Much like Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm, bits of the plot in Louie (10:30 p.m. Thursday, FX) feel plucked from the star’s presumably hilarious real life. But Louis C.K.’s dark comedy offers serious commentary on show business, parenting and life’s unexplainable quirks, making Louie more than just a sitcom about the fictionalized life of a foul-mouthed comedian.
For those unfamiliar with C.K.’s standup, it’s certainly relentless and curse word-laden, but never more offensive than it is hilarious. One of his bits could make your eyes bulge or cheeks redden, but at the end you’re left thinking about something in a new light. The comedian famously made more than $1 million off his recent live concert video by selling it for five bucks online in an attempt to curb pirating and cut out the middlemen. Much of the profits were split between raises for his staff and charity donations, leading some to infer he’s not as much of an asshole as he plays on TV.
While there are some storylines that carry across episodes, most weeks Louie offers a uniquely weird and wonderful assortment of observational comedy. C.K. takes situations we can all relate to — like uncomfortable first dates or the difficulty of dealing with children — and throws them in the audience’s face until we’re all squirming with him.
Thursday’s episode is the conclusion of a three-parter, each of which follows Louie as he is offered the opportunity to take over Late Show from a retiring David Letterman. While he is told from the beginning that the job probably won’t be his, he is asked to seriously approach the position in order to drive down the price for likely replacement, Jerry Seinfeld. A magically odd David Lynch returns as Louie’s eccentric show coach; more refreshing cameos to come include Chris Rock (who we last week discovered had thrown his hat in the Late Show host ring). And while we know Louie can’t possibly land the job, C.K. invites us to laugh and agonize with him along the way.
WEDNESDAY SEPT. 19
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (10 p.m., TLC) – Alana turns 7 and gets pageant advice from Miss Georgia 2011.
THURSDAY SEPT. 20
SNL Primetime Election Special (8 p.m., NBC) – Much like Weekend Update Thursday during the 2008 presidential race, the folks at Saturday Night Live will give their take on the election during the remaining Thursdays in September. If last week’s SNL was any indication, we’ll see Jason Sudekis as Mitt Romney and Jay Pharoah taking over Fred Armisen’s Barack Obama.
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The designers will kick, stretch and kick they’re way through designing for The Rockettes.
Glee (9 p.m., Fox) – If The X Factor doesn’t satiate your counter-intuitive fixation with Britney Spears, you’re in luck!
Wilfred (Season Finale, 10 p.m., FX) –Secrets are revealed as Wilfred and Ryan face existential questions this second season closer.
The Office (Season Premiere, 9 p.m., NBC) – In our last season with the Dunder Mifflin crew, two fresh hires are dubbed the new Jim and Dwight.
Parks and Recreation (Season Premiere, 9:30 p.m., NBC) – Leslie and Andy visit Ben and April at their new jobs in Washington, D.C. John McCain and other senators guest star.
SATURDAY SEPT. 22
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosts with musical guest Mumford and Sons.
SUNDAY SEPT. 23
The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (8 p.m., ABC) – Jimmy Kimmel hosts this yearly tribute to all things television. Mad Men, American Horror Story and Downton Abbey lead in nominations.
Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) – Eli is released from prison; Chalky and his daughter discuss her future; Margaret discovers more setbacks at St. Theresa’s; Stephen Root makes his debut as corrupt special investigator Gaston Means.
MONDAY SEPT. 24
How I Met Your Mother (8 p.m., CBS) – Season 8 opens on Barney and Robin’s wedding day, but both are experiencing cold feet. Are we finally going to meet the eponymous mother?
TUESDAY SEPT. 25
New Girl (Season Premiere, 8 p.m., Fox) – Jess loses her teaching gig, freeing her time to volunteer as “shot girl” at Schmidt’s rebranding bash.
Sons of Anarchy (10 p.m., FX) – Trouble brews within the club and we get another peek into the life of John Teller.
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