Horace and Pete

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Horace and Pete

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A web series written, directed & starring Louis C K. I had become a huge admirer and a fan of CK when I first found him through Louie on FX which I thought was extraordinary in terms of scope and experimentation when it comes to writing comedy. In fact Louis is an artist of the highest calibre that he was able to transcend the traditional boundaries of comedy and treaded on to very dark and awkward corners which only very few dared. Such brilliance is also visible in his stand ups.  After completing the 5th Season of Louie, he decided to take a hiatus from writing with no particular time frame. Louis CK had grown to such a stature that the network had no issues with it. Nobody knew what he was really upto except that he created ‘baskets’ alongside Zack Galifianakis but his involvement in that series was limited.      

Suddenly on 30.01.2016, an email was dropped to all the subscribers of his official website that the episode 1 of his new web series named Horace and Pete was available for download. Louis CK decided to take everyone by surprise and he was also determined that there should be no television network involvement so that  he doesn’t feel the need to satisfy any person other than himself even though FX offered. No promotion or marketing thereby achieving nil expectation from the series. He also pointed out in the email that it was more of a drama than a comedy that too if i remember correctly only after the 1st episode aired. Nobody even knew how may episodes were there and episodes were not even titled.  This itself shows how audacious and passionate an artist Louis CK is if not his previous works.

The series as such is conceived as a televised stage play (i bet nobody would have even attempted to do that) and focuses on a bar in Brooklyn “Horace and Pete”, a 100 year old establishment which is always owned by a Horace and a Pete. Presently, Horace played by Louis CK and Pete by Steve Buscemi owns it.  I have no intention of giving anything away but this series will require the audience to view it with an open mind. As such the writer does not want to drive home any particular idea or a theme, but it is one of the most thought provoking scripts ever written for television. 


Louis CK delves deep within the minds of its characters and showcases varied emotions in its full glory. In order to achieve that, stellar performances was the order of the day. I am fully convinced that the acting in this series is unlike anything else that is there on television right now. Louis probably knew Horace so deeply that he made it look so effortless. Steve Buscemi ( recently acclaimed for “Nucky Thompson” – Boardwalk Empire) was equally staggering. Alan Alda owned Uncle Pete bringing out the brash philosophies and ideologies of his times with impunity. Edie Falco as Sylvia was so convincing that she was a witch one minute and a loving sister the next, remorseless by end of an episode, suddenly a realist and ultimately heart broken by the end of the series. Kurt Metzger as a regular visitor of the bar is also fantastic having some of the best lines of the season.


The other striking aspect of the series is that it is filmed every week and the news that made headlines a few days back would be the topic discussion at the bar. How cool is that. I have never seen politics discussed that way it is in this series in any other visual medium currently.  From  Republican-Conservative – Trump-Hilary-Abortion- Hulk Hogan- Music, everything gets discussed in the bar from both sides of the coin. The writer is very conscious not to function as a piece of propaganda but rather wants to provide perspective to things.


The character development in Horace and Pete is another hallmark where with each episode, the viewer is told more about the characters as the story unfolds along with it and the drama within in the family deepens touching on various themes. The writing and the acting is of such high calibre that each of them has lived their respective roles and the connect with the audience happens on a all new level. Various moments are built throughout the series which culminates into some cult scenes as the series comes to its conclusion. The pacing is also neither quick nor slow, is just enough to absorb us into the world of Horace and Pete.

The themes which are being touched upon ranges from alcoholism, depression, mental instability,  troubled childhood and many more. This is one of the rare and very unique series where various themes are touched upon without being too obvious about it. From the point of view of the television industry, this path breaking series showed how good an uncompromised vision of an artist can be when it is without the interference of the networks. The concepts of marketing and promotion are being mocked in their faces. All the limits and boundaries of the television from running time, from being episodic, from sitting on the fence are broken mercilessly. There is no fixed running time for any of the episodes. Louis CK has shown how its done to many artists and series to come in the future.


Horace and Pete is as much a drama as it’s a comedy having abstract thoughts with an realistic/cold take on life and is an American tragedy. I am at loss of words to describe fully the mastery at display, be it the usage of surreal sequence or the flashback to foreshadow the conclusion. This series is a  towering achievement and a masterclass in story telling/ narration & stage direction. Louis CK is a genius unparalleled. Horace and Pete could have possibly changed the landscape and scope of television forever. Do yourself a favour, drop whatever you are doing and watch this modern masterpiece which is ground breaking in its every sense.  

Whats’s next LOUIS CK?


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