What do you do when your life, your city and your home are destroyed by a storm? How can you begin putting everything back together? How can you, in every sense of the word, rebuild?
“Treme” is a show about New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but it’s so much more than that. It’s also a show about music, money, culture, history, race, food and class. “Treme” masterfully tells these tales through a handful of dynamic characters that epitomize the grandeur and grit of the city itself. Chatty goofball Davis (Steve Zahn) is a DJ who yearns to tell the story of Katrina through a kind of jazz-funk opera. Ambitious chef Janet (Kim Dickens) is torn between moving to New York and continuing to put up with the difficulties of restaurant ownership in still transitioning New Orleans. Civil rights attorney Toni (Melissa Leo) works tirelessly to fight against corruption in the New Orleans Police Department. Albert, (Clarke Peters) is a well respected Mardi Gras Indian chief who lives in his dilapidated home while trying to rebuild it with his bare hands. Everyone tries their best to cling to whatever links them to the city they love.
If you watched director David Simon’s most successful venture “The Wire” you’re likely familiar with his unique brand of storytelling. All of Simon’s hallmarks are present in “Treme:” nonlinear storylines, intersecting characters, and heavy doses of cultural criticism. Much like “The Wire,” “Treme” rewards patience. For instance, this season, viewers who stuck with a complicated (and sometimes slow) plotline about the possible demolition of a housing project were rewarded with a visceral powder keg of a scene when it all finally comes to a head outside a city council meeting. You can’t quite be a casual fan of “Treme” because so much of show’s slow buildup is integral.
More than just dealing with the storm, the show captures the importance of belonging to a community to get through life’s hardships. It’s a show about resilience.
The Verdict: If you’re looking for a thought-provoking show about life and love in New Orleans, give “Treme” a try. It unfolds a little slowly, but it’s worth the wait.
Airs: Sundays at 10/9 CT
Starring: John Goodman, Khandi Alexander , Rob Brown , Kim Dickens, Melissa Leo, Clarke Peters , Steve Zahn, Wendell Pierce