Category Archives: Treme

Treme – S1 Finale: ‘Hey. Who died?’

I write this with a little jazz playing in the background. Ooh yeah. All three of you who follow these blogs may have read last week’s post regarding my lack of initiative towards catching up with Treme. Well I did it, and it was sweet.

I watched episodes 1×05 thru 1×09 in a couple of days and, you know what? I finally got a solid understanding of the show. Actually that’s a lie. More like I got a solid feeling from the show and what it is. Yes, that’s it. Treme is about a very specific moment in time and a very specific place. The music and the food and the politics. The old people, young people, white people, black people, natives, tourists, etc… they all have their own lives but they also give their lives to that city and the city gives back. It’s a symbiotic relationship that exisits in every city in the world but is only recognized AND openly cherished by it’s dwellers in a few rare cases. New Orleans is one of those cases.

Having lived in at least two very “personable” cities myself — Miami and New York City — I can relate to that feeling of give-and-take, but of course no two cities are the same. For example, one could argue that a similar story could have been told of NYC post-9/11 but I don’t think so. It would be very different. New York is too big and, while it has a personality, it suffers from a case of geographic schizophrenia, as well, because so few “New Yorkers” are actually from here. Meanwhile New Orleans seems to be firmly rooted in specific traditions which bind it’s people to each other and to New Orleans itself.

In episode 1×09, “Wish Someone Would Care”, Davis discusses those moments which make up the feeling of New Orleans (and downright slaps New York down in the proccess) to which he gets a reality check response from Janette: “Those are moments, Davis. They’re not a life.” I loved that line for two reasons: (1) It made me think, “Is life just made of moments? Or is it something bigger?” and, (2) it really captured the format and concept behind the show. My problem with Treme was that it just felt like small moments inside one big moment, and most of those moments consisted of people just feeling things and of looking at things in a reactionary way to the storm and the flood. At first, the format felt scattered and not enough like a “life”, which is what I would like a show to feel like: like I’m being privy to another life.

With a little time, however, those moments began to form a life around these characters and in a very unique way I might add. I certainly don’t believe this show is everybody’s cup of tea, because I must admit I struggle with it myself since its such a different way of approaching serialized drama. However, I’m very intrigued by it and think I may get something a little different from watching it. For example, I’m sold on the characters now more than ever and I’m clueless as to how it happened. Most shows have make-it-or-break it moments that define whether I’m going to despise this character or love them forever. Often, I’ll even go back and forth between love and hate in inexplicable ways (I hated Jack Shephard on LOST about 5 times, and loved him about 6). On Treme I just get them, the way I get people I love and so I try not to judge them too harshly, and that’s pretty cool for a show to do.

I haven’t spoken about the finale directly because I really don’t have much to say, except it was awesome, but I’ll try:

  • CONFESSION: I cried at Damo’s second line. When LaDonna (played by the fabulous Khandi Alexander of CSI:Miami fame) started dancing with her white handkerchief, those were tears of joy my friends… I think. I mean, it was a bittersweet moment of acceptance and realization that the city is great enough and joyful enough in their spirit to get through it
  • Poor Toni and Sofia. I honestly still cannot believe Creighton jumped into the bay. No really, it didn’t hit me for his sake yet, only for his family’s sake. I probably feel much worse for them because, like them, I don’t understand. Sure, he was sad and angry and slipping into depression but I would in no way have guessed he was suicidal until the beginning of the episode where he did it. Did you?
  • I said it last week and you’re hopefully going to hear a lot from me on this next seasons as well but, the women on this show are FANTASTIC. I criticized David Simon a bit for his treatment of women (mainly for his lack of them) in The Wire and I wasn’t alone in that, I later learned. I don’t think he meant to but if I had to guess he listened to that criticism out there and made sure this time around he would do that right. It’s one of the things I love about television: you learn from those that came before, always.
  • And speaking of women: Annie. Pffft… I love this girl. She’s making real decisions and although they aren’t perfect they are sound and I respect her so much for them. Perhaps because she’s my age and she’s in a new city and all but as someone who can relate, who better to say: you got it right! Right? Even if she ends up with Davis, who I still don’t love but he’s aiiiiight and they could be good for each other.
  • It’s odd, but I don’t hate Sonny, although he really fucked up with the drugs, and hitting Annie, and then sleeping around on her. He’s lost but not like a hippie bum, there’s something more to him in his respect for a culture that’s not even his which really grounds him for me. He’s a bit judgmental and selfish but, it is what it is and I hope he grows. Annie did right by leaving him, and that line: “I wasn’t going to leave you.” Gold! I could feel his heart breaking.
  • Antoine Batiste. This man is probably my least favorite of them all but I still got love for him. He really hasn’t had much conflict this season aside from looking for a job as a musician and trying to feed his kids. His relationship with LaDonna does wonders for his character though because you can see how he still loves her and it makes him extra likable because, I love her, too.
  • And the Indian Chief. I still don’t know his name because everyone just calls him “chief” (or “dad”) and I’d like to keep it that way. He’s a father and he’s a chief, enough said. I had no idea this St. Joseph’s Day thing with the Indians existed and I’ve yet to do my research on it, but I’m amazed at how intense it is. I would have actually liked a little more back-story and explanation within the show in regards to it, but whatever… exposition can often be quite the burden. His son, Delmond (aka the kid from Finding Forrester, in case you were wondering) really came full circle for me and I hope to see him a bit next season (from what I hear, he’s filming the second season already)!
  • You too, Janette! We miss your restaurant!

In the final moments of the episode (after that eerie flashback of all our characters on the day Katrina hit), we see Damo’s second line hit the streets with people singing and dancing and playing music in the Treme. One man, who we’ve seen before, looks out at it and asks another, “Hey. Who died?” The guy shrugs, and they both chuckle as they bop back and forth to the beat. A city that knows its crazy, but it works! Love it. See ya’ll next year. I’m looking forward to it!

Treme – ‘Wire’ fans having trouble?

I’ve been watching Treme since the night it premiered in April but I just can’t get into it, and boy do I feel guilty. I’ve slowly made it all the way to 1×04 (four hours, big woop!), but it feels closer to seven hours because either one of two things continues from allowing me to finishing an episode in a single viewing:

  1. Halfway through I realize there are ZERO HIGH STAKES CONFLICTS in anyone’s life, I get bored, I start thinking about food, I rewind the scene twice, and then I make myself a PB+J sandwich
  2. Steve Zahn begins to sing, dance, drink, curse, or ramble on for two minutes or more about musical “greats” whom only jazz musicians would have ever heard of, and clearly I have not

I would love for anyone to defend this man to me. He has to be the single most annoying and unfunny character on television. I cannot explain the level of intolerance I have for this idiot and I’m dying to sit down with David Simon and have him explain what his purpose is to me. It can’t possibly be comic relief, and its certainly not making me feel any closer to New Orleans by appointing him representative of the bohemian culture. Is that what he even is? Please, somebody help me! I know there must be a good explanation out there somewhere!

I’m such a huge fan of The Wire and The Corner, so like many of you I was really excited about this show and I still am but, I just don’t get it. I’ve been to New Orleans and I love it, so I have nothing against its people or its culture but, Sweet Jesus stop ramming its greatness down my throat! Okay, people are pissed off about what happened there, and I understand that, but half of the characters just seem to hate anyone that isn’t from New Orleans, for no good reason other than… they’re not from New Orleans! John Goodman’s character makes a violent YouTube video telling every non-N’awlinder “Fuck you!!” The young , scruffy, street-pianist judges anyone who never moved to New Orleans and made it their home as he did. Steve Zahn’s character can’t understand why his older neighbors wont allow him to blast his loud and crazy jazz out the window all day and at full volume while they are trying to garden. And, geez, how sad is it that I don’t know anyone’s name, huh? I’m so good with names. I’m better with character names than with real people names, damn it.

I’m loving that fiddler girl, and Melissa Leo as John Goodman’s justice-seeking wife, and Khandi Alexander’s character. One thing this show is doing that The Wire lacked: potential for realistic female characters.

I’m going to watch another episode now and I pray someone’s life, family, or marriage is threatened real soon, otherwise… I’m falling asleep.

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