Last night, while lounging around in the hotel sleeping off a long day of travel across the Florida Panhandle, I watched some television while devouring the vanilla cream cheese cake slice I got from Publix. I was tuning into FX and there was this new show premiering called Baskets. It starred Zack Galifianakis from The Hangover trilogy but Louie Anderson was also in it. He played a woman named Christine. It was weird to see Anderson garbed up as a chick. That’s certainly not how I remember him from my childhood. There was his small role as the guy on the fries in Coming to America. I think he had a voice character in Bébé’s Kids. And of course, there was his time as host of Family Feud. But, I remember him most from one of the highlight shows of my Saturday mornings. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Life with Louie.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across Life with Louie in the Winter of 1994, when the show premiered. It was a special addition to the FOX Sunday night rotation, after The Simpsons. What I recall from the first episode was some fat kid that looked and talked like Anderson and the weirdness of his family as they got into the holiday spirit. It kind of reminded me of A Christmas Story: a hard-working and somewhat mechanically-flawed father, a homemaker as a mother, an older brother as the main character, and a younger brother as the ancillary piece. The December 1994 show was a one-off special. The show returned the following fall to the Fox Kids Saturday morning programming block alongside Bobby’s World, The Tick, and Spider-Man, just to name a few.
What it meant to me then? At the time, I felt somewhat of a connection to the things Louie went through in the show. A few episodes that come to my immediate remembrance are (1) the episode where Louie went on vacation and one of the girls at the site had a crush on him only for Louie to not feel her like that, (2) the episode where the boys’ parents went out of town for the day, leaving them home alone only for the power to go out, and (3) the episode where Louie tried to win the school election. Those are things I actually experienced in real life. The episode that meant the most to me back then was the one about baseball and how Louie’s mom taught the team how to become winners in spite of his father’s uselessness as a field manager.
What it means to me now? Looking at the intro video above invokes the obvious feelings of nostalgia. I haven’t seen Life with Louie since 2002, when I watched a couple of episodes I recorded on VHS. I just looked on Amazon to see if the series was available on DVD but it’s not. That means that the intro video and whatever episodes uploaded to YouTube are all I have left of this cherished show from my childhood. I’ll definitely be saving this video as a favorite.