May 16, 2010

"The Township"

I spent many Sunday afternoons in the 1990s being shown by real estate agents around the worst houses in Wilmette, IL (i.e., the only ones I could afford), so I'm looking forward to this series:
Speaking at an HBO press junket Monday, acclaimed writer-producer David Simon, creator of the gritty urban dramas The Wire and Treme, announced that his next project will be an epic, multilayered examination of the contented and comfortable streets of suburban Wilmette, IL.

According to Simon, the sprawling new series, tentatively titled The Township, will offer a searing and unsentimental glimpse into the happy social fabric of modern-day Wilmette, an area known for its deeply untroubled history and well-functioning political structure.

"As a writer, my mission is to tell a story that makes viewers think about how conditions in American cities are created," Simon told reporters. "We can't just turn our back on the staggering levels of happiness occurring in a place like Wilmette and say, 'Well, that's not my life.' We have to confront this tranquility head-on and shine a light on the institutions that are responsible for it."

Added Simon, "I want this show to be an unflinching dissection of how the system has in no way failed the people of this town."

According to HBO sources, the novelistic series will chronicle the interconnected web of police officers, politicians, tradespeople, teachers, and ordinary families who are "all complicit" in perpetuating the cycle of institutional effectiveness that makes Wilmette the seventh best place in the country to raise children.


Anonymous said...

that town really is preternaturally pleasant

OneSTDV said...

I 100% knew it was from The Onion when I read this line:

"I want this show to be an unflinching dissection of how the system has in no way failed the people of this town."

Anonymous said...

ya punk'd me, dude.

Anonymous said...,17426/

We have to confront this tranquility head-on and shine a light on the institutions that are responsible for it...."It's a panorama," Simon continued. "A panorama that asks, 'What are the inherent niceties that bind these characters together?'",_Illinois#Demographics

The racial makeup of the village was 89.66% White, 0.56% Black, 0.04% Native American, 8.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.42% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.08% of the population.


97.82% White and Asian.

Jeff said...

I honestly think it would be an interesting series.

Simon in UK said...

"I honestly think it would be an interesting series"

I agree - after all didn't there used to be lots of popular fictional series about nice places and competent people? A look at what makes things work, how people work together to create an effective society, and the challenges they face. This would be particularly useful when contrasted with the worst dysfunctionality of a failing city like Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Rahm Emanuel went to high school there.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I honestly think it would be an interesting series.

Kinda like watching Father Knows Best, or Leave it to Beaver, or My Three Sons, or The Dick Van Dyke Show, or the Andy Griffith Show, or I Dream of Jeannie, or Bewitched, or Gilligan's Island, or The Munsters, or Lassie, or Flipper...

Basically the kinds of shows America grew up on, before everything went to Hell in a handbasket.

Anonymous said...

Have cousins that live there..... those are some happy m#therf#ckers, no lie

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

Wilmette needs to share in some of Chicago's diversity and vibrance. The denizens from the next batch of Cabrini Green's to be torn down must be sent north to help out. The gubment can help with expenses if necessary. I think that last year state senator Meeks had already sent out a scouting party. Or maybe we can have some of the town people adopt, which is much the rage these days.

rob said...

Too bad it isn't true. We can learn from things that go well. There are are probably 100 times as many books on horrible governments and societies for every book on good ones.

josh said...

Its neighbor,Highland Park is bravely standing up for immigration,with their b-ball team. (Why are girls playing spoorts anyway? Shouldnt they be learning some valuable skills,like cooking?? I am sooo not kidding). My idea: 1/2 the kids at Highland Park High are bussed to vibrant North Chicago High,with half the dear minorities bussed to HP! How about it beloved Jews who are so concerned with the plight of immigrants??

Anonymous said...

>97.82% White and Asian.<

Clearly, this disgustingly whitebread place needs to learn the lessons of TOLERANCE before the ignorance and racism of its inhabitants explode. Where are the schvartzes?!

concerned netizen said...


While you are on this active phase your Jewish obsession, why don't you talk about a guy who should be a personal hero, Jonathan "I'm Proud to be a Homophobe" Katz, who Obama recently appealed to to stop the Deepwater Horizon disaster?

Seriously, how did this guy escape your attention all this time?

Anonymous said...

Wilmette is very nice but my favorite place is in neighboring Winnetka.

The Woodley Road neighborhood has beautiful homes, friendly neighbors, and a mean household income of $450 thousand dollars a year. I strongly suggest that when you are driving through that neck of the woods you stop by and see the Indian Hills club (the club that Caddyshack was based on) and if the weather is nice, take a walk or bicycle ride on Woodley road. Woodley road is a real treasure.

Of course, in the winter, all of the North Shore is too cold. If weather is what you care about, you are much better off in West Los Angeles. Give all of the North Shore a pass

Anonymous said...

The problem with a places like Wilmette is that they tend to be very boring. All the young people get out as soon as possible, leaving it pretty much composed of the middle-aged.

steve wood said...

I'm sure Wilmette and Winnetka (not to mention Lake Forest) are lovely places to live. Shouldn't they be? I mean, seriously, these are very rich towns. If they weren't pleasant, well-functioning and happy, then there would be something seriously wrong.

Although I'm sure an interesting series could be set there, trying to learn lessons from why they work well is a pointless exercise. They are the civic equivalent of the working mother who "has it all" - thanks to her nanny, her maid, and her highly paid, indulgent husband. Nice work if you can get it, but not particularly applicable to the lives of ordinary people.

AmericanGoy said...

Wanted to live in Little Israel, eh?

adfadfasdfdfs said...

Actually, The Onion may be onto something. In a way, series like The Wire and the upcoming New Orleans show exist because of towns like Wilmette which, though upper middle class and white, is largely liberal.

So, to an extent, The Wire is ABOUT Wilmette, or about the kind of white liberal(or neocon) middle class that goes for that kind of SERIOUS tv docudrama pretending to be 'serious art'.

The kind of people who are most glued to and gushing about series like The Wire are precisely the highly educated and well off--and socially conscious and SWPL--young white liberals you find in places like Wilmette. Wilmette and Winnetka mostly produce elitist liberals who go to top schools and become a pain in the arse to people like us.

And why do SWPL whites in towns like Wilmette love David Simon's shows? Because they want to feel socially and morally connected to HARSH REALITY and social crisis. But they want riches, safe streets, and comfort too. So, they settled in rich suburbs, but then tney feel kinda guilty and compromised by their having chosen comfort and privilege for commitment and progress. So, watching stuff like The Wire makes them feel connected, caring, committed, etc. The Wire was made by a SWPL elitist for SWPL privileged whites.

So, to the extent that stuff like The Wire appeals to people in Wilmette, The Onion piece isn't as farfetched as it may seem.
Simon makes series about crime infested neighborhoods for those living in safe neighborhoods. No wonder Jonah Goldberg wet his pants in his gushing praise of that dumb show.

I mean if you know anything about urban social reality--outside the zone of white middle class comfort--, The Wire is NOTHING SPECIAL. It's rather mundane.
David Simon essentially likes to show off to other whites that he's been to the WAR ZONE and lived to make a series about it--just like Oliver Stone made a BIG FUSS about having served in Vietnam and Sam Fuller made a huge deal about having served in WWII. Platoon, Big Red One, and the Wire are not major works of art but have been praised as such by SWPL wimps who are impressed that a white guy has been to hell and back and survived to tell a story about it. Boring!!!

Anonymous said...

C'mon peeps, what with all the "Wonderful Ws" how could it possibly be that no one mentioned nearby Waukegan?



If you know the territory you'll know why I'm laughing out loud. Whenever I meet a white kid from Northern IL with an honest to goodness blaccent I invariably surprise him/her by asking how Waukegan is doing these days.

The boats are nice though and all sorts of have-beens do shows in the sole remaining theatre, so there's that.


Anonymous said...

personally, I thought the plots were excellent. And one of the seasons isn't even about a ghetto war-zone... it's about blue collar whites. And the season detailing the city schools could easily have been interpreted as, "these schools are failing because the kids are dumb and their parents are dumber".