T Lo is Watching…Game of Thrones & Treme

Posted on May 09, 2011

Darlings, believe it or not, we don’t blog about every single show we watch. Sometimes it’s because we just want to watch a show without taking notes and sometimes it’s because we don’t think a particular show lends itself to weekly episode-by-episode blogging. Fringe is like that. We mostly love the show but find that we have little to say when it’s over. But at least Fringe doesn’t suffer from the other reason we choose not to blog about certain shows: overblogging. That is to say, a show that EVERYONE writes about. Now, that didn’t stop us from picking up Mad Men and The Walking Dead, two shows that have been seriously overwritten in the blogosphere and critical community, but with both shows, we couldn’t NOT write about them and besides, we got to them fairly early, before they became so internet-popular. So we want to occasionally feature shows here that might not get the full recap-and-review weekly treatment but deserve to be talked about, if not by us, then by our loyal army of erudite, articulate, sophisticated minions. And maybe we’ll throw in a couple of our guilty pleasures down the line. You know, those shows that DON’T deserve to be talked about, like Jerseylicious.

Even though you wouldn’t know it from reading this blog, Treme is one of our favorite shows on television. It is also one of the most written-about shows on television. Because the plotting on this show is so minimal that characterizing it as “glacial” would be attributing to it a faster pace than it actually has, it’s an extremely difficult show to write about in the conventional “recap and review” manner. Subsequently, a LOT of the writing about this show comes down to “I got more of the references and inside jokes than you did.” Since we’d never be so foolish as to proclaim much more than a working knowledge of New Orleans culture, history, and politics, it’s a discussion we’ve not wanted to enter. We could do a strict recap and write “Antoine’s trying to get his band together and Sonny lost his keyboard and guitar in a police raid and Janette’s house got broken into and Toni found out that kid was shot during the post-storm looting,” but strict recapping like that does the show a disservice. It’s less about what happens than about how it’s depicted. It’s very much the “slice of life” style of story. Scene after scene dripping with mood and atmosphere, making it feel like you live in that place at that time with those people. If you stick with it, it’s virtually impossible not to care about the characters.

Janette’s one of our favorites and we’re thrilled that she’s finally back in New Orleans. We loved her scene with Albert, who rarely gets scenes with the rest of the cast. But really, for us, this episode was all about LaDonna, who is our very favorite of all the characters on the show. Khandi Alexander is a fine actress, but that final shot of her, left alone just long enough for the memories of what happened to come back, the horror and pain written on her swollen and battered face, was knife-in-the-heart painful.

As for Game of Thrones, we are enjoying the show but it’s not without its difficulties. Tom read the first book in the series, enjoyed it enough to want to pick up the second one, got about 300 pages into it, and finally gave up. It’s a well-written and engrossing story, but… actually, scratch that. It’s THIRTY well-written and engrossing stories all happening at once. Ultimately, Tom gave up on the books because he simply couldn’t keep the names and the stories straight and continuing had gotten too much like work and not enough like entertainment. Thankfully, with a visual medium like television, things are a little easier. Even so, we find that after 4 episodes, we have no idea what the names are for half the characters. There are just too many of them to keep track of. There’s that one girl, and there’s that other girl with the sword, and then there’s the girl with the dragon eggs, and the little boy who fell off the wall after he found that one guy fucking his sister in the tower, and then there’s all those guys in the Night’s Watch whose names we can’t figure out.

Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy this show, but there’s not a chance in hell we’d try to recap and review each week. We tip our hats to those writers who are managing it, but it seems to us a lot of the people writing about the show have read the majority of the books. If you’re not immersed in the world of Westeros it can be pretty difficult keeping things straight. Still, it’s a fantastic hour of television. The most expensive-looking hour each week. And the performances are all first rate. Sean Bean, who we love as an actor but also as an imaginary sexual partner, isn’t exactly setting the screen on fire, but to be fair, Eddard Stark is a ponderous, duty-bound, somewhat broken-in-places man. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister owns the entire production and whenever a scene lags or we stay too long in one area, we find ourselves wishing he’d wander in and say something bitchy. We also like Catelyn Stark and the scene in the inn last night where she actually managed to outwit Tyrion by using the one weapon in her arsenal – her connections and social standing – was brilliant and electrifying. Also, Cersei is a mega-bitch and we’re enjoying the hell out of Lena Headey’s clenched teeth, low-key performance. She could be chewing the scenery, but her even tone and immovable face are far more effectively depicting her as formidable.

So, are the minions watching these shows? What are your thoughts on them?

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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