David Simon on The Two Great Currencies of Television (2013)

“Two things are still the great currency, even in this golden age of television: sex and violence. If you have hot people hooking up, then you’ve got one; then you’re spending one currency. And if you’re blowing shit up and killing people, then you’ve got something else going for you. Well, The Wire was what it was and it was something we wanted to tell a story about. But clearly it had the currency of being a gangster story underneath, at least on the surface that’s what it was. It was a crime story. And The Corner was that and Generation Kill had Marines blowing shit up. There have been very few television shows that embrace the idea of real human beings on a real human scale. It’s really hard to do. It’s hard to keep people interested. I’m not saying Treme succeeded in any grand way because I think it’s been a very quiet show and I am hoping it will stand for what it is and people will find it. But we weren’t interested in being hyperbolic with the show. We weren’t interested in tarting it up and we weren’t interested in [having] the violence that there is in the show actually correspond to the dynamic of violence in the city of New Orleans. It’s really a show about the role of culture and bringing a city back and what it means to live in a pluralistic society that is capable of creating pluralistic culture. What better form for it than American music? Roots music, jazz, blues, whatever. How many shows can you name that are really about that? Maybe like the first couple seasons of Northern Exposure or these shows that basically are studies of place and time and character. There are people who the moment that they realize no vampire is going to show up or nobody is going to be fucking, it’s like, ‘Waiter, check please.'”