S2E3: Most often, the reasons we love Louie have to do with Louis C.K.’s blatant, matter of fact acceptance of the awful things life throws at us. It’s the sort of “This if life, it’s ridiculous. Oh well, let’s just deal with it” mentality that draws us in, but every once in a while the series reminds us that life doesn’t have to be on a downward slope all the time. That’s where “Moving” comes in. This simple, beautiful episode lays out the hard truths and impossibilities right under our noses, but doesn’t remove the ability to hope for something better anyway. And that’s a beautiful thing.
“This is a great place. There’s lots of light, really modern, plenty of space.” –Realtor
“None of those things are true about this place.” -Louie
Louie wants to find a new place for him and his two daughters to live because he still lives in the same apartment he lived in with his ex-wife. Of course, his eldest daughter innocently and articulately points this out, sending Louie straight to the classifieds in hopes of finding an apartment that isn’t haunted by the memory of his ex.
Louie’s so hell bent on finding a new place he can’t even pause to be offended by the disgustingly awful “your mother” jokes his friend Todd Barry attempts to assault him with as peruses the paper for new digs. And if you’ve ever heard that in New York you should never move out of your apartment unless someone forces you to, this episode is the perfect argument for that. Louie goes on a parade of glorified closets and dungeons masquerading as viable living spaces. In one scene he casually wanders through one particularly small apartment, staring in disbelief (and the sort of genuine, bewilderment that he does so well) when he reaches the end of the “studio apartment” practically a mere 10 feet from the front door. Needless to say, it’s not going so well.
Finally, he brings his friend Pamela Adlon to help him look at the next apartment on the list. This whole scene, while hilarious, is basically a curio cabinet of Louie’s problems. Here he is with Pamela, a woman who still makes him want to sneak whiffs of her shampooed hair when he thinks she’s not looking, looking at an odd apartment still occupied by an angry old man in his underwear, with a toilet in the kitchen and a bum outside being rustled up by two men in suits (that last bit could be Louie’s mind playing tricks on him, but who knows?). His life is a complete mess and this apartment is the perfect metaphor for that.
Pamela gets tired of trying to calm the screaming old man down and Louie realizes he doesn’t want to be there anymore, so they leave but not before Pamela shares some choice words with Louie that light a bit of a fire under him. “You’re so afraid of life you never do anything.” And with that he’s determined not to stay in this strange, funhouse mirror version of existence.
“You should find a nice rental.” –Accountant
“Well isn’t there…what about…what about Obama?” –Louie
Of course, right after he sees the total hell-hole, he spies an entire house for sale while strolling through the city. Jaunty classical music almost undermines the opulence of the palacial home as Louie gets the grand tour from a Sotheby’s type realtor and he starts to see what his life could be if he purchased this house. He’d be the perfect father, his daughters would love him more, and most importantly, he’d get a leg up on his ex. You know, the American dream. It’s at this point that Louie starts seeing things again, imagining himself waltzing with the realtor dancing to the tune of “Buying this house would fix absolutely everything…everything…everything” before hearing the asking price: a cool $17 million. Oh crap.
Then comes the hardest part of the episode: Louie’s visit with his accountant. He brings the idea of the house to his numbers guy and while it’s completely ludicrous that he could afford it, he insists on pushing the issue. Finally, the accountant brutally spells out just how impossible affording this house would be. Louie’s got $7,000 in savings, no credit score, and nowhere near the monthly income to support the purchase of any home, let alone a multi-million dollar mansion. The defeat in this scene is palpable, if not only because it’s something that so many Americans face on a daily basis. It’s the realization that this glossy American Dream we all hope to achieve is unreachable. And that’s the cold hard truth Louie gets here. By the time he gets to the Obama line, all we can do is laugh, because in every other respect the scene conveys the feeling of complete and total helplessness.
Finally, Louie goes back to the visit the house he can’t afford and just like his accountant suggested his realtor offers to show him some nice rentals instead. Louie won’t be moved. He won’t relinquish the idea of this perfect home that he may someday own and simply says, “No. I’m buying this house.”
In the end, he ends up doing what most of us end up doing: sprucing up our old digs in hopes of gaining a little slice of the dream home most of us will never own. And this is where the episode really gets me. With every factor laid against him, in the same old apartment he and his wife once lived in, Louie spends an afternoon with his two little girls, painting their home while jazz plays softly in the background. He may not have the dream home, but at least he’s got that.