I know, I wrote it off too. I tolerated the Treme pilot, I fell asleep during the second episode, and for years I thought it was this incredibly boring, self-indulgent show that people were watching out of misplaced loyalty and/or masochism.
But then a few things happened. I finally watched The Wire, aka The Greatest Television Show Ever and the first show of Treme creator David Simon, and right after that I spent a week in New Orleans. And so I was in the perfect state of mind to appreciate Treme, and proceeded to binge-watch the first three seasons in order to watch the truncated, five-episode last season in real time.
There’s no denying that the show can be boring and self-indulgent. But you get used to the meanderings, which are often fantastic musical performances anyway, so what are you really complaining about. And after that you come to appreciate Treme for what it is, which is a show about people hanging out, as they and the city around them heal themselves from a massive trauma.
A friend pointed out last night in a bar conversation that Treme will probably be studied later, if only because it’s about the rebuilding of a major American city and thus part of history. And it’s true that you meet the characters right after Katrina at what is probably the lowest point of their lives, their patience and love for each other stretched to the breaking point, and it follows how they all move on from there. There are a lot of detours along the way, and everyone has a few dark months, or years.
But the series ends on an up note, even though it’s not clear how long things will stay that way. [[Stop reading unless you watched it; do not let me spoil this for you.]] Will Davis’ baptism stick, will he and Janette stay together, will they have a baby, will her restaurant work out? Who knows? Will Sonny be able to play again without regressing back to drugs, will he live up to the expectations of his wife and her family? Will Annie be able to make it big without sacrificing her artistic integrity, will Delmond be able to lead a dual life in NYC and NOLA, will Toni ever meet someone else or will she just keep working cases until it consumes her? There are no solid answers. The questions Treme raises are the questions of life.
Very few things were resolved in the series finale, but unlike The Wire, I didn’t need them to be. I just wanted to hang out with these people as much as I could, and now that it’s over, I wish we could have just one more amazing meal and jam session together. Until we meet again, David Simon.