Treme – Knock With Me – Rock With Me
Trying to write objective, critical reviews of a show like Treme is quite frankly a waste of time. The show is so subjective, so ephemeral and so much about the experience that even the most talented of Television Critic is going to fail to do it justice the very second that they start to try; that, plus it’s not a show that I want to be watching with a critical mindset. That said though it is nevertheless a show that I felt compelled to shout about just this once, but it’s going to be in big broad strokes and unprofessional terms; just how New Orleans likes it.
Smells and sounds, that’s how New Orleans hits you, those are the senses that sing first and sing strongest. Of course those are also the two things that I cannot do any justice to with words and images. You walk down the streets of the French Quarter and find your nose twitching towards the scents of strange spices and scalding sugars as they mingle in the afternoon air. Eventually you follow them to a fancy restaurant and sit down to get your fill. Cajun and creole cooking on show here is perfectly representative of its town; simple to stare at, essentially slop, but with bigger flavors than you can imagine.
From there you wandered the streets, working off my meals and looking for a nice little place to hear some sound. While the food exceeded expectations the music left me a little disappointed. After thoroughly mapping the French quarter I had heard only greatest hits Jazz, the Gold mix made for tourists, and so I started home head low. It happened like something in a movie; as I neared the hotel I heard something off in the distance, something intriguing in the back of my ear.
I was but a block away when it hit me just what this was, exactly what i had been looking for. I followed the beat from block to block, soon able to properly make out the music until eventually I turned to find a proper jazz band simply playing on the side of the street deep in the Treme. They were a youth band spruking their sound but it was perfect and after a half hour of free music I headed home, my foot still tapping.
That’s New Orleans for me and so is Treme, the city and the show inseparably linked. It’s impossible to really find and more impossible still to resist. On the surface it seems to be just like something that you’ve seen, heard or eaten before but it satisfies in a brand new way. It’s a place entirely unique into itself and a show unlike anything around it.
So Treme was never going to be a smash hit, hell it succeeded this long only out of the goodness of HBO’s heart and this season that started tonight will likely be its last proper one; the ‘fourth’ more of an extended finale or movie/mini-series. That deal is done, so I write this not to implore you to watch the show and save it, but to watch the show for your own sake, to save your palette from the paltry, over complicated and bland program offerings that oppose it. It’ll make you mouth salivate, your toes tap and your heart sing; so give it a shot.