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Now There Just Aren’t Enough Lifeboats

October 28, 2012

There never were enough lifeboats. They just got rearranged like the deck chairs on the Titanic.

An Open Thread. Everybody dig in.

  1. October 29, 2012 12:29 am

    This was in many ways a subdued episode after the holiday trauma of last week. Important story lines were advanced when Toni and L.J. found their smoking gun expert witness, and we meet Karen Gadbois, without whom you can’t resolve the NOAH story line.

    I find the Sonny story line increasingly compelling. He is every lost hipster who has ever wandered into New Orleans and found themselves in the gutter, but he has proved himself more than the character of Season One since Annie’s discovery of the photograph of him doing rescues in Season Two, and the last scene on his knees in front of his girlfriend’s father was low key but powerful.

    I haven’t checked Dave Walker yet, but the meeting between Dr. Micheal White and the Hot 8 is a significant one that played out that year. It started with a rather harsh article about the brass band movement and the lack of a clarinet, how *real* New Orleans jazz couldn’t be played without one. I don’t know the back story of exactly how they came together (there was a story in Gambit, but I don’t recall that they told us what prompted the summit) but the fact that they ended up playing together, recognizing (according to Eric Overmeyer who I was on a panel with tonight) that they had gaps in the traditional repretoire they wanted to fill. It is a very subtle touch of the entire “living tradition” argument we have heard throughout the series, and one that probably escaped most viewers.

    Dangling Sophia and her boyfriend in the car, him with a joint behind his ear, confirmed the intentional root of the Bad Feeling I had last week. I still think he takes the fall for Toni’s confrontation but we’ll have to wait and see.

    Only four more episodes left, crazies and germs. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Where do you think we’re going?

  2. October 29, 2012 7:21 am

    Sonny in his car – more thrilling (i.e., scarier) than the car chase in Ronin! I thought he was gonna run over a kid when he was trying to get past the bus. The arc of Sonny even just within the episode was surprising and pleasing. I have no idea what happens next with him, though. Was his girlfriend’s father also a user? He sure seems to have tolerance for Sonny.

    Before that redemptive scene, I kind of felt like everything for everyone was just gonna go to shit.

    I think LaDonna is planning another Mardi Gras one off, this time with Albert, but I don’t know if she can wait till Mardi Gras. Her husband, with all his sacrifice, deserves better than that behavior. And if she does, and if he finds out, he will truly be ball-less if he does nothing about it. And if he does do something, then there will be a different sorrow.

    I really hope that Sofia dumps that selfish, loser musician and at least reaches for the journalist. He is infinitely more what her father would like than the freeloading, coffee drinker, who has not a thought in his head for that young lady’s welfare.

    And then there was Delmond. Most universally profound quote of the season:

    “You ever see somebody get sick, stop doing the things that made them who they are? You know what happens next? They get sicker. They stop living for what they were living for in the first place.”

    I watch TV for those kind of insightful quotes.

    Finally, I didn’t realize that Fats was still alive. What a privilege! That cameo is worth the price of the Season set.

    Also, it made me wonder, what happened to Kermit? And, he strikes me as one who probably isn’t even watching this season because he isn’t in it. Not out of ego, but out of love for BBQ and jamming. No time for TV.

    Great episode.

  3. willowhaus permalink
    October 29, 2012 8:33 am

    I have a sinking feeling that Sofia is going to be victimized because of her mom’s investigation – and then she’ll have to decide whether to be one of her witnesses. Hope I’m wrong, because I really don’t want to watch that…but right now I don’t see another trajectory for that story. :-/

    I also wonder if Albert’s going to make it past Mardi Gras. Putting off the chemo seems like a setup for a noble death?

    Interested in seeing how Sonny’s story plays out (although it also seems like there isn’t much more to glean after this…). I wonder what the dad’s reaction to his begging is going to be?

    Davis’ opera project is becoming kind of ridiculous, even for the character. (I’d rather hang out with the real Davis anyway.) Still, great to see the royalty of R&B making cameos!

    Finally, I wonder how long it’s going to take for Nelson to realize that his good friends in the community ain’t really down with the brown? He keeps trying, but the look on the developer’s face says it all…

    Definitely tuning in next week.

  4. October 29, 2012 9:23 am

    3Suns, Fats Domino was missing in the immediate aftermath and his house, along with just about everything he owned was flooded. I remember where I was when word came on the news that he had been found and was alive. It was just one of those remarkable moments during that time. People were jumping up and down, tears in their eyes. I think I wrote something about it then. I’ll try to dig it up for you but have to get to actual computer to find it.

    More to say. Yes. Great episode.

  5. October 29, 2012 9:24 am

    I found the thread about Antoine’s interactions with the functionally illiterate 7th grader very moving. We’ve seen this before, but we know it’s real.

    Mark: With regard to Dr. Michael White, one of my first projects at Xavier was brainstorming with him on a multimedia project which unfortunately never came to fruition. I had just moved to the city and was trying to get my head around the concept of traditional New Orleans jazz. “You mean like Rebirth?” I asked. No, not exactly. He was very gentle but he set me straight. So that scene took me by surprise, big time.

  6. October 29, 2012 4:23 pm

    I couldn’t believe it! There he was, Fats Domino, and he goes right into his signature tune. The story of Fats missing during the storm was the lede, right after the headlines, in all msm reports in 2005. I was so damn happy when I heard he was OK.

    Sonny shows no indications of wanting recovery from his addiction. His pals can make it snow alright, and he chose that life, and then we see him all pitiful, begging for forgiveness right after busting one up into a whore. I posted last year how I pegged this character as a real loser, but many fail because they just haven’t had enough misery. As my old buddy Pat said, “It’s like the monkey fu(<ing the skunk…he didn't get all he wanted, but he got all he could stand." Maybe Sonny has had all he can stand? It's only the writers who know; there is no way any viewer has been shown any hints.

    Sophia is just growin' up. She has to sort stuff out. Bum-boy sparkin' one up in her car was just lame…what an idiot. I hope Sophia survives the madness, and I hope Toni puts her case together and this campaign of harassment ends, especially for Sophia.

    I just couldn't process the Albert / LaDonna angle. I can't believe it's anything but business. Don't ask nothin' 'bout no monkey business.

  7. October 30, 2012 10:47 am

    I hate Nelson Hidalgo. He’s a prime example of Milton Friedman’s “disaster capitalism” so finely explained in Naomi Klein’s brilliant book, The Shock Doctrine. Making money off of other folks’ misery.

    I think Janette will tire of the corporate bullshit. Maybe her and Jacques will open their own small, neighborhood restaurant. (He sure is cute).

    I also loved the part 3Suns quoted, what Delmond said about Albert and how important it is to keep doing what you love. I agree. Life is short, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    I can relate to Antoine and the student who can’t read. When I was teaching middle school, it wasn’t uncommon to have sixth, seventh and eighth graders walk into class who could not read at all. Many of them became experts at memorizing.

    I’m getting tired of Sonny’s drama. You only get so many chances until you are labeled another manipulative druggie. These things usually end in tragedy. Seen it so many times before.

    Like everyone else, I’m worried about Sophia.

    Davis, well he’s just Davis. And I love Aunt Mimi! She’s the type of fun-loving ageless gal you only find in New Orleans.

    Best concert I ever saw in my life was Fats Domino at the Municipal Auditorium when they had the night time Jazz Fest concerts. Had cheap seats, but snuck down to the front of the stage. Fats was just incredible. I think we all had tears in our eyes when he appeared on the screen in Treme. We love ya, Fats.

  8. October 30, 2012 11:27 am

    Sara, I think you were sitting next to me at the screening at the Trumpet Ice House Sunday? If it was not you I apologize, but whoever it was muttered under her breath during a Hidalgo scene, “I hate him.” And then asked a question of the panel connecting to disaster capitalism. It’s funny, my wife feels the same way about Hidalgo. It’s funny, I know my politics are more in line with you (and my wife and Naomi Klein for that matter), but I always regarded Hidalgo with a sort of bemused affection. I don’t like what he represents or some of his behavior but I feel a certain warmth toward the character. He seems to genuinely appreciate aspects of New Orleans culture that other characters don’t. And yet I feel I understand your gut-level antipathy. I think his portrayal here is very interesting, kind of sympathetic, kind of damning. I wonder how many viewers flat-out think he’s cool, and where he’ll end up at the end of this season.

  9. October 30, 2012 11:55 am

    Sure it’s easy to hate on Hidalgo but consider how much be belongs in New Orleans. Can you hate him for his womanizing and love Antoine? Can you hate him for his hustle and still root of Davis as he tries to hustle his way in front of a stage microphone on the coattails of others, or breaks into Tower Records? Hidalgo is a remarkably complex character, from his natural fit to the city to the way the Catholic references of Season Two feed into his (at least partial) redemption this year when he hustles the Florida contractor and puts his share of NOAH into real renovations and puts Robinette on the LLC no charge. Is that all hustle (need a local connection) or fair payback for the work he did? A little of both I would wager, given that both events happen at the same time.

    Hidalgo is up there to hate even as the writers add layers and layers that make it just that much harder to do so, much the same way they hand Davis.

    Viva Nelson!

  10. October 30, 2012 12:22 pm

    Editor B:

    Yeah, that was me. And I agree with you both, that Nelson is written as a complex character. The fact that he gets off on some of the cultural aspects of New Orleans certainly adds to the emotions he draws out. I start to hate him, then he seems almost human sometimes. The beauty of the writing and the acting on Treme is that the characters are just like people in real life, a twisted combo of good and bad, with mixed emotions and multi-faceted motivations.

    And really, I could care less about him chasing the babes. But in real life, would I like Antoine better? And Davis? Sure I would.

    It’s all a hustle to survive, for sure. Louie Armstrong got mad at his band members once, when they weren’t playing up to par, and said, “Don’t you ruin my hustle.” (and this was after he had made it big).

    But “disaster capitalism” is what Nelson Hidalgo is all about. It just clicked for me in the previous week’s episode, when he mentioned going to Mexico or wherever if he didn’t make money in New Orleans. I just knew David Simon had read that book!

  11. October 31, 2012 5:33 am

    There is no reason why I should have, but at the beginning of this season, I was thinking of Hidalgo as the Texican. I briefly got the two mixed up. The Texican was genuinely “good”. He saved Annie when Sonny ducked and ran to save his own skin during the shooting. He provided honest, high quality work where it was most needed, and if I remember correctly, even paid for the dishonesty of others (LaDonna’s roof). New Orleans got a little darker when he left for being a “walking ATM”.

    Anyway, great points about Hidalgo. Solid analogies. Until he actually comes into his “big con” and starts runnin’ with the money, I have nothing to hate him for except the thought that he might do that some day.

    Sam, lookin’ forward to your “More to say.”!

  12. October 31, 2012 2:09 pm

    Sam, DexterJohnson, 3Suns: Fats’ flood-damaged piano is a centerpiece of the “Katrina and Beyond” exhibit at the Presbytere. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend giving it a visit. Be prepared for some powerful emotions if you were around for the storm and aftermath.

  13. November 3, 2012 9:59 pm

    My favourite line, for my own reasons, was Sonny’s “Fucking Irish Bastard!” I believe the sign on the truck he nearly hit read ‘Krewe of Shenanigans.’

  14. November 4, 2012 8:33 am

    Here’s one even Dave Walker probably missed. I’d have to roll it back to be 100% sure, but I do believe the leprechaun on the side of the truck is the actual logo of the Lucky Coin vending company.

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