Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Must-Read

I've said before that outside of New Orleans and people who know New Orleans, viewers watching the new HBO series Treme will have a hard time believing certain things that happen in the show. They will think certain events or storylines are somehow made-up or exaggerated for dramatic effect. They will think certain things are part of the fiction.

Your Friday must read is not a happy one today.

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4 comments:

Dante said...

Most people aren't going to care one way or another if events are exaggerated. I don't watch "I, Claudius" and wonder if the mom was really at fault for ALL of the assassinations, trickery, and whatnot. I just enjoy the show for what it is. If something out of character with the show happens, real or not, it's going to take away from the show. Otherwise, a TV show's success or failure depends on characters. The show can embellish as much or as little as they want to as long as the audience can still identify (or at least understand) the characters.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Well, that's true. But with historical events much closer to the "now" than Claudius, I think other factors come into play.

I already see how people just refuse to believe things because they 1) don't think it could ever really happen or 2) think that, if something bad happens, they are expected to feel guilty for it or 3) straight up fear - if they don't believe in it, it won't happen to them.

In this case, demonstrably provable events were not brought to light initially because the situation wasn't widely apparent, those who went back to get the story were dismissed, and now I worry the story's injection into a pop culture narrative will be disbelieved as "too fantastic."

Maitri said...

Like I just said over at BOT, authenticity is a double-edged sword. You really, really want for them to get the story right. But, when it's too right, down to facsimiles of people and their circumstances, it cuts too close to home.

I believe absolutely everything Sam's Ike said. And I encourage everyone to read Zeitoun.

Dante said...

"I already see how people just refuse to believe things because they 1) don't think it could ever really happen or 2) think that, if something bad happens, they are expected to feel guilty for it or 3) straight up fear - if they don't believe in it, it won't happen to them."

4) When they're specifically presented as fiction even if they are based on or inspired by a true story.

Treme isn't a documentary. It's a fictional drama series. Treme viewers aren't looking for insight into New Orleans. They're looking for another Oz or Jericho or Lost: relatable characters thrust into an awkward scenario to see how it plays out. Viewers are going to believe what happens in the show just as much as they believed the events of Airport '77 really happened. "Too fantastic" doesn't matter when it's already being presented as make believe.