While it has been two years since The Wire ended its five season run on HBO, it’s still hard to shake the poignant view it gave us into the reality of Baltimore’s streets. David Simon didn’t sugar coat addiction and corruption by packing it into a neat little 45 min episodes, each with its own happy ending. From the endless characters to the countless side plots, watching The Wire was a commitment. While the main idea was no different than any of the other dozen police dramas on television, the way Simon handled it couldn’t have been further from the generic network blueprint.
Now two episodes into Simon’s latest HBO series, Treme, we begin to reach deeper into our main characters and view the realities of their frustrations. Whether they are trying to land a good gig while many of the music venues are still closed, trying to repair their homes and businesses while contractors abscond with the money or holding out hope that the insurance companies will come through before the banks foreclose, it’s easy to understand the desperation felt by so many in the months following “the storm”.
We also become introduced to two more street musicians in Annie and Sonny during their conversation with the Wisconsin tourists/churchgoers. Sonny in particular becomes exasperated by the missionary’s (and America’s) temporary love and fascination for New Orleans and its Ninth Ward. A situation most recently replaced by the recent Haitian Earthquake, until that was also quickly forgotten.
Among the other moments that caught our eye:
- Galactic getting a nod of approval from Allen Toussaint, “A Funky Good Group” despite Elvis Costello’s disappointment about the color of their skin. This of course leads to a wonderful back and forth between Sammie “Big Sam” Williams and Costello about a late night gig that ends simply with, “You be there Elvis, don’t disappoint me.”
- Later on in the show we get to see Big Sam sitting in with Galactic, followed by him, Ben Ellman, and Stanton Moore almost getting arrested by the police for smoking a joint outside the club.
- John Goodman gets his second rant in two episodes. This one concerns Tulane’s decision to eliminate the school of engineering programs in favor of human studies, or as Creighton put it, “It’s all about identity. Let’s not learn how to do anything. Let’s just sit and contemplate the glory of me, in all my complexities. Who am I? I am Black Jewish Woman, hear me roar!”
- We see main character, Antoine Batiste conversing with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews outside of the closed Preservation Hall. We also get an amusing exchange between Batiste and his current girl about Kermit Ruffins’ barbecue, being sweet as pussy, “Kermit’s barbecue tastes right, but not that right.” Of course that scene is followed up by Batiste and a very lithe and half naked stripper staring intensely at each other while he wails on the trombone, uh oh here we go again. So currently he’s got one ex-wife with two kids, one current girlfriend with one kid, and it sounds like at least one or two more. Could this be the running joke of the season?
What else did you catch from this episode? Do you have any personal stories about the aforementioned musicians or venues, or perhaps on the tastiness of Kermit Ruffin’s barbecue? Tell us what you think of Treme below…