FX’s Louie can be called Seinfeld’s darker, more cynical older brother. Written, directed, produced, starring and edited by comedian Louis C.K., it follows C.K. as himself (sort of) living in New York City, in his 40s, recently divorced and with two kids. Much like Seinfeld, it’ll often have interludes of stand-up comedy from C.K., followed by events and situations that characterize his stand-up material. As good as the first season was, it kept pretty much to his formula, except it would often switch between comedic and somewhat dramatic moments and have an uneven, but still entertaining, vibe.
It wasn’t until its second season, however, that Louie truly proved itself to be one of the best, and bravest, new shows on TV. As Louie began to explore some different areas in sitcom territory, it also gave room for pretty dark, serious, and even self-reflective moments. In a second, a scene will go from hilarious to heartbreaking, and yet you never feel disjointed. Tonally, Louie has gotten far more dramatic as it plays out in the season, but it feels refreshingly welcomed and honest.
Because much like Seinfeld broke new ground for where sitcoms can go, Louie proves that sometimes, sitcoms don’t have to be funny, because some situations aren’t funny all the time. Sometimes, they’re pretty bleak and people don’t come away with a clear resolution. That’s life, and Louie has the balls to say it — and that’s why it’s one of the best sitcoms on TV. But along with this, it still remains smart, hilarious and well-made, and that’s why it also becomes one of the best shows on TV.