Fatherhood is a fertile subject for comedian Louis C.K.
Kids do say the darnedest things, but Louis’ observations reveal the depth of his investment.
He lit out after standardized testing and the Common Core on Twitter.
He made a passionate case against giving kids smartphones to Conan O’Brien.
Is it any wonder that the “dumber, funnier” version of himself he created for his TV show is preoccupied and often thwarted by his responsibilities as the single dad of two young daughters?
(Real life may provide inspiration, but the writer and star displays appropriate boundaries when he says that his actual daughters are markedly different characters than their TV counterparts.)
But the knife of fatherhood cuts both ways. Louis’ troubled relationship with his own dad gets less attention than the father-daughter bond, but it’s there in his work. The prospect of spending time with his estranged father causes the fictional Louis to vomit at the dinner table in season three.
The animated approach seen above, gives Louis more control over the situation. Animation, like reading, makes possible flights of fancy wherein children—including grown ones like Louis—can do “absolutely anything.” Flying and using a rainbow as a slide are among the fantastical activities the 2-D Louis samples. Meanwhile, the quality of his narration conveys an underlying distaste for the sort of canned “imaginative” suggestions foisted on children by well-meaning educational programmers.
Left to their own devices, most kids will come up with scenarios and powers far weirder than anything peddled to them by an adult. Why “swim through the ocean like a fish” when you can anthropomorphize your elderly father as a malevolent spider, lodged in your chest, pooping out regular little “infestations of hate”?
Animation lets you go all the way, and C.K. certainly does, lopping off heads, and (SPOILER!) inadvertently Bonnie and Clyding himself from within.
Someone’s made a lot of progress since the 90’s, when he used his time on Dr. Katz’s animated couch to discuss K-Mart and Chips Ahoy.