After today’s FX panel on Louie, actor-writer Pamela Adlon offered a few more details on her latest collaboration with Louis CK, announced earlier today at TCA: Better Things, which has been given a pilot order by FX. It stars Adlon as an actress raising three daughters, which she is in real life.
Like Adlon, the character will be divorced with sole custody of the girls, she said. The character will be a working actress but as a middle-class player, she still has to take out her own garbage. Unlike the dad in Louie, this TV mom won’t be able drop her kids off with her ex-spouse when she wants to go on a date, because he’s living in another country.
Adlon’s own daughters are 17, 14 and 11. She said she will make the girls in the series slightly younger so she can “tell more stories” as they grow up. She described the series as coming from the “woman’s point of view.”
Point of view — male and female — also dominated the panel discussion, most of which focused on one controversial Louie episode, titled Pamela (Part 1). Louie gets into a tussle with his would-be girlfriend, Pamela (portrayed by Adlon), as Louie tries to get physical. The Internet blew up over this scene: What did this say about consent —and rape?
On the panel, both writer-performers said they saw the scene as funny and not a rape, or attempted rape, scene. (Adlon said after the panel that this was the first time Louis CK has spoken publicly of the controversy).
Before and after the panel, Adlon said that she knew when she read Louis CK’s script that it would be controversial but she always saw her character as being in control.
“I was dying when I read it, I thought it was really funny,” Adlon said. But even though she was laughing, she was saying to herself, “I think we may be in trouble. I don’t know if somebody’s going to get mad…I have three daughters and I didn’t think it was rape-y.”
Louis CK said he saw the tussle as “a physical manifestation of what we’re going through as a couple. “
He said his character was doing clumsy things in an attempt to be “romantic” even though he was trying to force Pamela into a kiss. He said that people may have different interpretations of what they were seeing but, “That’s OK.”
At first, Louis CK said he doesn’t read the online chatter about his work but at the end he admitted: “I read all this s***… I’m fascinated by what people write.”
He also knew the question would come up on the panel.
“The scene with us was meant to be funny,” he repeated. “To me, I was surprised. Wow, f ***! People got upset.”