Is That Louis CK's Real Ex-Wife On 'Louie'? Because She's Kind Of Awesome
In his stellar return to television, we've seen the return of Louie's ex-wife, Janet. And while we're mesmerized by the impeccable quality of Louie Season 4, we'll be with all this ex-wife screen time you've got a question on your mind. Let us answer that for you: No, that is not Louis CK's real ex-wife.
The actress who plays Janet is Susan Kelechi Watson. Since Season 3, Janet has been popping up randomly in the series, most notably at the end of Season 3 to help Louie realize he should fight for his dream job of hosting The Late Show after its rumored David Letterman is leaving, a storyline that is now so poignant. But since her appearance on the show, one major thing has been talked about over and over again: The fact that Louie's TV ex-wife is played by an African American woman.
Everyone wanted to know, why cast someone who is so obviously not like her daughters? When Season 3 premiered in 2012, Louis CK answered the race question rather brilliantly:
To me, the racial thing is like -- when people probably first see her, their brains do a little bit of DNA map and go "I'm not sure I get how that would happen," and then I think with my show most people, they go "Oh, all right, just go ahead." And then they watch the scene. The thing that's important is what's getting said.
There's always been a level of absurdity to Louie which is especially prevalent in this season's episode where Louie accidentally punches a model. So this answer actually makes perfect sense. Normal casting choices aren't necessarily needed, or wanted for this show. I actually respect his decision to think outside the box on any and all of his casting choices. Now, instead of focusing on the character's race, let's take a look at the awesome woman who plays her.
She Recurred On Third Watch
One of her first jobs was playing nurse Emma St. Claire on the hit NBC show Third Watch which followed a group of police officers and firefighters who all worked in the same precinct together during the 3 PM to 11 PM shift, which is in fact normally called the "Third Watch."
She's Appeared In Multiple Hit Shows
Throughout her decade-long career, Watson has appeared on a number of popular series including three episodes on NCIS, two episodes on Law & Order and The Blacklist and one-episode roles on Medium, Private Practice, Numb3rs, and The Good Wife.
She Worked With Claire Freaking Huxtable
Just a few years ago, Watson joined the cast of the play A Raisin in the Sun at the Westport Country Playhouse. Now this play is produced in many locations around the country but there's something that made this one extremely special: It was directed by theatre and screen icon Phylicia Rashad. That must have been so awesome.
She Answered The Louie Casting Question Quite Brilliantly Herself
When asked about the decision to cast an African American as Louie's ex-wife, Watson was eloquent and put her faith in the casting director and Louis CK. She also brought up the obvious social aspect of the decision.
I think it's remarkable because for so long we've been saying we just want to see each other as human beings. Our culture is very important, of course, but this feels like a moment where someone has said, 'Your culture is irrelevant at this moment. It's more about whether you feel like you're right for this role and what you're brining to it.'
I wonder if Watson ever saw Louie's other reason behind the casting choice: