I've stuck with Treme for five episodes now, and I'm sorry to report that, as the jazz cats in N'Awlins would say: it's not happening. When it was shown on FX, the word about The Wire spread like rumours of copacetic dope around Hamsterdam. But you'll wait a long time until you bump into someone raving about this great new series he or she's been watching called Treme. For a start, they probably won't know how to pronounce it. This is the first thing wrong with Simon's latest opus: that title. Sure, it's a superficial issue and the correct pronunciation is mentioned a couple of times in the show. But it doesn't exactly draw people in. It's just annoying and — characteristically of Simon — elitist. (Anyone who knows what's what is meant to know how to say it.)
Want to read more, all you N'Awlins jazz cats?
Finally, there's the music. Now I love New Orleans. I support the New Orleans Saints and think Mardi Gras is a sight every one should witness — if their livers can stand it. But the music in Treme is like Chinese water torture. It's death by jazz. Some of it is great, admittedly. Inspirational. But you can have too much of a good thing. We get the message David. You like jazz. Now can't we just have a few more storylines?
Ow. But then there's this:
To some viewers, to even think of criticising David Simon is sacrilege. And to a point, they're right. If it were by someone else, Treme would be a godsend. But, coming from him, it pains me to say it, Treme is dull. As Chris Rock would say: "yeah I said it."
Recapping: If someone else had done the show, it would be a godsend; since David Simon did it, it sucks. But speaking of "Yeah, I said it" — Shelley's hey-wait-I-got-a-new-complaint centers on the casting of Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters, who were both in The Wire:
The most likeable characters in the show are, once again, played by Clarke [sic] and Pierce. But casting them was a mistake. Every time they appear, it's unavoidable: you think: it's Freamon or Bunk.
You do? Really? Because I didn't. Then again, Shelley seemed able to watch John Goodman and not think of Dan from Roseanne. Same with Melissa Leo; he didn't say thoughts of Homicide or The Fighter went through his mind.
As the N'Awlins jazz cats would say: "Yeah, I said it."