Louis Vs. Rick is History

His Majesty, age 17. Handsome devil. Photo by my 16 year old. Judge not my filthy oven or unfinished baseboard.
Design for More Magazine feature, by Patrick Evans
Louis Vs. Rick logo by Jon Dascola
  • The Larry Sanders Show taught me everything I know about animus between characters who very much love and need one another. I can’t say enough about it, or about my truest hero Garry Shandling, may he rest in peace.
  • “I thought you were being street” is lifted from John Moltz, a good friend and very old man.
  • Bodega Ray’s shop is called “Ray’s 24/7”. It’s open 10–6, Monday through Saturday.
  • Ray is named for a man I once worked with who was from New Jersey. He would always begin his many wild conjectures with “I’ll tell ya this right now,” and he said “whatever ya” instead of “what have you.” Maybe it was a Jersey thing.
  • The vacant lot behind the bodega is based on the lot behind my childhood home. It was full of boobytrapped bike trails.
  • The elk head in Ray’s store is missing an eye. The socket is caved in from when Ray tried to replace the eye with a 7-ball.
  • In LvR’s most dramatic instance of someone not getting the joke, I was once lectured by email on the poor understanding of electricity I exposed in episode 18.
  • While not really similar to the way she was presented in episode 10, I came to visualize Grandma, Rick’s mom, as the old woman from Courage The Cowardly Dog. At least this is how she would be seen in Louis’s mind.
  • Rick’s middle name is in tribute to game show host Monty Hall, who is among those Lou spoofs in episode 9.
  • Lou’s vet, Dr. Plotkin, is named for a woman my wife used to nanny for.
  • Rufus, neighbor cat that Lou finds hilarious, is based on and named for a cat some very dear old friends had, who would sprint the perimeter of their home every time he pooped. He was very dumb and very mean, but incredibly entertaining and a good companion to fall asleep with while watching ER, Thursday nights, NBC. His mom, Kristi, made neckties for him. I have a history of creating voices for, and speaking for, my pets, but I think Rufus was the first animal that inspired me to do that. Every time Rufus “spoke”, his sentence would start with “I’m Rufus, and…” Somehow everyone involved tolerated me. (I acknowledge that this habit is probably bad, actually like kind of not cool, though I have tried to be careful about putting words in their mouths that would actually impact their lives. It’s a tricky space, I guess.)
  • “You’re just saying words” is from my friend JT, and despite my losing the context at this point, it’s still something I use all the time. It’s devastating and retort-proof. I know, because at the time it was said to me and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do.
  • Heike, Lou’s catsitter, is named for a German woman I once worked with, in fact at the same place as Ray. She was very tiny and capable of being very mean. I once saw her tear into one of our camera department salesmen (who had it coming) so bad that he went home. Weirdly enough, I think that guy’s name may have been Rick.
  • The idea of “taking back things I said about you” is pretty much stolen from Ghostbusters, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I guess I added the concept of essentially using it as currency.
  • As a symptom of a moderate persecution complex, nothing makes Louis angrier than the popularity of other cats (see the Garfield costume bit from Episode 17, and the below):
Louis attempts to downplay Hero Cat’s excuse for fame
  • In 4th grade I got in trouble for tracing pictures of Garfield and selling them. I was allowed to keep the money, which is only fair because producing a variety of tracings with sizes priced at 5, 10, and 25 cents to fulfill the $5 order Billy gave me ended up being a lot of damn work. His grandmother gave him this $5 and that’s what he wanted to do with it. It took me years to realize he probably knew it was going to be difficult and wanted to harass me. Anyway, I’ve been paranoid about copyright ever since.
  • After LvR as we know it ended, I entertained for some time the idea of keeping Lou around as a character, but in a less formal way. It was an ambitious but difficult-to-control concept that I never quite figured out how to develop (or, if I’m being honest, really tried to figure out how to develop) in a way I was sure that people would see it without it being prohibitively expensive. The idea was essentially that Louis faked his death and went underground to pursue his supervillain lifestyle, and maintained communication with Rick through new, secret means like To Whom It May Concern letters on Facebook that mindlessly and repeatedly mention Rick by name, a “Phase Zero” plan peppered into existence through social media posts, commissioned profiles in mens magazines, and a Facebook ad for hiring henchmen that targets Rick because he fits a profile for bored people not living up to their potential. It features a picture of a smiling woman eating a salad.
  • Here are a few elements from the show bible. I regret that I cannot find details on the designer who was looped in to come up with some visual ideas, and will add her name if and when I figure it out. I may have only heard it over the phone.
One of several episode concepts (the good one)
A proposed animation treatment involving textural elements like fabric and stone
  • Molly, for putting up with me being a little bit one-track-minded for a while there.
  • My kids, for sometimes reading, or feeding back, or wearing a t-shirt of their own volition (what a weird feeling that is).
  • Kim, for being so incredibly helpful, experienced and supportive when things got to be kind of a lot.
  • Patrick, for being a smart sounding board and for offering time to help with things when he didn’t have to. If anyone probably saw the panic first-hand, it would be Patrick.
  • Jon, for the logo I still love.
  • Kristi, for supplying cat neckties.
  • Pat and Aaron, hometown heroes at BuyOlympia.com. Aaron for holding my hand through provision of a full stack t-shirt service, and Pat for being just a really sweet dude when he reached out to ask for an address so he could send me leftover t-shirts that hadn’t moved for years and which he intended to delist. (I think I still have some.) I’m pretty sure I owed him money, but he declined to admit that.
  • Moltz, for listening, for advising, and for letting me disappoint him without making a whole thing about it.
  • All of the ’mangers, for just being really good people and all helpful in some way during that time, except for Paul.
  • Patti, for first alerting me that MetaFilter had somehow picked up this thing I wrote, which didn’t even carry my name at the time, let alone any way of contacting me— a moment without which I may have never known what was happening.
  • Patti (again), Ben, and Kyle for being early believers.
  • Merlin, for a long phone call that brought some comforting facts into focus.
  • The Purina Cat Chow Twitter account lady, for being a buddy and honestly one of the best readers I could have asked for, an example of someone who really thought about cats the way I did, and met me far more than half way. Still Instagram friends :)
  • and Paul. (Who was and always has been very generous with his thoughts and resources, and who will get the joke.)

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