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Treme (season 04)

“…To Miss New Orleans” — Josh Bids Farewell to Treme

January 10th, 2014

I think that The Wire is probably the greatest TV show ever made.  And while my crazy love for that show has ensured that I will eagerly watch any future which in which David Simon (who created and ran The Wire along with Ed Burns) has a hand, I never expected that any of his future projects could possibly equal The Wire.

And then came Treme.  Created and run by Mr. Simon & Eric Overmyer, Treme in its three and a half seasons has chronicled the lives and struggles of a variety of different people in the days and months following the disastrous hurricane Katrina and the government’s botched response.  While I think The Wire still stands as the greater achievement in television, I think I have actually grown to love Treme more!  I adore all of the characters in Treme in a way beyond even my attachment to all of the wonderfully flawed figures from The Wire.  And while Treme shares The Wire’s cynicism about the sad state of formerly great American cities, and the corruption and often incompetence of our institutions (the government, the police, etc.), Treme had a joy and, yes, a stubborn optimism that The Wire never had, and I think that has allowed the show to hook its way into my heart in an even deeper way than did The Wire.

I just love all of these characters so much!  Treme has been blessed by an incredible, extraordinary ensemble of characters, brought to life by an impossibly talented group of actors.  I know some people complain that not much happens in Treme.  For a while, I agreed, feeling actually that his was part of the show’s unique charm, that it was more about the atmosphere of New Orleans — the food, the music, the people — than it was about actual plot-development.  But looking back on the show now, I would argue that anyone who says nothing happens in the show is entirely missing the point.  Think about the incredible journeys these characters have gone on!  Think about how different the trombone-playing Antoine, the rebellious D.J. Davis, the former drug-addict Sonny, the fiery chef Janette, and so many other characters, have changed from the beginning of the series to its end!  The genius of Treme is that it is in fact jam-packed with plot, but not plot of the type we’re used to seeing on TV.  There are very few big exciting TV events in the show — dramatic police investigations, exciting trials, great adventures, that sort of thing.  Instead, the plot found in Treme is all on a much smaller, much more personal scale.  But consider all that has happened to these characters … [continued]