Heard on the Hill: A Ton of Brick [City]

Posted January 21, 2011 at 4:37pm

If Members of Congress want to gauge how this whole bipartisanship thingy could work, they might want to tune into a reality show set in New Jersey.

The one that doesn’t star the Situation or Snooki, that is.

Season two of “Brick City,” the Sundance Channel docu-drama set in Newark, N.J., premieres Jan. 30. Mayor Cory Booker stars in the show, which follows him and other city players as they navigate murky political waters after Chris Christie’s victory in the Garden State’s 2009 gubernatorial contest.

Not only must the Democratic mayor find ways to work with the new Republican governor, but he is also forced to deal with a new surge of opposition from community members and massive budget cuts. It’s a situation that mirrors the one Congress finds itself in — two parties sharing power, public unrest and the economic crisis — and executive producers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin say Congress should look to New Jersey for guidance.

“They cross the aisle. They work together,” Benjamin says of Booker and Christie. “Chris Christie was a poor kid from Newark, so when he goes to Newark, he’s going home.”

The image of Booker presented in the show is different than the popular Twittering mayor known to most of America, the producers note.

“These were like the toughest nine months of his life,” Levin says. “We saw him truly tested.”