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Thread: Horace and Pete - Louis CK's anti-TV episodic drama

  1. Horace and Pete - Louis CK's anti-TV episodic drama

    So this show has finished "airing" and I think it's worth talking about. In fact, I dare say it's one of the best shows this year.

    Horace and Pete is Louis CK's latest show, produced in absolute secrecy, and released without promotion or even basic information as a direct download on Louie's website. Despite offers of financing, the show was personally financed by Louie and put him millions in debt, all as part of this grand experiment to tell a story to an audience completely cold, without expectation. There was no synopsis, no cast list, no trailer, nothing. Just a title, and a link to buy.

    In short, it's a self-contained 10 episode dramatic series, about two brothers, Horace and Pete, who run a bar in Brooklyn that has been in the family for generations. Episode length varies from around 35 to 65 minutes. Here's some of what makes this such an interesting show:

    1. It has an incredible cast. Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, and Alan Alda all get starring roles, and there are some great supporting roles from the likes of Jessica Lange, Laurie Metcalf, Reg E Cathey, Steven Wright... Pretty much everyone in this is a name actor or comic.
    2. It's aggressively un-cinematic, in opposition to modern TV. This is shot multi-camera like an old-school sitcom or, more relevantly, theatrical shows like Playhouse 90. It's performed straight through, with very little editing outside of camera switching, so what you see is a real-time performance as it was shot, and it's more like watching a live performance of a play than typical TV show. It feels strange at first, but it forces actors to live in the moments they've created, and it leads to some really great performances, and places the viewer "in the moment" in a way most single-camera TV doesn't. Some episodes even have "intermission" breaks like a play.
    3. It's not a comedy. It's not even a dramedy. It may even be a tragedy. While it has its funny moments, it's not a funny show. It's not the kind of thing one would expect from Louis CK, but it does justify the all-star acting talent. Even Louie gives a great performance.
    4. It's world moves when the cameras aren't on. Each episode was shot the week it was released, and often reference current events of the week as a way to anchor each episode in the present. A week has passed between each epsiode, and some of the series most important events happen between episodes, off camera. The show is like a series of snapshots, rather than attempt to jump across the major beats of a story in a tightly edited, cinematic fashion.
    5. Paul Simon did opening and end theme, but there's very little music apart from that, and some occasional source music. There is no "score" to speak of, again reinforcing the sense that this is a broadcast play.

    Anyway, it's a really bold, really different show, well worth checking out. Its quiet release is kind of bizarre, and doesn't seem like good business, but Louie was probably right that no network would have allowed him to make a show like this that tosses out so much of the conventional wisdom of TV.
    Last edited by Frogacuda; 25 Apr 2016 at 11:10 AM.

  2. It's a solid show, but I crack up every time Paul Simon is singing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Simon

  3. I thought he was singing "Hell no"

  4. That one time, yes. But he also says heeeeyooooooah and woooooOOOOOOOOOOOoooooaaaah. I can't even take it, it pulls me right out of whatever is happening.

    My dad mailed me his old Fender acoustic, and I've taken to chasing Rebecca around the apartment with it while playing and "singing" this song at her.

    All of you should absolutely watch this show though, it's real deal good.

  5. #5
    I have only seen the first episode so far but it was really good. Alan Alda was especially funny. It could have been edited down by 10 to 15 minutes, though.


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