Last night we watched Lucky Louie on HBO. A brief summary: Louie and his wife are alone for a sexy weekend without the kid, so Louie gets things lubricated by bringing home a bouquet of red roses. His wife doesn’t thank him but instead reminds him that she’s said, more than once, that she doesn’t like red roses, at all, and for him never to give them to her again. He forgets this and still thinks she should thank him. When she doesn’t, he says she’s an ungrateful cunt.
She ignores him. He leaves the house to sulk with friends who cannot believe he played the C-U-Next-Tuesday card. He goes home, apologizes again, clearly articulating that he was just so frustrated, that he understands she thinks red roses are a hollow gesture. She speaks up expressing how hurt she was that he just doesn’t listen to her. They have make up sex with the twenty minutes they have left before their daughter returns home. The live studio audience laughs. It’s a well-written show, and we understand that the shlub really does love his wife; he’s just a bit daft.
It’s a show with characters and made up story lines, but we relate to the stories, align ourselves with a character, wondering slightly how we’d react if it were our own lives. If I’d written this story about my own life, the advice hurled my way would involve leaving him. “Get out while you still can,” “You’re too dramatic,” and “Up those therapy sessions.” Characters with studio audiences get by and through it all with laughter. I wonder if that works with people in the privacy of their own homes, how they should respond to a frustrated voice, getting louder. Should they respond with silence or with pleas for therapy? When she’s unreasonable, should he laugh or plead silence, too? I don’t have the answers; I prefer to watch them on television and hope we’re doing okay.