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The Hidden Sex Lives Of TV Characters
Here's what we should be doing with TV criticism: figuring out what a character's living room says about how and why they bone.
By Johannah King-Slutzky
At Grantland Kate Carraway has written an article about the hollowing out of middle class women on TV shows. It's a great piece, you should check it out.
There are a lot of problems with the article, like the idea that you can evaluate social class by examining someone's belongings, even while ignoring the average cost of living for a character's assigned city. And how do you use property to measure "class" (as you infer it) when it's the showy materialism of the Real Housewives characters, more than a couple of whom have overspent their wallets?
Lucky for us, that's not exactly what we're about. I'll leave it up to you to measure what kind of loft is realistically suitable for a teacher's salary and what's plain set dressing/trust-funded hokum. Here's what we should be doing with TV criticism: figuring out what a character's living room says about how and why they bone.
1. Louie CK
Almost all of Louie's furniture is from Ikea. In fact, he probably bought it in a rush along with a heavy load of Swedish meatballs. We've seen Louie at Ikea twice on the show already, both times on hapless dates: Louie uses Ikea's model homes to simulate intimacy, but when the furniture is transferred to his own apartment that intimacy falls flat. His apartment definitely belongs to a divorced guy with a family.
Louie's an old school bachelor, and his color palette reflects that: his couch is grey, his walls are white (elsewhere they're a sophisticated-yet-drab olive green), and his sheets are always dark blue. In this scene (Season 3, Episode 1) he's using a comforter we later recognize from the set of sheets on his bed, but the floral pillow probably belongs to his soon-to-be ex or one of his daughters. Louie's living room is also arranged to maximize couch-potato grazing sessions. A flat screen TV occupies the center of the back wall (not pictured), and coffee and side tables (pictured) fence the couch to increase the likelihood that Louie'll have a place for his sandwich.
His other belongings confirm the story that he has spawned: his mantle, for example (pictured below), is adorned with photos of his children, but there's a literal gap at the center that seems intentional. You could read that empty space as symbolic of his divorce.