Pamela Adlon opens up about her controversial scene in "Louie" that left fans wondering what to think -- and how to feel -- about the show
Louis C.K. startled fans when he featured an uncomfortable — and controversial — scene in his show Louie last month during the episode “Pamela, Part 1.” In the episode, Louie attempts to kiss his friend Pamela (played by co-producer Pamela Adlon) against her will and ends up chasing her around his apartment, grabbing at her as she attempts to get away from him. Pamela even spells it out, telling Louie — as he’s grabbing at her — that he “can’t even rape well!” Eventually Louie manages to kiss Pamela before she’s finally able to leave.
Many viewers were put-off by the scene — which quickly became known as the “rape” scene — and were left wondering just what Louis C.K. and Louie were up to. As TIME’s James Poniewozik wrote about the scene in June: “It feels terrible to watch–not just the grappling, but the cringing kiss Louie coerces out of Pamela, and the fist-pump he gives himself afterward. And there’s no reason to doubt Louis C.K. meant it to look and feel precisely that terrible.”
Now, in an interview with Vulture, Adlon herself has commented on the controversial scene, saying that she initially found the whole confrontation hilarious:
[W]hen I read it I was dying laughing, because in the script he said, “Louie approaches her closing off the ring” — which is like a boxing terminology — and then he said, “and she’s holding on to the walls and furniture like a cartoon cat.” So when I read it, it read hilariously. Then on the day that we were shooting it, I was like, “Let’s really get into it,” and I grabbed the dresser and all of that. And then at a certain point, I looked at him and I said, “Somebody might get mad.”
Adlon also disagrees with people who viewed the eventual kiss as forced, adding that her character consented at the end of the scene. But if Aldon thinks fans shouldn’t be wondering what to think about the outcome of that scene, she’s also quick to note that the response that the episode triggered — although largely negative — wasn’t unwelcome:
The notion that we’re being careless and putting some kind of dangerous message out is offensive to me. But I can’t help what people feel and what reaction they give to things. I said something to Louis at the beginning of this season, which was that when we’re doing stuff, more than going for a laugh or anything — or a reaction — we’re going for a feeling.
Considering Poniewozik, not to mention many other viewers, have noted that watching that scene felt terrible, it sounds like Louis and Adlon achieved at least part of their mission.