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You Gotta Get Down With The Hypotenuse

September 23, 2012

Season 3.0, baby, with more to come. They’re back (and all juggled their contract commitments to make 3.5). We’re back (was there ever any doubt?). Welcome back to the Land of Dreams.

10 Comments
  1. September 23, 2012 10:24 pm

    Enjoyed this, even though the TV sound in my hotel room was fucked up.

    Most of all the show just makes me homesick.

    The time span of S3 was an increasingly fucked-up year in my personal life so it’s hard for me to compare the show to what was going on in the city. I was inches away from ditching AA and getting plastered the week of Kerwin James’ second line, so I don’t remember the news nearly as starkly as I do the half bottle of wine on the kitchen counter in Hell House on Willow.

    I’ve got ailing parents up in New England so I don’t know how much I’ll be writing on BoT this season, but I’m reading all the comments and I’ll be watching the show every week.

    Not in New Orleans but at least I get to spend a lot of time away from motherfuckin’ Texas for a while.

  2. September 23, 2012 10:47 pm

    Maybe I’m just high or stoned or drunk or something but this episode felt like it was firing on all cylinders. Like what I always hoped the series could be. Amazing.

  3. September 23, 2012 11:15 pm

    Watched it with friends at May Baileys on Dauphine….this episode felt really rushed to me, to the point of being sloppy. It was like flashcards with multiple different story ideas (landmark preservation, city ordinances contrary to what the city is about, FEMA trailers, music industry, Algiers shootings, bilking Federal projects, lack of culture in middle-America, etc) in 2-dimensional form, which is so un-Simon like.

    If I remember correctly, Season 2 started out this way, too. I trust the writers to lead this epic along and still think it is hands down the best thing on television this decade. It just seems like they are forcing so much in without there actually being anything to sustain the plot they’ve presented

  4. September 24, 2012 12:14 am

    It’s not just a matter of firing on all cylinders, Bart, as it is moving past conventional expectations. If we had been left with the happily-ever-after coda of Episode 21 Treme would take its place among the pantheon of 20th Century Mini-Series, shoulder to shoulder with, say, Roots. But I believe the producers intent was to move far beyond that baseline, not simply to tell an Important but neatly delineated bit of history however important. What we get in Episode One of Season Three is a determination to drive the story to its very end, to a place determine by the writers and not a story conference with the executives. With only Season 3.5 ahead no we will probably not make it to the obvious exits, the Super Bowl and Macondo, but we will reach a place where the false happily-every-after of the end of Season Two is not the last word. but to a place where characters we genuinely care about are launched into an uncertain future, a defining event of modern American history tucked under their belts, ready for whatever the future brings, standing in a place where every day is a battle for our special portion of the American dream.

    P.S. Ray I feel ya, brah. One more practically perfect child to launch into the world and then you’re free to make your own choices. Come next year I’m not sure where the rent check is coming from, but I know where I’ll be living.

  5. September 24, 2012 12:21 am

    Dave Walker explains it all for ya.

    Also, What’s Alan Watching.

    Also, Alan on Season 3.5. (BTW, BoT broke the story first, but Dave Walker beat us on Twitter).

  6. Tom permalink
    September 24, 2012 12:00 pm

    Somebody do something about Anthony Bourdain. The heavy-handed product placement was excessive before he came on board and started shilling for his chef friends.

  7. September 24, 2012 12:29 pm

    If it seems heavy handed perhaps it is just in truth a bit too obscure. The issue of people leaving New Orleans to achieve real professional success, the Janette and Delmond tracks crossing, is an important part of the story. Perhaps it is one that has not recently been given the line that makes that clear, although it came up in Delmond’s New York scenes in past seasons. Middle America was probably not salivating over Lièvre à royal or, as I like to think of it, bunny turducken, but I know a lot of people in New Orleans reaching for their napkins during that dinner. I do wish the producers would allow us subtitles when they lapse into French, which otherwise I find to be an over-the-top ostentation.

  8. September 24, 2012 12:38 pm

    I agree, Tom. Tired of the pretentious chef cameos, even if for cultural contrast. Otherwise, it was a fine episode, packed with all of the beginnings of the mess after the mess that Mark outlines at the beginning of the post above. The second line scenes reminded me how much I love walking in that music and what the rest of the country lacks.

  9. doctorj2u permalink
    September 26, 2012 6:52 pm

    Sorry to be so late. My “real” laptop died and I was on my ancient one for the premiere. I loved the whole thing, except for the chef’s dinner. ( I may have to choke myself agreeing with Tom. LOL!) Anyway. I loved the episode, laughing out loud several times. It ended much to soon, though. A friend told me the end of “Treme” episodes always makes him sad. It is getting together again with dear friends and having them go away again. I oh so agree. Wating impatiently for the next installment.

  10. 3Suns permalink
    September 28, 2012 2:31 am

    I have looked forward to “watching” the third season with Back of Town since the credits rolled for the finale of season 2. I was delighted to notice yesterday that there has been a flurry of activity here this past month and I hungrily caught up.

    Observations

    Until this season, I was rooting for Annie, and others, to write songs because I have always thought of writing as a (THE) creative act, and performing as entertainment. I was wrong. The very act of performing music, is creative. That may be a no-brainer to everyone else here, but it was a recent light going on for me. To any musician that might be frustrated that they cannot come up with their own original music, just play someone else’s. You are filling the air with beautiful sound, and that alone is an incredible gift/talent – and an incredible act of creativity. Please keep playing anywhere and everywhere.

    Now, as regards the place of Treme in the world of TV and film, I am going to make what I hope isn’t a ridiculous analogy. If TV shows were like the works of painters, and if The Wire were like that of a Monet or Edvard Munch’s The Scream, then Treme would have to be Picaso’ Woman with a Flower or the Three Musicians. Whereas The Wire can be universally understood and appreciated (at least by those who would rather have Water Lilies than the Machete one sheet hanging on their wall), Treme is somewhat inaccessible to the outsider. Many of the brush strokes in Picassos are meaningless …unless you “get it”. Treme is profound and I agree with Sam, for posterity, it is very important. Judging by the positive reactions around here, I think that what it loses in breadth of accessibility, it gains in depth for those who “know”.

    The Criticism

    As I am outside the “know”, I found myself surprisingly hot-under-the-collar by the flood of references and cameos in the first 35 minutes. I only knew enough to know that I was missing something. Yet, in contrast to what several others have expressed, it wasn’t the chef as much as the musician cameos that were so irritating, because at least the chef cameos are tightly tied to Janette’s life whereas the musician cameos seem more for documentary rather than dramatic purposes. (Note: as regards the chefs speaking in French, and with no subtitles? It is as it should be, with some of us not understanding what they said. There are lots of people who speak in a language they know only half the people around them can understand. It is sometimes a form of bullying, and sometimes just the personal indulgence of knowing just exactly what you want to say, and being able to say it. Makes me want to learn French.)

    This is not a jab at Lucia Micarelli, for I think she is doing a great job. However, as a general principle, while actors can play musicians, musicians can’t always take the job of actor. Some are blessed with both talents, but not all. Forgetting or ignoring this makes the cameos that much more obvious and jarring. Are we documenting or storytelling?

    The Praise

    “I need to start votin’ Republican and shit” Great line. No one can let you down like a politician, Republican or Democrat. They say that love for money is the root of all evil, but I think the root is actually politicians (as separate from government). America needs to dash its two-party system against high cliff rocks in stormy seas, and make many parties of the flotsam. Better sooner than later, lest brother be pitted against brother again.

    “Another month or two of this shit, and I really will go ghetto(?). LaDonna WILL choke a bitch.” LaDonna Great, GREAT line and so well delivered.

    “I ain’t no grown-up, I’m a musician” Antoine Another great line because…Wendell.

    Like many episodes in the past, this is one that is just a small part of a much larger mosaic. I cannot wait until the context starts to come into focus, and the seeming irrelevancies take on significance.

    For those who have not yet watched this kind of TV from the DVD sets, in sequence and for hours at a time, days in a row, you really need to do so. As Sam indicated with her second seaon’s rewatch impressions, it really is different in a “better” kind of way.

    One final thought. Janette! That is one beautiful lady. Go! Make love to your Sous Chef! Be happy! I felt like singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

    In no particular order: Kim Dickens, Wendell Pierce, Khandi Alexander, Clarke Peters, Steve Zahn, David Morse, and Melissa Leo – WOW, just WOW! Give the casting director a big fat effin’ bonus. It is SO great to see these most talented thespians in character again!

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