I loved it. I was worried I was going to be spending all my time comparing it to The Wire, with so many of the same actors, but I really didn’t. I’ll admit, the only thing I know Khandi Alexander from is CSI: Miami, so seeing her here, so easily embodying this character, about blew my mind. I’m not going to knock CSI:Miami, because, clearly, it paid her bills, but damn, seeing what she can do only serves to show, by comparison, how little that show lets its actors do.
I’m still not sold on Steve Zahn’s character. I’m going to need to see a little sweetness in him I didn’t see in this episode to understand why folks like him enough to fuck him or to help him break into Tower Records.
John Goodman’s character and his wife pretty much cracked me up the whole time, just because I felt like their characters hit exactly the mark. If you don’t know folks like that, they probably seemed a little over the top. If you do, it was uncomfortably hilarious viewing.
And Wendell Pierce. Dear lord, he’s a treat to watch. I don’t even know what more to say about him, just that I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen when he was on. His character’s a jackass, but so alive in ways that I hope to see Steve Zahn’s character kind of take shape like.
But most of all, Clarke Peters. I about didn’t even recognize him, so thoroughly did I just believe he was a dude cleaning out a bar with two kids who think he’s up to something ridiculous. And when he came strutting out of the dark, like some psychedelic turkey, I really felt like I was seeing something magical–that this is a show about how people live in New Orleans and about how having hope and getting on with things is a real act of defiance, sometimes.
I loved seeing folks smoke, both tobacco and pot, that felt like seeing real life and I loved all the fat people. I loved that nobody seemed so pretty that you couldn’t imagine them in real life.
And the music!
Most of all, though, I loved that I didn’t think of The Wire once we got past the credits. I was worried it’d be too long a shadow, but, having seen the show, I don’t think so.