MysticKnyght (mysticknyght) wrote in neworleans,

Treme - Thoughts on Episode 3

Wow, this is turning out to be some really, really good television. Here are my thoughts on ep 3:

The gum-popping stripper and her blank expression while getting done by Antoine is priceless. Strippers are easy to parody, but very much a part of Quarter culture for generations now. Is it a gratuitous sex scene? Arguably, but the girl is good-looking and strippers and horn players...well, that's something that's been going on for generations. I still have a minor quibble with Antoine playing in a strip club, since most of the clubs don't do live music anymore. Antoine bring home beignets to Desiree...a bit cliche, f'sure, but the big thing is that beignets don't travel well. My guess is that they weren't much of a peace offering at all, given Antoine's roundabout ways of getting home.

Davis getting popped by the LANG: This is a bit contrived for two reasons. First, Davis is white. Second, Davis is white. Still, it connects him to the Bernette family more than just Toni bailing him out. His tutoring of Sofie is typical of someone skilled in a trade who has never really taught, and the interaction he has with Creighton brings this out in an interesting way.

Abita Beer! the red-headed guy (does he have a name? I don't even know) who is friends with Davis brings over a six-pack of Abita Amber Lager. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth has taken place in the blogosphere over the amount of Bud and Bud Light consumed in the pilot, before, during, and after the second line. Very believable. Having the rich white boy introduce the regional beer into the storyline makes good sense.

A thought on Antoinette Bernette's legal practice. In the span of three eps, she's taken on three main characters as clients, LaDonna (for finding Daymo), now Davis and Antoine both in ep 3, to bail them out of the lockup. While at first this may seem contrived so as not to introduce extra, bit-part characters, it's quite believable in New Orleans. "Six degrees of separation" rarely goes beyond three in NOLA. For all we know, Antoine's momma might have worked for Toni's family as a maid or cook or something once upon a time. Even crossing the racial lines, it doesn't take long for two locals to find common roots.

The Sonny-and-Annie thing...i swear, if Sonny kills her and eats her, I'm going to be very pissed. They're telegraphing a bad end for this girl so much, it better happen in a creative way or I'll scream.

Lincoln Center: Delmond's interruption of the rehearsal because of his mobile phone going off is so New York. The NOLA musicians would never think of interrupting a rehearsal with a phone, mainly because most (if not all) of them don't even own such things. Delmond's all modern and stuff, though, more illustrating the "Wynton" in his character, the separation from home. His carrying on about going to Paris to play reinforces this.

Also at the rehearsal, I was a bit amused by Mac's introduction of "Indian Red" to the musicians. If there ever was a white man who could sing "Indian Red" without upsetting the tribes, it would be Dr. John, yet even he is reluctant to do the tune without at least considering what the reaction of men like Big Chief Lambreaux will be. The song is quite appropriate for a charity concert in NYC, since that was the height of "ninth ward awareness" outside the metro area. The respect for the Indians shows that Mac is well and truly a local. If he was just an expatriate, he might not care so much what the chiefs would say.

Following the music thread, the chatter between the musicians in the strip club shows the huge gulf between the journeyman Batiste and the masters like Trombone Shorty, Kermit, Mac, and even Delmond Lambreaux. These are guys who go to NYC for a benefit. Kermit's willing to help out the journeyman with a gig at Vaughn's, but nobody needs or cares about a 'bone player at Antoine's level for NYC. Antoine's definitely a binding force to the show, as his gig on Rue Bourbon brings him into Annie's orbit for a song.

LaDonna: Her momma is Every New Orleans Old Person that I've ever met. New Orleans is home and they're going to Kenner, much less Baton Rouge, while their houses are still standing. That's why a lot of those old folks drowned in the storm or died in the immediate aftermath. The contractor who is ripping her off on repairing the roof of GiGi's is still quite believable.

On LaDonna looking for her brother: her momma not trusting Toni is very typical of older black folks. They don't trust lawyers conceptually, the black ones are slick talkers and the white ones are, well, white. LaDonna wanting to reach out to her husband's brother (who is a civil court judge) deserves a bit of comment. For starters, her husband sort of fobs her off, as does the judge himself, because he's a "civil" judge and Daymo's case is "criminal." In every parish in the state besides Orleans, state courts are organized into "judicial districts" of one or more civil parishes. The judges have civil, criminal, and often traffic and misdemeanor dockets. Orleans Parish has four separate court systems, criminal (located at Tulane and N. Broad, next to Orleans Parish Prison), civil (located at Loyola and Poydras, municipal, and traffic, the latter two located around the corner from the criminal courthouse. LaDonna's brother-in-law trying to duck her is bullshit, and she knows it. Judges in the city can pick up the phone and raise hell. The criminal sheriff's office will listen to any of them, because they know those municipal and traffic judges might one day run for the criminal bench and would make the lives of the cops and deputies miserable. This guy could very easily pick up the phone for Daymo.

LaDonna nails it when she says "Seventh Ward Creole bullshit, like they a different race." If you've never read my essay "On Being Creole," I recommend it to you now. LaDonna is spot-on, seventh ward creoles DO think they're a different race. I remember when I taught at Redeemer High out in Gentilly. We had a large number of Seventh Ward girls who used to attend St. Joseph Academy, and continued at Redeemer when SJA closed in the spring of 1980. Redemptorist was coed up in the channel, and the mix of the two student bodies was interesting to say the least. While most of us were worried about what we were going to do the first time a black boy asked out a white girl, but it was the reverse that generated more anxiety. When a white boy asked out one of the creole girls,there was all sorts of talk and a good bit of disapproval from the creole families. They really do think they're a different race. The creoles don't try to "pass" as much as people think; they see themselves as better than both whites and darker-skinned blacks. LaDonna's b-i-l the judge sees her brother as just another black criminal that he's not really obliged to help.

The end of the ep, where the Indians gather together to pay their respects to the Wild Man, well, that was something special. The intrusion by the tour bus was handled well.

"Feelings in the Marigny" - I'm going to rant about this in a separate post.
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