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Western Animation: Life With Louie

"Let me tell you about my family."
—Louie Anderson as the episode starts

Life With Louie is an American cartoon co-created by stand-up comedian and actor Louie Anderson and loosely based on his childhood. The series won multiple awards, including two Emmy Awards.

The story is set in Wisconsin in The Sixties. Louie Anderson is an 8-year-old kid, living with several brothers and sisters, mother Ora and father Andy. Andy is a neurotic, overbearing but caring World War II veteran who often seems to be a little... out of touch with reality. We follow Louie's adventures and everyday life, which would be pretty simple (eating, sleeping, watching TV, having a crush on schoolmate) if either Louie or Andy wouldn't constantly botch it.

To this day, the show is still not available on DVD, even though many other cartoons from the same era are.

Not to be confused with ''Life With Loopy'', which is an entirely different thing.


Life With Louie provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The real Louie was born in 1953, and in the show he is eight years old, which would put us in 1961. However, in a season 2 episode, Louie and Andy meet President Eisenhower (whose term ended in January 1961). Furthermore, it is never clear exactly how old Andy was when he was in World War II. In most flashbacks he appears much younger, and in one episode Ora and Andy claim that they met shortly after Andy returned from Europe. But if that's the case, then they've known each other only about 15 years—even though some of their children seem to be adults.
    • In-Universe: Andy's war stories. One of them includes a Japanese Zero attacking Andy. In North Africa.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Andy claims to have coined the phrase "I Like Ike" during his war service. Unlike a lot of his other stories, this one seems to be true as Dwight D. Eisenhower actually knows who he is.
  • Broken Pedestal: In one episode, Louie starts idolizing a stand up comic, but at one point realizes that he was a bit of a Jerk Ass seeing as his comedy was a variety of Insult Comic. He ditches his first chance at being on stage and instead goes home.
  • Butt Monkey: Both Andy and Louie can never win. Even Louie's younger brother treats him like this.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : In the Halloween episode, Louie steals a single piece of candy. The shop's owner informs him that he will make an inventory check and if anything is missing, he will know whose parents to call. Louie was so scared that the next night he broke into a store to return that candy. The same episode introduced three criminals, who all started their careers by stealing one piece of candy.
  • Catch Phrase: Several, but the most used are Andy's "For crying out loud!" and "I heard that." in response to anyone's (mostly Louie's) Deadpan Snarker comments about him.
    • And another one very often is Louie's mom berating Andy with ... well.. "Andy!"
  • Celebrity Toons: Natch, and one of the rare cases where the celebrity involved did the voice work.
  • The Chessmaster: Literal example. Both Louie and Andy are very skilled at chess, but it's not reflected by any other skills typical for The Chessmaster.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Andy, without a shadow of a doubt.
  • Comic Role Play
  • Deadpan Snarker: Louie and Andy both get a lot of mileage out of this trope.
  • The Conscience: Jeannie, most of times when Louie does something bad.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Andy portrays himself as an incarnation of some god of war in his stories. In one episode he scared a squirrel that attacked Louie, however each time he was telling somebody about it, he was replacing it with more dangerous animals. It ends with a story where he handles giant snowbear (A fictional animal / folk legend in story) with his bare hands.
    Andy: When we were stationed in Siberia, I was fighting with bears for money. Five rubles for bear's skin. I was earning 25 rubles per day!
  • Generation Xerox: Andy bears a strong resemblance to his mother Helga, to the point of sharing the same glasses, nose, chin, and some militaristic tendencies. Naturally, they resent each other for the most part.
    Tommy: You two look more and more alike every day.
    Helga: Well, we are related.
    Andy and Helga: {in unison} Just my luck!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There's an entire episode where Louie's trying to find out where babies come from. Asking his father, Andy decides to tell him a story about soldiers on a battlefield dying one by one, save one final soldier (being himself) making it past the mines and traps and eventually reaching the goal. Wow.
    • From the same episode, Louie's mother believes she's pregnant. Towards the end of the episode however it turns out to be false alarm, to which Andy gives her a dreamy look and says something along the lines of "I guess the soldiers didn't march this time..."
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: According to Louie, how you feel after getting hit in the ear with a slush ball makes you want to "swear."
    Louie: DARN IT!
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Played with for Andy and Ora's eight other kids. Sometimes they've been outright seen, but usually the three variants are made use of in some fashion.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Andy's almost-exact words about a new concept of a "mall".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Andy is a lot more caring than he lets on.
  • Lighter and Softer: Definitely this compared to Anderson's real life childhood.
  • Mama Bear: Ora doesn't have many moments, but when she outright snaps Andy's shotgun in half for bringing a loaded weapon in the house to shoot a deer, you know she's got some qualities.
  • Moebius Neighborhood: Anderson's only neighbors we see are Jensens.
  • Nostalgia Filter: How Anderson was able to turn an emotionally abusive childhood growing up with an alcoholic, wife-beating father in the slums of St. Paul, Minnesota into this.
  • No Swastikas: Played straight in Andy's World War II flashbacks. To a point. Although there aren't any Swastikas, the German soldiers he is seen fighting do have prominent Waffen-SS lightning bolt insignia (even if they're wearing World War I-era Pickelhaube helmets for some reason).
  • OOC Is Serious Business: How Louie proved to Ora that everybody are going nuts without Jen Glen
    Louie: Hey, dad, tell me about war.
    Andy: What war?
  • Papa Wolf: Despite his faults, Andy will go out of his way for his family if they're in danger.
  • Phony Veteran: Andy defines this trope. Andy remembers things... differently from what really happened. Might be that it is a defense mechanism of trying to cope with what really happened, making Andy a Shell-Shocked Veteran.
    • For all the jokes about how he's a fake, one episode revolved around Louie finding a picture of his dad's old squad... without his dad. The logical ensues. Until he meets his dad's old squaddies, and they glorify him and say he was holding the camera.
  • Politician Guest Star: President Dwight D. Eisenhower briefly appeared in the Washington D.C. episode to confirm that Andy's stories about him are true.
  • Puppy Love: Jeannie and Louie. Though not of the sickenly cute variety.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    Andy: Of course I can tell the difference between army, and...em...say...army.
  • Show Within a Show: Night Sniffer, an in-verse comic and TV show (performed by puppets) about an anthropomorphic dog dressed in typical judge garb who solves crimes and is loved by the kids.
  • Shout-Out:
    Judge: I want the truth.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Subverted. Louie and Andy are of their town, the best at playing chess. Neither of them will be winning Nobel prizes any time soon.
  • Tomboy: Jeannie
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The show proudly admits it's only inspired by the real Louie Anderson's childhood, with Anderson himself telling the actual story before the episode begins.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: In one episode Glen Glen's mother, Jen, Jerkass and Large Ham feared in the entire town, lost her voice to everybody's relief. At last at first... Then entire town started acting like if they were turned into some decayed Dark World or even Mirror Universe versions of themselves. In the end they all worked together to raise enough money to pay for her operation. Even Andy, who hates Jen's guts, gave everybody a Rousing Speech.
    Andy: We are like army. And army takes care of it's soldiers. Even if that soldier is a pain in the butt.

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King of the HillThe Renaissance Age of AnimationLittlest Pet Shop (1995)

alternative title(s): Life With Louie
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