John Goodman, Treme

Cheers to Treme for marching to its own beat.

As HBO's post-Katrina New Orleans drama has weaved its way towards Sunday's Season 1 finale, even die-hard fans of The Wire creator David Simon have found their patience tested by his new show's pokey pace and frequent breaks for (admittedly fabulous) tunes. Simon seemed to respond to the criticism when he had John Goodman's Tulane professor Creighton Bernette tell his students of Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening: "Don't think in terms of a beginning and an end, because unlike some plot-driven entertainments, there is no closure in real life." Then Creighton apparently committed suicide by jumping off a ferry. Who's complaining about nothing happening on the show now?

The 83-minute season ender (and yes, Treme has been picked up for a second season, despite its relatively small audience) is jam-packed with music — and emotion, thanks to a Katrina flashback, another storm looming and a funeral. It all culminates with a parade, just as the season began. The message is clear: No matter what gets blown into the city's path, New Orleans marches on. (And so does Treme, despite the tragic loss of producer David Mills.) As recurring guest star Steve Earle sings over the closing credits, "This city won't wash away/this city won't ever drown."

Are you in tune with Treme?

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