2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
In “Model,” the second of the first two season 4 episodes of “Louie” that premiered on FX Monday night, Louie meets a beautiful model (rather, a beautiful model pursues Louie), she takes him to her house, and they have sex. While in bed, the woman (Yvonne Strahovski) tickles Louie, despite his urgent warnings that he doesn’t like being tickled. Losing control of his body, Louie then turns and, fully accidentally, hits the woman in the eye. She is taken to the hospital, and Louie is faced with a potential lawsuit from the woman’s family, the disdain of his friends for hitting a woman and the knowledge that “her pupil is paralyzed.”
In the past, “Louie” hasn’t shied away from darker themes, tapping into uncomfortable conversations about existential loneliness, sexual assault and mental illness. In the run-up to the “Louie” premiere, FX’s publicity obliquely asked that the detail “of Louie hitting a woman and the aftermath” not be shared in advance. So it seemed, perhaps, that the show was going to make us wrestle with some question of moral ambiguity around Louie’s actions — anger problems, impulsivity, some weightier characterological question. But instead, Louie was the same island of perfect passivity as always — just a normal guy to whom things happen. Even in the case of hitting a woman in the face, it literally happened to him more than it happened to her. (Once she gets punched, we never see the character again, just Louie muddling through a meeting with his lawyer and bemoaning how much money he is going to have to pay the girl’s family.)
But then again, this is the art of “Louie.” Louie is the hapless black hole at the center of a chronically malfunctioning system, eating ice cream on the couch while life happens around him. In this particular episode, we see the system rise up to prosecute him — the meeting with the lawyer, the required remuneration — for a crime he barely even committed. He is beleaguered by a world that the audience seems to understand better than he does. At the beginning of the episode, Louie, wearing a security guard’s jacket, does stand-up at a benefit and bombs in front of a black-tie audience. When he goes outside, the model calls to him from what seems like a hundred yards away. She is hardly visible, a speck in the distance, while Louie’s bald head looms in the foreground. It’s a good metaphor for the show: Louie takes up the whole screen even when he isn’t doing anything at all.
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Prachi Gupta.
Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.
KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.
Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.
Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.