Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

K-Ville, "Pilot"

Image for article titled K-Ville, "Pilot"
Image for article titled K-Ville, "Pilot"

As a New Orleanian, I really wanted to like K-Ville. A show set in post-Katrina New Orleans draws much-needed attention to my still recovering hometown, not to mention the fact that since K-Ville is shot in New Orleans, it's a boost to the city's winded economy.

Still, I, like many New Orleanians, was wary of such a prospect. Inevitably, fictional depictions of New Orleans in movies and televison tend to have all the depth of a postcard: the major tourist draws– Jazz! Mardi Gras! Voo-doo! Gumbo!– are highlighted, but little else. The city usually comes off like a riverboat casino commercial. But while skimming the surface of the city in the past was fine, expected even, to do so now would be worse than shallow, it would be irresponsible, possibly even exploitative. Would K-Ville be able to live up to the challenge? Could it show the reality of life in post-Katrina New Orleans?

In a word: no. But, really, K-Ville's pilot doesn't seem to be too concerned with depicting reality of any kind. It's a show where preposterous conspiracies are uncovered and resolved rapidly, where characters can be walking one second, and in a speedy car chase the next, and where people give lengthy orations about who they are and what motivates them, instead of, you know, just showing us. In other words, it's a cop drama, and one that is so by-the-book it might as well come with its own cop-show-cliché checklist.

The show centers around Marlin Boulet (Anthony Anderson), a veteran N.O.P.D. officer who plays by his own rules (check). Two years after his partner deserted him in the aftermath of Katrina, Boulet is paired up with Cobb (Cole Hauser), a straight-laced rookie who couldn't be more different than himself (check). Throughout the course of the show, they must learn to work with each other while persuing key players in a contrived conspiracy (check). There are shootouts (check), and several car chases (check). The bad guys at one point exact a particularly pointed, and thoroughly ridiculous revenge on Boulet's family (check), that involves a fire hydrant, a long hose, a second-story bedroom, and a little girl who we're told "cries whenever it rains" (apparently, someone told the bad guys this too!). After a very showy showdown (check), everything is resolved.

Not everything in K-Ville follows the cop show cliché checklist, however. Some things follow the New-Orleans-cliché check list: scene in a voo-doo shop (check), multiple gumbo references (check), rich people who live in an obscene plantation that is clearly a tourist attraction and not a residence (check).

But despite all the clichés, there are some hints at the kind of fresh, nuanced, realistic show that K-Ville could be: the flashback in the beginning to the storm, the scene where Boulet catches his young neighbor stealing a tree, the montages of ruined, waterlogged houses. New Orleans, in its present state, makes an interesting backdrop, but it would make a far more compelling character.

Grade: C

Stray Observations:

—The waterhose through the window revenge: Patently ridiculous, unbelievably contrived, or both?

—Boulet makes fried shrimp po'boys at his house? Really?

—"There's more loose ends than a whorehouse!" Nice stab at a colorful Southern simile, Captain.