Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wire withdrawal

Well, it's over, but didn't feel over until I saw the last episode for the second time last night. I've never been able to get the whole plot without that second watching. And, when HBO runs the entire season over I will watch it again. (At least I hope they do, they have always....and run it again just before the next season was about to start...but if there's no more seasons.....?)

Thank goodness for HBO's The Wire website, where I've been able to go back over the plots and cast lists to figure out what I missed. And, for a quick fix, check out the 'pre-story' episodes at The Wire Chronicles (as well as the promos).

This show was so good that I think every literate household should have a copy of all 5 seasons on DVD, just as our ancestors had a set of Dickens, or later maybe Hemingway, in book form. It's that important at helping us understand our society. Sure, the plot stalled occasionally, as many commenters delight in pointing out today. Dickens didn't get it all right, either.

There's lots of discussion linked at Poynter's Romenesko, including the Washington Post's Teresa Wiltz' online discussion which gets lots and lots of commenters. Many don't get some of the intricacies of the plot, which is hard to pick up on the first watching. Note Wiltz has summarized every plot, too, very handy.

I've read every discussion over at Slate about the show, some of which was enlightening, but am happiest about the latest posting from Andy Bowers, which links to lots of interviews with the cast members. Oh, what a cast! There's never been a show with so many good roles for black actors. I hope they can become stars after this. (The Slate discussion has suggested a couple times that Wendell Pierce needs his own cop show. Just call it 'Bunk'.) (And maybe set it in New Orleans, where he's from...Pierce's interviews on Spike Lee's Katrina series were heartbreaking.)
I'll be listening to these interviews.

It's that important because there are kids like Wallace and Randy and Duquan, not to mention Bodie and D'Angelo (and Poot, but at least he has a job selling athletic shoes now) who have no chance at a real life. There are cops and politicians and journalists who take advantage of the system. There are bad people who feed off misery. And how can we know about them without storytelling? This is one of the best stories, ever.

One last word, from David Simon to his fans:
This year, our drama asked its last thematic question: Why, if there is any truth to anything presented in The Wire over the last four seasons, does that truth go unaddressed by our political culture, by most of our mass media, and by our society in general?
We've given our answer:
We are a culture without the will to seriously examine our own problems. We eschew that which is complex, contradictory or confusing. As a culture, we seek simple solutions. We enjoy being provoked and titillated, but resist the rigorous, painstaking examination of issues that might, in the end, bring us to the point of recognizing our problems, which is the essential first step to solving any of them.

(Updated:) Lots more on The Wire at New York magazine.



  • Me and the other writers over at Highbrid Nation loved The Wire. Actually, one of our guys just did a post today talking about how important The Wire was to viewers as well as the cast.

    I think The Wire is one of those shows that most people won't truly get until years from now. 20 years from now people will look back on the Wire as one of the greatest shows ever created.

    By Anonymous Mike Belgrove, at 11:15 AM  

  • Nice stuff you got, very interesting to read. By the way a friend of mine who likes to get Viagra told me about it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:01 PM  

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