Pamela Adlon Can't Be Silenced on 'Louie'

by Kayla Hawkins

Louie has always been unafraid of awkward humor, but that doesn't mean everyone wants to have a cringing relationship with the show itself. Pamela Adlon is back on Louie , and after her final few appearances in Season 4 were fairly controversial, I think it's understandable to be nervous about her first episode of Season 5. But with "A La Carte" Adlon is stirring up feelings yet again, but this time it's in a good way.

For those who don't remember, Adlon was part of the Louie joke about the "worst rape ever," which follows Louie forcibly trying to get Pamela to stay at his apartment. It simply didn't land, if you ask me. The joke defied the spirit of the characters' relationship in which they slowly flirt with the idea of romance in the clumsiest ways possible. That moment in Louie history was a really sour note in a season that, for the most part, attempted to speak truths, but that's not Pamela's or Adlon's fault.

Louie has often treated her character clumsily, but that shouldn't take away from Adlon's acting. I also genuinely appreciate that her Louie character doesn't fit into any "girlfriend" stereotypes I've ever seen on telvision. Plus, Adlon's "story by" credit on Thursday's new episode does give me significant hope that she's just as devoted to making the character unpredictable as Louis CK is.

But beyond all that, the one thing I like about Pamela is that she's always pushing buttons and boundaries in a big way. She's a catalyst for action and change, in contrast to Louie, who tries to stay as passive as possible and goes with the flow of what's easiest and most convenient.

Every conversation between Pamela and Louie is like whiplash, and she speaks so authoritatively that it's easy to interpret her ranting as the show attempting to universally represent people in their 40s, or more specifically, dating in your 40s. But that's not what Pamela's doing.

During "A La Carte," Louie tries to propose moving in with Pamela and she declines by declaring, "I like fun." She then launches into an argument against commitment in a rant that makes staying caught in non-exclusive, new relationship limbo very, very seductive, but I don't think the show is trying to make a declarative statement with this scene. Louie isn't ringing the death knell on monogamous relationships altogether — it's just that Pamela is deciding independently what she wants, without giving a crap if that's what society (or even Louie) wants. And that's what's great about this episode.

Louie may have stumbled slightly in the past, but I love that the series has never backed down from making Pamela as confrontational, confident, and bold as she's always been.

Image: KC Bailey/FX; Giphy (2)