Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Recently he took his biggest risk (so far). He completely wrote, directed, stars, and financed a ten episode limited series called HORACE AND PETE. It’s not on any network. You plunk your $5 down per episode and screen it on his website. Now that’s a way to get around ABC network notes.
HORACE AND PETE is a dramedy set in a Brooklyn bar and features an astounding cast. Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, Jessica Lange, Rebecca Hall, and a host of the best character actors you see every night on LAW & ORDER reruns.
For weeks you readers have asked what I thought of it.
There’s a lot I applaud. It’s ambitious, it’s out of the box, Edie Falco is sensational, and Alan Alda’s foul-mouth angry character is the best thing he’s done since Hawkeye. (I missed a golden opportunity not writing in seven "fucks" in his dialogue every week.)
But Jesus, it's a grim show.
Imagine CHEERS with Eugene O’Neill as the showrunner.
There are parts of HORACE AND PETE that are fascinating (although I’m totally confused by all the generations of Horace and Pete’s over the last hundred years and who’s related to who), and other parts that have me scratching my head.
And part one had an intermission. An intermission? I'm sorry but how fucking pretentious is that???
The second most remarkable achievement is getting Alan Alda and Jessica Lange to drop C-bombs at will.
Louis CK has announced that he has lost millions on this show. (Of course he can just go out on tour for three months and make it all back. It’s not like he mortgaged and lost Downton Abbey.) But still, that’s a considerable amount of money and creative commitment. The sense I get from seeing him on interview shows is that he’s somewhat disappointed in the results.
To me the problem is that it’s not a comedy, which is fine, but his fan base – the ones who would shell out $5 – want to pay for a comedy. That’s his “brand.” When he put a concert on line and charged for it he got a lot of takers. They paid to see his stand-up act. But this is like Woody Allen, after ANNIE HALL and a host of inspired comedies, charged people to see INTERIORS.
Still, what excites me about Louis CK is that he’s always willing to take a big swing at bat. So who knows what brilliant, groundbreaking, or even really funny projects are yet to come? Give me that over the next Seth Rogen NEIGHBORS film any day. But don't have an intermission. An intermission???
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM