Part 3

In the second episode of the night, and the final of the season, as he’s coming home from the grocery, Louie notices his apartment furniture being carted away by Goodwill. Pamela has donated everything, turning the place into a pre-war handball court. She is hanging with his daughters, acting about as mature as they are and Louie is livid when he comes home. Pamela seems unfazed by his anger, saying “that shit had to go man,” then when she asks him if he’s mad, she ends up making him laugh and he softens. It’s almost as if he’s sort of glad he has someone in his life to tell him his furniture is ugly.

When the girls invite Pamela along to meet their mother, the four adults stand around in awkward silence until Pamela asks, “Jesus Christ, is it always like this?” and high fives Lilly when she says, “Pretty much.” The new couple arrives back at Louie’s house, and Pamela asks what my friend Mike, who had never seen the show before, also asked, which is: “Why do you have a black ex-wife and how the hell is she the mother of those almost translucent white girls of yours?” Though Louie has addressed this in interviews, this was the first time it was brought up by a character on the show.

Pamela makes Louie lie down in his empty apartment, echoing last episode’s date, and tells him “we’re going to do it on the open living room floor, and then go get you some new furniture.” Her tenderness with him, and the kind way they make love to one other is sharply contrasted with their later furniture shopping. Pamela can’t stand anything Louie likes, including the glasses on his face, saying “get those off your face right now.” These two love to bicker, and we can see that it actually does bring them close together.

Louie invites her to see him perform at the Comedy Cellar and we can tell he really likes her, because he keeps looking over to see if she’s laughing. When she doesn’t, he bombs onstage and later blames his sucky performance on her failure to laugh. Friends and fellow comedians Todd Barry, Nick DiPaolo and Marc Maron join him for falafel and when Maron announces his show has been picked up and Louie doesn’t congratulate him, Maron goes off the handle on Louie, reminding him that they were best friends when they were coming up, until Louie abandoned Maron. “You don’t talk to me,” Maron complains. “I went through a divorce … one of my cats is probably dead. I could’ve used a friend, man. You’ve been a shitty friend and it hurt me.” Maron’s monologue echoes something C.K. said on Maron’s real-life podcast a few years back. It’s interesting to see Louie use Maron as a character to explore their actual feelings of friendship and betrayal. I guess they’ve patched things up.

Later, as they walk along the street, Louie is bitching to Pamela about Maron’s success and she gives him perhaps the best pep talk I’ve ever heard. “So do something about it!” she says to him. “That guy is not special, he used to wash dishes … None of you guys are special or magical. Some of you are luckier and some of you work harder than others. You just need to decide to go on TV, get a show and be a star.” Despite not liking the labels, this is Pamela acting in the role of a girlfriend, picking up her man when he’s feeling down and urging him to go do something with his life. Louie embraces her as if she’s just stopped him from jumping in front of the subway, and perhaps, in a way, she has.

So it’s not surprising to the audience when Louie bursts out the L Word in Pamela’s apartment that night, though it shocks Pamela to hear it. Of course, she can’t say the words back. She isn’t there yet and though she’s come a long way with Louie recently — kissing him on the mouth and hanging out with his daughters — it’s unfair for him to expect her to return the sentiments immediately. “I feel something for people,” she mumbles and then tries to undo his belt, causing Louie to say “stop trying to have sex with me to avoid me,” which is a line that caused me to laugh hysterically despite the somber scene. Louie wants a traditional relationship with labels and “I love you’s” and that grosses Pamela out. “Feelings are gross and boring and rude and too private and yuck!” Louie’s big declaration of love turns into them calling each other assholes, and him storming out. Of course.

Louie doesn’t get more than a few blocks away though, when she calls him back to her apartment. She’s sitting in a tub lit by dozens of candles and we can tell it’s her version of an apology. She wants to be with Louie. She just isn’t sure how to share her feelings. She’s the type of girl who wants to show it when she can’t get the words out. When she invites Louie to take his clothes off and get in, he stops at his shirt. Obviously embarrassed and intimidated, he tells her that he’s nervous because she hasn’t seen him with his shirt off yet. It’s humbling for us to see a male feeling subconscious about his body and it makes Louie human in our eyes.

Pamela then launches into a feel-good monologue with a line that I hope to use in the future: “You should be proud, Papa! You’re a big bear!” Louie eventually gives in, showing he trusts Pamela and the gesture she’s giving him. When he gets in and overflows the tub, gallons of water flooding the floor, they laugh and relax. They each share stories of their first kisses—Louie’s first was a popular girl who was dared to kiss him and Pamela’s didn’t even involve a kiss, rather her just beating up a boy. It’s totally their personalities in a nutshell: Louie’s just excited to be kissing the girl and Pamela’s putting up a tough-girl shield around her heart. Finally she tells Louie, “It’s not that I don’t feel certain ways, but there are some things I just can’t do. So is it OK, that we’re here, that I want to be here, that we like each other? Can this just be OK?” The episode and season end without Louie’s answer, in a cliffhanger, as they look into each other’s eyes.

Despite her gruffness, I feel like Louie and Pamela made some serious leaps and bounds in these episodes. They complement each other nicely and clearly care for one another. I can’t wait until the next season to see if Louie continues their story arc. What did you think about the end of the season? Did you like that Louie and Pamela got together? Let me know in the comments. It’s been so wonderful recapping this season with all of you!

Grade: A

Follow Abbe Wright on Twitter at @AbbeWright.

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