Is That All You Got?
Yes, Treme is coming back and so are we. After being bumped to the Fall by vamporn hit True Blood and The Newsroom (which I haven’t watched, but wonder if David Simon has) the third installment of Simon’s post-Katrina series premieres September 23rd on HBO. Season One and Two DVDs are spinning up for re-watches and Back of Town will be ready. At the risk of Maitri’s ire (and trust me, you don’t want to know) I think I can step up front and say this is not your typical fan site. We haven’t spent the last year bickering over whether Toni and Colson will end up together or trying to guess which restaurant Janette’s will be modeled on when she comes home. It’s not that kind of place. Look instead for a group of people who love New Orleans – the good and the bad – in a way few people can put into words, or in this case pictures. And Mr. Simon has done that masterfully. Most of us spent years online trying to tell the world why New Orleans matters, and Back of Town is simply an extension of that. Treme is so right that we can’t help ourselves. It’s a distillation of hundreds of blog posts, thousands of emails angry or sad, late night phone calls among friends, of laughter at the band break or tears mixing with the spilled beer on a table at Mimi’s. It’s the lives we lived, the places that mattered, and the people we found and lost one way or another, filtered through the vision of a man who loves New Orleans as much as we do.
It would be easy to spend a lot of time talking about Colson and Toni or the restaurant because Season Two left the viewer just where we were at Year Two: still hanging sheet rock, relationships made and broken, ecstatic every time a familiar joint reopened. We eagerly shared the gossip on who was getting together and who was getting divorced, who was almost ready to come home and who was deciding they’d had enough. You won’t find any spoilers here because I think most of us would rather not know before the theme rolls. It’s enough to see the difficult and the ugly made beautiful, to see the story we lived, the story we all once tried to tell in our corners of the Internet played out on a national stage.
Like I said, we’re not a shrieking fan site. And we will never be able to reproduce Dave Walker’s meticulous Treme Explained pieces for the disintegrating Times-Picayune, although we’re all up way too late in the comments thread of the Sunday night post. What you get between the Sunday night into Monday morning marathons and the next episode is nuanced, thoughtful, expansive: an earnest conversation among friends in a quiet bar late at night, reflections from people on the set that’s never struck, where the catering is by Matassa’s, the No Parking signs are suggestions, and no one is an extra.