There are moments in Louis C.K.'s FX comedy series when the show just nails it. And sometimes, the scene isn't even that funny. It's not even trying to be. It's just real. Take last night's "So Did The Fat Lady," which ended with the excellent scene above. The rant doesn't come from Louis C.K. but from the "fat girl" next to him, who unloads a lot of honest frustration about being an overweight female human being as it relates to dating. Not only does the moment drop a rare basic cable F-bomb, it also tells the truth from a very specific perspective.
This scene comes after an episode of Louie running into Sarah Baker's character -- Vanessa -- a waitress at a comedy club who proves to be funny, kind, charismatic and interested in him... and also a little overweight. Louie goes easy on her with his disinterest. And she exercises her strong character and good sense of humor throughout most of the episode, repeatedly asking Louie out but not taking it too hard when he turns her down. It's when she refers to herself as a fat girl and he awkwardly objects that she goes into the rant.
"You have no idea. And the worst part is, I'm not even supposed to do this," Sarah Baker's frustrated character says. "Tell anyone how bad it sucks, because it's too much for people."
She points out the double standard in men being able to poke fun at themselves or complain about their weight, while women are supposed to keep silent about it or risk looking depressed and suicidal. "Can i just say it?" she asked. "I'm fat. It sucks to be a fat girl. Can people just let me say it? It sucks. It really sucks." She goes on to blame Louie. Well, maybe not Louie specifically, but guys like him. And it's there that the scene explains its point. "On behalf of all the fat girls, I'm picking you. All the guys," she says. "Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness... feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us, that's just not in the cards for us. Nope, not for us. How is that fair? And why am I supposed to just accept it."
Poor Louie is so uncomfortable. From there, he tries to cheer her up. He doesn't want to be the guy to make her feel bad about her weight or her looks or her romantic troubles. He just wants to avert this conversation and go back to where things are friendly and light. He doesn't want to hear this. No one does. And that's what I love about this show. Good comedy often takes those great, uncomfortable moments from life and humanity and finds a way to laugh at them. Louie's not even trying to do that with this scene. It's just addressing it. It's exposing a truth for our eyes and ears for a few minutes.
Vanessa turns it around on Louie from there, pointing out that good-looking guys will flirt with her because they're secure with their status, whereas the average looking men -- the ones who are about on her level, looks wise -- never flirt with her because they're afraid they might belong with a girl like her. It's at that point that she calls Louie out on whether or not he's ever dated a girl that was heavier than him. Louie jumps on that, saying he definitely has. And he seems very sincere about it. "No, no, no," she responds. "I didn't say, 'Have you ever fucked a fat girl, Louie,'" She wants to know if he's ever dated a fat girl, kissed her, wooed her, held hands with her. No.
She challenges him to hold her hand. She doesn't want to get laid. She doesn't even want a boyfriend or husband. She just wants to hold hands with a nice guy. The scene ends with Louie taking Vanessa's hand. And they smile and walk away as Louie tells her the "So did the fat lady" joke, which makes her laugh.
And it's scenes like this one -- in all its honesty and realness, not to mention a great performance by Sarah Baker -- that really makes Louie one of today's best television shows. It's not meant to be laugh-out-loud funny. In fact, if it was laugh-out-loud funny, we wouldn't be forced to consider what this woman is saying or consider the raw perspective of a "fat girl" for a few minutes. We have to embrace the tension, instead of awkwardly averting our eyes and ears as Louie tries to do at first. And then, because it is a comedy, it ends with a joke to relieve that tension before the credits roll.