“This sounds really snobbish and I don’t mean it because it’s not like I don’t watch TV, but I find a lot of it to be unwatchable, because I don’t see it as being reflective of anything,” said Simon.
In his opinion, a lot of shows are created to draw eyeballs rather than tell a story and while he acknowledges that television directors “cheat” when they make drama, he believes show creators have to strike a balance.
“There’s some good stuff out there,” he continued. “But a lot of it is about sustaining the franchise. You know, looking for the hit. “
He also talked about his newest show, “Treme,” which is set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Simon emphasized that “Treme” is about ordinary people. “These are not people who are standing on a street corner with a gun,” he said. “We very purposely made this story about post-Katrina New Orleans that utilized ordinary people as characters. Musicians, cooks, a lawyer, a cop, but not people that are engaged in life on a continuously heightened basis.”
Although this show is set in New Orleans, Simons believes “Treme” is a story that can be identifiable to people across the nation. “I think in New Orleans, as it turned out, the only thing that worked was the culture. The political landscape was pretty barren of actual leadership,” said Simon. “And promises of economic relief turned out to be disaster capitalism. And the social problems that New Orleans had before the storm came right back with a vengeance. So what people had to rely on were each other and what they valued in the experience of city living. We really wanted to explore that, because in a metaphorical sense I think that’s where the rest of the country is right now.”