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HBO's Overlooked Treme: Are Emmy Voters Racist?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 18, 2010 at 3:53AM

I finally finished watching David Simon and Eric Overmyer's brilliantly executed Treme, and reread the terrific NYT Magazine feature on how they put the series together, and why HBO was willing to indulge them. Overmyer looks back at season one and ahead at season two.
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Thompson on Hollywood

I finally finished watching David Simon and Eric Overmyer's brilliantly executed Treme, and reread the terrific NYT Magazine feature on how they put the series together, and why HBO was willing to indulge them. Overmyer looks back at season one and ahead at season two.

So it's Emmy season and this series--arguably the best of the year--didn't land one acting or writing nomination. No Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters, Kim Dickens, Khandi Alexander, John Goodman, Melissa Leo or Steve Zahn. It scored just two, for directing and original music. Why did the series get slighted? As did David Simon's critically hailed The Wire, which earned two writing nominations in its entire run. It's probably the same reason that European audiences responded better to The Wire during the one season that favored more white characters. Even stateside, white moviegoers and Emmy voters seem to tune out material featuring too many every-day African Americans. It's a question of identification, interest and engagement, I guess.

Music was a huge part of the show, providing its spine and often-meandering structure, which was fine with me. I could happily sit down and watch the whole thing all over again.

This article is related to: Awards, TV, Emmys, Treme


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.