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Tim Heidecker gets his arm cut off in Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; Simone Mareuil gets her eyeball sliced open in Un Chien Andalou.

Halfway through Freddy Got Fingered, the supposed abomination from ’90s relic Tom Green, a 28-year-old man serenades his father with a song about sausages. That man, played by Green himself, has designed an elaborate pulley system in his father’s living room. Sausages dangle from the ceiling, the links shooting up and down as Green mashes notes on his keyboard. For good measure, a pair of steaks also hang from his ears. The elements coalesce into perhaps the most demented image ever from a multimillion-dollar, studio-financed movie.

Tom Green asks if his father would like some sausages in Freddy Got Fingered.

Can you deny the inventiveness of a Rube Goldberg-like device that makes sausage links bounce up and down as you play the keyboard? It’s the kind of inspired set piece that earned Freddy Got Fingered a (perhaps sarcastic) rave from the New York Times, when A.O. Scott argued that Green and his sausages “may show up some day at the Museum of Modern Art.” Roger Ebert, in a review as negative as Scott’s was positive, bemoaned the very thought that “the day may come when Freddy Got Fingered is seen as a milestone of neo-surrealism.”

I’m here to tell you that today is that day. But I wouldn’t use the phrase “neo-surrealism.” Freddy Got Fingered, rather, is the godfather of avant-garde bro comedy. Welcome to a marriage of the crass and the absurd. This style of humor, once quarantined to “The Tom Green Show,” is now the go-to mode for many of America’s top comedians. Surrealism spiked with gross-out gags, dick jokes, and comically excessive violence: that’s the secret recipe behind the likes of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay movies, “Tim and Eric Awesome Show,” and “Family Guy.” The movement is, if nothing else, a total sausage fest. (more…)

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The third season of America’s most inventive sitcom begins tonight. Like anyone who cares about these things, I’m excited. “Louie” is landmark television. Where else can I get my insatiable fill of novelistic ambiguity and dick jokes? Writer/directer/editor/star Louis C.K. has created one of the first TV shows that feels like the work of a single author. “Louie” flows like a collection of short stories. Its tone resembles a piece of auteur filmmaking. And its production model — give a talented figurehead a small budget and creative control — can already be felt with the popularity of shows like “Girls.” In a few years, I hope we come to view “Louie” as a paradigm shift toward a more personal, less-manicured television.

But “Louie” has its flaws. How could a show so freewheeling and amorphous not? In re-watching the show prior to tonight’s premiere, I noticed a device C.K. uses throughout the series: “Louie” often ends its otherwise beautiful segments with cheap, simplistic punchlines. In almost all cases, these non sequiturs shatter the scene’s tone and offer C.K. a lazy note on which to end the segment. He takes the old advice and leaves us laughing. Ordinarily, that’s fine. But these laughs come at the expense of the show’s hard-earned insight and emotional core.

Let’s take three examples to illustrate. (Spoilers abound)

To begin, we have the episode from season two in which Louie expresses his love for Pamela (Pamela Adlon).

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