'Louie' Season 5 Episodes Are Already Almost Halfway Gone, Comedy Nerds

Louie is one of those new-fangled, free-range series that have been developed in this new era of television, in that it exists outside of the traditional network TV timeline. Louie episodes come and go mostly at the will of creator and star Louis CK. Hiatus length varies, there's no season start date set in stone, and even the number of episodes in a Louie season itself can vary. This leaves me and my fellow Louie fans (Lou-natics? I'm working on it.) in a bit of an emotionally confusing state at the moment. I'm just settling in to this season of the show, and it's almost halfway over already.

When FX announced the renewal of the show, they also confirmed a seven-episode order. HitFix pointed out at the time that the network's Louie episodes order is more of a guideline, as a 13-episode order has yielded a 14-episode season in the past. Apparently, FX was willing to compromise again this year, as there are officially eight episodes on the docket with the finale scheduled for May.

What we don't know is who takes the lead on a decision like that. Did Louis CK himself suggest a shortened season because he wanted to put time into other projects? Did he figure that the story he wanted to tell this year couldn't (or shouldn't) be stretched across more episodes? Last season, FX doubled up on Louie, airing the new episodes back-to-back and squeezing it all into seven weeks. So perhaps this change was more of a programming decision on the part of the money people. Me? I prefer a nice, languid, one-a-week date with the show. Louie is a series that shouldn't be watched as a marathon, if at all possible, even in those small increments. Those double-episode nights felt cramped and uncomfortable.

So at least Season 5 is airing in a way that showcases Louie in the best possible light. These mini-meditations on the daily struggles of being a well-intentioned but flawed human being just read better when left to stand on their own. That's why you'll never see a "Last time, on Louie..." prologue. They're just not necessary. Meanwhile, I cling to the Game of Thrones mini-recaps like they're life preservers and I'm stranded in the Narrow Sea.

Last year's Louie run was about as linear as the series gets, with strong focus on Louie's alluring neighbor Amia and elusive friend Pamela. Season 5 took it back to standalone territory; Louie's inability to avoid humiliation and accidentally offending others being the main through-line. (Hands up if you're still traumatized by last week's trip to the grocery store.) Pamela did make a significant appearance in "Ala Carte" to update the audience on the pair's non-traditional relationship. But on the whole, these episodes so far feel like a really great short story collection. There are themes, sure, but you wouldn't be lost if you flipped to the middle of the book and just started reading.

Images: KC Bailey/FX; Giphy (2)