Saturday, February 26, 2011

Louie: Bully (Sexuality and Violence)

(I wasn't able to find this episode in an easily accessible website online, so I'll be working on a way to upload it on to Youtube myself tomorrow. If you have a Hulu account though, you can watch it here,

In this episode, Louie, a divorced stand-up comedian with two daughters, is taking a woman on a date at night in a diner. They run into a group of high school students who are obnoxiously loud and Louie tells them to quiet down. They refuse, and one of the the students confronts Louie and threatens him with a beating unless Louie openly begs for him not to kick his ass. Louie, after some back-and-forth, eventually agrees and reluctantly requests for him to "please not to kick my ass". After the high school students leave, Louie has a fascinating conversation with his date who witnessed everything:

Louie: That guy was a nightmare huh?
Woman: (looks around awkwardly)
Louie: You didn't really want me to fight that guy did you?
Woman: No no no no.
Louie: ...Because that guy was pretty serious...
Woman: Of course.
Louie: Hey look if you need to be with a guy that gets into fights with dumb young jocks... that's... because I have two young kids.
Woman: No no you did the right thing of course not.
Louie: That was pretty humiliating... Hey look I'm getting this funny feeling that you are looking down at me right now for what just happened.
Woman: I never would want a guy to fight, thats of course, its so stupid I'd be pissed if you did and being violent is the dumbest thing ever and who cares what you have to say to get the guy off your back, but uh...
Louie: What?
Woman: But if I'm being totally honest that was a turn off, seeing that...
Louie: Jesus Christ...
Woman: I'm sorry I cant help it I don't know its just like a primitive thing or something... you see this guy totally debase himself just to be safe and its... a turn off....
Louie: That's seriously a real bummer. You know I have to criticize you a little bit for that, thats why theres wars and stuff, women like you who choose stupid strong people over the weak and gentle...
Woman: Listen look, I'm a grown woman, my mind is telling me that you are a great guy, but my chemistry is telling me that you are loser. I mean I'm surprised by my own reaction, but you know I have no defense, I'm completely surprised by my own feelings about it, they're weird... I'm sorry.

This scene takes the primal basis of the connection between sex and violence and puts it in direct conflict between modern relationships. The woman really does believe intellectually that violence is wrong, that it is pointless for Louie to actually fight high school kids. Yet she can't help but be turned off when Louie debases himself in front of her. It's obvious that her instinct as a woman, wired in psychologically from evolution and from the pre-historical period where men had to prove themselves as capable hunters in order to attract mates, is repulsion at what Louie just had to do. She knows that this impulse is wrong but still isn't able to help herself in breaking it off with Louie. This episode sets itself to be directly against the feminist idea that gender and sexuality are merely a social constructs and quite explicitly states that despite all our efforts to civilize and enlighten ourselves, our biological impulse to connect sexuality and violence can sometimes be too strong to separate ourselves from.

1 comment:

  1. To begin, Louie is an absolutely hilarious show filled with incredibly funny scenes and situations. However, this episode takes a little bit of a more serious tone. The problem with bullies is a real problem (although they normally bully people younger not older) and this is a very funny way to bring light to an unfunny situation. Overall, this episode had me laughing and also feeling bad for Louie and feeling disdain for his date.


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