HBO set the highest of standards when it comes to television drama, and they continue to challenge viewers and cast/crew/writers/producers with each news series. The Wire set a scorchingly high standard, and then came along this little special number…

The Devil Eats Gumbo.

I have had many televisual love affairs in my life, and while I don’t wish to sound too promiscuous in my viewing habits, the truth is, there probably have been too many to count.

Unlike footballers, however, who always say things like: “I’ve got really varied musical taste – I like everything from Bon Jovi to Pearl Jam”, my passions have genuinely been, I believe, pretty varied.

There has been 90210 and Melrose and Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Girls and Boardwalk Empire and The View (especially The War of the Rosie years) and SATC and Kenny ‘Fuckin’ Powers in Eastbound and Down and Secret Life of Us and Grand Designs and Madmen and River Cottage and How to Make it in America and The Inbetweeeners and Insiders and Lucky Louie and then Louie CK and of course, The Wire.

In fact, I blame the latter for the quandary in which I now find myself, which is this: every week, for two and a half years’ worth of episodes (I believe), I have persisted with a series I don’t actually like very much. Or maybe I do. It’s confusing. Particularly because my husband isn’t mad about it either, and yet, once a week, he’ll say to me, “I’ve got a new Treme”, and I’ll say “Really?” and he’ll sigh and say something like “I’m afraid so”, and we’ll share a weary smile and head off to the bedroom, heavy of heart and shuffling of foot, but COMPELLED to watch this tv show which has such a strange hold over us.

I say I blame The Wire because it’s the same guys who made Treme , so that’s what initially got us interested in the show, but while I adored the characters and the storylines and even the ESL aspect of the dialogue in the former, the latter has me stumped. It’s set in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina, and that’s about all I’m certain of.

I’m not sure if it’s a political treatise or a musical homage to that city or a bleak comedy or a meandering stream-of-consciousness-as-metaphor or deliberately sloooooooow. But it’s odd to have watched every episode of a show and still only be able to refer to the characters by the monikers we have given them.

We will say things like: Do you think the Blonde Chef is ever going to get together with the Chief’s Son Who Plays the Trumpet? Or: That Busking Girl was so gorgeous till she got with the Irritating DJ – she was better off with the Dutch Junkie! And surely it’s not right that when John Goodman drowned himself, we felt relieved to no longer have to endure his self-righteous venting. Surely.

There’s a brilliant actress in the show; we only know her as John Goodman’s Wife. She is the mother of John Goodman’s Daughter, and is investigating the disappearance and death of a Young Black Guy. But not always. In between, she flirts with the Handsome Copper Who Looks Like Mike Perso (a doubly confusing nickname for my husband, who doesn’t know who Mike Perso is – he’s from my work), dances in The Second Line (whatever that is), and goes to live music venues, of which there appear to be thousands.

And then there is the Weird Hispanic Guy who wants to make a quick buck out of rebuilding the ruined city. He, too, frequents bars and listens to seemingly interminable musical numbers, often played by our favourite trombone-wielding character, The Guy Who Played the Funny Cop in The Wire.

And yet we persist. In our bed, a world away in St Kilda, Australia. Dogged. Determined. Sometimes heartened by an episode that appears to have some tangible plotpoints, or action, or humour. Sometimes bored. A couple of times, during particularly lenthy jazz pieces, I have fallen asleep, and woken up, fearing I have missed something, but knowing I couldn’t have, because mostly nothing does.

We are all on a strange journey together. I fear it will never end. I also fear it ending.

It must be brilliant.

Kate Langbroek

Kate Langbroek

Kate has become one of Australia’s most influential media personalities. Her career has spanned popular prime-time TV shows, top-rating breakfast radio, acting, as well as a host of writing credits.

On Television, Kate is best known for being one of the key cast members of Channel 10’s highly successful primetime show, The Panel which aired for 7 years.

She continues to play a big part in the TV world with appearances on top rating TV shows: Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, Can of Worms, Thank God You’re Here and Dancing with the Stars. Her early appearances included classics like Neighbours and Chances. Not once has she accepted a Logie and thanked Steve Molk.

Kate was asked to bring her unique and very personal conversational style to start-up radio station Nova 100 in 2001, and was one of the catalysts that catapulted the station to its ratings success. Along with co-host Dave Hughes, Kate continues to be heard each weekday morning on Hughesy and Kate for Breakfast on Nova 100.

Life is always interesting around Kate. Celebrated for her original style, wit and free spirit, she never treads the expected path and somehow manages to juggle a frenetic work career, busy social life and motherhood.