Monday, June 14th, 2010
58

'Treme': A Shouting Match

THE HOME OF 'NO SHE DIN'T' FACESNatasha Vargas-Cooper: Dan Kois! I consider you a top critic. A man of refined taste and considerable insight. How do you defend your love for such a subpar project as "Treme"?

Dan Kois: Natasha! I consider you a canny TV viewer, and a recognizer of quality in all its forms. How do you defend your dismissal of such a quality project as Treme?

Natasha: A Battle of Wits!

Dan: Let us first define the terms of our debate.

Natasha: Personal attacks: allowed!

Dan: Encouraged, you tramp!

Natasha: Okay, out with it! Are you going to tell me it's cause you LUUURRVEE THE MUSICCCCCC?

Dan: Given that I was recently emailed by angry viewers for spoiling a plot point of The Wire's Season 4, it should be noted: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, PEOPLE. (Also, relax, spoiler assholes.)

Natasha: PSH! SPOILERS! TWO THINGS HAVE HAPPENED THIS SEASON!

Dan: OK! I am not going to make a case for Treme as groundbreaking television, or as a Wire-like masterpiece.

Natasha: Good!

Dan: But I am going to make a case for Treme as a really good show that I always enjoy watching, and that I think could evolve into something great over time. And it's not because I luuurrrvvve the musiccccccc. In fact, the music gets on my nerves most of the time.

Natasha: How many episodes should a TV show take to evolve, Dan Kois?

Dan: As many as it wants, as long as it starts out as something good!

Natasha: How much slack are you going to cut David Simon and The C.C. schlock factory?

Dan: I'm not going to watch "NCIS" in hopes that it is eventually going to turn into "Hill Street Blues." But I will happily watch "Treme," because I like it now, and it contains within it ingredients for a show I might well someday love.

Natasha: Tell me, before all of the internet, what you find SO REWARDING about this labored NPR segment of a show?

Dan: You're so aggressive!

Natasha: Handle it, pussy!

Dan: Here are the things I really like about this labored NPR segment of a show. I REALLY LIKE the following characters: Ladonna, Janette, Antoine, and Toni.

Natasha: "I'm Nina Totenberg, reporting live from Trey-MEHHHHH."

Dan: I SORT OF LIKE the following characters: Albert, Delmond, Creighton, and Annie.

Natasha: Wait, wait, let's break them down by archetype because that's what we are working with here. You are compelled by sassy, scrappy, women, who are like, "Eat it, Katrina! I have dreams of having my own __ in the service industry!" I don't even known who the second stratum are because they are so FORGETTABLE.

Natasha: But please, ENLIGHTEN ME.

Dan: I am compelled by a lot of the women, yes — because the actresses playing them are so great, and because the show has not been shy about putting them through the wringer.

Dan: Are you really going to argue against Khandi Alexander? NO, SERIOUSLY, ARGUE AGAINST KHANDI ALEXANDER. WTF NATASHA ARE YOU LOOKING UP WHO IS KHANDI ALEXANDER? I WILL CUT YOU.

Natasha: I AM GOOGLING HER! Oh whatever! WHATEVER! I unmoved by the plight of the insufferably noble! She is a fine actress. They all are.

Dan: But what is so noble about her?. She is tough, yes, but she is also kind of a bitch, and she lies to her mom, and she cheats on her husband. And she is funny. And she is sad. I think you're setting up a straw black woman. WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE?

Natasha: KOIS! Are you race-baiting me to cover up the fact that there is a significant lack of drama in your precious show about wuvable musicians? You are a scoundrel!

Dan: Hahahaha. Race-baiting is awesome! I feel I have been missing out on an important part of arguing all these years.

Natasha: I will admit that Khandi is luke warm center of the show. Her story line of trying to find her missing brother who was washed away by the storm and the following incompetency is interesting. Dare I say it? Compelling even! BUT THAT IS IT. YOU GET NO MORE FROM ME.

Natasha: This show is about what? What is this about, Dan Kois, besides making people in Brooklyn feel good about sitting through 54 minutes of 'ordinary folk' and 'their charming music'. CASE IN POINT: "You stopped playing with Sonny? Fucking is fucking. But music…" And all the finger wagging! Where is FEMA?! Where are the drug gangs?! Where is the human drama?

Natasha: I'm done now.

Dan: But it IS about ordinary people! And their charming music! I guess I just don't get what is so objectionable about that.

Dan:And where IS FEMA?

Natasha: Touche!

Dan: Wait, are you upset that the show is demonstrating a totally appropriate level of outrage over what happened after Katrina?

Natasha: JUST THE OPPOSITE! I think it misses the outrage! Because it averts the truth!

Dan: Like what?

Natasha: It avoids the nastier parts of the city. It's mentioned and there is some violence and political graft and mean police here and there. But I feel like Simon and crew's whole M.O. is to be like "LOOK HOW NEAT THIS PLACE IS! EVERY ONE JUST WANTS TO HAVE A GOOD TIME! AND YOU GUYS DON'T CARE!"

Dan: So you are indeed asking for Treme to be The Wire Part 2. But it's very determinedly not, and to ask for that is to guarantee yourself disappointment, yes.

Natasha: Why should I not demand the best from my artists, Dan? Why must you enforce the tyranny of low expectations?

Dan: And I think Simon and the C+C schlock factory (TM) are doing something very different from either of the things you're accusing them of:

1. Failing to make The Wire Part 2
2. LOOK HOW NEAT THIS PLACE IS etc.

Natasha: They have subverted real post-Katrina drama for gooey-ness!

Dan: I think they're making a broad-based character drama that attempts to tell the story of a city through PEOPLE, not systems.

Natasha: And sermonizing! Hm. Interesting!

Dan: HOLD UP GIRL.

Dan: Look, I loved The Wire. Even when I hated it, I loved it. But I spent a lot of time annoyed at David Simon through The Wire for his constant jerky interviews in which he would declare that the show wasn't about characters or story, it was about arguments and systems, and people who enjoyed the characters and story were ENJOYING IT WRONG, basically.

Dan: But — while I agreed with the arguments, and was interested in the systems, I CARED about the characters.

Natasha: I did as well! Proving that Simon can do both! I NAMED MY DOG 'BUNK', DAN KOIS.

Dan: Hahahahaha.

Natasha: You know what? I agree with you. I agree that what made The Wire so rich was the characters that made up the systems they worked in!

Dan: SIDE NOTE: How depressing is it to see State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman as the beleaguered mom of a teenager in a Home Depot ad? BUT THAT'S NOT IT.

Natasha: I do not find any of these characters to have the drama and conflict! They are all too good!

Dan: The characters in The Wire were rich in part because of the systems they worked in, but they were fascinating DESPITE the show's insistence that all that was interesting about them was the systems they worked in.

Dan: And so, for example, in Season 5 of The Wire, only our great good will toward Jimmy McNulty was enough to carry us through a tricked-out plot from a third-tier CBS cop show.

Natasha: It's true! But listen, LISTEN TO ME NOW.

Dan: Listening!

Natasha: These characters seem too resilient! And largely incorruptible. The hardnosed journalist. The gregarious musician. The noble fiddler. What is so wonderful about The Wire, The Corner, and Generation Kill is that you get to see how human drama plays out in this compressed, high stakes situations, which post-Katrina NOLA is rife with!

Natasha: AND YET…

Natasha: AND YET HERE WE ARE, DAN KOIS.

Natasha: One episode away from the finale with little character arch and zero action.

Dan: TWO QUESTIONS.

Natasha: SPEAK THEM TO ME.

Dan: 1. So for real the only TV show you are willing to accept from David Simon is one that uses the exact same tools he's used well before? You're not interested in seeing, say, a slow-paced slice of life character drama? Or is it that you feel that no such show should be set in as ripe a locale as post-Katrina New Orleans?

Dan: THAT IS ONLY ONE QUESTION.

Natasha: YOUR QUESTIONS ARE WRONG.

Natasha: 1. I am for auteurs stretching their wings and getting adventurous! Sure! I didn't disown Martin Scorsese when he went through his strange 'failed musical' period with Gangs of Cameron Diaz and The Aviator.

Natasha: I kept him in my heart! But! Do what works, you know? The man has a gift!

Dan: (It was so sad when he tried to be Baz Luhrmann, yes.)

Natasha: And when he came to The Departed it was like he had returned to his ancestral home! I thought David Simon would be at home in post-Katrina Nola! And I am MAD AS HELL that the isn't getting all David Simon-y about it. I love character dramas! I wrote a book about one (ON SALE JULY 20TH) but these characters are boring, Dan! THEY ARE ZZzzzzzzzzzZZZ.

Natasha: I win.

Dan: Only if I believe you! And I just don't. I really like these characters. I don't mind that they are low-key. I don't mind that the stakes are "low" (in comparison to, say, Generation Kill), because the actors are convincing me of how high the stakes are for them.

Natasha: Let me tell you a story that invalidates all that you are saying. I was in New Orleans–roughly around the time the show is set.

Dan: I WAS TOO, IN EIGHTH GRADE! Oh wait…

Natasha: WHY DON'T YOU FIDDLE ABOUT IT, FAG?

Dan: Carry on.

Natasha: The week I got there and they had called in the National Guard. They called the National Guard because the HOMICIDE rate was uncontrollable, because the rival drug gangs had moved back in to the lower 9th, which still looked like Dresden and there were all these turf fights. It felt like you were walking through a very heady, very unstable place at night. Combustable!

Natasha: Here is a modern tragedy, at the cross sections of Nature and the Government and Music and Drugs and like, John Goodman is moping?

Natasha: PSSSHHHHH to that.

Dan: BUT YET. "And you want to talk to me about a trombone?"

Natasha: Is this something one of the charming musicians said to a sleepy eyed tourist in show of hometown pride? BECAUSE THAT SCENE HAS HAPPENED SO MANY TIMES I'VE GOTTEN CONFUSED.

Dan: It is what David Morse's cop told Toni the lawyer when she was complaining about cops pawning a trombone, and he pointed out that the city was in chaos, murder was on the rise, half of his cops were gone, and the other half were homeless and on the knife-edge of quitting or killing everyone in sight.

Natasha: AND YET.

Dan: You don't think any of these stories feel real? Real to the characters who are living them?

Natasha: These characters are puppets! I feel they serve to manipulate me! In really unsubtle ways!

Natasha: I HAVE A CONFESSION. I want to love this show. I want to savor it and explore it. I want to be on Team Treme. But how long must I wait? How many more speeches must I endure?

Natasha: How many more acts of selflessness must be thrust upon me??

Dan: I HAVE AN ACCUSATION

Natasha: MAKE IT.

Dan: It doesn't seem like you want to love this show.

Dan: It seems like you want to love the show you wish this was.

Natasha: Are you calling me A Liar?

Dan: A show that represents and explores the feeling you had when you were in New Orleans. A show that does for New Orleans what The Wire did for Baltimore.

Natasha: Dan, I will not deny your accusations. I admit. You are correct.

Dan: I guess what I'm saying is little better than "lay back and make the best of it" but in the end that is what I am saying.

Natasha: YOU ARE IRL STEVE ZAHN

Dan: Just because this show is not The Wire does not make it, de facto, bad.

Natasha: I feel that it is also crappy character drama!

Dan: It is hard for me to grow your lack of interest in the characters, I guess, because they seem like pretty rich and interesting constructions to me, about 20x more complicated than the characters in pretty much any other show on television.

Natasha: Here, tell me who the weakest character is and why?! PUT THE DOPE ON THE TABLE DAN.

SONNY: DO YOU CARE?Dan: Sure, let's take the weakest character. I think the weakest character in the show is probably Sonny.

Natasha: Why is he the weakest character?

Dan: He is the weakest, to me, because his storyline runs closest to cliche, and because he can be pretty keening and one-note. And because I've about reached my narrative limit on musicians who do The Drugs. AND YET.

Natasha: I walked into a trap. ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!

Dan: AND NOW IT HAPPENS.

Natasha: Right. And yet the last few episodes have had the best drama and suspense around his actions! CURSES, KOIS!

Dan: Despite, this, I would still argue that he is more complex and thoughtfully drawn than the average character on even the best non-Mad Men shows on TV. He's an outsider desperate to fit in in a place he loves but which isn't all that interested in him. He might be a hero, or he might be a total fake. (Like Don Draper!) He's a good pianist and a bad boyfriend. He conflates his music with his love life in weird and dangerous ways. Also he is sexy as hell.

Natasha: I resent you using Don Draper in this context. Do you not know that that is my weakness?

Dan: Advantage: mine.

Natasha: Savage.

Natasha: The Chief for me, is the biggest failure of Simon's nerve. Or his wrongheaded 'New Direction' because that guy is too pure. Too noble in the face of evil. Too one note. And he could be our greek chorus! He is on the front lines of all the atrocities.

Dan: WHAT THE-HE ALMOST FUCKING KILLED A KID FOR NOTHING WORSE THAN STEALING SOME PIPE.

Natasha: THAT WAS LIKE 43 EPISODES AGO.

Natasha: Listen, I think we figured out where the problem lies. You like Age of Innocence, Kundun and The Aviator and I like Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and Casino. I prefer purity of genre! And you like crap.

Dan: You DID figure it out!

Natasha: Oh, that was too mean! I generally love what you love!

Dan: (Casino and Kundun are BOTH terrible!)

Natasha: CASINO IS ONE OF THE BEST! THROW YOURSELF INTO A RIVER!

Dan: I love you too. I love you the way a New Orleans musician loves a long fucking solo that doesn't advance the plot in the slightest.


Dan Kois writes about movies and plays and non-comic books, too. You can buy his latest, about that Hawaiian guy with the ukulele. We already pimped Natasha Vargas-Cooper's forthcoming book, but here it is again.

58 Comments / Post A Comment

LolCait (#460)

74!

Miles Klee (#3,657)

wait, people were watching this while 'breaking bad' was on?

Y'ALL FUCKED UP

saythatscool (#101)

So do you think Jesse shot him?

Miles Klee (#3,657)

yeah man we've just been trained by shitty TV to think that it's a fakeout but it totally isn't

ae38 (#1,097)

According to Vince Gilligan, yes, Jesse did. Unfortunately, Gilligan's direction made it seem like a misdirection, when in fact it wasn't.

saythatscool (#101)

Thank you! I just looked that up.
http://www.avclub.com/articles/vince-gilligan,42064/
Ha! I would have been in suspense for the next 6 months. Cool. Now I have resolution.

berthamason (#740)

@Miles Klee: Yes, "trained by shitty TV" indeed. By Lost! People were always dying in those Lost series finales and then by next season they weren't dead anymore. I'm sorry Lost made me doubt your murderous resolve, Jesse!
I also agree with "Y'ALL FUCKED UP" which is a good use of all-caps unlike, say, other usages of all-caps on this page.

deepomega (#1,720)

!!!!

I'm on the Dan side here, and I will REPEAT MYSELF that this is the Caprica to The Wire's Battlestar. I agree about Sonny, or I did until Mardi Gras – the interaction with the dude at the bar was too… off? Weird? Tense? Something is afoot!

(Admission: I have not yet watched the new episode. SPOILERS ALERT?)

Anyway it's a character drama, and the characters universally are human with the exception of Toni who is also kind of a side character in my mind! She's enabling everyone else to do what they do.

All of this said: I am expecting some tragedy to strike, and if it doesn't I will be disappointed. The end.

Mar (#2,357)

I like your "Caprica" analogy. It's boring having to explain to people that "Caprica" is a nice, clean piece of sci-fi, and that just because it's about GIRLS and POLITICS instead of 'SPLOSIONS and DEEPSPACE doesn't mean that it's somehow dull. Also, Sonny might suck but that character is 100 times more individual than that cardboard cutout McNulty.

deepomega (#1,720)

McNulty will always live on in my heart, but I'll admit that "Irish cop who is alcoholic and too smart for his own good" always read a bit flat. Of course I love how they blew that up in the 4th and 5th seasons, so hey!

Art Yucko (#1,321)

@deep: "It's a NEW DAY, JIMMEE"

En Vague (#82)

"Nashville" with worse music. There, I said it.

balsa_wood (#465)

Worse music?

Well, that's a big bowl of different strokes right there.

Mar (#2,357)

Could we clarify what's wrong with "Nashville"?

balsa_wood (#465)

I love Nashville, myself. But I'll generally always take jazz over country.

That said, some of the music sequences in Nashville are spellbinding, and Altman's visual sense is much more exciting than the visual sense of anything involving David Simon.

Dan Kois (#646)

Jeez, I *wish* it was that good.

libmas (#231)

Delightful.

southernbitch (#2,141)

as a new orleanian, i'm actually really curious what people from outside of the city view the show as, since i think that a lot of what is going on in the show is so immediately identifiable to locals that sometimes i wonder if the quality of the storytelling is falling by the wayside because they are having to peddle to this divergent aspect of hyper vigilant locals and then a national audience that aren't as uncomfortably familiar with the setting. that being said, let me tell you this, oh non new orleanians who are still watching treme: shit is about to hit the fan up in that show. to put it politely, they have borrowed liberally from certain locally infamous people, and the character arcs will be turning more grim in the very near future. so to natasha's claim that they are polishing up the city too well right now, i will also say that for the time period they are working with- crime and murder was very, very, very insanely low in the city. but it comes back. and the darker side of new orleans will raise it's ornery fucked up head and spew vomit and ugly all up on this tv show. a friend of mine commented that the show is most likely going to follow a new comer's relationship with the city- it all goes real well for awhile, and you are so in love with the strangeness and the music and the people and the history and the way everything breathes. but then you get mugged, and someone you know is murdered, and your car gets rear ended by someone without car insurance, and you suddenly realize that there are no jobs and the kids tap dancing in the quarter at 2pm on a tuesday should probably be in school, and things start to feel not so nice.

beatbeatbeat (#3,187)

One thing that came to mind early on in the series was "man, people in new orleans sure spend a lot of time talking about new orleans!" then i realized that people here in san francisco talk about sf constantly, and it's obvious from reading this blog that people in NY also do it constantly! so – REAL TALK +1. (i like the show a lot, too)

Katie Baker (#2,378)

Whoa, awesome. I've not watched the show but this comment make me want to start and fast.

slow education (#3,659)

Casino is a veritable mille-feuille of shlock (and not the good kind).

magen (#3,885)

I can't believe I just read that whole (very entertaining!) thing. I've never seen an episode of Treme.

balsa_wood (#465)

In short: Treme is as unsurprising as NVC's use of caps-lock.

I'm torn, because I think NVC's argument is essentially faulty–rather than analyze the show that is, she pines angrily for the show she wants. And I agree that the contrast with The Wire is jarring, but…it is a different animal. If you're constantly asking, "Where are the drug gangs?!?" you're missing the point. It's a chosen point-of-view.

Also, I was there at the same time as the show–the exact time, almost–and find NVC's characterization of the city at that time a little off, at least how it felt. Because: did the city really feel different to you because "the rival drug gangs had moved back in to the lower 9th"? You were what, hanging out in the Lower 9th? No, you weren't, because it wasn't there, so how did this affect you exactly? The Lower 9th has been dangerous for a long time, but for all intents and purposes, it's nowhere near the French Quarter or the Marigny…it isn't a place you'd end up strolling through. You gotta always keep your wits about you in Nola, but it isn't and will never be Ciudad Juarez.

But then, I can't say I totally agree that the show hasn't really captured the panoramic dysfunction at that time. It always seems like a series of individual problems, when it was–in December 2005–a huge, broad, citywide, keeping-everyone-up-at-night problem. And I can't stand Melissa Leo. And the focus on musicians has at times been a handicap–because musicians' goals, unlike most people's, change all the time. Drug dealers wanna make it big, and cops wanna catch them–this story will never be quite so cut-and-dry.

But it sounds like it picks up, so I'm excited–I stalled out at episode 4 (meaning, I lost my cable).

FINALLY: Casino is close to a masterpiece, and The Aviator has nothing NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING to do with Baz fucking Luhrmann. The fact that these movies register as "terrible" "schlock" to some modern audiences is part of the reason so few good movies get made. Michael Powell and Howard Hawks would also, I guess, seem schlocky to most people now. That's our loss–we ain't right. Scorsese is still a fantastic director, real talk.

Do these convos live or they did not happen.

saythatscool (#101)

DID YOU WATCH THE KOREAN SWEARING?

I can't get past the fact that my mother talks incessantly about Treme. Every time I see her. I hope it gets good and dark soon and knocks her socks off.

City_Dater (#2,500)

I enjoy it because The Sopranos and Six Feet Under gave me a Sunday night television need for nuanced writing and low-key, totally flawless acting, without something blowing up or someone showing emotional depth by hollering like a mental patient, which people actually very seldom do.
And if Khandi Alexander is there, I am there.

karion (#11)

There are few things more unsettling than finding yourself in complete disagreement with NVC. Especially since I damn near named my dog Bunk, too (still his nickname).

It took me a while, but I am hooked and completely engaged with Treme. Last night's episode caught me off guard and I was a little heartbroken. I don't think I had any expectation that the show would do for New Orleans and its people what The Wire did for Baltimore and its characters – the only thing I expected was quality storytelling. And while it is far less showy and much more quiet, I think Treme does that artfully.

MatthewGallaway (#1,239)

I enjoyed this because it's been on my mind, particularly since the Mardi Gras episode, which I thought was one of the weakest. What's frustrating to me about the show is that I want to like the characters (and the actors who play them are generally great and fun to watch), but I'm too often derailed by the sanctimonious and chiding detours the writers feel compelled to put in on a regular basis. I don't disagree with the points being made about how George Bush fucked over N.O., but political sermonizing without sufficient context makes the show (so far, to me) feel too heavily weighted toward the educational and too light on the dramz. But I'm still watching it, so there's that! (I think if you could somehow combine Treme and True Blood, you might have the perfect show?) Oh, also I was annoyed by the stereotypically fggty gardeners in the ghetto, because I live that stereotype and watching it makes me feel like a placard.

RonMwangaguhung (#3,697)

I am taking Dan's side on this. " I REALLY LIKE the following characters: Ladonna, Janette, Antoine, and Toni." SO FUCKING TRUE. The music can get annoying, as well as the "La boheme" nature of the artists — many of whom are self-indulgent. But the scenes between Khandi Alexander and Melissa Leo — two of the best actors in the world — are at least worth the price of admission.

hydeordie (#2,208)

I am going to be forever disappointed because every New Orleans based show/movie/book/song/meal isn't actually Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

Atencio (#399)

I could give a crap about Treme at this point but when someone thinks Casino is a terrible movie it makes me sympathize with those old white people who are terrified about where this country is headed.

Dan Kois (#646)

OK, how about: Casino is a masterfully-made work of art, by a genius at the peak of his abilities, that I can't stand.

slow education (#3,659)

See that's interesting, because I feel like 'Casino' (and actually a lot of Scorsese) seems kind of sad and lost in this our post-Tarentino age. Not serious enough to be serious, and not fun enough to be fun.

Tablefornone (#3,264)

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SAY FAG, NATASHA! SORRY!

I FORGIVE YOU!

Baroness (#273)

Just want to say, I love the Awl's "conversation" pieces like this. Never dull.

doubled277 (#2,783)

This just went on and on didn't it? Loved it though

My Wife: I don't know about this Treme show.
Me: _ shrugs _

Ziggy (#529)

I think this needs to be said: Just like "The Wire," you can't judge the series until the end of each chapter– and each chapter builds upon the other.

For those of us who caught on early, remember how we all felt about The first season of "The Wire?"

Dan Kois (#646)

I've been trying to remember that a lot, actually. Like, by the ninth episode of "The Wire," did I really love it yet? I remember it being awkward and a little tough and me only watching it because everyone and his grandfather was telling me how great it was.

GRANDFATHERS SUCK!

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

I am currently watching the first episode of The Wire and I like it a lot! I also like L&O, though, so this is like, "Ooh, it's like they just concentrated on the cool parts with the captains and DAs!"

spanish bombs (#562)

If you didn't like the first season of The Wire upon first viewing, you are dumb.

mrschem (#1,757)

I think the show is doing a good job with a still-suffering subject.

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

My current theory is that all the "ooh David Simon is such an important artist and, like all important artists throughout history, will work best when unrestrained!" bullshit went haywire and in actuality if The Wire proves anything it's that David Simon works best when he's fighting for his life, not when he has complete support and adoration. TV is a fucking collaborative medium and that requires constant negotiation and compromise. Let's stop pretending like people are romantic artists when a key component of being a great TV producer is being a great manager, not being a great triumpherer of the will.

skahammer (#587)

Don't you have a committee meeting to go take notes at? The question of what kind of cake to get for the office manager's birthday on Thursday remains dramatically unresolved.

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

Did I just shatter all your dreams? I apologize!

skahammer (#587)

Fortunately my art of devastatingly accurate and witty comment-thread putdowns remains blessedly unsullied by the ubiquitous encroachments of committee-style mediocrity. BUT FOR HOW LONG?

Sean McNulty (#5,519)

I fucking love Treme, particularly the characters of Ladonna and Antoine. I could listen to Khandi Alexander read the ingredients off of a can a soup she is that good.

That is all.

Bhaall (#5,521)

I had a one night stand with Khandi Alexander back in 1986. Only one night because she never returned my phone call(s).

Dan Kois (#646)

I think we can all agree this is by far the most crucial comment on this thread. Did she make you weep?

Bhaall (#5,521)

'Taken aback' best describes my reaction. Next time I saw her she was riffing on men folk in There's Something About Mary.

Jim Demintia (#1,815)

I can't believe no one has mentioned yet how weak the dialogue often is. It is surprising, how stilted and false this dialogue from the writer of 'The Wire' is. But it's one of the show's biggest problems, and the reason I've found it impossible to watch it through more than the first few episodes.

Mar (#2,357)

The dialogue in "The Wire" was occasionally weak as well.

spanish bombs (#562)

It is cute how you guys think that season 5 of The Wire has any redeeming qualities. You must work in media.

Also, why isn't Treme compelling? Let's be honest, it mostly comes down to the unattractive cast.

tremblebot (#3,406)

I think all this preoccupation with the authentic is going to lead to nowhere but disappointment. Being in New Orleans after the storm doesn't mean anything other than an experience of what the city was like immediately after the storm which is sort of like going to ground zero after 9/11 and claiming to understand what that event was like. It feels like carpetbag critique.

Who cares if the show is taking a while to get rolling? Lest we forget, the first season of The Wire sort of sucked. Even Deadwood took a while to become really good. There is a lot of really interesting and important leg work Treme has done that while not always super dramatic, has been compelling and nuanced.

I think it IS hard to identify with these characters because they are almost all broken with no clear sense of how or why. Of course it's the storm but you can't have a climactic scene between Katrina and Antoine like Lt. Dan and a thunderstorm. Nothing in New Orleans made sense after Katrina. I'm ok with watching the characters and show try to find their identities in that wake.

skahammer (#587)

I loved every punctuation mark of this feature.

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