Treme, Season 3, Episode 9, “Poor Man’s Paradise”


Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Beth Arnette says:

    The opera CD was cut, but there is some issue that it was not listed in the fall releases. So I suppose money isn’t being spent to market it. Davis was told last week to get over the production values of the CD’s packaging, but this was new info. I think he should have spoken with Aunt Mimi before he went ballistic.

    The white people behaving badly, for the most part, shows us growth. Toni was told “welcome to our world.” She did then interview the eyewitness that Bernard produced. As Venetian Blonde on the Watching Treme blog says, Janette is turning into Chef Brulard, something she doesn’t want to do. She is learning a lesson. Davis is discovering that he’s Salieri, not Mozart.

    Would you prefer that the African-American characters be portrayed as flawed and the European-Americans as perfect? And the black characters do act out sometimes: Chief’s beatdown of the young thug in Season 1 was a bit over the top, Antoine’s philandering, and I”m sure there are other examples.

    With regard to Miss LaDee looking relieved about her bar, she may be relieved that no one was there and that this was what was being threatened; that is, unless the perps decide to pursue it further with her, her family, and her house.

    I am not alone among Treme fans in wishing that some characters, whether black, white, or whatever, will unleash a tide of fury against the criminals and the corrupt police. Some folks’ money is on the dying Chief who has little to lose. But the righteous indignation of avenging angels is probably too pat for this series.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Beth Arnette says:

      Ms. Arnette,

      It isn’t that I prefer that the show’s non-white characters do something else. They’re the interesting ones. They’re the ones worth watching for. They’re the ones that make the show what it is. Antoine, Albert, LaDonna: they’re each compelling characters participating in interesting stories. They’re also the ones who put their heads down and endure.

      The show’s white characters repeatedly act like children, despite living in a society that elevates them based upon nothing more than their skin color. Instead of recognizing this in even the slightest, we see characters whose behavior is as abhorrent as it is uninteresting.

      Or, to put that another way, how good would Treme be if Davis, Annie, and Sonny were simply never involved?Report

  2. Yes, I agree Davis is a spoiled toddler, and this is the first time Aunt Mimi has told him no. We see the aftermath. Everything he does is perfectly within the character that Zahn et al have created. As much as the fits of pique are annoying, I can see that it’s taking Davis to the ridiculous conclusion. His problem is that the sampler is not the opera. The opera will never be released. That’s what he’s mad about. The sampler is a consolation prize. Of course calmer minds would throw their weight behind the sampler so that the cats get paid, but Davis has an opera-sized hole in his heart.
    To me, there would be a Davis-sized hole in Treme without him because he represents the “what do you do if you’re in New Orleans with no musical talent ?” He’s the tension between obsessive appreciation and continual failure. He’s every also-ran who has been there determined to make it that has ended up brushed down the street with the rest of the garbage at midnight on Tuesday night.Report

  3. Avatar Beth Arnette says:

    Hi Venetian! I will post on your blog again (Beth Arnette Wade) once I figure out my sign in. Love your links: it’s how I found this blog, Back of Town, and others.

    These blogs rock. Thanks Gentlemen and all the bloggers!Report

  4. Avatar NikkyWalks says:


    I see what you’re saying…but to be honest, I never looked at it that way. For example, I never saw Toni back down- her sending her daughter away was for her daughter’s protection, seeing as how it was pretty clear she was going to see this thing through to the end. She has endured a ton as a character and kept weathering through, and her sharing that beer with Colson at the end of the episode was a well earned one over all three seasons.
    And for all the bullshit Davis pulled this episode, on the other hand we have Sonny, and Sonny’s storyline has been one of the best pay offs of the season! Sticking with the show since jump, we’ve seen what a hard road Sonny’s had, and for him to work through his doubts and commit to marrying this girl/her family is a HUGE example of growth on his part (of course, we’ll see if he can follow through, but for now it’s heartwarming).
    As for Annie and her weak fight for Harley’s name on the song, I think it’s classic David Simon slow burn, just like The Wire. Sure we’d love to see her take a stand to her manager, we’d love to see Colson go on a revenge cruise of all the dirty cops, we’d love to see LaDonna take that stick to those stupid boys who burned down her bar. But that’s not life, not usually, and Simon and his crew have proven geniuses at keeping their stories genuine by being unafraid to sacrifice the climactic drama that other shows rely on. What I got is that Annie is stuck between success and integrity- reflected not only in the studio but in her relationship with Davis as well- and to be honest, I doubt if we’ll see a clean answer one way or the other before Season 3 ends. But that’s the beauty of the show…whereas The Wire was watching a system slowly corrupt a people, Treme is a people slowly fighting a system, and slowly because so much of that system can only be fought within the people themselves, by holding up the mirror and making their choices.
    All in all, I see what you’re saying, but I think if you take a different perspective, the race division doesn’t come into play at all. Just different people at different parts of their journey.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to NikkyWalks says:


      I’m definitely cool with different perspectives on the show. I’ve always cautioned that I’m watching from afar; I’m seeing a fictional thing play out in front of my eyes. It’s not as fictional though if you’re there. I think that probably matters.

      But still, I’m not looking for huge moments or epic confrontations. I’m looking for adults to act like adults, and I cannot understand why we’re seeing such immature behavior from the show’s white characters. While I’ll acknowledge the idea that they’re all on different parts of their journey (we all are), I balk at the idea that the white characters could all be so stunted and the non-white characters all so resilient, or at least at the idea that this occurrence is an accident of the plot and not something more telling.

      I remain confused but appreciate your feedback. For an excellent write up, find Watching Treme’s. It was incredibly observant in a way that this one wasn’t.Report

  5. Avatar Eyeorr says:

    SPOT ON! I am so over this show. Annie CANNOT SING. Period. Which producer is this actress sleeping who keeps ramming her in our face with her non-talent. Janette whining about her success..I want to slap her everything and tell her to shut off. Toni whining….Davis whining…the drug guy whining…the chief not taking care of himself because he’s too stubborn and then whing…BORING!

    The writing has dragged on and on and on. I kept tuning in thinking that something would give, but the pace of the ridiculous story lines has this viewer signing off.

    Great cast! Too bad the show didn’t embrace what it could have become.Report