By Lyndsey Beaulieu
When it came time to edit and proofread scripts in the Writers’ Office, our Script Coordinator used to make us play a fun little game: guess the title of the episode. Titles were always taken from the songs that appeared in the episode, an appropriate device for a show like ‘Treme’ which so painstakingly honors the music. The title was always writer’s choice and usually reflected some sentiment conveyed in that week’s story. If we were right in our guess, the reward was knowing that we were on the same page with the writer. Other times it wasn’t nearly so precious; they simply chose a song they liked. For the series finale, “... To Miss New Orleans,” I have to believe the thinking went another step further.
David Simon and the writers on ‘Treme’ aren’t usually fans of wrapping things up in a neat little bow. Their tendency is to provoke thought, often leaving the audience with more questions than answers. “…To Miss New Orleans” achieves that. It gives us the sense of satisfaction of having come full circle, and it completes a statement while begging a question -- all at the same time. The title of the pilot episode was, “Do You Know What It Means…” and the name of the finale finishes what the ellipses left off. I wonder if the guys knew all along that they would end this way? I never saw it coming -- not even in our guessing games -- but it makes sense if they did. I don’t think there is a more perfect song to encapsulate all that ‘Treme’ captured and all that is New Orleans:
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans / And miss it each night and day / I know I’m not wrong, the feeling’s getting stronger / The longer I stay away
Having lived away for many years before finally coming home, I absolutely, without a doubt, understand the question. How ‘bout you? Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?