Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Louie, 'Duckling'

Sometimes to tell the biggest story, you have to tell the smallest one. Even for a dark comedy with Louie's ambitions, dealing with the U.S. war experience in Afghanistan — not just by talking about it but by having the lead character go there — would seem too tall an order. But Louis C.K. pulled it off in Louie fashion. In an episode based on his own USO experiences, his character goes overseas, feels combat jitters, tries to hit on a much younger cheerleader and chases a school-property duckling that his daughter hid in his bag for good luck. At heart, the episode is about connection: with tough crowds of troops looking for laughs, with other entertainers coming from very different worldviews and — in a sweetly slapstick conclusion — with the Afghan warriors who back down from a confrontation to join in the universal pleasure of laughing at a middle-aged man chasing a baby bird. Who says the bird of peace is the dove?