LB: What’s With the Rape Scenes on LOUIE?

Louie and his pal Patricia
Louie and his pal Patricia

…Performed by the protagonist yet.

Am I just old and out of it, or has the abuse of women on TV reached a new low?

Specifically, I’m thinking about two of the latest episodes of what used to be one of my favorite TV comedies, LOUIE.

Last week Louis C.K.’s, um “character” on LOUIE took it upon himself to rape not one but two women he had feelings for – and pretty much succeeded.

His first victim, and I really believe “victim” is the correct word, was Amia, a Hungarian woman who was featured in a 6-part arc in which Louie seems to fall in love. Since love doesn’t get the kind of ratings it used to, and has almost never received critical acclaim, the hook here was that Amia doesn’t speak English and Louie obviously doesn’t speak Hungarian.

Louie and his neighbor Amia

In spite of this little obstruction, over the course of the arc their relationship grows. Eventually they’re doing all the things new couple do except have sex. And Louie can’t stand it. He loves her. He thinks she loves him, so…he doesn’t just put on the moves, he manhandles a woman who is yelling and struggling to escape from him, half-carries and half-pushes her into his bedroom, and, as a generation even more out of it than mine used to say, “does the deed.” The next morning a crying Amia finally escapes from his apartment, and Louie’s body language and facial expression are all, “Gee, what’s the mater? I thought everything was great. Wasn’t the sex great, huh?”

An episode later, Louie, depressed because Amia has gone back to Hungary, forces himself on his old buddy Patricia, who does speak English, very clearly says no, and just as clearly does everything in her power (she’s very tiny and Louie, well, I’ll be generous and simply say he’s big), to get the hell away. Louie throws her around a bit, and finally she lets him kiss her, after which she goes running out the door. Louie watches her go and then turns toward the camera with a shit-eating grin, pumping his fists victoriously. What a man!

I know Louis C.K.s no dummy. He has to know what he’s doing and what that’s telling us. Or, to give him the benefit of the doubt, seems to be telling us. So I’m hoping this is a very brave attempt to put himself out there by actually putting himself out there as a character who behaves very, very badly – and realizes it or gets called out on it and gets the help he needs.

If the show goes in that direction, then we can all heave a sigh of relief and continue watching what has previously seemed like a pretty damn wise man sharing what he knows. Hell, if that’s how it turns out I’ll probably be among the first to shout, “Masterpiece!”

But if this isn’t followed up on, then it’s over for me even if Louie the character doesn’t repeat what he’s been doing. And by “it,” I mean not only LOUIE the series but any interest I’ll ever have in the career, life, and times of one Louis C.K.

Guess I’m not the only person who’s noticing what’s happening:

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.