show not on CBS. What is different about Louie is
that viewers must recalibrate their expectations of
what the show is every time they watch it. Unlike
the Big Bang Theory (2007-), where you could watch
an episode on mute while waiting for a plane at the
airport and still understand what’s happening, Louie
offers no comforting (or numbing) familiarity.
The show’s unique style, as well as both critical acclaim and a
steady increase in viewership, has helped to launch the show’s
popular discussion within the media. Five seasons have landed the
series several nominations and awards, including two Golden
Globe nominations, 22 Emmy nominations with three wins, eight
Television Critics Association Awards nominations with three
wins, and four Writers Guild of America nominations with three
wins (IMDB). The number of viewers who tuned into the premiere
of season three almost doubled the number of viewers who
watched the premiere of season one. Though the ratings were not
as high as other popular comedies on FX, like It’s Always Sunny in
Philadelphia (2005-) or Wilfred (2011-2014), Louie’s five-year run did
incredibly well for a comedy with such an unusual nature (Satran).
An interesting and telling aspect regarding the viewership of the
series is its divided audience; after the third season, an
overwhelming 70 percent of viewers were male, which had
increased from 64 percent in the previous season. Women “were
much more likely than men to watch the premiere but not return
for episode two; 34 percent of women between the ages of 18 and
49 who watched the premiere did not tune in again a week later”
(Satran). What exactly, then, was it about that first episode that
turned women off for the rest of the season?
I believe part of the answer may lie in the portrayal of
female characters in that specific episode and, by extension, the
series as a whole. Take, for example, Louie’s girlfriend April (Gaby
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