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And the colored girls say: FFF FYYFingF January 20, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Federal Flood, FYYFF, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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“[The HBO show Treme’, set in immediate post-Federal Flood New Orleans] wasn’t a bummer. It was more looking at (the setting) and having the same feeling that John Goodman’s character had. ‘There’s something wrong here and it needs to be fixed.’ It didn’t bum me out as much as it made me want to jump up and say, ‘We need to do something for New Orleans. Look at all this wonderful flavor. Look at all these great characters. And why are they still having these problems? I don’t want them having these problems.’”
– Susan Young, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay area whose writing appears in People and Variety, following the critics premiere of the first two episodes.

The NOLA.Com summary of critical reactions by Dave Walker, both on his blog and for the Times-Picayune, gives a capsule on Goodman’s character: [he] plays an Uptown New Orleans college professor who struggles to contain his rage at media misconceptions about post-Katrina levee-failure flooding.”

Hmm. That sounds familiar.

One critic quoted by Walker, Joel Keller of the online TVSquad.com, doesn’t like Goodman’s character much. ““I guess it needed someone to defend New Orleans,” Keller said. “He just seemed kind of out-of-phase with the rest of the cast. I’d like to see what happens as he kind of integrates himself into the rest of what’s going on. Right now, he feels like a totally different story, as opposed to the other stories that are going on.” Others were more kind: “Goodman’s wonderful,” said Ellen Gray, critic for the Philadelphia Daily News

Simon told a small group of bloggers privately last year that his team was writing a character into the show based, at least in part, on Ashley Morris. (We have got to get that boy a Wikipedia page so I don’t have to recap it all here). I am very anxious to see Ashley’s Goodman’s character. Having a commenter outside of the main story line may seem a bit weird to someone who reviews cable television on the Internet for a site hosted by AOL, but it seemed to work for writers back in the day.

The question I have: does America really want to see a sympathetic portrait of an alternative to the mainstream American culture, that banal plate of airline food served where everyone sits in their tiny little assigned seat reading the same in-flight magazine or watching the same movie, wishing they were in first class? (You do remember airline food, don’t you?) Treme’ gives us “those people”–you remember, the ones from the Convention Center and the Superdome–living in a world just minutes from America where playing bass drum or tuba is honored career choice because the parade season is 40 weeks long, people who don’t just live for the weekend like most Americans anxious to escape their little cubes for the big boxes but a people who live for the parade and the po-boy and if that by chance happens on a Wednesday afternoon well they might be late back to work without a thought.

I am not so sure, but I admire the hell out of David Simon for trying.

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Comments»

1. Marco - January 20, 2010

I thought the trailer was well done.

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2. Craig - January 20, 2010

This is a topic I’ve dealt with while talking to friends and some family members over the past decade or so — and folks either Get It or they don’t (and most don’t). To wit: one has to dump the work/play dynamic. Millions struggle in their cubicles or offices by living for the weekend or their little two-week vacation (“cramming lost years into five or six days,” as Jimmy Buffett put it). We see them here by the thousands come Carnival and JazzFest (and to a smaller amount on any given weekend) — blowing out months of self-restriction by staying up all night and getting stupid drunk and then wondering when they get back to work why they need more days off just to do it all again.

That’s the kind of desperation we bypass by simply living here. We work as hard and as successfully as any — but we have the laughter, the small delights, quirks and the overall sublimeness around us so we don’t need to Escape. We all need a change of scene from time to time — but more often than not New Orleanians venture out for 72 hours or so just to make sure the rest of the world is still as it was, then we have to scurry back. We’re not denying other places with other rules actually exist — we just know a better way of living.

For those who don’t get it, it’s an either/or thing. Here in New Orleans, it’s and/because.

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3. Lisa - January 20, 2010

Craig, You are making want to put up the For Sale sign on the house, pack up the u-hail and move TODAY!

I can’t wait to see this show…I do GET IT and every day that I cant be there I die a little inside…I fit that example to a “t”…and live for the day when I will call NOLA home.

writing from my New Orleans/Mardi gras decorated cubicle in the cold northeast….

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4. Editilla~New Orleans Ladder - January 20, 2010

Thanks Mark, you Got It, Mon.
This is good news indeed. I already had faith in Simon.
As for Ashley Goodman? HA!
Works for me, but if he uses the FYYFF in the script I’m gonna die.
God I hope that isn’t in the season finale. Oh Jeez.
I’m not kidding.
I’m already thinking of getting a new TV set for this.

On another note, man, it’s getting hard to pick which posts to hang from this blog again. You wanna do som’tin bout’dat?
Good Rockin’Daddio.

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5. sam - January 21, 2010

One thing I noted in the review was this:

“Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News said that the “Treme” premiere episode, for all its density, was an easier world to enter than the Baltimore setting of “The Wire.”

“ ‘The Wire’ was mostly African-American characters (and) I think that one of the things that most people had trouble with – not that they were turned off – but literally they were having trouble keeping track of a very large African-American cast in a landscape we’re not used to seeing.

“It made it a little more complicated, which is why I think the police focus (of “The Wire”) was the first thing that people got hooked on, and it was only later they got very deeply invested in the gang culture.”

I thought that was a nifty turn of phrase: “trouble keeping track of a very large African-American cast.” I’m still giggling over that. At least she didn’t say she couldn’t tell them apart.

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6. GentillyGirl - January 22, 2010

This is wonderful!

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7. Lina - January 25, 2010

Sam:
Well, I can understand her problem. I have troubles keeping track of most shows and films with their very large white casts.

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8. Awrite « Blogging Treme - March 15, 2010

[…] with the launch of Treme.  Of course.  Treme.  It is almost April of 2010 after all.  From Toulouse Street: [David] Simon told a small group of bloggers privately last year that his team was writing a […]

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9. Ashley Morris « Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans - March 22, 2010

[…] to be getting a lot of hits, so when you’re done reading the links eulogizing Ashley Morris, stop by this post to read about the character based on Ashley, played by John Goodman, who will be featured in David […]

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10. cursedtea - March 31, 2010

Hi Mark
I have been absent way too long but then I am also absent in person too. I am now living in Austin TX … sadly. My husband wasn’t able to break through the N’awlins old boy club to get proper work in NOLA and got v good job in Austin. I got pregnant and moved a year ago – we now have a happy fun loving 10 month old baby boy. I let my blog wane because I was having such difficulty saying goodbye to the city. It goes without saying that I miss it! At the same time I feel very very lucky to have lived in NOLA for three years – and experienced all the wonderful and terrible things that can happen.

I was just reading about the very sad death of David Mills – tragic! I then was getting caught up on the development of Treme (which I can’t wait to see) when I saw the John Goodman character in a video and thought immediately of Ashley!! That was BEFORE I knew it is based on Ashley – when I found that out, well, it makes my heart very happy!! I’m sure the big man would be so pleased to be included in the portrayal of the N’awlins cultural melting pot!!

I hope you and all fellow bloggers are well and thoroughly enjoyed the superbowl and mardi gras (my heart was very happy for a Saints win but ached terribly that I couldn’t be there to celebrate!!)

Kirsty

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11. mf - April 1, 2010

No need to apologize. I’m glad to hear that things seems to be going so well. Are you playing in Austin, or just enjoying your wee bairn? We we lucky enough to work things out that my wife could stay home for a couple of years when both of ours were very small. That’s enough income lost to pay cash for a house but we wouldn’t have done it any other way.

And once New Orleans has its hooks in you, well, I know you’ll probably be back.

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12. Richmond - April 3, 2010

If you were a time traveler and could only go back in time or forward in time, which would you choose?

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