Louie UK?

On Christmas day, when should presents be opened?

First thing in the morning? After lunch? What about the evening? While patience may be a virtue, dragging things out to the last seems unnecessary, short-sighted and, well, just a bit mean.

Many kids quickly grasp that, sometimes, it really is better to wait. My younger sister had patience. She would routinely pile up her Easter eggs until their use-by dates, (usually around Christmas), while mine would be scoffed within a week.

In many ways I’m still burdened with the patience of Roman Abramovich in a toilet queue. But yesterday I realised that something might finally have clicked. Maybe a small part of my sister’s strategy had indeed rubbed off on me, too. Will broken, I settled down to watch the most recent episode of what is undoubtedly my favourite television programme since The Day Today.  An episode which had been sitting, unzipped, on my laptop since September.

I just didn’t want the series… sorry.. season, to end.

It’s plainly obvious that I don’t have the vocabulary, skill or intelligence to explain why Louie, a sitcom created, written, directed by and starring the biggest US comedian of the day, Louis CK, is so special. But I do know that these beautifully shot, magically scored and meticulously crafted short films – based very loosely upon the life of the single 40-something comedian and father – leave me reeling for days after viewing.

Granted Louie’s situation may hold particular resonance and interest for me, personally at least, as a new parent of two young daughters, but it’s not just that. CK’s ongoing endeavour marks an audacious attempt to make sense of the world. Of failure, rejection, love, happiness and our slow, at times agonizing trek towards death. He uses a pitch black sense of humour, and frequently grotesque honesty, to touch upon and make sense of the great themes and theories of existence, social politics and society.

See what I mean about not having the minerals to articulate why Louie is so special? May I recommend this AV Club article, which suggests the show could be the most groundbreaking, influential drama since The Sopranos (and don’t worry if you’ve not seen Louie, there are no spoilers).

Throughout series three, which aired in the US in the Autumn, I’d hungrily devour each episode two or three times having downloaded it hours after broadcast. While the US slept I, in the UK, would be feverishly searching “LOUIE S03E04” or whatever over breakfast. After watching I’d eagerly read the subsequent review and comments on the aforementioned AV Club site: it was the only place I could share thoughts on the magic I’d seen. There were few friends or family who had the faintest idea who or what Louie was.

So I’d suggest that you, in the UK, see all three seasons as soon as you can.

Only you can’t. 

At least not without paying a fortune for it on import. How about iTunes? Nope. All you get from a search is ‘Did you mean Louis?’. The only option right now, for those lacking patience, is a depressingly hollow and reluctant internet hunt. I want Louis CK to make more of these (but not too many more) and will happily pay whatever is deemed appropriate. When will Louie finally air in full on UK television? Nobody seems to know.

If Louie really is “the next stage in the evolution of the TV sitcom”, as Todd VanDerWerff at The AV Club has it, why are the networks in the UK so slow to move? It’s a costly, backward approach, which serves only to encourage piracy and exasperate just about everyone concerned: FX, Louis CK and his team, and the (potentially fragmented) UK audience.

It’s as if someone somewhere is willfully dragging things out. I can’t begin to understand why, but I do know that it seems unnecessary, short-sighted and, well, just a bit mean.

**EDIT**  thanks to Damian Quinn (or @CompleteBore) for flagging this up. It appears that Louie may actually arrive in the UK sooner rather than later. No exact air date yet, but it is set to happen after UK FX has rebranded to Fox. Presumably DVDs and iTunes will follow. I guess we just need to be patient.

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