This makes me exceedingly happy: CBS just bought a recession-themed sitcom pilot from Louis C.K. and Spike Feresten. Not a lot of details yet on anything other than the fact that that the show will apparently be about “young people who are trying to achieve their creative dreams.” But I’d follow C.K. into a burning building at this point if he promised me that content was inside it and I’d get to consume it before I succumbed to smoke inhalation.
I also think this is an interesting experiment in whether C.K.’s deeply compelling brand of honesty and moral comedy can find a mass audience, and whether he can do it without the explicitness that’s made Louie such a wonderful discussion of sex and gender from a man’s perspective. I hope the former will be true — I’d love to see a show that combines the sometimes-painful optimism of something like Parks and Recreation with the class consciousness of Raising Hope and the lived-in friendships of Happy Endings do well. On the second, while C.K. may (outside of race) get the most attention for his routines about sex and sexual humiliation, his up-front approach to things like buying a house, or having his daughters prefer their mother to him, or professional failure would translate extremely well to the networks without requiring him to compromise the material at all.
I’d also really like a show from him (or really, from anyone) to continue the trend that Southland started of having the characters talk like real people of those backgrounds and in those circumstances would, but bleeping them out. We’ve seen a bit of this on Parks and Recreation, where the generally clean-spoken characters occasionally lapse into real-world profanity, and on other shows, but I think it would be decent practice to do a bit more of it. Television doesn’t just capture characters in the least-stressful moments of their lives — quite the reverse. I can understand why we’ve got some limitations on speaking words aloud in prime time (even though I think its the job of parents to keep their kids away from content they find generally objectionable), but I think it would make sense to find a compromise that keeps the kiddies’ ears clean while trusting adults to know what’s really being said.