the wire

The Wire has been in my Netflix queue for a few years now. It’s one of those things I know that I’d love, but the time just never seems right. I was a big fan of the television show Homicide, and I know that once I start, there won’t be any turning back… Anyway, based on this Metafilter thread, I just bumped it up to the top of the list. So, if you’re wondering why I’m not blogging as much these next few weeks, that’s probably the reason.

Here’s the quote from series creator David Simon (recently left on the Atlantic Monthly website) that sealed the deal:

Writing to affirm what people are saying about my faith in individuals to rebel against rigged systems and exert for dignity, while at the same time doubtful that the institutions of a capital-obsessed oligarchy will reform themselves short of outright economic depression (New Deal, the rise of collective bargaining) or systemic moral failure that actually threatens middle-class lives (Vietnam and the resulting, though brief commitment to rethinking our brutal foreign-policy footprints around the world). The Wire is dissent; it argues that our systems are no longer viable for the greater good of the most, that America is no longer operating as a utilitarian and democratic experiment. If you are not comfortable with that notion, you won’t agree with some of the tonalities of the show…

And then, spastically following links like Mrs. Howell hopped up on radioactive sugar beets, I came across this recent interview with Simon, in which he says:

…My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell…

How can one read something like that and not push his show further up the Netflix ladder, over last year’s season of Heroes and whatever the fuck else?

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5 Comments

  1. hd
    Posted January 4, 2008 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I have to tell you, I recently got into The Wire and it is the best show I have ever wasted time on. It provides a social critique of the “whole picture” that is so spot on! Sometimes, we cheer at the T.V. while the show is on at my house.

    I wait with baited breath for each new disc to come in the mail. I don’t know what I am going to do when it is over…. Beware the addiction, enjoy the show.

  2. TDB
    Posted January 4, 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    When the disks stop coming, there’s always the prequels:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4ufKCHG0KI

  3. Ol' E Cross
    Posted January 4, 2008 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I was watching it on BET for a bit, but it seems to come and go from their programming. It’s a good show, but can it really do for Baltimore what Robocop did for Detroit?

  4. mark
    Posted January 5, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Well, Superbad and Waitress went back to Netflix this morning, so the next thing to arrive should be The Wire. I suspect I’ll be starting on Monday.

    I have a friend, an old Crimewave reader in Baltimore, who is now a crime scene investigator there, or something like that. It’s a growth industry in Baltimore. One of these days I’ll ask and see whether or not she’d be willing to be interviewed for MM.com. It would be interesting to hear her perspective on Homicide and The Wire.

  5. mark
    Posted January 5, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    For those interested, the “New York Times” has a good article on Clark Johnson, the Homicide actor who directed both the first and last episodes of The Wire. Here’s a clip form the piece that has nothing to do with Johnson. It’s about the subject matter of this final series of The Wire, the changing newspaper industry:

    …This season the newspaper industry is in the spotlight. Because of cuts by its owner, the fictional Sun’s city editor and his staff are buffeted by buyouts, closed foreign bureaus and less space for news, all of which have afflicted the real Sun and many other newspapers around the country. “Your piece took a bad bite there,” Gus Haynes tells a young reporter in one episode. Her 35-inch article about three murders was cut to 12 inches and buried inside the paper. “There’s no explaining it,” he tells the reporter when she asks why. “Advertising’s down. We’ve got a smaller news hole”…

    It’s a good article, even if you aren’t a fan of Johnson’s.

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