17 April 2010

Treme-ing My Pants (Not Really, Not Yet)

I realize it is pronounced "Treh-MAY." For the purposes of wordplay in the lede, I was hoping that you didn't. If you did know the correct pronunciation, pretend it says "HBO's Treme? A-Okay!" up there. Pulitzer.

So, I'm watching the series premiere for Treme, for the second time, tonight. The first time I watched it, when it first aired, I was very distracted. And drunk. This time, I am only drunk, so I am able to give it an appropriate amount of my attention. Herein lies my live-ish blogging of theTreme premiere, a solid week after the fact. I would joke about how untimely this "live-blog" is, but no one is reading, anyway. Here we go:

When I (re)begin watching the pilot, my first impression is that I don't understand a lot/most/any of what is being said. I feel racist. Yet again, I worry that I am not a very good Blackperson, since I can't really understand what these colored gentlemen are discussing.

A few minutes in, Wendell Pierce (THE BUNK) expresses enthusiasm about making some "mother fucking money." I understand that. 10 Blackpoints. Pierce looks fairly authoritative wielding a trombone. I think I read one time that he really knows how to play it.*

Then, Steve Zahn's ass. No, thank you. Also, while I have more or less deduced what a "second line" is at this point, I certainly do not know why it is called that. (Perhaps there is a "first line" that is not pertinent down in the Treme?)

Relationships are being established, and I'm finding it a little tedious. It is my own fault. I'm already expecting the familiarity awarded to a devoted viewer of a series in medias res, wherein exposition is already shorthand or avoided entirely. I remind myself I am not watching The Wire, season 3. David Simon must have felt there was a very important reason to show me Steve Zahn's ass right now-- a reason I may forever be too stupid to grasp. It is easy to sustain idol worship, as long as you never concede that your idol's intelligence is within your grasp.

24 minutes in, and Zahn is now shirtless for the second time. I maintain, no, thank you. Not for me. I guess I'm supposed to be learning a lot about his character from all this. Also, Zahn is playing Mystikal very loud and trying to annoy his neighbors for reasons yet to be revealed.

Clarke Peters (COOL LESTER SMOOTH) has shown up a couple times now. Much like his character's introduction scenes in The Wire, it seems Simon and co-creator Eric Overmyer have stuck to the "Show. Don't tell" screenwriters' credo/cliche. Peters hasn't said much and we don't know much about his character's deal yet, but he's been given a good deal of business in just two or three scenes. Right now he's mopping in a bar or something, with major gravitas. Inner turmoil!

A lot more stuff has happened since the mopping, and also not very much at all. Lester's kids are grownups, and they are annoyed by him; but, they are still giving him unsolicited help. Lester doesn't say much to his whiney kids, or anyone for that matter. He mostly just does the stern I'm-set-in-my-ways face, and people acquiesce to whatever he's doing, even though he is sometimes dressed up like an "If They Mated" of Don Magic Juan crossed with Big Bird.

The Bunk (in case you have not noticed, I am not learning nor bothering to look up anyone's Treme character names, at this point) has taken three cab rides in this episode, even though he could not afford any of them. I think he should stop taking cabs.

Well, it's over now. The pilot was fine. You know, pretty good as far as TV goes, but unable to meet the impossibly high bar set by 5 seasons of the Greatest Show of All Time, The Wire. (Not yet.) I'm looking forward to seeing more Treme. And, HBO has already picked it up for a second season, so that's exciting.

Hopefully, going forward, there will be less Zahn ass.

*He doesn't. But, he is taking lessons for the show.