Just the other day, i got into a debate with Cult Spark podcaster Tim Kelly over whether the cracks started to show in the recently concluded fourth season of Louis CK’s often brilliant FX dramedy. He’s of the opinion that Louie turned too melodramatic this year, with the overcooked Parker Posey story arc presented as evidence “A.” We both agreed that the show was repeating itself a bit. (The China-based season finale, to me, seemed almost like a direct sequel to the season-two episode that took Louie to the Middle East, touching on many of the same emotions, including finding simple joys in a completely foreign situation.)
Then, this morning, the debate carried over to another conversation I was having with a different friend of mine, and we agreed that it wouldn’t be shocking if Louis CK decided to call it a day on Louie sometime early in the show’s lifespan, maybe even after season four concluded next year. Admitting he had nothing else to say in this format and going out on top seems like exactly the kind of thing Louis would do.
Well, all of that’s been turned on its head now with the announcement that season four won’t conclude next year because season four isn’t even going to air until spring 2014. It’s true the wait will suck because, despite the nick-picks, Louie remains one of TV’s very best series. But I also think it’s true that the delay is probably a good thing. It means that Louis CK’s heart is still very much in the show — possibly torpedoing my theory of an early wrap-up — but it also means that he’s just as concerned as we are about the show repeating itself or becoming stale or running out of things to say. “I want season four to go somewhere new, even if it’s only a slight shift,” he told reporters in a conference call where the announcement was made.
A slight shift may be just what Louie needs as it enters TV middle-age. The fact that Louis CK recognizes that and has responded to it in drastic fashion is just one more reason to celebrate his genius.
(By the way, I know the photo I picked doesn’t really represent the tone of this post … but it was just too good not to use.)