'Louie' Season 4 premiere: Let's talk about Yvonne Strahovski and the garbage men

yvonne-strahovski-louie.jpg "Louie" returned to FX Monday (May 5) after a long absence, and it's still an unpredictable, uncategorizable gem of a show.

It's also a show that really doesn't lend itself to the idea of a weekly review or recap, as star-creator-auteur Louis C.K. isn't always interested in continuity (except those times that he is) and, more fundamentally, there's often not much that happens in a given episode.

That was pretty much the case in Monday's two episodes, "Back" (Louie hurts his back) and "Model" (Louie meets a woman after bombing at a benefit performance). Within the two episodes, though, a couple of things really stood out. Let's talk about them

'Back': The garbage men

"Back" opens with a vignette about Louie being awakened by trash collectors outside his window. It's a sequence that most everyone who's ever lived in a big city can identify with -- the life of the world a few feet outside intruding on your peace and quiet, and in this case sleep.

What makes it great is the surreal touch C.K. adds: The garbage go from making noise in the course of their work, to indiscriminately banging on cans and their truck, to physically breaking into Louie's apartment, jumping on his bed and strewing trash all over the room. It's a near-perfect visualization of what it feels like to be jolted awake by some outside factor, and what you think must they actually be doing and what it feels like is happening when in reality the guys outside are just going about their work.

And that's just one read on the scene. "Louie" has several times in the past taken slightly fantastic or surreal events at face value, so who's to say that's not what really happened that morning? Maybe we just didn't see Louie clean up after them.

'Model': Yvonne Strahovski is great

You don't really see Yvonne Strahovski, late of "Chuck" and "Dexter" (and also starring in "24: Live Another Day" on FOX Monday), for the first couple minutes of her appearance. After Louie bombs at the benefit in the Hamptons, C.K. frames their introduction in an extremely long shot -- she's maybe 100 feet away from him, yelling across a vast motor court that she loved how uncomfortable Louie made everyone else in the room. You sort of lean in and go, "Is that who I think it is?"

It is, and Strahovski gives a tremendously loose, funny performance as a woman who probably wouldn't otherwise look twice at a guy like Louie. In this very specific situation, though, he makes for the perfect excuse to escape the stuffy Hamptons crowd, and she provides a carefree, almost-skinny-dipping fantasy for Louie.

Until, of course, it all goes sideways. It somehow makes perfect sense that Louie would react violently to being tickled, clock his paramour in the face and end up owing her family tons of money he doesn't have (some deal you cut there, Victor Garber). C.K. almost never tacks the conventional way in his storytelling, particularly when it involves romance, and this feels like the perfect unhappy-but-not-entirely ending to this little story, because the story of his busted nose gets him a drink with that cute waitress from the comedy club.

It's a lovely return for "Louie." Tweet us your thoughts about the premiere.
Photo/Video credit: FX