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From the very first moment, every season of “Treme” has been a case study on the power of storytelling. As I was watching the first season in 2011, I had a visceral reaction that I think is universal, and has been for several decades. I thought the movie had finally gotten it right. That it had finally found the characters that made its characters and not just the action that showed up on screen. The whole idea of a cop show without a good-big-bang chase scene was too much for me. In that opening scene, we got an awesome glimpse of what made “Treme” so great: characters we all love being a bunch of idiots that only want to stay alive by any means necessary, and with that we also get to discover the reason why the show got picked for this award-winning HBO series. It was so good.
But this is an episode for those of you who don’t have “Treme” yet. If that’s the case, the following words from the great Michael Carris have your attention:
“We are what we repeatedly prove to be. There is no such thing as a ‘failure.’ We are what we continually prove to be. If we never try, no one can fail us.”
This is what happens to a bunch of people over the course of several seasons. The characters grow. They become wiser. They change. It never is as simple as just saying “we are what we repeatedly prove to be.” The characters are slowly forced to take responsibility for their actions, and this is what makes them so fascinating — and also what makes them so terrible. This scene was the perfect thing to show the audience the effects a group of people who can’t help themselves from acting like complete assholes would have on the situation at hand.
I thought the same thing when I watched “Treme” in 2013. I love the characters of Marlo and Bobby and Ray on “Treme”: these two are so flawed, so flawed, and yet so good. There is a great deal of love in their heart and a real ability to be together after all of these years, but the real heart of it is that Marlo and Bobby are selfish assholes. They would do anything for money and respect, and we are treated to so many stories of their selfish-ass-loyal-shit-stealing ways, from being friends with a gang member that
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