Goodbye, Treme

Having done a multi-year highly scientific study, Eric figures I can only keep track of two hour-long TV shows at a time. After that I wander off. For several years, I filled this with some high-quality TV — the Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, various HBO Sunday Night dramas. I haven’t had anything since the end of the last season of True Blood, so I thought I would give the new David Simon show Treme a chance. He wrote the Wire. How bad could it be?

My limit are three shows before it is voted off the island. If I am not grabbed by three shows it is time to walk away. And, after three shows, and this is three hours of HBO TV and not broadcast TV, I could not say what the hell this show is about. I think it’s about New Orleans after Katrina? Sort of? A long time ago I read John Irving’s “The World According to Garp” and within Garp there’s a book that Garp wrote as a book within a book — except it’s boring as hell and I cannot for the life of me remember what the book within book is actually about because it isn’t about anything. It’s kind of like that. Bwah! I was complaining last night that I was trapped in a Norman Mailer novel with no way out except screaming myself to insanity.

It’s not that Treme is bad. It’s merely deathly boring. It is one of the dullest shows I have ever seen. After three hours of television I am not certain about the names of the characters but they seem to have very full lives doing nothing but wandering around in various states of upset. It has one or two plotlines that might be interesting but they are on screen for 5 minutes an episode while the show cuts away to (admittedly good) music. Nothing develops except the “we hate people who come to help us because we’re massive jerkwads” plot — which might be true but it’s just not good TV. I’m pretty sure that by the end of three hours of Deadwood there had been some quality swearin’ and killin’.

I know the media snobs over at the Slate Culture Gabfest loved this show but I pour my unending scorn upon them for leading me astray. I am giving high quality HBO drama — one of the staples of my life! — the boot for, most likely, this season’s Dr. Who because it’s written by Steven Moffat, and he could write a show full of static and I would still watch it*. Why? Extremely good TV.  I want my brain to be filled with stuff, dammit!

To slake my TV lust I have a bunch of episodes of Breaking Bad queued up that I am guaranteed to enjoy. I just feel so guilty. How can I not like an HBO drama? One given a second season sight unseen? But it’s so boring. Maybe it gets a plot and I can check in next season. Or something.

Goodbye, Treme. You were lame.

* I love Coupling. Irrationally.

  • Kim

    The Pension Grillparzer! The bear on a unicycle! Unforgettable! Jack and I listened to Garp as an audiobook and the reader was kind of terrible and had a weird voice and now from time to time Jack and I will turn to each other and say “The Pension Grillparzer” in his funny voice.

  • There’s another book, the World According to someone or other, that is also embedded in Garp. All I remember from my copy of the book is that it goes on and on and on in a different type and never makes much sense but it is supposed to be /brilliant/.