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by Alison Willmore
June 27, 2012 3:30 PM
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Louis C.K. on Finally Bringing His 'Louie' Character's Ex-Wife on Screen and Why She's African-American

Susan Kelechi Watson and Louis C.K. on the set of 'Louie' FX

Viewers of Louis C.K.'s great series "Louie" will notice that in the first episode of the new season, which premieres tomorrow, Thursday, June 28th at 10:30pm on FX, there's a quiet but significant additon to the show -- we finally get to meet Louie's ex-wife.

Like the real life C.K., Louie is the divorced father of two kids -- he shares custody of the girls with an ex who has so far stayed off screen while remaining a regular part of the character's life. In "Something Is Wrong," the season premiere, Louie calls Janet to arrange picking up their kids, and we see her answer, as played by actress Susan Kelechi Watson, who recently appeared in "Small, Beautifully Moving Parts." On a press call today, C.K. explained his decision to introduce the character as part of his need to "do something that's new to the show":

The show needs to keep going, so I'm introducing new elements each year. The stories I wrote led me to her. The show has broken off into fiction much more in the last year and this year, so it's really not drawing from my life anymore. This ex-wife character is completely not anything like my real ex-wife.

When I was drawing from my own life, I didn't want to have the story be about an ex-husband and ex-wife -- that relationship wasn't what I wanted to write about. I arrived at a version of it for this character that I thought was good, this woman who's well put-together and an added pressure to his life. And the actress was so good.

A lot of the stuff that we do on the show, I'm not sure I'm going to do it until I see who's playing it. It's part of having the freedom without a network where you have to run all the scripts and casting by people. I wrote the script with her in it and I had the casting people go look for someone, and I told them open it way up and just bring anybody. And I really liked what this woman did, so I decided to stick with the character.

That Watson is African-American and Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker, the child actresses playing her children with Louie, are white and blond didn't really seem an issue to C.K.

To me, the racial thing is like -- when people probably first see her, their brains do a little bit of DNA map and go "I'm not sure I get how that would happen," and then I think with my show most people, they go "Oh, all right, just go ahead." And then they watch the scene. The thing that's important is what's getting said.

I think that her performances are really compelling and I like what that character brings out in the stories and in me on the show. To me that trumped whatever... logistical notion. She's really direct and very self-possessed. She's got a great demeanor for somebody who's moved on in life. That's what she feels like to me. She's moved on in life and she's on a good new chapter. She looks like she's in a better new chapter than me, as far as us having shared a chapter earlier. I think that's a good contrast.


  • Ana | June 22, 2014 8:08 PMReply

    It doesn't bother me at all that she's black it's just that that mother is not believable having raised those 2 kids. I guess it doesn't matter. I mean who really gives a shit but she just talks with a lot of attitude and the little girls didn't inherit any of that? I know peoples parents have different accents etc and the kids won't inherit it, but wouldn't at least one of the girls take after her mother? I mean she raised them and they spend half of their lives with her. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I mean am I crazy? It's hard to explain without sounding racist and it's really not. The Mom doesn't act like the stepford type that would raise 2 kids that act like that. I think what I'm saying is they chose the wrong actress. Forget that she's black, she just should've been like a Stepford type. She's got too much attitude to raise kids that are so naive and sound like Cindy from the brady bunch. Love the show tho.

  • jane francone | May 28, 2014 4:37 PMReply

    having a black woman play mother to 2 white kids adds to the intrigue factor of the show. it's almost jumping the shark but not quite. And the show is fiction. I think it is a stroke of genius and also a smart marketing device. It keeps you guessing.

  • CATHE | May 27, 2014 4:01 PMReply

    It's not so much the children, its the fact she had white hands in season 1 and was referred to as white in season 1 and suddenly she has a deep tan. lol! More disturbing is she's too good looking for him. She could very well have blonde children, it happens. She matches the theme song.

  • lemmie | May 12, 2014 10:46 PMReply

    just make the adopted from Russia became mom couldn't have kids ... done and done.

  • Dmoney | October 31, 2013 8:43 AMReply

    The Jeffersons. One child can "pass" and the other can't. So, this is not new! Finally, black folks have always run the color spectrum. One drop of african descent makes african american. Ask Tiger!!

  • Karl C | October 16, 2013 9:58 AMReply

    In the first episode of the first season, Louie goes on a date with a girl who runs off and jumps into a helicopter than flies away... and people are wound up because the genetics of the children don't match that of the mother. It's fiction. Louis CK said that continuity doesn't matter at all in this. There's an episode where he obsesses over wanting to sleep with a black woman because she is black. There's an episode where it shows his wife's hand signing divorce papers where her hand is white. Whatever. It matters not. It's a great show, and Watson is a great actress.

  • Dan Bainbridge | October 3, 2013 8:36 PMReply

    Maybe he chose a black woman because it then matches the lyrics to the theme song perfectly.

  • keji | September 29, 2013 10:17 AMReply

    look at paula patton's kid

  • Cringe | September 27, 2013 1:35 AMReply

    but..but....his "sister" in season two already called her a 'pasty, big titted,black eyed, guineabitch'?....continuity people ...first the glasses on the table move from shot to shot then they forget what his "sister" called her....

  • marilyn | April 6, 2013 9:00 PMReply

    That is soo dumb if you are going to have a black mother then you need to have mixed kids. Why don't you just have black friends instead. It doesn't make sense. MJ is not the biological dad of any of those kids and if you think so you are blind and in denial.

  • davidw | April 6, 2013 10:34 AMReply

    Aren't Michael Jackson's kids white?

    That proves it.

  • Monsterguy | September 27, 2012 11:44 PMReply

    While it's very rare white kids from a mixed race couple can happen, the strangest thing is when they have twins and one of them is white and the other black.

  • susie | September 24, 2012 5:09 PMReply

    The problem with believability isn't about the kids. I don't believe that model-y stuck up woman would have married him. Why not cast a normal looking or unattractive African American woman, b/c that I would believe. He's just stroking his ego with a black model instead of a white one.

  • Lee Murray | October 8, 2012 2:39 AM

    trust me she's not attractive

  • L.A. Lady | July 24, 2012 9:23 PMReply

    YOU ARE MISINFORMED! ONE CAN LOOK WHITE AND HAVE A BIOLOGICAL BLACK PARENT! The actress Carol Channing lived her life as a white woman (she was adopted by white people and learned her biological mother was african-american).

    I live in L.A. and there are teens attending my child's high school that LOOK WHITE and have a biological black parent. You CANNOT make any assumptions with DNA. Mariah Carey has a black venezuelan (extremely dark-skinned) father and she could have passed for a white woman. The actress Rashida Jones (daughter of quincy jones and peggy lipton) has said folks have not seen her a black.

    Who cares?! This is a semi-autobiographical, fictitious tv show. Regardless of the fact that Louis CK loves to use the word n*gger (gag me!) he obviously embraces hiring the right person for the job regardless of their skin color. Get over it and watch the darn show!

  • BadKel | September 27, 2013 11:09 AM

    Did you actually read that wiki article about Carol Channing? It was her father who was mixed, not her, and she wasn't adopted.

  • Johnny | June 29, 2012 5:28 PMReply

    I can't believe that this is even a question. How many interracial couples have children who look pretty much like one parent over the other? Lots. It happens. I know race is still an issue in this world but how much of it being an issue is because we make it an issue? Maybe what Louis CK provided is an opportunity for people to just get over it. I hope so.

  • Ro | August 24, 2013 8:15 PM

    Both my husband and I are Asian but are from different countries, and my complexion is WAY darker than his. Our daughter doesn't look a thing like me, and strangers often ask me if I'm babysitting or if she is mine (I know, it's rude but I think they're just innocently curious). My good friend is white, married to a Japanese dark-skinned man. Their daughter looks EXACTLY like her mother, but has the complexion of her father. People always ask her which country she's supposedly adopted from, even though they have the SAME EXACT FACIAL STRUCTURE. It happens, people.

  • L.A Lady | July 24, 2012 9:25 PM

    You are right! I once met an african-american man who was married to an italian woman. His son looked exactly like the father but had the mother's complexion. And, the daughter looked like the mother but was brown like the father. It was crazy beautiful. When DNA mixes, you can't control it. Geez, I know dark-skinned african-american parents that have very light-skinned children!

  • Logan | July 1, 2012 9:50 PM

    i dont know of any cases when a interracial couple has a baby and their children arent mixed. it makes the show lose all continuity and just doesnt make sense.

  • Ken | June 29, 2012 9:03 AMReply

    I thought in Season2, in the episode where the divorce papers as being signed, we see his ex's arms and hands and she was white. Am I wrong?

  • Danielle Owens | July 8, 2014 10:25 AM

    ACTUALLY, it was 2nd episode of season 1, so you're both wrong. But 100% white hands. The fact that she's black doesn't match up with any of the past remarks of the seasons, but I LOVE Louie. He's by far the boldest comedian anywhere out there. I've always thought he was so good looking too. I'm only 25 but he's awesome. Would date him in a heartbeat. :-)

  • Brian | July 6, 2012 7:34 AM

    It was the 1st episode of season 1, but you are correct about seeing the ex's arms & hands....definetely white.

  • Amy | June 29, 2012 2:01 AMReply

    He's so right about knowing how people would react, cause for a split-second I was like, wait, blonde daughters, what? Then the next instant was like, duh, that's SO Louie, I love it. He's awesome. It's like how in the first season he'd have a younger version of himself with a blue-eyed kid playing him and the same episode would have his real brown-eyed self- and that doesn't happen- and the show doesn't miss a beat. It's just all the little, different things that add up to making this show one of the best on television.

  • James | June 29, 2012 2:41 PM

    Yeah obviously continuity doesn't matter on the show. Remember when he became the guardian of his neice? That plot line was immediately dropped. Its like he hits the reset button after every episode. I wouldn't be surprised if the next time they show his ex its an entirely different person.

  • anon | June 28, 2012 1:26 PMReply

    how many times do we see bi-racial children with both parents being black in tv shows and no one blinks an eyelid now its an issue coz this woman is supposedly "black"?

  • L.A. Lady | July 24, 2012 9:27 PM

    Anon, you are correct. Many shows, as long as the child is viewed as black (My wife and kids, not sure if the older daughter was mixed, but she most def didn't look like a child they would have!).

    Race is always an issue. Many people can't get past skin color. Color blind casting confuses those who must put others in a box.

  • ANON TRES | June 29, 2012 9:34 AM

    A) I think the number of times is "Zero".

    B) Why do you say "now its an issue"? With whom is it an issue?

  • Anon, too | June 28, 2012 10:17 PM

    I don't know; how many times do we see that?

  • df | June 28, 2012 12:50 PMReply

    LOL...he's definitely in fantasy land (alluding to his children looking white and their mother being black)...his on screen wife is gorgeous!

  • Penelope | June 27, 2012 6:41 PMReply


  • No | June 27, 2012 6:28 PMReply

    Hmmm. It's interesting that he can drop a black woman in as the mother of his children while the creator of "Girls" could expand her parameters from the get-go. Maybe this has something to do with Louis' own-mixed heritage?

  • Emily | June 27, 2012 6:10 PMReply

    First I was like, "What?" and then I was like "O..K... that's totally Louie." ... exactly what he thought his audience would think. He's done it again - total genius.

  • Melissa | June 27, 2012 4:29 PMReply

    How is it that Louis C.K. has single-handedly righted the world for the first time??? Louis, you're a genius! THANK YOU!