Treme

Treme season one review | Fancy a rusty trombone?

Published by jamdog on 17th February, 2011.

Treme season one review

Sky Atlantic

Despite him giving us Homicide: Life on the Streets, The Wire and Generation Kill you fruits have probably had it with David Simon: the glacial pacing, the devastating critique of whichever flawed hierarchical system he’s targeting this week, the acute characterisation – who can be bothered with that? Nonetheless, his latest work Treme arrives on Sky Atlantic this Friday so resistance is futile. At its heart, it’s a tale of survival. Set three months after Hurricane Katrina did her worst in decimating New Orleans – submerging, wrecking and drowning everything in her path, leaving four-fifths of the city looking like a Michael Barrymore pool party, we see the aftermath. Liberals get mad at FEMA, small businesses wait on insurance money, and musicians bust their humps just to make a dime. It’s never easy in the Big Easy.

“Set three months after Hurricane Katrina did her worst in decimating New Orleans – submerging, wrecking and drowning everything in her path, leaving four-fifths of the city looking like a Michael Barrymore pool party, we see the aftermath.”

So, who we got? Bunk from The Wire plays Antoine Batiste, shitheel trombonist living hand to mouth from gig to gig (“play for that money, boys”, his refrain – like they have a choice); Antoine’s ex-wife LaDonna who runs a bar and searches for her scrote brother Daymo, missing since the storm. We got Creighton and Toni Bernette: Creighton, a schlubby English professor and YouTube voice of the people; his wife Toni a civil rights lawyer. Annie, played by Lucia Micarelli, is a busking violinist and, by the by, best looking woman in history.

Then we got Davis McAlary – a part-time DJ and full-time jazz obsessive, the kind of cracka-ass cracker who wishes he was born poor and black instead of just poor. Janette Desautel, Davis’s sometime fuckbuddy, keeps New Orleans cuisine alive in her restaurant despite being broke as fuck as she waits for the cheque from the insurance company to arrive. Her head barely above water, she’s struggling.

“There’s righteous indignation here and there but it’s no kind of manifesto. A thousand failings made Katrina the clusterfuck it was but the show is not a whodunnit.”

Isn’t everyone? Treme is all about the struggle. It’s about getting by, making do, living on a prayer. You get by on music, pot and tapping into the energy that hums from a city built for song. There’s righteous indignation here and there but it’s no kind of manifesto. A thousand failings made Katrina the clusterfuck it was but the show is not a whodunnit. It’s about how people recover from calamity and it’s about why New Orleans is special, why it needs preserving.

It pulls it off. Although Davis needs a slap every time he opens his mouth you care about the characters and want them to do well. The live music is authentic, hypnotic and crackles in the air like an electric storm. New Orleans feels magical – it also feels cursed. It’s a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there.

These guys would though. There’s pride on on Bourbon Street.

The verdict on Treme: “New Orleans niggas will fuck up a wet dream”

Marks out of 10: 7.5

 

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