Why HBO's Treme is more relevant than ever

by phil on Saturday May 14, 2011 11:59 PM

If this is going to be the century of disasters, then HBO's TV series Treme is the most honest preview of what life will be like.

Treme (pron: treh-MAY) is a drama about life in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I know, that doesn't sound like the most interesting premise, given that the Hurricane was six years ago, and that since then there have been the BP Oil Spill, the Haiti Earthquake, the Japanese Nuclear Incident, and the Tsunami. (i.e. there is some disaster fatigue). However, I believe the show is more relevant than ever right now.

First, you have to understand that Treme is written and produced by David Simon who created The Wire. The Wire has been hailed by many critics as the best TV show ever. The Wire is a procedural crime drama, but because of it's realism, it's nearly a documentary of The War on Drugs and its effects on everybody in touches. I know, that too doesn't sound that interesting of a premise, but the realism in the show is so deep that it will change your politics, even if you're a liberal. The show takes many different threads, from the police department, to the projects, to the mobster board room, to the City Hall, and shows how they're all connected. The feeling you are left with is reminiscent of watching Syriana, where you get this "ah-hah" moment as you behold the entire machine and it's inner-workings all-at-once, and you think to yourself, "I understand."

Likewise with Treme, it's just one realistic slice after another of the lives of different people living in New Orleans. You come away feeling like you understand what it would be like if a natural disaster were to run through your hometown. And rather than being some action-packed, racy Lord of the Flies carnival, where you have brother fighting brother in the chaos of a storm, the show takes place three months after Katrina, when people of all walks of life are trying to rebuild their lives.

This show is more relevant than ever right now, because I think this summer is going to be a big one for natural disasters. It's only the middle of May, and we've had three historic natural disasters this year in the US: 300+ tornadoes in the Midwest, a million+ acres of land on fire in West Texas, and the Mississippi River flooding. This summer will be really hot, possibly the hottest ever, as nine of the warmest years on record for the world have been in the last decade. The other night, 60 mph winds shook my building, while weather warnings told me to stay away from windows.

So what is life like after a natural disaster? I'll let you watch the show and draw your own conclusions. My current takeaways are that relationships matter a whole lot more and so does having good insurance. I'm working on both.


ezra said on June 30, 2011 5:46 AM:

Treme's great! My only problem with it is this: after every other episode I'm left with a vacuous feeling of "did anything [i]really[/i] happen?" So it goes with character-driven stories I suppose. Compare this to Game Of Thrones where the plot is seemingly advanced a billion times every episode.

ezra said on June 30, 2011 6:00 AM:

Haha somebody can't use italics

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