At The Root, we want this blog to be your source for summaries, commentary and critiques of David Simon's new HBO show, Treme. But I'm feeling really uninspired to write a glowing—or scathing—review. Is it that there are too many characters and mini-plot lines? Maybe. Is it that life in New Orleans after Katrina can't be bottled up into an hour-long TV show? I don't know. (Are you enjoying the show? Help me out in the comments section.)
But one thing David Simon doesn't fail to do is show a lot of loyalty to his cast members (Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters and Khandi Alexander all worked with him on previous projects) and to a city's landmarks and legends (See Coco Robicheaux, Elvis Costello, The Spotted Cat, among others). I think the most intriguing part of the show is the characters behind the characters.
Take for instance Phyllis Montana-Leblanc who plays "Desiree," Antoine Batiste's live-in girlfriend and baby mother. If you've seen Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke, then you no doubt remember "the star" of the documentary. Since When the Levees Broke, she's wrote her own book, Not Just the Levees Broke, and talked about her own experiences during Hurricane Katrina. Watch here:
Hold for Leblanc's role (and Slim Charles' cameo, sorry, another Wire reference), I'm just really bored. After reading glowing reviews last week (Slate's Troy Patterson, the Washington Post's Hank Stuever, I wondered if there was something I was missing. My realization: I want Treme to be The Wire. And it won't be. It can't be. I have to get over this. Quickly. And while I'm at it, I'll have to find a New Orleans handbook. The New Orleans Times-Picayune provides a handy Treme explainer after the first and second episodes.
So here's to next week and Treme: No more wishing for The Wire.