When I fall in love with a new restaurant, there’s nothing more fun than introducing others to it, or cooking a new recipe and watch as a friend or love’s face lights up with pleasure eating it. It’s also the same when I clue someone into a really good show. You not only get to give your friend some honest tv watching enjoyment, but you get to relive the experience with them as they discover the joy/thrill/suspense you found in the show. Now I want to do that for you, and the show I think most of you probably haven’t seen and really need to is HBO’s Treme.
I absolutely love this show. I’ve been trying to think about what exactly why. It’s a little show, not glitzy. Even though it’s on HBO it has never gotten the buzz of a Sex and the City or the Girls. It’s not about self absorbed 30 somethings in too expensive clothes or self absorbed thick brained 20 somethings in no clothes. No, it’s a small show that is tenderly and beautifully rendered about a city, people, and music that I love. Whoever writes this show clearly knows the city and loves it too.
Treme is a neighborhood in New Orleans, a real neighborhood with real people. The show starts 3 months after Hurricane Katrina and it lives in a world of musicians, chefs, and other NOLA characters who took weathered the storm and their attempts to take back their city. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t told in an easy way. People die, people you love die. There is injustice and it will piss you off and it will make you cry.
Treme shows New Orleans isn’t an easy city. It is dirty and messy and corrupt. It was before Katrina and the water from the storm didn’t wash that away. One thing that makes Treme so great is that it is honest, sometimes brutally so.
I’d say Treme is also about 50% music, incredible local music. It will make you want to go and hang out in every divey joint in the city because we all know that’s where the best music lives. The stories are told in short bursts, like jazz riffs. This isn’t conventional storytelling. Thoughts are sometimes started and then you move into another scene, no resolution or nicely wrapped up scene. Just bits that start and stop and circle back later. While there are a variety of characters and story lines, it isn’t really telling separate stories it is telling one large multilayered intertwined story. Strong characters fight, cry, lose, and fight the hell back. Or quit. It shows people fighting for their city and with their city. Solutions aren’t easy if they come at all, but in the end it shows the heart and soul of this wonderful city.
I love New Orleans. I was enchanted with the city before I even ever stepped foot in the place. It was one of those places I knew I knew would feel like home. When I was there for the first time and heard my first NOLA jazz and ate fried chicken from Willie Mae’s* I knew I was in love.
So watch Treme. There’s 3 short seasons already out and a final one airing this year to finish the story. In one episode you may cry and cheer, yell FINALLY, only to then have the rug pulled out from under you. You will love these people, you will fall in love with this city and then trust me, you will go and the love affair will be there for life.
You’re welcome. Maybe I’ll see you there.
*if you haven’t eaten fried chicken at Willie Mae’s my darlings, you haven’t lived. I’m not the only one who thinks so.