If you’re not watching FX’s “Louie,” then you are missing out on one of the great contemporary comedy programs.

How’s that for faint praise?

I’ll delve more into the show when my Season Two Blu-ray review goes live next week, but here’s a taste: there’s never been anything quite like “Louie” on television.  The closest match is probably “Seinfeld,” but I base that comparison solely on surface details.  Both programs center on lightly fictionalized versions of popular comedians (Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K.); both programs elaborate on and exaggerate material from their stars’ stand-up routines.

Other than that, “Louie” couldn’t be more dissimilar from “Seinfeld.”  C.K. eschews the three-camera sitcom format for a single-camera, vérité-style approach.  Each episode contains one or two segments, which play out like isolated short stories – only Louie and his thematic obsessions link one episode to the next.  And while much of “Louie” is funny, the show never shies away from serious, painful, or even surreal subject matter (and sometimes all three at once, as in the wonderful/bizarre “Ducklings” episode that saw Louie traveling to Iraq carrying baby ducklings his daughter gave him).

Here’s the biggest “Seinfeld”/“Louie” difference: “Seinfeld” was a show about nothing because its main characters really cared about nothing.  Louis C.K., however, cares about everything, no matter how trivial or strange or embarrassing, and “Louie” reflects his laser-honed compassion.

From FX’s official synopsis:

The critically acclaimed FX original comedy series Louie is filtered through the observational humor of Emmy Award-winning comedian Louis C.K.

From the inventive imagination of Louis C.K., Louie puts a spotlight on C.K.’s everyday ordeals, his quest to find love and his pursuit of humor. Each episode features a scripted story and a mix of his stand-up comedy, which is original material for the series. The single-camera comedy is shot in New York.

The series debuted in June of 2010 and was widely hailed by critics as one of the best new series of the year.

They ain’t lying.  Season Three starts on June 28th, but you can catch up with Season Two when the Blu-ray and DVD editions arrive in stores everywhere next Tuesday, June 19th.  Season Two (and Season One, for that matter) is well worth your time and money; I can’t recommend it enough.

Three lucky contestants, however, won’t need to purchase it.  I have three copies of the “Louie:” Season Two Blu-ray set, and to qualify for the giveaway copies, email me at moviegeek123@hotmail.com, provide your first and last name, and correctly answer the following question.

  • On which of the following shows has Louie C.K. not appeared?
  • a) “Parks and Recreation”  b) “Lucky Louie”  c) “Rescue Me”  d) “The Chris Rock Show”

I’m going to stop taking entries at 8 PM EST next week on Tuesday, June 19th, so get your answers in before then.  Only contestants within the United States are eligible, and entering the same name under multiple email addresses will get you disqualified.

The winners will be informed privately on Wednesday, June 20th, and Twentieth Century Fox will send the Blu-rays out shortly afterwards.

Again, Season Two of “Louie” makes its Blu-ray debut on June 19th (click HERE for Amazon’s listing), and Season Three premieres, only on FX, on June 28th.  Check your local listings for exact airtimes.

Home Culture CultureMob Giveaway: LOUIE: SEASON TWO on Blu-ray