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Treme Noir

May 26, 2010

The latest episode of Treme was darker than, and almost as bitter as, day old espresso. I’m not sure which cliche fits better “the wheels came off” or “the penny dropped” but some of the darker storylines got even darker. The episode wasn’t written by the great crime fiction novelist George Pelecanos but it could have been.

Okay, now that I’ve pretended to have a coherent theme, it’s time to riff on the show again. Marginal coherence is what I do best, after all:

G and Mark have already covered the deaths of Daymo and Nelson better than I can so I shan’t try. The latter’s death clarifies the discussion as to whether Deacon John Moore was playing himself or a character. It was the latter, John is a singer and guitarist and not a trombonist (as far as I know) and he’s very much alive. He also lives around the corner from me in the sliver by the river. We’re only passing acquaintances but he’s a lovely man who can also act. He should definitely do some more acting, he’s a natural.

Speaking of naturals, Jacques Morial was previously best known as son of Sybil and Dutch and brother of Marc. He’s terrific in Treme. Yeah, I know he’s playing himself but he’s lively and natural and not everyone can play themselves. I remember seeing baseball Hall of Famer Don Drysdale play himself on various Sixties sitcoms and he was a stiff who looked terrified on camera even in his Dodgers uniform. Poor Don, he couldn’t throw a brush back pitch at the camera…

Speaking of poorly cast, the scene wherein Annie tried out for the Pine Leaf Boys had me cringing in sympathy for her.  It just wasn’t her kind of music and she couldn’t quite cut it as a fill in fiddler. Classically trained Jazz violinists don’t usually saw away Cajun style BUT Annie also had Sonny on her mind so she may have taken a dive. And Sonny doesn’t inspire sunny thoughts; especially after his churlish and pouty reaction to the audition. I’m not sure if Sonny fears  he’s not good enough to make it anywhere but the streets or if he somehow considers it purer to pass the hat. Whichever it is, it’s not going to end well. Btw, my wife, Dr. A, has wondered if the Sonny and Annie characters are partially (and loosely) based on Anders Osborne and Theresa Andersson. Unlike Sonny, Anders is, of course, a very accomplished musician BUT he was deeply into hard drugs at one point. I’m not sure if this is the case but it’s certainly grist for our commentariat’s mill.

The most noirish scenes in the episode were the ones about Albert’s life as a civil disobedient at the projects. Much of it was set at night and illuminated only by the eerie glow of teevee and camp-style lights. Albert showed a superb PR sense with his sleep-in at the bricks. The NOPD, of course, took the opposite tack by beating down Albert before taking him out of the apartment. Initially, I wondered if they’d be dumb enough to do that with the press outside and then I came to my senses and thought: Nah, it’s the post-K Chief Riley era where stupidity and brutality formed a toxic cocktail that lingers to this very day. It will be fascinating to see how that story line plays out. Albert won’t let it go. He’s relentless.

Before this episode, I wasn’t sure whether or not Creighton and Toni’s marriage was headed towards a crisis but it looks as if it just might be. Yo, Creigh, don’t lie to your wife about posting a YouTube rant: she can go on the internets and see for herself. Writer’s block is a natural condition but Creighton seems to have a paralyzing case of it as well as a bad dose of self-loathing.

Finally, another Creighton note. I enjoyed seeing him in the classroom and hearing him quote Lafcadio Hearn. Time to get anecdotal. Ashley Morris was very fond of that quote and at one point used it as his email sig file. Before the 2008  Krewe du Vieux parade, our sub-krewe, PAN, was having a hard time coming up with a theme until our Captain remembered the Hearn quote, which transformed us into the Cult Of Lafcadio:

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72 Comments
  1. Iko permalink
    May 26, 2010 12:34 pm

    Great post, and thanks for mentioning Annie’s audition for the Pine Leaf Boys. I thought it was kind of obvious that she intentionally tanked the audition. That seemed to be what Haley thought (or suspected), too. My reading. I could be wrong. But when she was practicing in the apartment, I thought she sounded fine. She is a far more talented fiddler than she showed in the audition, and the tune she was asked to play should have been quite easy for her. I think she intentionally screwed up the audition our of fear/loyalty/pity for Sonny.

  2. May 26, 2010 12:42 pm

    I don’t think Annie intentionally tanked the audition, but subconsciously willed it so that she wouldn’t have to deal with Sonny and her own success (some of Creighton in her: “I own this joint, but really I’m not good enough”). She could very easily have turned herself into a Poullard but quit trying after she messed up that first couple of times. Poor thing has two enemies: Sonny and herself.

  3. wigatrisk permalink
    May 26, 2010 12:54 pm

    Yep, Wilson Savoy’s “do you have trouble in your heart” comment helps make sense of this interpretation. I was happy to see Steve Earle back – in The Wire he delivered a lot of emotionally exposed and honest dialogue in a way that rang remarkably true, when it could easily have been maudlin, and he’s heading that way here too.

  4. May 26, 2010 12:54 pm

    I laugh every time Jacques Morial comes on screen. I love that he’s in this show.

    I really had a hard time with the NOPD smackdown scene and did not find it very credible. I know that they can do some beating but that far post-K, with the press outside and given a fairly cooperative non-violent victim … I just don’t buy it. The show has a very negative take on the criminal justice system without giving a glimpse of those who have “done good.” This may be the angle that they are taking but it’s not settling well in this household.

  5. virgotex permalink*
    May 26, 2010 12:58 pm

    Before this episode, I wasn’t sure whether or not Creighton and Toni’s marriage was headed towards a crisis

    We must be watching different shows.

    The most noirish scenes in the episode were the ones about Albert’s life as a civil disobedient at the projects

    The arguments and theories about what constitutes noir as a genre ( or even about whether it IS a genre) could fill a warehouse, so right up front, this is but my humble subjective view. I agree that some visual elements of the Albert housing standoff are literally dark, but lighting does not noir make.

    None of this had any element of suspense or eroticism or twisted or cruelty or just plain old Strange that are typically associated with noir. One of the reasons noir is so effective in police procedurals is that there is a list of hard and fast elements – the procedure part- that comes face to face with the twisted/mysterious/sinister/cruel out of control threat part. Misdirection and moral ambiguity abound.

    Nothing in Albert’s situation was suspenseful/unpredictable/unknown. He had played out every step of that chess game in his head and it went down as scripted. The cops were playing the role he knew they would play. No moral ambiguity. He was the good guy, they were the bad guys- even the ‘community liason’ is a condescending asshole.

    We all knew what would happen too- that’s why the beatdown of Albert, while it was violent and happening to our ‘good guy’ was not gutchurning in the same way as the beatdown of the copper thief. It didn’t leave us off balance in that way because Albert essentially won.

    The earlier beatdown felt much more unsettling because we were taken off guard and seeing a heretofore sympathetic character display this violent/cruel aspect- something hidden that happened in secret. Something morally ambiguous. Something that threw us off balance.

    So, respectfully disagreeing with the noir tag.

  6. May 26, 2010 1:00 pm

    I think she intentionally took a dive. She played the same song in the apartment perfectly, then got a big guilt trip laid on her by Sonny. As much as she sees that he’s kind of an out-of-control asshole, she’s also easily manipulated by him emotionally, which is common in abusive relationships. She knows if she leaves him for a few weeks she’ll come back to find him way deeper into the drugs, and in classic abusee fashion she’d blame herself if that happened.

    “I think I’m missing the one”…she pretends to not know where the downbeat is, but this could also be taken to represent that she’ll miss Sonny if she goes on tour.

  7. greg p permalink
    May 26, 2010 1:08 pm

    “Before this episode, I wasn’t sure whether or not Creighton and Toni’s marriage was headed towards a crisis”

    I suppose it is — hoping it isn’t Creighton’s early death, mostly because I don’t want to go through any of that again — but the writers/directors/actors are going to have to establish a stronger base for anything serious to stick. Up until new, we’ve seen them together only glancingly, usually (other than this episode) in lighter moments. There’s been no connection like we’ve seen with the other couples (even Sonny and Annie). I need to care about them as a couple before I care about the crisis.

  8. wigatrisk permalink
    May 26, 2010 1:17 pm

    I missed the “one” line, which is an interesting one indeed, but I don’t really buy the intentional interpretation. Why even audition then? What was the point in showing her determination in practicing in the apartment specifically in the context of Sonny’s passing through? Rather than a guilt trip, I thought she seemed to be mostly satisfied with his response to her question about what he would do while she was away (though I haven’t watched the episode again yet and had the sound low due to restless kids). The “self-loathing” explanation is being used for more than a few characters now, and will presumably be applied to why she would audition. I thought her evident confusion and Savoy’s pointing to her emotional turmoil was a sufficient explanation.

  9. wigatrisk permalink
    May 26, 2010 1:28 pm

    I just don’t see the major marital crisis here, particularly after the Krewe parade. I find the discussion about these two interesting, particularly last week. Creighton is more-or-less forgiven for his supposedly “self-loathing” inactivity and outbursts, but Toni – one of the most active, determined, focussed characters – is simply a presumptuous “nag.” I wonder if most people want to see her show more evidently to Creighton some of the compassion she shows for LaDonna, but on the one hand couples aren’t really (or consistently) like that and on the other I think she has shown that.

  10. virgotex permalink*
    May 26, 2010 1:31 pm

    whether it’s intentional or subconscious, I think she took the dive.

    I hated hated hated “do you have trouble in your heart?” Maybe it’s just me but it made me cringe like nails on a chalkboard. I guess they were trying to establish his Cajun cred with mannered speaking, but he suddenly sounded like a cheap fortune teller.

    Harley = Waylon. He’s Annie’s sponsor

  11. May 26, 2010 1:32 pm

    This, the darkest episode so far, co-written by Davis Rogan, is the saddest, the scariest and the sweetest. The final discovery of Daymo’s death is both scary and sad. The sweet this epsiode is dramatized via Antoine Batiste.

    The terror is leavened by the sweetness and tenderness that is living in New Orleans, even at this time. In this episode the sweet and tender are provided by Batiste, particularly with the dying Danny Nelson. That teeny, silent scene of Antoine putting one of his earbuds into Danny’s ear, sharing a final listen of Jelly Roll’s “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say” was all sweetness and tenderness, without sentimentality. This is the face of love, the face of respect. This is understanding another person, down to the bottom of his soul. This is the heart of New Orleans. If you don’t understand this you don’t understand New Orleans, past and present — and the terrifying implications for the future. Here is sadness too, and fear. This scene wasn’t about the hotshots, the lucky ones, the world class traveling artists of New Orleans. It was about what they are rooted in. And when / if this goes, so does their next generation, and so does the New Orleans we all love and value. So does a fundamental treasure of the history of this nation. Later, another few-seconds-only scene — Antoine returns. Danny’s bed is empty.

    Additionally, every scene in which Antoine interacts with a woman in this episode, his eyes, his face — we understand why there are so many baby mamas. That scene at the airport, with the woman who is returning to New Orleans, her home, who asked who they are playing in honor of? He gives her those eyes, that face, that touch to the cap, and says, “We’re playing in honor of you, Ma’am.” She melts. So do we.

    It’s the depiction of the relentless wearing down, the constant doing it wrong, getting it wrong (particularly by the politicians and media) the checks that don’t come or arrive too late, the choice between restoring your home or restoring your business, the lost and the missing, the lack of health services, the trek to get to a place that sells groceries, the lack of mail, the lack of electricty and water, struggle to find, buy and bring in the materials to clean up and rebuild, the work sabotaged by thieves, the lack of work because the construction jobs go to subcontractors who use undocumented labor, not you, who live here, whose family has always lived here, here, where you and your family always did your work as builders, restorers, plumbers, electricians (while playing as much music as you can, very likely), the endless, relentless lying — that’s the terror of Treme. It has been built up from the previous six episodes. In this episode it is reaching the tipping point.

    There are only three more episodes remaining.

    Love, C.

  12. wigatrisk permalink
    May 26, 2010 1:36 pm

    Yep, I agree on that one and had said so in my first post but cut it for clarity. It really stuck out, and was frankly an unusually clunky telegraphing of the point and an unnecessary way to excuse the end of the audition.

    Yep, Earle range seems pretty limited to that role, but I do think he’s pretty convincing at it.

  13. brueso permalink
    May 26, 2010 1:40 pm

    David Simon confessed at the Tenn Williams Fest that he doesn’t particularly like writing scenes about ‘domestic’ things- which is one of the reasons there weren’t many of them in The Wire. Frankly, the shows that have alot about that stuff usually end up boring me to death, as it constantly turns into two people picking at each other, and yet we know in the real world that they’re well-paid actors that have their own followings that the networks aren’t about to cut loose- so no one’s going to split up. (“Mad Men” may prove to be the exception, but this is what made the Sopranoes and Six Feet Under ultimately so repetetive and ultimately boring for me). I mean, I’m already bored to tears with Sonny and Annie’s ‘will they or won’t they?” subplot- so much so, that- I hate to be crass, but I’m starting to think “Look- if you ARE going to be Zach and Addie, would you just kill her already so we can move on?”

    SO- I just think on the whole, a subplot about Creighton and Toni’s marriage is not going to be much of anything to be on pins and needles about. We see some good moments where they seem connected, we see some where they’re not very connected. Bottom line, Creighton is a very depressed man in a rut, and Toni is way overworked and is married to a very depressed man in a rut. They’ll probably just muddle through.

  14. virgotex permalink*
    May 26, 2010 1:45 pm

    Hell, I’d even sleep with Antoine if he looked at me like that.

  15. liprap permalink
    May 26, 2010 1:52 pm

    Aaah! More Spawn d’Antoine would be in the world.

  16. virgotex permalink*
    May 26, 2010 1:55 pm

    oh I adore Steve Earle. Not complaining. Thank God though, that he’s actually playing a character, not himself.

    I am so over the celebrity walk ons.

  17. virgotex permalink*
    May 26, 2010 1:58 pm

    not very fucking likely. The eggs at the 7/11 are probably fresher than any I might still have knocking around down there.

  18. adrastosno permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:02 pm

    @virgotex. I’m using the term noir in regard to the atmospherics and tone of the piece. Film noir is a wide category that has included mood pieces like Fritz Lang’s Clash By Night, which is a character based melodrama with a noirish feel and very little suspense.

    @everyone about the audition: Nobody should underestimate the difficulty of playing another genre of music; especially in front of skilled players like the PLB. The bandleader is a frakking Savoy, after all, a member of the first family of Cajun music.

  19. racymind permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:03 pm

    I hated hated hated “do you have trouble in your heart?” Maybe it’s just me but it made me cringe like nails on a chalkboard. I guess they were trying to establish his Cajun cred with mannered speaking, but he suddenly sounded like a cheap fortune teller.

    Damn, you said just what I was trying to say about that line…

  20. adrastosno permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:05 pm

    One more thing about Toni and Creighton: I think she’s very worried about him but doesn’t know what to do so she’s thrown herself into her do-gooderism. I like both of them so I’m pulling for them to work it out.

  21. Iko permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:10 pm

    I don’t buy that analysis. Already through several episodes of the show, Annie has shown consumate, professional skill playing diverse types of music. I don’t think she would tremble and fail at playing Cajun music. Intentionally (or unintentionally) tanking the audition makes far more sense for the story and the characters.

  22. adrastosno permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:15 pm

    I’m really enjoying the discussion of Annie’s audition. I haven’t seen an implausible interpretation yet. The commentariat rocks or do y’all do the two step.

  23. virgotex permalink*
    May 26, 2010 2:31 pm

    I’m using the term noir in regard to the atmospherics and tone of the piece.

    Clash by Night is noir. I still respectfully counter that Albert in the housing projects is not.

  24. May 26, 2010 2:38 pm

    It’s dawning on Sonny that he’s not good enough. He didn’t last on the stage in Houston and Tom McD. pointedly wanted Annie but not both for his session. I know Tom plays piano himself, but he was dismissive of Sonny.

    BTW, the new Anders Osborne CD is awfully good.

  25. brueso permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:38 pm

    I’m curious about how the episodes are written and credited. I recall reading a NY Times article before the debut where the writers were all sitting together and figuring out the backstory for Creighton’s character, so it sounded like that was a full collaboration. But I’ve wondered how the process works as the season has progressed. Did Simon and Eric Overmyer hash out the general arc of the season before it started and then everyone works from there? Does the whole writer group get together to discuss the events in the episode and then for example in this one, Davis and Mills then went off and took all the ideas, notes, etc and churned out the screenplay? (I do know that one article said after the writer of the episode is done with a draft, it’s all submitted to Simon who then does some edits to keep continuity, tone, etc. approximately the same for the run of the season/series).

    I doubt that the way it works is that in this episode as an example, Davis Rogan and David Mills had a blank slate for them to decide what was going to happen in the episode. At some point, there was a decision made that “LaDonna is going to find out for sure that Daymo is dead episode 7. Davis is going to back out of the election.”

    Has anyone been involved in this kind of process?

  26. brueso permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:42 pm

    yeah- I found that ‘trouble in your heart’ bit to be a bit cheesy. Let everyone figure out what happened on their own without the use of a Cajun Dr. Phil.

  27. Ralph permalink
    May 26, 2010 3:36 pm

    ” . . . Albert essentially won.”

    I don’t see it that way. He had done everything right until he refused to cooperate with the cops who came to arrest him. By resisting arrest, Albert made it a lot easier for the people on the other side of the projects issue to paint him as a villain or a kook. I think his refusal to get on his knees was just Albert being a self-important windbag. We saw some of that in the last two episodes, when he pushed the councilman for sidestepping the projects issue and when he dressed down the councilman’s lackey for only coming up with one trailer.

  28. greg p permalink
    May 26, 2010 4:21 pm

    Oh, hell yeah, that’s all planned out.

    I couldn’t tell you who exactly does what or exactly how on Tremé — maybe Mr. Overmeyer can shed some light — but if it’s anything like other dramatic series with season-long arcs, the creators/head writers plan out the seasonal / longer arcs and break them down by episode (LaDonna finds Daymo in episode 7). Individual episodes will have backstories, fleshing out the basic arc (Toni and LaDonna can’t find Daymo in the database, so they are forced to check the temporary morgues, where Daymo’s body is discovered under a different name). The teleplay (what Rogan worked on) is mostly dialogue, and the dialogue can continue to change even while shooting is going on if the actors or director have ideas.

    If stories aren’t planned out, you get Lost. Or Twin Peaks.

  29. greg p permalink
    May 26, 2010 4:22 pm

    Best post/avatar combination so far this season

  30. greg p permalink
    May 26, 2010 4:30 pm

    Nice explanation here: http://bestofneworleans.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A54068

  31. Virgotex permalink
    May 26, 2010 4:52 pm

    Agreed on the fighting back piece, Ralph. Good point. It’s what would change the charge from Tresspassing to Resisting and/or Assaulting an Officer. The teaser sure made it look like he is stuck in jail but teasers are called that for a reason

    Still don’t think that changes the tone of the piece, tho. What he did was in keeping with what we know about him.

  32. May 26, 2010 5:03 pm

    Kelly, that is sadly the city’s perception of the NOPD,and it’s well founded. Reasonable people know it’s not everyone on the force. Just about everyone agrees it’s too many, and that the closer we are to the storm the more likely they were to crack and act out. The fellow on the desk at the First District (can’t remember the actor’s name; sorry, a very familiar face) is clearly a competent and sympathetic character in his teatment of Toni (the “we’re not ready scene”). I don’t think the show is being one-sided, but it is drawing on realities and only shows that which advances the plot. I hope to see more of the desk officer just as a balance to all the NOPD ugly I suspect we will see, but we’ll only see it there if it serves the story.

  33. May 26, 2010 5:08 pm

    I think that was the bandleader saying “if this guys says you’re good, I know you are”. He was just being kind, and sometimes those sentiments come out sounding cheesy.

  34. May 26, 2010 5:10 pm

    I took a lot of notes when they appeared at Octavia Books, discussing how the team writing process works. I had a short blog post with some highlights, but I may go back and dig into them and write up something specific for this blog (if I can can still read the untranscribed chicken scratch from that far back).

  35. brueso permalink
    May 26, 2010 5:20 pm

    It kind of reminded me of what Sherman Alexie (Native American author) said he hated about the way his people were often portrayed in fiction- that they all had to either be drunks or be mystical.

    Also, it vaguely smelled of Author Has Small Character Sum Up Major Character’s Struggle In One Neat Package.

  36. brueso permalink
    May 26, 2010 5:41 pm

    That article did confirm alot of how I thought the process probably went. Thanks for adding it.

    Of course, what I really want to know is- who gets the credit for creating Aunt Mimi?

  37. Virgotex permalink
    May 26, 2010 6:03 pm

    well said on both points brueso

  38. wigatrisk permalink
    May 26, 2010 6:15 pm

    Interesting piece on Anders posted on NPR yesterday, with considerable relevance to this discussion:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127116773

  39. wigatrisk permalink
    May 26, 2010 6:26 pm

    I suppose it must be hard to predict how these things will sound in the final edit. I thought Davis’ “A true bohemian in every sense of the word” last week was similarly painful, and even sounded redubbed. I don’t know if it was supposed to be Cajun wisdom or not, but I see what you mean about Alexie’s great writing. Morgan Freeman will be out of work if Hollywood wises up.

  40. wigatrisk permalink
    May 26, 2010 6:31 pm

    Poignant words Foxessa. I was staggered by that bedside scene when Antoine smiles at the end, in sheer joy and comfort at the shared music after the pain of seeing his mentor’s condition. No network show would have ended it that way, but it transforms the work into universal art.

  41. May 26, 2010 6:32 pm

    First District officer is actor David Morse. He’s always been one of my favs. He was sighted around Jackson Square last week so my guess is he’ll be showing up more on the show.

    As for the NOPD smackdown, Mark is right. At that time there was story after story, not necessarily in the MSM but told quietly in bars about that kind of thing happening. People were very afraid of NOPD by and large, but had a great deal more confidence in the National Guard guys who were patrolling. It was a strange time.

    For sure the smackdown would not have taken place in sight of reporters. Did you notice the curtains being pulled before Albert was backed up and taken down?

  42. May 26, 2010 6:59 pm

    I thought Annie took an intentional dive. You could almost feel Harley’s embarrassment, as she made a liar out of him, and I could totally feel her making the choice to do just that, because going away for three weeks was worse. Afterward, she was herself embarrassed having done it. Sonny came so close to getting it right when she broached the subject with him, only blowing it at the last, “What am I supposed to say?” I still think Michiel Huisman is giving a great performance.

    I also smiled (or was it cringed) sympathetically at Antoine’s continued embarrassment at being seen by his “peers” in less than top shelf gigs, punctuated by his mouthed, “Fuck me,” upon seeing the driver’s sign welcoming Troy Andrews (who is suddenly not being called Shorty), but loved that they stopped and played.

    Actually, there was rather a lot of embarrassment in the episode.

    I loved the Hearn quote and thought immediately of you, Adrastos (of course), and Jacques Morial is WONDERFUL.

    Finally, I am displeased with Davis for caving and suspect he’ll change his mind and resume his campaign, forfeiting his Get Out of Jail Free card.

  43. greg p permalink
    May 26, 2010 8:14 pm

    Those of you who think Annie took a dive: what do you think she would gain by deliberately playing badly versus simply not showing for the audition, or telling the Pine Leaf Boys that something came up and she couldn’t make it? Why humiliate herself in their and Steve Earle’s eyes?

    For the record, I don’t think she took a dive: I just think the stress of her situation is starting to mess with her abilities.

  44. liprap permalink
    May 26, 2010 8:29 pm

    “For the record, I don’t think she took a dive: I just think the stress of her situation is starting to mess with her abilities.”

    Bingo!

  45. May 26, 2010 9:38 pm

    Self-sabotage is not that simple, having less to do with a rational choices and more to do with irresistible compulsions. I’m always open to being wrong, ’cause it happens so damn frequently, but I felt strongly through multiple viewings that both Annie & Harley knew that she didn’t want the gig, that Harley’s trying to push her, promote her in a way, perhaps purposefully trying to get her free from Sonny. I’m not saying that the stress of her dysfunctional relationship isn’t messing with her abilities, although it only seemed to be doing so at that moment. In the previous episode, there’s a scene in which Sonny walks into their apartment and physically stops her from playing. It’s “playful” but jumped out at me as symbolic as well.

  46. May 26, 2010 10:00 pm

    She takes the audition because she should take the audition. She knows she should be doing some other things in her life too. Just like how she walks away and into Cafe du Monde, she takes the audition. Just like she walks back into the apartment, she blows the audition.

  47. May 26, 2010 10:02 pm

    Steve Earle has the whole AA-sponsor-irritated-with-your-self-serving-bullshit-denial shtick NAILED. Just sayin’.

  48. May 26, 2010 10:04 pm

    Morse plays Lt. Colson. Yeah, I hope we see more of him too.

  49. May 26, 2010 10:08 pm

    WT and Sophmom: Exactly! People on the receiving end of an abusive relationship don’t always act rationally or consistently. I think she intentionally took a dive but maybe didn’t make up her mind that she was going to until that very moment, as if she was torn up inside about what to do but when it came right down to the moment of truth, she had to buckle under to what Sonny wanted, just like she had to go home to Sonny after spending the night at CDM. That’s why her excuses in Tipitina’s that night sounded so weak and that’s why Earle was giving her such a hard time. They both know what she did.

  50. May 26, 2010 10:42 pm

    behavior not usually explored very accurately on ‘regular’ teevee. Because it’s not black/white easy.

  51. adrastosno permalink
    May 26, 2010 10:49 pm

    Exactly, Virgotex. It’s why I’m increasingly interested in where Annie and Sonny are headed. I haven’t seen a single interpretation that struck me as way off. Everything is shaded, just like real life.

  52. mistlethrush1 permalink
    May 26, 2010 11:57 pm

    Annie could have aced that audition easily–her ‘mistakes’ were contrived rather than her being unable to play the Cajun-style fiddle. SHe did it because of Sonny…at least that;s how I read it.

  53. mistlethrush1 permalink
    May 27, 2010 12:09 am

    Ah, Foxessa, your reply hit me here I live, especially regarding Antoine. Smetimes referred to as clownish or a buffoon because of some of the humorous situations he finds himself in, he was not immediately taken seriously. I can see the attraction: Antoine is handsome, talented and most of all, tender-hearted.

    The music-sharing scene with Danny wrenched without being maudlin; it was clear that Antoine was sharing a last moment of wondrous music with his beloved mentor: it was perfect.

  54. mistlethrush1 permalink
    May 27, 2010 12:14 am

    SHe took a dive because of Sonny’s manipulative ‘What am I supposed to say?” line. SHe was so happy that he was being supportive to that point.

    It always seems so stupid when those in a abusive relationships cave, espeially when it happens like this. ANnie is very talented and it was clear she could easily have played the music–that’s the ugliness of that sort of relationship.

  55. brueso permalink
    May 27, 2010 12:50 am

    Drawing the curtains can of course be an unintended way to call MORE attention to something off going on inside. It’s such an easy way to keep the story alive. You talk to the reporters who interviewed you before and say that the cops drew the blinds and beat the crap out of you.

    I hope we do see some more David Morse.

  56. greg p permalink
    May 27, 2010 1:09 am

    I just watched it again, and while I still don’t think she “took a dive” in the boxing sense — that she went in there and sucked because Sonny (or her inner voice or whoever) told her to, I can see where she gave up trying.

    I can relate to that, not as someone who’s been abused, but as someone who’s fought depression for many years: you can get right up to the edge of something good, and then the self-loathing comes back and you suddenly know you CAN’T, you’re not good enough, you’re a fraud, etc. And so you stop trying and your prediction comes true.

    I’m still having trouble seeing why she would humiliate herself by deliberately failing — I mean, going into the audition with that idea — but I can see her getting immediately overwhelmed by Cedric Watson and that mystical (gag) “trouble in her heart) and the air just leaving her.

  57. Scott Harney permalink
    May 27, 2010 10:08 am

    I’m going with brueso’s analysis as that was my read as well. Cajun music can be deceptive and seem simpler than it really is; accents fall in places that may seem odd at first in comparison with other musical genres. I think that in combination with annie being too much “in her head” about Sonny had her tank that audition. As it got worse and she couldn’t seem to connect to the music (“find the one”) it just spiraled down. That the character is talented enough to play it I don’t doubt but I don’t think Annie sees herself with that amount of confidence and confidence has a lot to do with it. And Sonny is constantly destroying her confidence.

  58. Scott Harney permalink
    May 27, 2010 10:12 am

    yeah. “trouble in your heart” was cheesy and sounded unnatural. would’ve been a lot simpler to just have him ask “Is something else on your mind?”

  59. May 27, 2010 2:37 pm

    Love this set of comments. So true that it’s not black and white easy with all the competing (and self-imposed) responsibilities and schizo-depression wanting a piece of you at every turn. In that place where Annie is, you don’t own yourself but that sense of individuality exerts itself from time to time and then retreats as quickly as it came.

    Funny, I’ve always thought of New Orleans herself as a tortured genius. (Hey, I’m Indian, I can be all *gag* mystical if I want.)

  60. May 27, 2010 5:25 pm

    Greg, I think our differences here are largely semantic.

  61. May 27, 2010 5:30 pm

    Depends on how you define “semantic”.

  62. May 27, 2010 5:30 pm

    (that was a joke. depending on how you define “joke”.)

  63. greg p permalink
    May 27, 2010 5:34 pm

    Let’s leave the Jews out of it

  64. May 27, 2010 5:34 pm

    Having finally read Shake the Devil Off, and now that we’re 7/10 of the way through the season, I kind of don’t see the Zack/Addie outcome so much any more. Yeah Sonny is abusive, yeah Sonny is an addict, but there’s still a long way between where they are now and him killing her. Not saying it can’t happen, but Simon/Overmyer would have to cover a lot of ground in a short span of time.

    I miss L’il Bouncer, I hope he shows up again. Maybe he could become a cop.

  65. greg p permalink
    May 27, 2010 5:55 pm

    Agreed. I never thought they would take the same path as Zack & Addie. I don’t think any of the “inspired by” characters will follow the stories of their real-life counterparts, for that matter.

    Still don’t think it will end real well, but unless I see Sonny at Williams-Sonoma, I think we’re in the clear.

  66. wigatrisk permalink
    May 27, 2010 6:52 pm

    I’m with brueso on this one, this duo isn’t that interesting. Both actors are great but there’s been no chemistry between them since the pilot. The drugs appearing was a ho hum, no suprises here development. The writers have been too doggedly trying to draw attention to the variable skill levels as though they don’t trust the viewer to see the difference from the playing alone. One of my grad students argued the drugs appeared as a liberal platitude to the notion that people aren’t separated by innate talent but only by choice, determination, etc, which isn’t really a tenable interpretation of the story, but still, enough already.

  67. liprap permalink
    May 27, 2010 9:26 pm

    Leave me out of what?
    8-)

  68. May 28, 2010 1:10 am

    I don’t buy that Davis quit the campaign notwithstanding what he said. for a lousy GOOJF card redeemable with a single judge? and dude’s not exactly a hardened criminal; I’ve yet to to see him perpetrate anything that would involve more than a night in jail.

    I think he’s having too much fun and selling too many CDs to be bought off that fucking cheaply or else I will lose what little respect I have for him.

    that GOOJF card would make an excellent exhibit A re the political corruption he likes to harp on. some hay could be made with that.

  69. brueso permalink
    May 28, 2010 2:13 am

    It’s also possible that the production team became fond of the actress playing Annie once they got going and that will steer it away from Zach/Addie. They originally intended to kill off Omar in season 1 but they liked what Michael Williams did with the character, so they decided to continue it.

    But if they’re NOT going to be Zach/Addie, I hope they split them up by season’s end, only cause the scenes between them have gotten a little tiresome. Of course, if they do follow the way things work in the real world, bad couples sometimes stay together for a long time.

  70. virgotex permalink*
    May 28, 2010 9:01 am

    yeah dan, I can see that, or some other Davis type permutation

  71. May 29, 2010 12:23 pm

    Great point, Dan. It just didn’t sit right as it appeared.

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