In case you missed it, this week's episode of Louie was essentially a short film, and brilliant in so many ways. The show abandoned its usual dark humor in order to portray a powerful and unexpected coming of age story when Louie discovers his 12 year old daughter smoking pot. From there, the episode flashes back to his own youthful experiences with the drug when he was his daughter's age.
Louie's story captured the experience in a truly accurate and moving way. I've always believed that the drift into drug use as a young teen often springs from issues that are not located on the surface. From the eyes of the youthful user, it's simply something fun to do, a way to escape the boredom that seeps in once childhood fades. It's not usually until years later that one realizes there were deep rooted issues that were taking place which you weren't consciously aware of at the time. It's a self-medicating tool that manages to work to some extent. You make new friends, some of which you probably shouldn't. You have fun, some of which involves very poor decisions. But ultimately, it cannot be the answer for whatever is bothering you inside, and those problem are not going to go away. Eventually you need to deal with them, and hopefully the cure you sought won't have caused too many new ones.
The episode took on all of these complicated aspects of the decent into drug use in an intelligent and non-judgemental way. It showed things the way they really are without reverting to horror stories. But more importantly, it explored the parenting angle that goes with it. Especially today, more and more parents are going to have to deal with their child's drug use by viewing it through a mirror of their own. Decades ago, parents weren't necessarily coming from a point of experience. After an initial blow-up, Louie's character enters a stage of deep reflection, recalling the difficult years of transitioning from childhood to adulthood and comes to understand his daughter's choice. By the end he realizes that she is going through things that he might not fully be aware of, and instead of punishing her, simply tells her that he's there for her.
Perhaps one of the best, and most worthwhile episodes on television this year.