Email Roundtable #8 – Treme – The “Belly Full O’ Gin” Edition

Because of the relative (and I mean very relative) popularity of our last Treme Roundtable we thought we would take a look at the Season Finale, “Tipitina”, as well as the season as a whole and where the show might be headed. 

Photo by MichaelTutton. 2012.

Photo by MichaelTutton. 2012.

Kerri: I’d like to say that I really enjoyed this episode. Although, there were times when I was pulled out of the episode by its, sometimes, technical showiness I found myself genuinely moved throughout.

I’m thinking, specifically of, in no particular order: The scenes with Toni and Terry, the final shot of Albert and the beautiful scene at the Bar Mitzvah.

Jane: I enjoyed this episode by the end. The montage gave me joy and hope, which I felt has been missing from later episodes this season. I had some issues with the episode as a whole, but as always, the powerhouse performances were enough to keep me interested.

Kerri: I always love a good David Simon finale montage, Jane. What were your issues with the episode as a whole?

Katie: I found the episode to be a touch didactic – but there were moments that transcended my general feelings of “meh-ness.”

Lin’s walking down the aisle and Toni and Terry on the porch come immediately to mind.

Jane: My favorite moments of the episode were watching LaDonna at the
benefit concert for her bar.  I also loved Antoine watching the news
conference and cheering Desiree’s efforts on. Spitefully, I  loved that Davis’s latest hit was entitled, “I quit.” I hope that title applies to his character next season.

Katie: I didn’t have a problem with the episode, but I don’t consider it a “season finale.”

I guess that’s the danger of Treme‘s sprawling story lines. They can’t all “end” at the same time. It didn’t feel like an ending.

Kerri: I understand what you are saying, Katie, but I could have lived with the final image of the entire series being the final shot of Albert sewing the eagle on his next Mardi Gras costume. I thought that would have made a fine ending image for the series.

Katie: Are you saying Davis should be ousted from the show, Jane???

Kerri: Yeah, ouch, Jane!

Jane: YES! I used to find Davis endearing, but lately I’m finding it hard to root for him. He seems to wander into these great opportunities, while other characters are facing so many struggles.

In past seasons the underlying tone of Treme was finding joy in the decay. Lately, I’ve just felt a sense of bleakness for most characters. Where is the Joy?

Kerri: For me the performance at the Bar Mitzvah had that joy. I loved seeing that kid playing the title song. And, yeah, it was very on the nose to have Kermit spell it out for Davis (and us), “this is what you will be missing!” But, I loved it nonetheless.

Music is where the joy is in the show. Or at least where it should be.

I do agree that this season as a whole was pretty depressing.

Katie: You can never win against an institution. But you can find a really tiny place for yourself somewhere! That’s uplifting, I think.

Jane: I didn’t have a problem with the way they ended the season. Treme authentically follows the lives of these human beings. How do you end that, really?

Kerri: The ending didn’t bother me either. Something that did genuinely bother me was the showiness I alluded to earlier. I HATED the Altman-esque steadicam shot at LaDonna’s party. It took me completely out of the episode. I do not want a David Simon show to call attention to itself. Ever.

Jane: I’m not terribly upset by that. What the shot captured, was genuine emotion to me. LaDonna’s face as she watched was worth any showiness. I can forgive them for trying something new.

Kerri: I liked the rest of the party an awful lot, just not that shot, but I totally see why it could work.

Jane: I loved Antoine’s arc this season. In this episode he realizes that his talent may have reached its peak but he still has much to offer the future of New Orleans music culture by educating young musicians. I was really impressed by this story line.

Katie: It’s great to see how much Antoine and Desiree have changed, individually and as a couple! They are a powerhouse.

Kerri: I loved that storyline, too. For me, that was the highlight of the season. I loved how he found himself deeply caring for the well-being of these children while educating them and himself at the same time.

I’d watch a spin-off that was just about Antoine and Desiree!

Jane: Yes! I absolutely adored, during the Mardi Gras episode, when Desiree was keeping spectators away from the children playing in the parade.

Kerri: Oh my…that was a beautiful moment. I do wonder how their little kid is doing. Have we even seen it this season?

What do you gals think of the emerging romance between Toni and Terry. I, for one, am a fan. Though, I’m not sure where we are heading with their story. I certainly don’t want the final season to continue down the same road we are on now.

Jane: I am eating it up! Their interactions with each other are so loving and vulnerable. They are a great couple, so far. I also loved watching the awkward scene in the kitchen when Sofia walks in on Terry in his underpants. She gave this amazing smile of approval to herself at the end that killed me.

Katie: I was clapping like a seal when Toni showed up with the beer… so you could say I’m a fan. I’m a fan anytime Toni or Terry gets in on, actually. Terry’s fleshy interaction with the hotel manager earlier this season was a good one

Kerri: I find that David Morse pretty appealing, myself. They are a beautiful couple. I think, if all the heartache that came before lead up to them getting together, that is a good thing.

Jane: They both had a rough go this season and it is nice to see good things happening for them. Now, can something good PLEASE happen for LaDonna? Like I said in our last Treme Roundtable, I’m thrilled with her new friendship with Albert and I get a sense that they will help each other find peace, but I really want something to go really right for her

Kerri: Me too, Jane. That would be thrilling!

And, before we have some fun with some game type questions, I have to say one thing: We ragged on Annie’s singing voice last roundtable. I’m still not sold on it but I thought that the song Davis chose to listen to on Annie’s new CD was quite beautiful.

Katie: Very true. And damn, can that lady play a fiddle.

Jane: She can certainly play the fiddle and I agree, I loved the song Davis chose, but I really dislike it when Annie sings “This City”. Everything authentic that Steve Earle was able to achieve with that song falls away instantly when Annie does her twisty-faced emoting.

Kerri: Ha! I love Steve Earle’s rendition of that song so much. I can’t deal with her singing it!

OK. Seeing as musical numbers are the heart and soul of Treme, I thought I’d ask:

What was your favorite musical performance this season?

 Katie: Gotta be Fats Domino for me. How about you ladies?

Jane: I loved Fats and I also loved Antoine’s performance at LaDonna’s benefit.

Kerri: The best performance for me has to be the Indian’s rehearsal in Gigi’s. It was such an incredible scene and there was so much going on between LaDonna, Albert and Delmond. I love that scene to pieces.

Katie: Ooo yes, that was chilling!

Jane: Yes! How could I forget. It is scenes like that which make Treme brilliant.

Kerri: Last time we talked about Treme we made some predictions. I am happy/sad to report that not a single one of them came true.

However, we did get our wish on the more celebrity chefs front (thanks Emeril) and we said goodbye (hopefully for good) to Sofia’s boyfriend.

Katie: Nobody can predict the future, nor can they predict David Simon TV.

Jane: We also got a nice pile of Auntie Mimi in the last episodes!

Kerri: We surely did. So, really, we shouldn’t be too depressed. I hope she’s back in her New Orleans Saints hat next season, producing more albums.

Time for final shout outs!

I’d like to give another shout out to that kid (who is now a man) and his mad piano skills.

Jane: Antoine paying his full cab fare plus tip!!

Katie: Shout out to Janette’s depressing apartment! I hope you get drenched in alcohol and naked body parts.


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