Bless our darkened souls.
Sonny and Annie were playing “Just Over In the Glory Land” again and we watched Creighton coming apart worse than ever. Every time Toni goes looking for him in the morning I expect the worst.
I liked the K-Ville shout-out. “Gumbo party? We don’t really call them that.”
And I hate hate hate when I have a Mardi Gras when I can’t find the one person I most want to be with. Poor Janette.
Every time Toni goes looking for him in the morning I expect the worst.
christ I know. Fuck with our heads much, Mr. Simon?
This episode felt like it last two hours. In a good way.
I didn’t know that last song over the credits. Doesn’t bode well.
But in the end, Davis did the honorable thing, which kind of surprised me.
Huzzah for the return of Aunt Mimi
That episode did feel about double the usual length, for some reason – but it only ran about 8 minutes over.
Goodman’s absolute crushing depression was so well-acted it was hard to watch…and I’m seeing that same complete blackness overtake a couple of people I know in the wake of the Gulf oil catastrophe. Like then, we all have to see the most agonizing sights — but some people start to eat the cancer rather than just bear witness to it, and that’s what Creighton is doing.
Very New Orleans: on Friday night, I was watching Bob Edes onstage at Le Chat Noir in a dress; tonight he was on TV, playing a completely convincing Lakeview homeowner trying not to lose it. He’s one of the best actors in the city.
Yeah, I feel like I’ve got some friends who have spent all their post-Katrina fight and are starting to come apart now. It’s very difficult to watch.
Was nice seeing Katey Red in one bar scene though. At least a little bit of a nod toward bounce.
It ain’t Mardi Gras without surprises.
I am getting so, so afraid for Creigh, though. And there was Janette, trying to turn that ticketed car into a cab when Davis is sending Annie home in a real cab.
I could hear Galactic’s “Katey vs Nobby” in the background of that scene and thought for sure Sonny was gonna go home with her, Ray.
And I love the shout-out to Benny Grunch, especially since the gray brick road is the place to pee on Mardi Gras Day ’round my neck of the woods.
I second that. I wonder if Aunt Mimi is going to give up her flowery shirt for Lent.
I tell you whut, if Janette asked me to “drizzle something on it,” I do believe I’d comply.
Sometimes he’s a douche, other times a decent guy, depending on … I dunno, whim. But for sure I thought his “get out of jail free” card would end up springing Albert.
And the return of Tiny Bouncer
A commenter at somethingawful.com noted this:
When Davis is approached by his friend at the party, a dialog of Cajun French used.
Davis: …my negro
(Black Guy): What did he say?
(Davis’ Friend): He called me black skinned
(Black Guy): You know this person? / But you’re not (the tone is more important; it’s of “why would he say that?”)
(Davis’ Friend): Yes; ignore him. He’s a fool
Love the both/and nature of this episode–Mardi Gras as proof of the return of New Orleans, according to Delmond, and proof of all that is lost, according to Creighton. Garden party with Aunt Mimi and coke on the mirror with Batgirl. Also very much enjoyed the meandering, wandering nature of the ep, much like the day itself. A nice introduction, methinks, for those of us who are uninitiated.
Great one liners–“I heard you twice the first time.” “Giving up New Orleans for Lent? Now that’s radical.” “Oh, you KNOW where the perimeters are.”
Can’t wait to watch this one after work, hated to miss it. “I heard you twice the first time” is an awesome bluesy and underrated Branford Marsalis album, though not the title of a track as I recall. Bah, rotten work.
Loved the Mardi Gras day / New Orleans primer aspect of this episode:
0) King Cake!
1) Costume/mask on Mardi Gras day. Get out of the house early.
2) Zulu and Frenchmen – wander, wander, wander.
3) “We don’t really call them [gumbo parties].” Burn!
4) Mardi Gras ends at the stroke of midnight. NOPD will hose you off the street. Go the hell home.
5) Mardi Gras Indians – they do their thing when they want as they want.
6) Ashes on Ash Wednesday. Back to the real world.
All along I wondered, “What the hell? Is this the Infidelity / Do Whatcha Wanna During Mardi Gras episode?” And then I realized it wasn’t, it was everyone Losing It While Finding It Again.
I’m worried for Creighton, but it’s Sophie’s mild withdrawal and refusing food that concerns me more.
Read these right before I went to sleep last night, made my heart hurt.
I didn’t even think about that, Greg. It would have been well used.
I like both versions. Whenever somebody tells me “/”, I’m always trying to read their tone.
Even though it was a brief sighting, I was happy to see him.
I guess there’s nothing we can do to stop worrying about Creighton, given what happened. I hold my breath every time Toni goes looking for him too, although recently (maybe it’s my imagination?) I hear almost as much of Adrastos’ and Folse’s voices in his words as I do Ashley’s. I’m with you, Maitri. I am worried about Sophie. I was worried about everybody last night, and was profoundly relieved we got through Mardi Gras day without any catastrophe.
Sophie’s sandwiched between a mom who’s working her ass off and a dad whose quality time with his daughter is becoming a bummer. She’s a great kid – but she is a kid.
I hope she does okay through all of this…I mean, where are her friends right now? Scattered in a bunch of states? How many are coming back? And if they’re back, how many will be going to school with her once more? It really sucked being a kid at this time in the city’s life, even if your house was okay and your parents were still together and their jobs were still intact. Rough times. Rough.
I need to watch it again – it was a very ‘dense text’- lots of embroidered details, all of them interesting. However, I felt like the Albert in jail for Mardi Gras storyline sort of deflated emotionally. Anyone else feel like it didn’t have the OOOOMph it should have- seemed underplayed and sort of lost in the shuffle? Maybe it’s because I don’t understand the Indians enough.
It was my understanding Albert and his gang were doing the big push for Mardi Gras itself. Albert gets jailed, so his guys don’t march. We do see a few other Indians from another tribe.
So now, we wait for for Super Sunday/St. Josephs?
I’m guessing we’re going to see the “police harassment of Indians” story when the chief goes out on St. Joseph’s, which is a problem as old as the Indians themselves. The teaser for next week kind of alluded to it.
A real feast of turnabouts: Davis doing the honorable thing. Sonny maybe really *was* a rescuer after the flood. LaDonna jumping into the infidelity fray.
I’m expecting Riley to fill an uglier role next season.
Creighton’s wake: Mimi’s immediately following the relevant episode. We will open up a conference line on my Blackberry speaker phone. Because I’m not sitting at home alone after that one if it comes.
It wasn’t the infidelity episode. It was the place where we all found each other, the slow discovery of your post-Katrina network, the people you could rely on when tested, the people who were coming back. Yes, Janette was left alone but Jacques was there working with her in the morning. Davis rescuing Annie, Antoine and LaDonna, even something like the Japanese fan’s endorsement of Antoine’s decision as “very Japanese” (meaning traditional). It was the process we all went through of reordering our lives around the people who mattered as much as the place, in part because of their committment to our shared life. Creighton’s start contrast to the rest of the character story lines simply enhances this.
One last thought: “formaldehyde on wheels.” Funniest thing since someone suggested the parade theme “Morpheus Puts You To Sleep.”
Ditto what Folse said. Everybody whose group of loved ones and good friends even remotely resembles what it was before the storm raise your hand. Not that many, I’m guessing.
I was hoping it wasn’t going to happen until next season ’cause I got an Ashley anecdote I wanna sell to Simon, but the character arc seems kind of steep at this point.
Dial me in from Mimi’s. I’ll be home. Writing.
That opening scene broke my heart. A lot of it hits close to home but that’s the first time I came near tears watching. There was a lot of crying that first Mardi Gras.
Surprised no one has yet commented on Toni mentioning in passing that Creighton isn’t “from here”
Dark Brown Waffles is spitting mad over it.
I just don’t get why we have to flog these characters so much. Does everybody have to be either a righteous savior, a noble sufferer, or a cretinous asshole? Can’t people just be imperfect humans? Does a person have to be born and raised in New Orleans to be passionate about the city, and do they have to be a saint in their personal life to be allowed strong opinions?
Look, I love you all, but let’s be honest. Every one of us who is loudmouthed and opinionated about New Orleans is also, quite frequently, a fucking asshole. I include myself in that number, and 9 out of 10 of my friends.
I’m guessing the DBW guys come from someplace where all parents are strong and wise and capable and all children are happy and beloved. Like Utah.
P.S. Ashley Morris was born in Florida and raised partly in Pensacola. And he was also a fucking asshole some of the time. Doesn’t mean he was a bad person or worthy of contempt or a person who should keep his mouth shut about New Orleans, and I miss the hell out of him, but there it is.
It means nothing that IMDB has him in for 20 episodes? I’ve been holding on to that.
Ray: Only recently did I come to terms with completely losing contact with some people I considered close friends before the storm. I couldn’t decide if it was because they were assholes or me. It was neither reason – it was just that they had chosen not to grow through it with me. They’re the same; I’m different. So it goes.
Folse: We revamped our lives while trying to put things back to where they were before the storm. That’s why, when watching the show last night and beginning to put together the overarching theme besides the obvious Mardi Gras, I made the switch from the handy Infidelity motif to Losing It While Finding It Again. We are changed now.
I’m not sure what my hometown (Morgantown, West Virginia) has to do with any of this; it is a place with the same problems/families/people that you’ll find anywhere else.
The characters in Treme don’t have to be anything. I’m not arguing that Creighton be something other than what he is. I’m not imagining him as a different character. But he’s a lout, and now, it has been revealed, he is a lout who apparently isn’t from the place that he implies is his lifelong home. He claims ownership over the city as an outsider, declaring that he knows what is best for the place. He is acting, in other words, no differently from every other person who declared to know what was best for New Orleans, whether it was canceling Mardi Gras, bulldozing entire neighborhoods, or whatever else. I’ve argued this elsewhere and earlier, but Creighton wants a world in which there are a set of rules that apply strictly to him, and then another set of rules entirely that apply to everybody else.
And yes of course characters can be imperfect humans. We’d be amiss to ask anything else of them. That hardly though translates into us liking each character equally or for the same reasons.
But he’s a lout, and now, it has been revealed, he is a lout who apparently isn’t from the place that he implies is his lifelong home.
Weren’t we told early on in the season that Creighton isn’t from New Orleans?
Also, louts are disallowed from being passionate in defending their adopted city? We are not all saints (or Saints).
Creighton wants a world in which there are a set of rules that apply strictly to him, and then another set of rules entirely that apply to everybody else.
Is your life always free of contradictions and oxymorons? Do you always speak from a podium of conflict-free perfection? Is this the “We all drive cars, so can’t yell at BP about the spill” argument?
Last but not least, welcome! We’re glad to have you here.
Yeah but it was one of those times where you do the honorable thing and immediately feel like a moron, or I as liked to refer to the time period in my life where I did this…college.
I thought it was just French, you mean he said, whats up my Negro and the guy goes why did he say that, and he said he thinks he’s black (Il pense qu’il est noir).
Lol come on the kid refused fatty fried food…and she’s a Southerner…we should be commending her!
Haha, I was one of the only people who believed Sonny was telling the truth about his post Katrina exploits. now after its been all but unequivocally proven, people still don’t wanna give the guy any cred. He’s a douchebag yes, a junke yes, a mediocre musician yes, none of that means he still didn’t get in a boat and help save people’s lives. This is Simon doing his age old trick of luring us into the preconceptions and prejudice and having our own unfounded conclusions smashed right before we go to bed.
Give Sonny his due, come on. You can still hate him, I promise.
I don’t think the get out of jail card is transferable…i think it was implied that i was a free ‘get out of a drug charge’ card. Which explained the ‘and you being a musician’ comment. Plus Big Chief was in there as a matter of establishment of order in New Orleans, I doubt the card would have done much for him, if it did that would be very unrealistic.
Desiree needs to snap out of reality and realize Antoine is a man sans parameter.
I guess I have trouble with how easily a person is dismissed as a lout. I don’t think they could have spelled out any more clearly than they have that Creighton is suffering from some kind of depression, anxiety, post-Katrina PTSD, and anger issues. He’s sick, it’s obvious. Yeah, he’s behaving badly, but to make a leap from what he did and pass judgments about what he is…that kinda torques me. Because if you fairly apply the same standards of nobility and consistency of belief and behavior to everybody around you, you’re basically saying that you, me, and all of our friends are louts and hypocrites and assholes. And I don’t buy it.
I thought having Creighton have serious doubts about New Orleans itself were spot-on accurate. Everybody who has lived in the city post-K has had those doubts. Everybody has had those late nights after a really bad week when they thought (and even said or wrote publicly) that the city has had it and maybe it’s time to move away for good. Name any New Orleans blogger and I’ll find you the post where they did that (here’s one of mine), and I challenge you to call every one of us who voiced that kind of despair an utterly despicable human being.
Maybe I’m too close to this because the very behaviors that you pinpoint in order to write Creighton off as a Bad Person are some of the very same behaviors that my friend Ashley (who Creighton is partially based on) used to exhibit, so by extension I have trouble not thinking you’d think Ashley was a big fucking hypocritical prick. But I just am getting this judgmental vibe from a lot of the Treme blogosphere about a lot of the characters, this instinctive desire to figure out which of them are the bad people and which of them are the righteous people, and treat them accordingly. And I personally don’t get that from the show, I don’t feel that way about these characters, and I don’t think Simon intends for us to feel that way. If there are villains here, they are not the fallible individuals who are trying and failing or trying and getting by in post-K New Orleans; the villains are the institutions which failed the city and continue to hold it down.
I mean, look at The Wire. Chris Partlow was a cold-blooded killer, a wholly unlikeable mercenary whose only redeeming qualities seemed to be his professional efficiency and his loyalty to his employer. Until the night he killed Michael’s pedophile stepfather and completely lost his shit, and then you realize, “Fuck. Partlow was abused as a kid.” And then there is this whole layer of humanity there that you didn’t see before.
You can see what you want to see when you watch the show; it’s entertainment and far be it from me to piss on your good time every Sunday night. But I’d humbly suggest that maybe you would like some of these characters more if you were looking for the complexities of their humanity, faults and all, rather than trying to sort them into separate piles for “the good and pious” and “the absolutely utterly horrible human beings”.
(p.s. The Utah jibe was a Coen Brothers reference. Nothing personal.)
IMDB isn’t all that accurate. A lot of the data there is group-sourced like Wikipedia. The fates of characters in Simon’s shows are insanely well-guarded; Idris Elba, for instance, didn’t know that Stringer Bell was being killed off until the day of filming when they handed him the script for the scene (at least I remember reading that once, can’t find a link though).
There is much to reply to, which I will my best to do:
1. None of my criticisms of Creighton should be interpreted as a request that he change. He is who he is. To my mind, he is a lout whose hypocritical behavior knows no bounds. I can’t pretend as if his behavior isn’t revolting to me. When I write recaps, I’m capturing my own response, visceral and otherwise.
2. It isn’t that Creighton’s not being from New Orleans is an issue; it’s that he discounts the feedback of everybody else who isn’t from New Orleans specifically because they’re from outside the city. He doesn’t recognize in himself the reality that he holds against the city’s outsider critics. Or, perhaps, he doesn’t recognize it and simply intends to cover it up.
3. While I’m at it, his behavior has been accumulating over the season’s entirety: his behavior toward Toni has been especially egregious. Surely nobody here is proposing we simply ignore the way he treats his absurdly supportive wife.
4. Finally, I think the notion that Simon only wants us to hold the institutions responsible for the city’s condition is entirely wrong. Those institutions are collections of individuals. It wasn’t the NOPD that arrested Antoine; it was those two particular officers. Yes, the federal government failed New Orleans, but more specifically it was George W. Bush or Mary Landrieu or whomever else. And for Simon, somebody like Creighton is just as problematic, because he is so entirely invested in himself that he can’t see beyond his own needs. That’s the issue at play from my viewing of the show.
I can’t speak to anything about who the characters are based on; I can only observe that, from my outsiders perspective, Simon is aiming as much as his criticism at the Creightons as he is the institutions. (It’s the same thing he did in The Wire: nobody was free of blame for what was happening.)
5. Finally, if we were to learn something about Creighton that explains his current behavior, then the interpretation of him changes. But I can only respond to what I’m seeing in the show, and that’s a man whose hypocrisy is deeply troubling.
Finally, if we were to learn something about Creighton that explains his current behavior, then the interpretation of him changes.
I would argue that what is wrong with Creighton is right there in front of our faces if we look for it, rather than spending our time judging him as a flawed individual.
I really like the guy. I cringe when he behaves certain ways, sure, but then again, I see myself in him. I see some of my friends in him. I see people I know in Toni, and Sophie, and Davis, and Sonny, and Annie, and even LaDonna’s husband. And by “people I know”, I don’t mean people the characters were based on. But I see traits in these characters that match the traits of people in my own life, and I can’t say I dislike any of them, real or fictional.
Is Creighton an Asshole (interchangeable with Lout but works for me on a personal level)? Isn’t anyone who’s having a breakdown if they haven’t just crawled permanently into the fetal position? They transfer and blame and are consumed, some of the time with anger, anger at themselves and anger at others (and anger at themselves that they transfer to others).
He’s not entirely free of responsibility. Taking his daughter out to West End right before Mardi Gras is exactly the opposite of LaDonna’s behavior, and his behavior is stupid and, well, loutish. It would be better if he’d gone out there with a flip cam and recorded a rant about Bruenigs and the whole West End instead of dumping it on his daughter.
I’m not ready to crucify anyone for stupid choices (West End, that empty bottle of Crown Royal) or the sin of not having reached the bottom of that hole where you realize you can’t climb out along, where you reach out for help. Or you die. Perhaps not stone cold dead but at the very least dead to the people who once loved you, dead to yourself, and if you don’t crawl out then dead to the EMT with his finger on your neck.
But there’s a final line there that sums up Davis. I don’t have it in front of me, but it ould have been more like:
Black Guy: What did he say?
Davis friend: He thinks he’s black.
Black guy: Really?
Davis friend: Yeah, he’s crazy.
I’ll have to watch it again, but I just loved the little dig, the “Yeah, well, we all know what he’s like.”
I was afraid of that.😦
Ah, here we go:
Black guy: Qu’est-ce qu’il dit? [What did he say?]
Davis’ friend: Uh, il pense qu’il est noir. [Uh, he thinks that he’s black.]
Black guy: Vraiment? Dérangé. [REALLY? Crazy.]
Davis’ friend: Eh, oui. [Oh, yeah.]
Ray said: “to make a leap from what he did and pass judgments about what he is.” I think knowing the difference between those two things is a hugely important life skill, most especially if you’re a parent.
“I just don’t get why we have to flog these characters so much. Does everybody have to be either a righteous savior, a noble sufferer, or a cretinous asshole? Can’t people just be imperfect humans?”
I think it’s because these are Characters in a character-driven drama, and we count on our ability to assess their words and actions in order to understand what kind of person they represent. Same as in literature, theater, whatever. Characters get treated differently than real people in real life: we certainly don’t expect them to be as complicated as real people — if they really were, I don’t think we could make head or tail of the story; it would be novelistic in a way that is perhaps best left to novels — but we do expect to be able to discern some kind of center, at least to start, *so that we can see what they become*.
The crux of any story, but esp. character-driven ones, is change: the protagonist has to change, come to some realization, grow up, give up, whatever. And we can only see that change or understand how important it is when we have an idea of where that character has been.
That’s not to say that characters shouldn’t be flawed, or complicated. I think we can all agree that flawed characters or at least characters with more than one side are more interesting (and “better”) than archetypes or cliches. But I think some of the Treme characters can run up against the edges of that, of being too all-over-the-map in an effort to show complexity and depth and flaw… flawishness? Flawditude? (shit, fucked up, keep going)
That’s certainly one of my big Davis problems: not that he has sides and isn’t totally predictable, but that he veers from irredeemable to clown to stand-up, for no given reason and with no real center. I know of a couple of people who view Antoine that way, and I can see how Creighton, Toni, and Janette could also stump someone looking for a hook to hang them on.
Simon builds character through action, which is great (think of how oafishly Stephen King, for example, builds character — introduce someone, go galloping off to tell a long, complicated backstory all at once, and then POW back to the present day, character and history and motive all taken care of — fuck delivering insight through action); it just that the action on this show is mostly a slow burn — look at how achingly slow Annie’s arc is moving. Without a Big Crisis to reveal some inner truth, it’s not as easy to understand a character. We have to be patient and put things together, and we (as viewers) are not used to being called upon to do that.
So, we pick, in an effort to pin.
I can’t imagine they would off a marquee name like Goodman after one season, but Simon can be perverse that way, I guess.
I don’t think LaDonna slept with Antoine. I think they kissed, she collapsed in tears in his arms and told him everything. Ray’s notion of music as subtext supports this. “Tell It Like It Is” was playing.
The more I think about this, the surer I am. LaD’s not the type to do it on the barroom floor & she certainly wasn’t going to take the ex home to Mama.
Dear sweet Sophmom. What color is the sky in your world?
You know, I am not entirely unfamiliar with the apres-drinks ‘Hey you want a backrub? Let me put on some Al Green” maneuver, and I can assure you that if she turned and said, “Antoine? There’s something I never told my Mama,” it ain’t gonna be about her brother.
Wow! Spend an afternoon away from the computer and this is what I find!
Ah poor Creighton. He breaks my heart. His heart is so broken that he is broken and his ability to really communicate what’s happening to him is non-existent. Toni copes by working, furiously working. She knows there’s something to worry about with Creighton, but she’s busy coping her own way and she’s also making a huge mistake thinking that “work” will help Creighton cope. It’s her way, not his way, and frankly neither way is particularly good.
Every single character on this show is “coping.” That’s all we did during that period. Coped. However we needed to, which wasn’t always the wisest way. Some of the choices we made on any given day during those first months, hell, during that first YEAR were, um, sometimes really, really, um, f(*&ed up. I can tell you absolutely that I cannot judge anyone easily ever again after that year. No matter what you lost (or didn’t, which was a whole ‘nother issue for some folks with guilt associated with that lack of catastrophic personal loss), if you lived here you had to deal. Every single day. The Mayor is an idiot. Deal with it. Your brother is lost or dead. Deal with it. Your Mama isn’t eating. Deal with it. You were in a boat watching bodies float by. Deal with it. You were IN the water with bodies. Deal with it. You were in the jail. Deal with it. Some yahoo from Idaho says your city isn’t worth rebuilding. Deal with it. The insurance guy shakes his head. Deal with it. The restaurant closed. Deal with it. Why don’t we MOVE to a city that works—-cuz I’m not gonna, you go if you want. Deal with it. Nothing will ever be the same. DEAL WITH IT FOR CHRISSAKE.
Meet us at Fahy’s and we’ll deal with it. Here have another Mind Eraser it’ll help ya deal with it. You’ll have a hangover. Deal with it. F&*K all my pictures are gone! Deal with it. Your friend is crying for no apparent reason. Help her/him to deal with it. You start crying for no apparent reason 15 minutes later. Have another Mind Eraser. Deal with it. Cope, baby, cope. However you need to just get through this day then we’ll worry about the next day.
Creighton isn’t a lout or an asshole. He’s a guy who’s making some terrible choices about how to cope and hey, I want to grab him, hug him and tell him it ain’t working. No, it’s not working but as long as he’s still hanging on by his fingernails I’ll get over him being stuck in his own hell and hold a long stick hoping he grabs it before he sinks into the quicksand.
And for the record, it’s almost five years now, and many of us still cry for no apparent reason or pop off in anger at someone who doesn’t deserve it or are seduced by one to many Mind Erasers to get some images outta our heads. The pictures we DIDN’T lose. The ones we sleep with at night. The images of a building that’s not there anymore, or a person’s face that we can only see there, in our heads. All this, by the way is usually followed by someone cracking a very dark joke and laughter erupting past those images, turning them for a minute into broken mirror pieces on the floor.
Don’t judge too much, my friend, unless you’re absolutely sure you would have a better way to:
Altogether now: Deal with it.
Speaking as a Wish-I-Were-A-New-Orleanian that is stuck in another state for the time being, I don’t find non-native Creighton’s anger at all hypocritical. Even though I’m not from New Orleans, I understand how love of the city permeates one’s soul. It is natural to defend her against critics and outsiders that judge the her based on their assumptions rather than from a knowledge of the city. I’ve done it many times.
Creighton’s depression is painful to watch because I’ve been there. When you’re in that black hole, it’s almost impossible to see any way out. I feel trying to creep up on me because of the oil spill, but I recognize it and have the resources and support to help me push it away.
Instead of thinking Creighton’s just an asshole, I keep thinking “Someone please help him!”
You said exactly what I was trying to say, but much more eloquently. Thanks, Sam.
I’m with you, Sophmom. That’s the way it’s going to be in my world until Treme shows me differently.
I would argue that the writers are doing exactly that with these characters (and I think I’ve read where Simon says shows like The Wire are more like novels than feature films are). I guess it’s easier to latch onto the first unlikeable impressions that you get off a character and write him/her off, but if you treat this show like a novel, you have to give the characters some time and some space first. Hell, Holden Caulfield was a whiny pain-in-the-ass for the first third of Catcher in the Rye; he needed time.
It’s her way, not his way, and frankly neither way is particularly good.
Hell. Fucking. Yes.
Being trapped in a paralyzing anxiety spiral that makes it hard to even function, and your life-mate’s only way of coping is to hide in her workaholism and push you to workahol along with her? Hell on earth.
I have nothing but sympathy for Creighton. Even when he says bad things about New Orleans. Because every one of us has been there.
“I guess it’s easier to latch onto the first unlikeable impressions that you get off a character and write him/her off…”
Sigh. Yes, that’s exactly what I was suggesting everyone do. Thanks for restating it so succinctly.
“…if you treat this show like a novel…”
Buit that’s just it. It’s not a novel. It might be helpful metaphor to make people understand that Treme has a different kind of storyline, development arc, pace, etc, the fact is that it’s a television series.
And unlike written fiction, which gives the reader huge spaces to fill in in their own, and which allows them to read at their own pace, and can linger here or there over details and which can be as long as it needs to be and build a symbolic language of its own and etcetera, a TV show has a time limit during which the crew shows you just exactly what they want and how they want it shown. Your gaze (not a factor in novels) is directed (also not a factor in novels). This is pure auteur television. So, the fact that it’s a rich feast, far richer than most TV notwithstanding, just like in film we have to trust the storyteller and work with what they choose to give us.
“Holden Caulfield was a whiny pain-in-the-ass for the first third of Catcher in the Rye; he needed time.”
Which was exactly my point: Holden was a PITA, and gradually changed. The change would not have been so effective and so memorable had his sour-ass nature not been a defining characteristic in the first place. My thesis was that Simon’s desire to slow the pace, make it novelistic, make it rich, can stymie viewers used to regular television, not that it’s wrong or bad or that he doesn’t do it well. Just that it’s different, and a little difficult to engage with at times due to the nature of the medium.
“…that empty bottle of Crown Royal”
Looked to me like Woodford Reserve bourbon, but…
Perhaps Creighton, like Sonny, has made New Orleans into a fetish; a mental image of what he thinks it – and his place in it – should be. When that idealized vision falls short, watch out.
LaDonna wasn’t exactly pushing Antoine away, was she? And the pre-existing chemistry between the two of them is palpable. Letting her husband’s call go to voicemail while her serial cheater ex gives her a neck rub? Wow.
Sam Jasper: Yes.
Sam of DBW: We weren’t ourselves and yet we were our worst and best possible selves at that time. You want an asshole who pushed away an absurdly supportive spouse to her own detriment? Read this post of mine from April. You want someone who gave any given waking moment to work and 3-5 volunteer responsibilities and friends and blogging and gutting homes during that same year? That’s also me.
Call it revolting hypocrisy if you will, but it is what helped some of us retain our humanity while still taking wild stabs at the horrible people we also were. No, it’s not your pity or approval that is needed here, but also not your misunderstanding and outright rejection based on that.
He doesn’t recognize in himself the reality that he holds against the city’s outsider critics.
I worked my ass off to help make things happen in New Orleans in early 2009, decided to move to Ohio in April of that same year and spent a couple of months screaming at the top of my lungs that I was yay back in America hallelujah free at last from the crime, corruption and stifling stupidity of New Orleans, realizing in May that nowhere else on this planet is my soul more at ease, even if the city’s crime, bad schools and political bullshit give me much pause at the same time. Does that make me a hypocrite for starting this blog and still fighting at every turn for New Orleans’s right to exist?
The god’s honest truth is I hate New Orleans with the red hot heat of an AC-less bayou kitchen in August and simultaneously love her so much it physically aches not to be there everyday. But, love and hate are two sides of the same coin. It’s apathy that one must fear most, because if you love or hate, at least you still feel, but if you don’t care any more, you’re done. And apathy is what the city’s outsider critics have – they just wouldn’t care if we had all up and died during Katrina or will during the oil spill – and that which Creighton rails against, while swinging between love and hate himself. While dealing with the prior dull, low-frequency hum of depression, anger issues, past hurts and ego problems that is going full blast after the storm. While dealing with his wife dealing in a different way than he knows how to, or wants to know how to.
While fucking dealing.
Missed “il pense qu’il est noir” but caught and translated “Vraiment? Dérangé” for D and we got a good laugh out of that. Haha!
Just FYI, “Davis’s Friend” is (I think) DJ Jeffy, played by Spud McConnell from WWL.
Merci boocoo for l’translation, meine amigo.
*Singing loudly with fingers in ears* LOL. Y’all’re probably right. Watching again.
I can’t find it now, but I remember some time after Katrina writing a blog post about loving and hating New Orleans. How New Orleans is like your sweet, funny little sister. She’s a drunk, she’s not very smart, never did well in school, she never can seem to hold down a job, and she’s always getting into fights or mouthing off to the wrong person and getting herself arrested. But she’s beautiful and she’s funny and she’s a fantastic piano player and when she’s at her best she’s the most wonderful person you’ve ever met, and of course she’s your sister so you love her and want her to get her shit together, but every once in a while when she’s wrecked your car or stolen your money to buy drugs or lost yet another job or gotten arrested over something retarded, you lose your shit and you yell at her and kick her out, but you always take her back in because she’s your sister and you love her, warts and all, and if she went away for good you’d have a huge hole in your heart.
Creighton lost his shit this week, not because he’s a hypocrite but because that’s what we do. I lost mine in 1982, and again in 1984 for a really really long time, and I had my reasons, and I almost did again in 2007, and again I had my reasons, but I desperately want the girl back ’cause I miss her.
How to answer this without calling in sick tomorrow, or taking a couple of days to do it properly. How far apart is the direction of gaze by the filmmaker and the direction of attention by the novelist. Ineluctable modality of the visible, Dedaulus crunching down the beach full of thought but constantly resolving the landscape through which he passes. Pirate Prentice’s open dream sequence in Gravity’s Rainbow. The opening pages of Lie Down in Darkness. I could probably go on if I weren’t so tired and wanted to tear though the shelves all night looking (much preferable to climbing into bed to get ready for work tomorrow).
Novelistic is a technique, and in the context of film or television the novelistic experience is accelerated, the move one hundred years ago from novel to the screen the beginning of our slow descent into Facebook and Twitter and this damn blog, a steady motion away from the self-paced experience of the novel and yet an adoption in pieces of this length of many of the same techniques to the new medium. And have we not all sat down and read a book to the point of exhaustion, not savoring it but consuming it like a thing possessed, completely taken in, our gaze leading us precisely where we were meant to be taken. The spaces we fill ourselves in the novel require either a familiarity with the setting, or sufficient hints and references to common experience that it’s not as if it’s an entirely voluntary activity if the book is working. We fill in the remainder of the landscape from our own experience and what we have read up until that point through cues taken from the text or we’re not really extending the novelscape, we’re day dreaming, and then perhaps the book isn’t working
Watched as we all learned to read: half-an episode at lunch, three in a row because we’ve got the time and the artist has our attention, these differences might evaporate. The problem isn’t that it’s television and not a novel, it’s that we’re watching it as if it were just another television show and it is not. In the end, that is an issue because some number of viewers X are going to fall away because nothing is resolved on the usual timelines but for the rest we not only accept the direction of our gaze, we return (the television analogue of the slow reread of a page or a chapter) and discover every time something we didn’t consciously perceive the first time but that explains why we reacted the way we did the first time or something we completely missed that opens the characters to us in an entirely new way. It becomes, viewed that way, extremely novelistic. (Everyone who has rewatched episodes raise your hands. I thought so). Perhaps this only works in the world of cable television with on demand replays, but I snuck back into Apocalypse Now to watch it through again, and have watched it repeatedly since, pulling out new details each time.
Novelistic is the most useful term because it addresses the span of episodes across seasons, because of the luxury of re-watching, because it is the most apt description for a film project of this length, because the work of the auteur is not that far from the techniques of the great writers of the past.
And then I go away and smoke a cigarette and come back and think perhaps I’m rambling and that we’re all all navel gazing a bit too much because we’re an argumentative bunch or we wouldn’t be hanging out in blogs or bars endlessly haggling over these points instead of the playoffs. Or we’re doing it because whatever terminology we chose to describe it is the same experience that made any number of us go through X copies of book Y because we kept giving them to people saying: you have to read this. We’re here because it works.
I think it was a nice veering away from the ‘everything gets wrapped up with a nice bow’ that is so usual for television and which Simon intentionally tries to avoid. We see Davis holding ‘get out of jail free’ card- we think ‘Awww, maybe he can get the chief out!’ and then Davis doesn’t find out about the chief, nor does he end up using the card that day for himself. Hmmm… why am I thinking of the song “I Know What Boys Like?” (but you you’re special- I might let you- oh, you’re so different- I might let you- would you like that?-I might let you……. SUCKER!)
I haven’t yet watched this the second time but wanted to say that some kind of powerful story is definitely being told here, however non-novel-like or non-tv-like it is. Proof of that is this thread and the fact that I don’t think any of us are quite through thinking about this episode.
One more tiny facet of complexity: it was Davis’s mother who told him Jean Lafitte was a slave-holder.
Probably I’ll want to say more when I’ve had time to watch again. I also think LaDonna was carrying too sad a story and she could not tell it to her husband but she could tell it to Antoine and that’s what that was all about. Antoine has a gift. I am a very old lady and I have to say, the men who really love women–and there are a few of them who just can’t help themselves because they truly love all women deeply and sincerely–don’t ever completely lose one.
David Simon checking in. Nothing to add other than to say I’m moved by how sincerely and intelligently folks here are addressing the work.
Not fishing for warm fuzzy compliments
or platitude and don’t want to interrupt. So.no need to respond. Just humbling is all.
Some good writing too. Ray is killing with those last couple posts in particular. Might steal that kid sister stuff if y’all ain’t careful.
At the risk of pushing this to truly absurd heights, everyone should take care not to confuse the reality of their post-K feelings with the fiction of Treme. Not taking sides here, because I got no idea what the fuck, but that “You’re not even from here” jumped out at me big time. I instantly wondered if C. was feeling like a hypocrite, or if he felt some shame at not being a local, or if he felt like a fraud (I’m Not From Here, too, although I always took pains to make that clear & that I watched Katrina & the flood from Lafayette).
Obviously I agree that Not Being From Here doesn’t preclude one from being an impassioned defender or a scourge against its critics. Some of the seriously hardcore people I met after the flood were transplants, including Ashley, and if anyone would like to claim that he was a hypocrite for criticizing outsiders when he himself was from Florida then I think we should continue the discussion outside over baseball bats and pain.
But that doesn’t mean that the writers of the series might not exploit “otherness” for dramatic purpose. Like I said, that “not from here” jumped out pretty fuckin’ hard. You don’t hang it on the wall in the first act, etc.
Oh Christ, now you’ve ruined Ray for at least another month.
(Sigh) I’ll get the sedan chair. Somebody start peeling the grapes.
I think Toni does noble work, but I also think she is (for lack of a better word) co-dependent: a workaholic who makes her husband’s depression another Project to Be Tackled, subconsciously feeding it, rather than facing some hard truths about her real lack of ability to help him. You can’t help a person be “undepressed.”
While everyone is sorta focused on how f-ed up Creighton is, I’m fascinated by how truly f-ed up Toni is. I don’t think she’s processed her feelings or thought about one thing in her own head since the storm; her only reactions have been to things like bad language or general social injustice. Hell, when she found Creighton on the porch, her first reaction was “What if Sophie saw you like this?” She’s taking the weight of the world on her back to avoid dealing with her own stuff.
Melissa Leo is a wonderful actress, and I think if Toni ever falls, it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to be scarier to watch than Creighton’s collapse.
Yeah, you right. Well, it’s not the first time I’ve wandered off after the delicious scent of red herring.
Not fishing for warm fuzzy compliments or platitude and don’t want to interrupt. So.no need to respond. Just humbling is all.
Hey, if you know anything about New Orleans, it’s that people will not hesitate to tell you what they think, so if they’re praising it, it’s sincere.
We’re all cousins to that lady in the audience on daytime talk shows, the one who grabs the mic and wags her finger and tells the people on stage, “You know what YOU need to do is…”
Good seeing you here, sir!
And damn, folks, it’s amazing what happens when I’m on a plane. Just li’l ol’ naturalized New Orleans-loving asshole me assuming it’s all about me like Creigh. ;-/
I think people are going to be beating the native/naturalized New Orleanian bit to pieces for many years to come just as it has been smacked around for many years prior to today. It’s a nifty weapon to yield, really it is. But it’s smoke and mirrors, which, funny thing, is one of the things this town does best, so of course it’s going to hurt a little as it tantalizes and taunts. It’s just a fact of life when living here that someone is going to try to wave that in your face. It’s almost a compliment, I think, because that’s all someone can hold on to when you show how much you love their town and they are somehow hurt by that. All of us need to get over it a little.
And it occurs to me that Anita is correct – it was something I thought of shortly after I thought about Antoine in this episode: there are some people on this earth who are great at being the one, desirable thing to all women, the enticing rogue that sets their hearts aflame – but, boy, you gotta watch those guys and watch how attached you get. Catch and release, fellow ladies, catch and release. We need our rogues, sure, but we don’t need ’em that badly all the time. It just ain’t healthy for you or that man….even though, damn, when it’s right, it’s right in the moment.
And as for the debates about Creigh’s downward spiraling into depression, this is where I start to wonder whether some behaviors and tendencies are already present within us all and what role crises play in exacerbating those tendencies. We already know the man had a serious years-long writer’s blockage, the unlocking of which makes cracking a time-locked safe seem like child’s play. He put himself on a month-long deadline to finish a novel he thinks is shit when his despair is clearly longing for its ultimate expression on YouTube…and he can’t stand it that that voice screaming FYYFF is the more desirable one. The crapola his city is going through – the trigger? A new symptom to add to all the rest? The chicken…or the egg?
Greg, ain’t no way anyone’s gonna send those peeled grapes to Sir Ray. Man’s gonna have to schlep down to New Orleans hisself and snag ’em.
“Peeling his grapes” is sort of a metaphor, sweetie. It’s a Goy thing.
Yeah, it just might be. I knew a nice goyische fella who had some kinda disease like that…oh, no, I don’t wanna go into THAT much detail…
Might steal that kid sister stuff if y’all ain’t careful.
I’ll have my agent get in touch with your people. As soon as I, uh, figure out what “having an agent” means. Google is no help.
Greg: Actually, it’s peach season. Watermelon, too. Seedless since 1998.
“He put himself on a month-long deadline to finish a novel he thinks is shit.”
It’s not that he thinks it’s shit. What happened to some of us was we found that after the flood, some of what we thought was important just wasn’t, or at least seemed incredibly trivial compared to what we’d seen and had to face going forward. Some of us, me included, jettisoned that stuff as it no longer had no meaning for us, and we had no passion for it. Our passion became directed elsewhere. I think that’s part of what’s going on with his novel. In the face of the realization that his city was gone and no one seemed to care, a novel about something that happened in 1927 just hit the back burner to stay there pretty much permanently on hold.
I think the only reason he’s even thinking about it, or attempting to, is the money from the advance.
And the commenter who said they dread the day Toni comes apart is dead on.
What happened to some of us was we found that after the flood, some of what we thought was important just wasn’t, or at least seemed incredibly trivial compared to what we’d seen and had to face going forward. Some of us, me included, jettisoned that stuff as it no longer had no meaning for us, and we had no passion for it. Our passion became directed elsewhere.
Ah, true dat.
And we all have to find our own ways out of our own holes, that’s for sure. Depression is still a condition of mighty isolation in this world…even with all the support in the world concerning one’s ongoing struggles with it, one can still feel alone. Very, very alone. I so want Creigh to find help. He’s traveled for too long on that road without some kind of help.
Another thing: it occurred to me that Toni pulled out the “you’re not from here” to get Creigh’s attention – then she went on about the racist aspects of old-line Carnival parades. The racism and sexism of old-line Carnival doesn’t appeal to her at all (hell, it doesn’t appeal to a lot of people) and may have been some kind of factor in her life path. Just sayin’.
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? And I was born in little Rhode Island and never had a little sister like that. Keep on people, keep on keepin’ on.
“It’s very sweet”
“Yeah, that’s why I like it”
An amazingly well edited episode, masterfully weaving between the sombre, the nourishing, and the revelatory, and again the transcendent power of the culture/music. Love that it is Antoine – one of the most locally-contained characters (perimeters and all) – keeps getting the lines that for me at least most clearly ascend the local to the universal necessary for art.
Though I feel too distant to the events and people to participate, I’m seared by your searching discussion today. I’m moved and changed.
Exceedingly minor question of the day though: when Creighton and Sophia are at the lakeshore, right after their riff on The Big Easy, Sophia says or asks something and Creighton replies with “see where the pumping station was?” What does she ask him? I’ve replayed it a bunch of times and can’t catch it. She’s facing away and talks quietly. Not important but I’m a completist. She’s an endearing actor btw, doing a lot with a small role.
This ain’t the first time Ray’s been ruined (Nupac salllll-oot)
Thanks for stopping by and the kind words, DS! Here, have a drink coupon.
Sid-Mar’s Restaurant. It was one of the last of the lakefront seafood places. The land it was flooded on was seized by the Army Corps to build the pumping station for the 17th Street Canal. Sid-Mar’s has reopened, but it’s off the Veterans Blvd strip in Metairie amongst the chain stores and the like.
But we are watching a drama, and if not Toni, then others will.
That’s why we are here.
All of us, ostensibly, whether we have memories of the subject matter or not, we came and got ready for it and now we have a drama about to reach its first season end. It has a job to do, and marks to hit, whether we dread it or not.
I’m not saying that lightly or without forethought. Just reminding people, especially those who have had been dealing with overwhelm from the show thus far.
We won’t be spared.
Yikes, that was quick! Thanks liprap.
What happened between Antoine and LaDonna (to whatever extent it went) wasn’t just a booty call.
Whatever Antoine’s intent may have been earlier, and it probably changed several times at least, he wasn’t just making his move by offering a backrub.
what we saw was about connection and comfort and coming home and being seen for who you are where you are.
If only for a little bit.
The episode sort of fell flat for me. Perhaps because they weren’t able to film on a real Mardi Gras and editing can only do so much. But it seemed to me more happens on Fat Tuesday than some folks doing coke and screwing, someone getting upset and going home, a girl not finding a cab, and someone getting pecked on the cheek by a fella who aint her BF. I suppose the whole theme of the day has always been an utter release of frustration and I am not sure that was captured accurately enough.
I don’t blame the creators though, it is quite a task. But the sheer debauchery of the day could have had more focus (and I am not talking tittys and beer). There was also too much cliche. I fully concede my expectations of a show based on Mardi Gras day are skewed by my actual experiences on Mardi Gras day. This isn’t a “there wouldn’t be hand grenades on a KDV route” type critique but you have a blank canvas with Mardi Gras Day 2006 as your backdrop, there has to have been more utter displays of release and exhilaration than were shown.
But how would I know what that day was like? I was much like the Chief except I was working as a housekeeping supervisor at the Intercontinental for much of the day. It was a lot like jail.
My understanding is that at least some of the filming did happen on Mardi Gras day, like the Zulu scene.
Watched again. Definitely Woodford Reserve.
The look on Antoine’s face as he turned and followed her to the bar says it all.
Yeah that’s just standard French, but agreed…it sums up Davis 100%.
One of the things that I liked about the episode was it dared to show the downside of Mardi Gras. It’s such an emotional day for people- and that year probably more than ever- and that doesn’t always end well. I’ve been in that place Creighton’s been where you say “But this is (Thanksgiving/Christmas/Mardi Gras/Friday)- I SHOULD be HAPPY”- and then you ache all the more when you’re not.
I only lived in New Orleans for one season of Carnival- and I remember by midday that day- after having gone to what felt like a lot of parades, having been around a lot of drunk college kids (cause it was their spring break), and then having been up early that day, I was pretty exhausted by midday and as I recall, I got myself away from the crowds and rode a chunk of the rest of the day in a bathtub.
Also, hate to sound puritanical, but there’s no way around it, you add alot of booze to one area over the course of a day and there’s no telling where that goes. I was glad that (and of course I knew I could count on the show not to disappoint) that it wasn’t all just people high-fiving each other. It actually felt a little scary sometimes (Janette out there with her little wand was framed in such a way that I was kinda worried we were going to see her get jumped, and then like a few, I wasn’t sure when Toni went out on the porch if she was going to find that Creighton had stroked out).- some of it almost had that bizarre feel you get when back in the day, if you heard a record way slowed down, like a 45 record on 33 speed- just that bizarre, ether-like weirdness. I was exhausted just watching it.
and I LOVED that the Chief didn’t get out of jail for Mardi Gras. As I said elsewhere, it was another reminder that this ain’t no ‘it all gets wrapped up in a nice bow’ story we’re watching.
This was my favorite episode so far. Mardi Gras 2006 was one of the best ever because we were so FOCUSED on what we were doing and why it was so damn special. I blogged about it here:
Loved the references to the other failed attempts to put NOLA on screen: The Big Easy and K-Ville. Loved the subtle references to music: Ain’t no place to pee on Mardi Gras Day, I heard you twice the first time, Do whatcha wanna. Loved that we now know with absolute certainty that Davis has honor and that Sonny does not. Loved that we saw how acceptable craziness is on Mardi Gras: Janette absolutely drunk and silly but having regular conversation with people walking by.
Keep ’em coming!
Loved it. Love the comments.
There was a big hole in Mardi Gras where the Chief was supposed to be. I hope he’ll get to have a Chief-centric episode for St. Joseph’s Day.
Sophmom, Antoine and LaDonna TOTALLY did it. Did you see that smile on his face? And I don’t think LaDonna would tell anyone about her brother before she tells their mother.
Hey, it’s David Simon! Hey, David – more Aunt Mimi!
Favorite moment: Antoine: “Who da fuck was that?” You can tell Wendell P. is having a blast playing this role.
Was hoping Batgirl would kill Sonny.
LaDonna wouldn’t tell anyone before she told her mother? My guess is different than yours. Most folks I know solicit friends’ advice and support when there’s Big News To Tell The Parents- STILL when we’re adults. My experience when trying to protect the parents is you ideally til you think the timing is right, but until then, you get support and shoulders from your peeps.
And I definitely would guess that she told Antoine ‘off camera’.
You are a wise woman.
on the get out of jail card being used for the cheif.
it would take a lot more stroke than that to get somebody out of opp on fat tuesday.
that would have rang the big fake bell for me.
thank you for naming the actor.
i almost started crying and than held it back when i saw his face at the end of that scene .
i was bummed when annie didnt hug him after his speech.
wow. i just assumed spud was given the gift of speaking haitian creole.
some plot device to make davis look out of the loop.
had no idea it was straight french.
or any other kind.
didnt even think to think about what they were saying.
@ray,,,,,, Because if you fairly apply the same standards of nobility and consistency of belief and behavior to everybody around you, you’re basically saying that you, me, and all of our friends are louts and hypocrites and assholes.
that is how it is.
thats why we pick our friends.
we are all pricks and assholes in someones eyes.
really digging yalls writing lately.
hope it’s cathartic.
Bob was fabulous! I LOVED his opening monologue.
My mom and brother lived in a house near the lakefront, on London Drive, facing the canal. Thank God they had already moved away, cuz the house was covered with water.
I don’t think Creighton will die. I think he needs to get help. I think Davis and Annie are going to get together which will be great! They are both sweet souls… and Davis plays piano and drums, too. I think they will do some music together.
Ha! Tiny Bouncer! Yes, I saw him peering there.
I second line that!
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