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Things Fall Apart

May 15, 2010

At the halfway point of Season 1, I can see the characters starting to segregate into two types.  There are the fighters: Big Chief Lambreaux, Janette, LaDonna, Antoine.  These characters are all suffering setbacks and frustrations, and although all of them might face some serious misfortunes in the near term, I don’t get the sense that their situation is going to completely get the better of them.  Even if the worst happens, if Daymo turns up dead, if Janette’s restaurant closes, if life deals them a horrible blow, they’re survivors.  They’ll still be around.

And then there are the characters who have a darkening shadow gathering over their heads.

I think everybody can see that Sonny and Annie are headed for tragedy; there’s just no way that’s going to end well.

And I think we can add Creighton Bernette to that list.

At the beginning of the season, Creighton seemed to be a man with two sides.  On the one hand, he’s a gregarious gourmand, a man who believes in the healing power of “good food and companionship”, who has fierce loyalties for even an old gelato shop, and who will go all giddy at the thought of a magical Hubig’s Pie with something drizzled on it.  On the other, he’s a foul-mouthed rabble-rouser and New Orleanian patriot, a man who will not only speak fucking Truth to motherfucking Power but will go and shove Power’s microphone up his ass if it’ll get his point across.

Now we’re seeing that that there is a third side, for which the other two are merely compensating.  Creighton is a man with low self-esteem, a man who has no faith in his own abilities, who knows that there’s a New Normal coming and who, unlike our survivors, feels entirely incapable of combating it.  As post-K reality slouches closer, despair is eating away at him.

As much as Creighton is full of righteous anger over the flood and the recovery, it’s a futile anger.  It’s catharsis for him, and for his growing YouTube fan-base, but it’s not changing anything and he knows it.  The president is paying less attention, not more.  The rest of the country has not, is not, and will not “get it” any time soon.  Tulane shows no sign of extracting its administration’s head from its ass.  The flood control system is still a shambles, Charity is still closed, the projects are still closed, the schools are still fucked, people can’t come home, there’s still no money, and all the arguing and reasoning and yelling and fucking SCREAMING aren’t fixing any of it.

And even though he seems pretty pleased with himself when a bunch of guys at the coffeehouse recognize him, it’s a short-lived joy, because in reality he isn’t really proud of his rage.  It’s something that he does late at night (his “excesses and impulses”) or resorts to when the obvious logic of his arguments fails him in the face of outsider pig-ignorance.  His real worth is tied up in his “real” writing, and now we know that he has done precious little real writing since well before Katrina.  He’s got worse than writer’s block; he’s got a serious case of Impostor Syndrome, so serious that even when Roy Blount gushes with praise over his YouTube antics, refers to him inclusively as “one of us [writers]” to his group of friends, Creighton thinks Blount must be fucking with him, absolutely has to be pulling his leg, because what right would a failed loser of a writer like Creighton Bernette have to receive sincere praise from a Southern author as prestigious as Blount?

So his agent is coming to visit.  Good news arrives by phone, bad news is delivered in person.  The book advance has already been spent, and right in the middle of the tenuous financial and emotional environment of January 2006, the agent is coming to take the advance back.  Not only is financial ruin incoming, but worse (to Creighton) is that the jig is up as far as his “writing career” goes.  The mask is off, and he is exposed as a fraud and a failure.  By the end of episode 5, he is in full panic mode.

And in the ultimate irony, you’d think the one character who has an intact traditional nuclear family would be able to count on his spouse for backup, right?  Hardly.  I know everybody loves Toni Bernette, but she’s not exactly a person Creighton can lean on.  She is a vocal critic of his media tirades, she lectures him about his language, she is embarrassed by his YouTube behavior, she considers Krewe du Vieux to be “nonsense”.  Everything, that is, that he is doing that gives him some joy, some satisfaction, some outlet for his frustrations, she belittles.  And she nags him incessantly about his writing, the one thing he is incapable, for whatever reason, of finishing.  When he questions Roy Blount’s sincerity, she doesn’t help allay his fears, she feeds them.  When he wants to spend a sentimental day decorating the Christmas tree, she mocks him and then nags him again about his writing.  Meanwhile, she’s so driven.  While Creighton sinks into depression and paralysis, she throws herself more and more into her work.  Even when she goes to the RE-New Orleans second line, she’s there more to keep tabs on 3rd District NOPD than to enjoy the music.

To me this marriage is a frustrated passive-aggressive mess, two adults who are growing apart as their coping methods diverge and conflict with each other’s, and as Creighton’s emotional state and the family financial state start coming apart, watch the marriage come apart too.  Irma Thomas’s closing theme is, like every other episode’s closing theme, fraught with all kinds of deeper meanings:

I’ve got the blues so bad
I can hardly catch my breath
The harder it rains
The worse it gets
This is the time
I’d love to be holding you tight
But I guess I’ll just go crazy tonight

A classic New Orleans song of lost love, but also a harbinger of insanity creeping in, bad times to come, and nobody to hold you when they get here.  Distant thunder rumbling, black clouds are coming down.

It’s going to get much much worse before it gets better.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[And yeah, yeah, I know, not New Orleans music.  It gets the point across, though.  You don’t believe me?  Put it on your iPod mix next evacuation.]

  1. Embee permalink
    May 15, 2010 6:14 am

    I’m more hopeful for Creighton, in the long-and the short-term. For all Simon’s doubt in the power of new media, he’s also a fan of “the really futile and stupid gesture,” and in Simon-land it’s only hubris within the institution that gets god-damned, like McNulty’s or Stringer’s or Bunny’s. FYYFFs and respectful–or at least restrained–pleas to the president? That’s Greek chorus, and that it’s not all full-out rage shows me Creighton’s is a voice we’ll keep hearing, even if it’s in the wilderness. Especially if it’s in the wilderness. It’s a voice with dramatic purpose, and it’ll have a dollars-and-cents value to Creighton, his agent, and his publisher.

    That said, you sold me on the imposter syndrome, and the strain it puts on Creighton’s career and marriage. But the belittlement and embarrassment you hear from Toni? I only hear it and see it in Creighton. Toni’s disappointed–enormously so, I imagine–and more on edge than she’s been willing to admit so far about Creighton’s career and the family’s future. So, yeah, Creighton’s not the only Bernette ready to rage. But if there’s a Treme marriage about to come apart, it’s LaDonna and Larry’s.

  2. May 15, 2010 7:31 am

    I’ve been struggling to come up with an apt response to this since I opened my email an hour ago and found the subscription copy. Then I realized I had written it a year ago, or rather poet Kim Addonozio had.

    When I first wrote a post (not here) complaining of reviewers who, from their early viewings, claimed they did not get Creighton's role. I suggested he was Greek Chorus (or at least his Internet and media rantings were). That thought came to mind in part because I so wanted Treme to ultimately be a story of triumph but knew in my heart that David Simon is not Frank Capra, and that the story of postdiluvian New Orleans is not melodrama but simply a long and complex human story, and that mixed in with whatever genre we can call a Capraesque tale of triumph we would find comedy and we would certainly find tragedy.

  3. brueso permalink
    May 15, 2010 8:28 am

    I appreciate anyone who does a good thorough examination of what’s going on, and yours is well-written, but I gotta say that I don’t agree totally re Crighton and I nearly don’t agree at all with you re Toni.

    First, re Creighton- I do agree with you things could go darker for him. But the ‘agent is coming and wants the advance back’ is really a guess on his part. Yes, due no doubt by his own annoyance with himself for not finishing his book and run through the general filter he of how he is seeing things at the time (which could be summed up ‘Everything is Broken’ as in Dylan’s song on the “Oh Mercy” album) – but Creighton is guessing about what the agent is going to have to say. He seems to have ignored (as you have) the part about ‘new opportunities’ that the agent also supposedly talked about. Creighton has guessed that that only means “return the money’- it MIGHT be that they are liking his YouTube rants and they’ll say “We’d like your book to be about Katrina OR return the money”. Now, that also might not be something he wants to do because he’d see it as profiting from the storm, but he might see it as a chance to do a more expanded comment on Katrina.

    I have to admit that Goodman’s fame partly makes me wonder how much of a commitment he felt he could do to the show, so it’s possible that Creighton was always intended to be a one season character, and the only reason that they could work in would be if he stroked out or something. Time will tell. But while I do agree with you that he seems to feel that there’s been (and still will be) a Bad Moon Rising, what the agent has to say may not be exactly what he is expecting. We’ll probably find out during this week’s show.

    I pretty much disagree totally with your take on Toni, however. A nagger? I don’t see it. I think that she’s dealing very compassionately with a guy that is somewhat stalled in a rut and is perhaps coming apart for alot of reasons, but I’d describe her comments and handling of him as gentle. She’s under strain herself- and if anything, I’d say that Creighton was right that Toni should blow off a little more steam herself, cause banging your head against the L.A. criminal system could drive anyone crazy. But Toni seems pretty grounded to me.

  4. May 15, 2010 8:32 am

    It occurred to me that maybe the agent’s visit could be to change Creighton’s direction from fiction to NOLA-centric non-fiction, but I know that I’m hoping against hope. Also, I’ve been thinking that Toni’s workaholism is a symptom of a loveless marriage. They seem to be fairly cordial companions, but that’s about it. Of course, lots of folks go through their whole lives that way.

  5. Virgotex permalink
    May 15, 2010 9:42 am

    Aces, all the way.

    We also have two types of viewers-those familiar with Simon and those who aren’t.

    Fuller response still brewing, more later on Toni, etc.

  6. BrenyB permalink
    May 15, 2010 12:43 pm

    Excellent post! I don’t agree with all the observations about the Bernette’s marriage, but I’m having trouble verbalizing it. Creighton and Toni are in survivor mode. Crisis brings out both the worst and the best in people. Toni is attempting “tough love” with Creighton, as if he were one of her wayward clients, but that’s not what he needs. That’s what she knows how to do.

    On the other hand, Creighton is just trying to put one foot in front of the other. He doesn’t have a job that gives him the satisfaction of making a difference. Toni gets people out of jail, calls out the NOPD on their BS, tracks down missing loved ones–all things that give a sense of accomplishment. Creighton sees her progress and then beats himself up even more. I see her frustration with him as frustration with herself. She doesn’t know how to help him. She’s doing the best she can.

    It did piss me off that she called Krewe du Vieux “nonsense.” For some people, that was the only thing they had to look forward to.

    I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

  7. May 15, 2010 12:46 pm

    That song is so awesome. I don’t own nearly enough Nick Cave.

    Ray, you have a gift for reading subtext. YOu’re seeing a bunch of stuff here I didn’t catch, but which seems obvious.

    One of the things that’s striking me about this show is the lack of false build of tension before some bad thing occurs. The scene in Jeanette’s restaurant with the clebrichef posse came in is a perfect example; the built a sense of tension up, and up; in most shows we would have the ‘oh god, look what’d gone wrong’ moment. You’d have have either seen a disaster, or a seeming disaster averted. But here, the tension segued into a cooling scene, played exactly as they play the music scenes (loving detail, respect for the craft). The tension builds because we know disaster is possible, and because we know this could be a huge moment; it then releases naturally, and the chefs, pleased, leave.

    There’s no phony payoff, positive or negative. This show is smarter than that. They know the disaster is on a greater scale; the one that’s coming isn’t roaring in the way that the hurricane did, it’s ‘slouching toward bethlehem’, taking it’s own sweet time. The Bad Things To Come are not being thrown at us in small bites, but they’re building toward greater troubles later.

    It’s masterfully done, and your read there seems dead on.

    Oh, also? I have a massive crush on Kim Dickens from her time on Deadwood, and this is just making it worse, she’s so hot all kitchen sweaty. B^)

  8. May 15, 2010 1:10 pm

    Yeah, you know, I had to go look up imposter syndrome. I sat looking at a description of me. I can’t say I was delighted by that.

  9. virgotex permalink*
    May 15, 2010 3:51 pm

    There’s no phony payoff, positive or negative.

    Yeah, Karl Elvis, Simon doesn’t truck much with “regular teevee” tropes.

    Nag? Yeah, but I’m not sure Toni’s above and beyond the norm for spousal nagging. Spouses do that compensating/complementing thing. She probably has learned to push him, and he probably has learned to make her laugh and lighten up a bit.

    But, you nailed it, they are farther apart than they are together. The breadcrumbs have been liberally dropped for us to follow. And it’s probably not because they wanted that to happen but (as too many of us know) as time passes in a marriages, especially during crises, partners don’t always change in lockstep with each other. They start using different doors. That leads to different rooms. Crisis drives people together and it tears them apart too, sometimes both at the same time.

    So, Toni…

    Over at Dark Brown Waffles they posed the question “What is Toni actually good at doing?”

    I actually think she’s very good at a lot of things. But that’s not good enough right now – remember, she said it herself: Chaos is a given. Above and beyond, we see Toni is good at playing by the rules, and even when she “breaks” them, it’s standard good courthouse lawyering – she develops sources, works them, she may step out of bounds to find some information but she’s certainly not doing anything other lawyers don’t do. She’s a smart, polite, thorough, soft-spoken Southern woman who works hard. But it’s not enough. Her strengths aren’t enough for the task at hand, whether it’s finding Daymo or realizing Creighton’s going off the rails.

    If she’s going to end up on your survivor list, she may need to learn how to fight, instead of just doing the same thing over and over and hoping it works. They keep showing LaDonna being dependent on Toni for help- might be interesting if she ends up teaching Toni a thing or two.

  10. May 15, 2010 4:27 pm

    Karl, ain’t just you, baby. “It is typically associated with academics and is widely found among graduate students.” Welcome to the last 10 years of my life. (Did that wiki piece also say it’s associated with folks of Indian descent?)

    Toni loves Creighton – she may criticize him but that love is in her eyes. They’ll work something out, unless Creighton screws it up royally.

  11. May 15, 2010 6:21 pm

    Toni’s a big one for catching more flies with honey, as she remarked in an earlier episode. Her instinct is to get up and walk away when she’s told by a sheriff in one of those Louisiana towns that they don’t have Daymo and he isn’t their responsibility anyhow. She can empathize some with the cops’ situations, which makes things harder for her…but she does want to go through and try to fight them all within the system she’s worked in for so long – even if that system is fucked through and through.

    LaDonna could transplant some of her “get shit done REGARDLESS” energy to Toni as things go on, but where Toni is in LaDonna’s dream is telling: at the gates of the lockup, smiling in that way she smiles, that way that’s supposed to be reassuring. In reality, Toni hasn’t much of a clue.

  12. May 15, 2010 7:22 pm

    Treme has reached the point in an ensemble drama where people get pleasure from the little things. I could stand a scene between Janette and her chef every episode. Their chemistry is spot on.

  13. Anita permalink
    May 15, 2010 8:30 pm

    I’ll puzzle a bit longer about this but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that someone would ask that question about Toni. She was probably good at law school, good at the bar exam, good at finding information, good at going to bat for her chosen clients, yes, good at following the rules, good at skirting them when it seems necessary, good at working out of three briefcases without forgetting the king cake. Good at being busy and doing everything she’s supposed to do and it looks to me like she suits her husband and daughter just fine. Probably not making any money, though.

    A character like that, a smart, skillful, hard working, soft spoken woman who does everything right and nevertheless cannot conquer even the smallest problems in this obscenely dysfunctional city, indeed, what is she good at; or for that matter, what good is she in the show? I think maybe I don’t understand the question.

  14. May 15, 2010 8:57 pm

    Anita, I would hope we see her change. Melissa Leo’s too good of an actress to just let the character stay in the same place forever.

  15. May 15, 2010 9:46 pm

    I’m in agreement with most of your thoughts. The Fighters will survive because they’ve had to fight all their lives; this is just one more round. Sonny and Annie are the tragic lovers who will come to ill, most likely at Sonny’s hands. Davis constantly goes through cycles of success and failure, often due to his own causes.

    Creighton? He does realize how little he has affected things, and his own insecurities are getting to him. I don’t think his agent is coming to take the advance back. I do think he’ll be offered a deal to write a Katrina book and will suffer through his own doubts.

  16. Anita permalink
    May 15, 2010 10:07 pm

    I think she is fighting. Sometimes surviving means not going off the rails and trying to make shit happen regardless of whether it can be made to happen or not. Sometimes when it gets really rough what you have to do to survive is just hold it in the road and avoid defeating yourself.

    I’m beginning to think it was probably Toni who got her own roof fixed, the same way she found where to buy celery and she’s poking at Creighton just the right amount. That Buena Sera scene in the first episode established quite a lot about the way their relationship functions and it looked pretty functional. I also think Creighton’s present crisis of confidence or depression, whatever it is, is not something Toni can help him with by being sympathetic.

    Just curious, how could or should she change? I imagine Creighton losing his job or having to come up with money to return that advance. Could Toni have to step up for money and go lawyer for an insurance company or something?

  17. May 15, 2010 11:06 pm

    Just curious, how could or should she change?

    I don’t know how she should change, I don’t really care, as long as the story moves.

    Toni is a fictional character in a fictional story. Characters have a job- to serve the story. Stories put characters in situations and move them around to provide drama. That’s all I want.

  18. May 16, 2010 1:49 am

    Great comments, everybody. I’ve got a few responses here.

    Embee says: “and in Simon-land it’s only hubris within the institution that gets god-damned, like McNulty’s or Stringer’s or Bunny’s.” Actually, I can rattle off counter-examples to this without even having to name anybody who’s an actual adult: Wallace, DeAngelo, Michael, Dookie, Randy…A hallmark of Simon’s productions is that ordinary individuals get steamrollered by circumstance regardless of their innate abilities or the goodness in their souls.

    The Greek Chorus angle: Creighton may or may not have been in a type of Greek chorus role, but he’s still an individual character in the milieu of the show, which makes it open season on him when the larger forces that determine characters’ fates come into play. Hell, if there had been a literal Greek chorus on Monroe Street in Baltimore, nothing would’ve stopped them from getting capped by Kenard and their togas put up as whitey sale merchandise in Bubble’s depot.

    Brueso says: “He seems to have ignored (as you have) the part about ‘new opportunities’ that the agent also supposedly talked about. Creighton has guessed that that only means “return the money’- it MIGHT be that they are liking his YouTube rants and they’ll say “We’d like your book to be about Katrina OR return the money”.”

    First off, as VirgoTex implies, this line of thinking betrays somewhat of an unfamiliarity with how things work in Simon joints, or in the business world. “New opportunities” is often a term of art used by the powers-that-be in a futile attempt to ease the pain of a downsizing; I’ve actually had that very phrase used on me as I was packing my boxes when being layed off a few years back. The chances of the agent coming down to bestow actual new opportunities as if she’s the Magical Publisher Fairy from Lollipop Lane seems a bit farcical. Life doesn’t work like that, and Simon’s world certainly doesn’t work like that. And even if by slim chance she did, it doesn’t matter, because we’re back to Creighton’s tragic flaw: impostor syndrome and low self-esteem. What this means is that he can turn any warm fuzzy into a sharp prickly and then internalize the whole thing as an insult: “they’re only offering this new opportunity because they’re desperate” (he would reason) so “this is still confirmation that I don’t have it any more as a writer, and so what makes anyone believe I can accomplish this new job when I’ve failed so miserably at the last one?” Even the best possible (and most unlikely) news from the agent won’t help Creighton; he’ll be right where he started. Writers blocked, feeling like a fraud and a failure, and unable to move forward.

    More from Brueso: “I pretty much disagree totally with your take on Toni, however. A nagger? I don’t see it. I think that she’s dealing very compassionately with a guy that is somewhat stalled in a rut and is perhaps coming apart for alot of reasons, but I’d describe her comments and handling of him as gentle.”

    Just for the record, I did not call Toni “a nagger”. I described a set of behaviors that she is clearly demonstrating, which includes getting on Creighton’s case about the novel at least once inevery single episode. Taking these observations of “what she did” and turning them into a statement of “what she is” (a nagger) is reductive, and it misses the point. She’s largely skeptical, disgusted, and even embarrassed by just about everything that post-K Creighton is passionate about, and she considers the novel to be his only “real writing” and the only thing he should be getting back to. You may see the behavior as gentle, but does there really need to be yelling and tears and fighting until somebody throws a shot glass at a mirror for there to be marital conflict? VirgoTex has this right…two married people can slowly, over the years, grow apart until they wake up and realize that their values no longer overlap in any meaningful way, and although it doesn’t explode into open conflict, there is a friction, a wearing down of confidence and affection through attrition, through what Margaret Cho calls “death by a thousand paper cuts”, and it kills marriages more often than many people realize. Maybe it’s my own experience creeping in here but I see that dynamic clearly going on in the Bernette marriage, I see it clear as day, and I think it is intentional on the writers’ part.

    To offer a comparison as illustration: even though they are long divorced and have years worth of serious unresolved grievances against each other, LaDonna and Antoine manage to show more affection, more depth of feeling towards each other, in any one scene where they appear together that is more than the sum total of true warmth and affection the Bernettes have displayed in the entire first half of the season. Again, this is not an accident, I believe it is an intentional counterpoint provided by the writers.

    Post-Katrina New Orleans was hell on relationships, and the Bernettes, for all their good fortune in having their jobs and their home intact after the storm, are not immune.

    My point here is not to predict where Creighton and the Bernette family are going. I am trying to describe where they are at now. If I was really going to go out on a limb with plot predictions, I’d start to wonder why Sophie is the one child character who is more than a bit player, and why such a big deal is made over her going to Lusher, and then if I believe the Bernette family is due for some future calamity which may cause deleterious emotional fallout for a young girl, I could go out on a limb and suggest that Sophie is possibly being set up to play a role modeled on a real life, very newsworthy Lusher student. But it’s a severe stretch, and the archives research and resulting math are left as an exercise to the reader.

  19. May 16, 2010 2:20 am

    good point about that dream, lippy

  20. Embee permalink
    May 16, 2010 9:14 am

    “A hallmark of Simon’s productions is that ordinary individuals get steamrollered by circumstance regardless of their innate abilities or the goodness in their souls.”

    Oh, In-DEED! Sorry to have suggested that I believe no one other than the insurrectionists in Simon-land suffer.

    My point: Whatever suffering that Creighton has coming to him career-wise, it comes without regard for the hubris of vblogging truth to power, instead of just shutting up and writing his novel or his lesson plans.

    Before you started this thread, I hadn’t considered the idea that Creighton’s career as a writer or his marriage to Toni were fragile things. Which means I forgot the story that Simon has told again and again since he and Ed Burns wrote The Corner: It’s ALL fragile, or already broken. None of it ends up handled with care (an exception that proves the rule: Namond). You think you have a handle on things? Just because all the pieces matter doesn’t mean you do.

    I still think Creighton and Toni’s marriage makes it through. But Katrina and its aftermath, whatever success Creighton finds in writing about it, has made his failings—failings easy to find long before the storm, I’m sure—harder than ever for Toni (let alone Creighton) to get a grip on. Just like New Orleans’.

  21. Franklin Ajaye permalink
    May 16, 2010 9:28 am

    The black characters are the fighters, the dignified, the proud, the “saints”.
    The white characters are markedly less sympathetic, awkward, conniving, and glaringly less exotic.
    This was evident in the first 20 minutes of the show and been repeated ad nauseam ever since.

  22. May 16, 2010 9:43 am

    Oh, Creighton is much more than just chorus. I only meant (and perhaps stated unclearly) the clear potential for tragedy.

  23. May 16, 2010 12:50 pm

    I keep hearing people trying to contrive some “black/white” divide between the characters, everything from “all the black people have flooded homes, all the white people’s homes are ok” to “white people don’t eat Zapp’s potato chips”.

    All of these arguments, including yours, are demonstrably false. I listed Janette above as one of the fighters, and although Davis is “awkward and conniving” and not exactly a saint, it would be hard not to argue that he too is a fighter.

    I think all of the characters have both their honorable and their less-honorable traits (just like real people do!) and if you spend some time trying to get inside the characters heads instead of ignoring obvious facts in a vain attempt to try to put them into artificial racial groupings that demonstrate some proof of the writers’ inherent racism, you’ll enjoy the show a lot more. But hey, who am I to dump on a person”s hobbies?

  24. Anita permalink
    May 16, 2010 1:49 pm

    I apologize for arguing about Toni as if she were a person needing defense. Clearly I see male/female divides where none exist, fully as much in error as any other simplistic point of view.

    Certainly there are fissures in that marriage and they have different coping mechanisms and are not immune to the destructive forces of stress and loss on relationships. We can look at the actual history of horrors and imagine a tragic fate for a do-gooder wife, a Lusher student, a quarter couple, any number of musicians and I think I was fearfully imagining Toni, who tries to do good for everyone, as one of the casualties.

    I’m going to really try to disconnect from history now and watch this without continuing to imagine those connections with this story.

  25. Johnny Pierre permalink
    May 16, 2010 1:58 pm

    Your comments hit the mark exactly. As the season proresses, we will see elements reinforce each other as well as drop away.

  26. virgotex permalink
    May 16, 2010 3:20 pm

    No apologies necessary. Anita, at least I don’t think so. We all have different connection to the story – I guess the point is we’re all invested in the characters.

  27. May 16, 2010 5:14 pm

    Oh, God, Ray. I hope you’re wrong about Sophie. Hadn’t even thought about that as a possibility.

  28. May 16, 2010 5:19 pm

    Watching again, I’ve come the the conclusion that Michiel Huisman is a new favorite actor. His Sonny is nearly perfect. I’m guessing I’m the last to learn that he’s really Dutch.

  29. May 16, 2010 6:53 pm

    Simon doesn’t sugercoat much but simultaneously doesn’t create gratuitous fates for his characters. Yet, I’m not familiar enough with his work to know if he would go that far with a teenager.

    The Storm’s aftermath shows us to this day that good things don’t happen to you just because you’re good. In our case, the reward we sought for doing the right thing, at least in 2005 and 2006, was a return to normal, forget greater things. By 2007, we figured that ain’t never gonna happen and good doesn’t necessarily beget good. The creators seem well-versed in this refrain.

    I’ve been thinking about this post a lot today, and about morality, staying above water much less swimming forward after setbacks and the actual gravity of our lives. Even if/when we come to realize life isn’t really that deep and lacks the meaning, pattern and reason we tend to attribute to it when asking why things happen and if we are better will better things happen back to us, that doesn’t make life any less important or less fraught with difficult, moral decisions. Most of the time, what we’re really doing is what we can, shit happens and then we do what we can again, just like Toni and LaDonna and, hell, just about everyone.

    Ok, that’s enough stream of unconsciousness for one Sunday evening before the next episode.

  30. May 16, 2010 7:32 pm

    The centre cannot hold.

  31. virgotex permalink*
    May 16, 2010 8:56 pm

    Simon doesn’t sugercoat much but simultaneously doesn’t create gratuitous fates for his characters. Yet, I’m not familiar enough with his work to know if he would go that far with a teenager.

    Many of the characters in The Wire were teenagers. Few of them survived.

  32. Franklin Ajaye permalink
    May 16, 2010 10:03 pm

    First, thanks for making it personal. Perhaps you’re in a snit because I summed up 5 episodes in 2 sentences rather than a blog?
    You strained to come up w/ one example of a white character that “fights” and offer Janette? She of such low self-esteem that she screws Davis although her conscience tells her otherwise. Like any other spoiled white kid, she pleads w/ her parents to give her $25k to chase some failed dream. And her restaurant remains in the dumps, but of course, the black cook can offer sage advice.
    Try again.

  33. May 18, 2010 7:10 am

    I gotta back up my girl Toni here too. While Creighton is mouthing off on YouTube, pretending to be a writer, and romping in KdV, Toni is the one actually SAVING NOLA! C might get public kudos in cafes for his internet rants, but it’s Toni who’s making something happen (along with a paycheck to feed her family, I assume). She’s relentlessly working hands-on to fix everything in Nola from Daymo to a trombone. She is a woman of action in the “do what you can, where you are, with what you have” fashion. Creighton is a dreamer, and not helping Nola much with his undiplomatic hate of everywhere but Nola.

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