Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Imagine The Honeymooners with four-letter words and All in the Family with full-frontal nudity, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect with the half-hour HBO sitcom Lucky Louie. Debuting June 11, 2006, the series was created by Emmy-winning comedy writer Louis C.K., the man responsible for the cult-movie favorite Pootie Tang. The creator also played the leading role of Louie, a blue-collar oaf who held down a part-time job as a muffler-shop mechanic while his wife, Kim (Pamela S. Adlon), a full-time nurse, provided most of the family's income. Louie spent much of his time in his dingy little apartment, looking after his ill-mannered daughter, Lucy (Kelly Gould), and matching half-wits with his various friends and neighbors. These included his fully employed friend (and boss) Mike (Mike Hagerty) and Mike's wife, Tina (Laura Kightlinger), who doled out sex to her husband on a strictly conditional basis; his African-American neighbors Walter (Jerry Minor) and Ellen (Kim Hawthorne), who had their hands full caring for their own daughter, Lisa; Kim's rudderless brother, Jerry (Rick Shapiro), who was unemployed and often imposed on Kim and Louie for everything from food to the use of their shower; and Louie's pal Rich (Jim Norton), who still lived with his mom and supported himself with a variety of illegal business ventures. The series was greeted with uniformly devastating reviews, with most critics harping on its stereotypical treatment of working-class families and its overbearing obsession with sex and sex-talk (the first episode found Louie masturbating to a picture of Jessica Simpson -- imagine Ralph Kramden doing that). For diehard HBO fans, the series' surprise element was not its surfeit of nudity and profanity but the fact that Lucky Louie was the network's first sitcom to be filmed with multiple cameras in front of a live audience.