TREME is killing me.
Always, with something this good, you wonder if the pilot is a fluke and expect a dip the next week, and then when the second installment actually manages to up the ante, you stand back and crinkle up your brow and wait for it and really really hope, and, not to be believed, this one was so good that it actually thawed out my memories of what it was like when HBO was just hurling thunderbolts like clockwork every Sunday night, that unholy March '05 that gave us four new episodes each of CARNIVALE and DEADWOOD (and of course, though arguably a slight tangent here, you will all understand that I am compelled to also reference that bookend ramp-up to the home stretch of the premiere season of arguably the best serial narrative of all time).
[and, actually, come to think of it, just cause the new girl at the office asked last night, I'm suddenly realizing that I'd definitely chuck this particular month into the pile as favored contender for Personal Favorite Month, yes, 03/05, we had the last four episodes of CARNIVALE, the first four episodes of DEADWOOD Season Two, that crushing opening bit off the top of the Gem balcony to set the tone, never mind opening the damn month with NUMBERS before hanging out long and hard getting crushed by everything else for, yes, four long weeks before finally crashing back in with DEUS EX MACHINA on that fifth Wednesday, meaning of course there was the extra week of sequential sickness*, not even to mention that Mars Volta's second and my personal favorite album of theirs came out on the 1st, and, oh yes, Catherine gave me that Favorite Guitar of All Time of mine, for my 28th that one Friday there, and I guess I must have had three or four gigs with the old Blitzkrieg Quartet or Bruce Wayne Quintet, forget what I was calling it then, probably had the idea to change the name that month, obviously, but clearly quite a bit flooding in, though Her Majesty, as ever, renders absolute and definitive declarations just about moot.]
(and, shit, also finished the first draft of GRINGO that 7th of March, jammed out the entire 23-pg epilogue before dinner/DEADWOOD premiere/CARNIVALE 2.09. An impossible day.)
It is apparent that this is going to be one of those things where, trying to tumble back into the thread of the initial impetus, I just list every exchange of the episode one by one, whole ride came off like a Greatest Hits montage and it's the third damn episode, but the thing is the escalation. Dr. John. We are now dealing with a series in which the first three episodes have included Rebirth, Kermit, Elvis Costello, and now motherfucking Dr. John in the studio. How is it supposed to live up to this precedent? I mean, really, where can you go from here? Never even mind Lester & co going all Ladysmith Black Mombazo at the end there, and what happened next, which, you know, you can put that up there with anything else that's been done so far as How To Shut It Down, as far as episodic narratives, or hey really anything else you'd care to name, goes.
And Davis with John Goodman. Unreal. I realized that this role-I've-been-hoping-Zahn-would-nab-since-THAT THING YOU DO (but finding myself improbably emotionally invested in him getting, for all this time, like always checking in on him and saying, Nope or Good, but not yet, or what have you, but see, never understanding why it mattered to me that this guy, who's yeah, funny, but what's so important about him, of all people, maximizing his potential?) was my avatar maybe ten minutes before he mentioned that English degree from Goddard, so, well played and devastating synchronicity there all around, as it happened.
*and let's get into that down here, Morrison debuts the first issues of GUARDIAN and SHINING KNIGHT, Lee & Azzarello and Johns & Van Sciver and Kelly & Olivetti all finally bring it home, and that second issue of VIMINARAMA!, and The End of Waid & Ringo on FF and new issues of EXTREMIS and SECRET WAR somehow make it out and, ULTIMATES 2 and Y THE LAST MAN banging along, not to mention Bru & Epting only five issues into the CAP run that still just will not give up, and I think even my man David Mack with that fourth issue of KABUKI with THE SHY CREATURES, just such, such a time to be alive.