TV sometimes has idealized worlds, where people know and care for every neighbor.
It’s had Mayberry and Walton’s Mountain and Smurfs Village and such. And now, it has … well, a chunk of New York City.
Lorraine Toussaint, who stars, says that’s believable. “’The Village’ is not at all foreign to me,” she said. “It’s an old New York that I knew.”
She’s not sure if there are still areas like this — “gentrification can take away some of the family elements” — but she knows it’s possible.
In NBC’s “Village,” an older couple (Toussaint and Frankie Faison) provides the core for neighbors who know each other. There ‘s a cop, a law student, a war veteran; there are single moms – one from Iran, the other a nurse with an activist, artistic teen-ager.
They’ve had crises – from teen pregnancy to old age, plus cancer, war injuries and immigration trouble – but they’ve done it together. That’s what Toussaint finds believable.
She was 10 when she moved with her mother (a teacher) from Trinidad to New York, around 1970.
That was “when Hell’s Kitchen was still Hell’s Kitchen …. We had pay phones on the corner (and) I knew everyone in my building.” If a junkie blocked her way “I would go to the corner and call one of my neighbors (to) walk me home safely.”
It was a togetherness world, she said. “We had picnics. We had real family in that building.”
Toussaint graduated from the High School for the Performing Arts, studied Shakespeare at Juilliard and starred in “Any Day Now,” confronting racial issues in Alabama. It “was groundbreaking …. We were talking about things that I think still we’re unable to talk about.”
Except, maybe, in this Brooklyn village, where neighbors link to fight life’s crises.
— “The Village,” 10 p.m. Tuesdays, NBC, debuting March 19