Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

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  • #31
    Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

    Whenever I need a spark of creativity I watch the Wire. I've done probably about 25 marathons of watching all 5 seasons all the way through. This is my favorite show of all time. I learn something every time I do a rewatch.

    I love Carver's arc. Bodie's death was so tragic. Especially if you go back to season 1 and watch one of the greatest scenes in TV history with D'Angelo giving the chess analogy.

    Remember Bodie asking him, what if I make it to the end? KING STAYS THE KING.

    Bodie was a soldier till the end.

    I want to do a WIRE show set in Chicago. So much senseless murder is going on. 180 murders this past summer. Someone needs to shed the light on what's going on in the streets of Chicago.

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    • #32
      Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

      Yeah, Carver's arc was incredible. The scene where he drops Randy off at the orphanage and then gets in his car, turns the mirror away cause he can't look at himself, gives me the f*ckin' goosebumps. The ending to season four is best thing I've ever seen in television/film.

      I love too how the writers gave subtle nods to something so much later in the show, knowing the audience was intelligent enough to pick up on it. Right before Bodie dies, he mentions to McNulty, "I feel like a pawn." Immediately you think of that scene with D'Angelo even though it was back in the first few episodes of the whole show - brilliant.

      Too many favorite characters. By category:

      Streets: Bodie was my favorite, Cutty too. Slim Charles, Avon, Stringer, Omar, Marlo.

      Greeks: Spiros by far. Agree what was said about him.

      Cops: Bunny, of couse. Lester. McNulty and Bunk are hilarious. Carver and Preb grew on me a lot.

      Politicians: Clay Davis, sheeeeeiiitttttt

      Docks: Nick, I guess.

      Kids: Michael

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      • #33
        Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

        Avon and Stringer shined. It was heartbreaking when they were reminiscing in season 3, knowing they just ****ed each other over.

        I also love the scene with Avon and Cutty, when Avon gives Cutty the money. After Cutty leaves, Slim Charles says " he was the man back in the day". Avon says, he still a man. That's the difference between Avon and Marlo. Avon had a code. He respected Cutty even though the life wasn't for him anymore.

        And ya, that scene with Carver at the end of season 4 when he's outside the orphanage in his car, and he's punching the steering wheel after seeing he ruined Randy's life. Powerful. Even worse is when Randy tells him, it's okay, you tried. Damn.

        The WIRE should be required viewing for all aspiring screenwriters.

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        • #34
          Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

          You're mixing two scenes: the one where Cutty tells Avon he doesn't want to be a soldier any longer, which is the one with the dialogue you quote, and the one where Cutty asks Avon for money to buy equipment for the gym (I think the first one is from season 3 and the second from season 4.)

          Avon was deliberately a much more sympathetic character than Marlo, but his code (although the word "code" doesn't really apply to Avon like it did to Omar) didn't stop him from killing innocent people, like the witnesses in season 1, or a child like Wallace.

          His reaction to Cutty isn't about a code but about respect (Avon replies to Slim Charles: "He a man today") for someone who has nothing but still stands to him when Avon tries to get Cutty to stay in the game even if he can't kill anymore (I think he wants to put Cutty in one of the towers), and then when Avon tries to mock him asking what else is he going to do and Cutty answers honestly that he doesn't know, half scared and half determined.

          More than a code, I think Avon shows in this scene a sort of wisdom that allows hims to understand Cutty's position while someone like Slim Charles can't.
          Last edited by Dr. Vergerus; 12-10-2012, 05:26 PM.

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          • #35
            Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

            Originally posted by Dr. Vergerus View Post
            You're mixing two scenes: the one where Cutty tells Avon he doesn't want to be a soldier any longer, which is the one with the dialogue you quote, and the one where Cutty asks Avon for money to buy equipment for the gym (I think the first one is from season 3 and the second from season 4.)

            Avon was deliberately a much more sympathetic character than Marlo, but his code (although the word "code" doesn't really apply to Avon like it did to Omar) didn't stop him from killing innocent people, like the witnesses in season 1, or a child like Wallace.

            His reaction to Cutty isn't about a code but about respect (Avon replies to Slim Charles: "He a man today") for someone who has nothing but still stands to him when Avon tries to get Cutty to stay in the game even if he can't kill anymore (I think he wants to put Cutty in one of the towers), and then when Avon tries to mock him asking what else is he going to do and Cutty answers honestly that he doesn't know, half scared and half determined.

            More than a code, I think Avon shows in this scene a sort of wisdom that allows hims to understand Cutty's position while someone like Slim Charles can't.
            Wrong. Both scenes take place in Season 3. Also I know they are two different scenes, just was giving context to the relationship between Cutty and Avon. Also Avon is in jail in Season 4. Both scenes take place in season 3.

            Cutty tries being a soldier, realizes it's not for him. Then comes to Avon at the end of season 3 for the money to start the gym. I meant respect, used code my bad.

            And Avon still respected Cutty. He respected that the life wasn't for him anymore. Ya he clowned at first, but then realized he was proud of the brother for getting out. Say what you will about Avon, he was multi-layered. he wasn't just a cutthroat. that's why D'Angelo getting killed hurt him so bad. Avon knew D was weak. But he wouldn't do D like that. That's family. Family was important to Avon. Hence why he makes Marlo pay that money to his sister in Season 5 for the connect to the Greeks.

            There's rules to the streets. No matter how dangerous or ruthless they are. Look how bent out of shape people were about trying to hit Omar on the Sunday morning when he was taking his grandma to church.

            Yes, of course rules get broken all the time. But there is somewhat a code amongst thieves with criminals about certain things.

            Even though, it wasn't right. I understand why Wallace had to get killed. It was def a painful scene to watch. That's what separates this show from those low level network cop shows. It doesn't take the easy way out. And shows the gritty realism of the streets and the consequences of living that life.
            Last edited by Deion22; 12-10-2012, 05:59 PM.

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            • #36
              Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

              Yes, I was wrong about it being different seasons, but the money isn't to start the gym: it's to buy new equipment. Cuddy started the gym on his own.

              I think I though of it being two different seasons because the scene where Cutty gets the first kids interested in boxing felt like a typical end of season scene, at least the way I remembered it a moment ago.

              Sure, Avon cared about family but the reason he asks Marlo to give the money to his sister is because he (Avon) is in jail and his sister is probably handling for him his money and whatever assets he may have left. Avon isn't in jail on a life sentence, he's just violated his parole and has to serve the rest of his initial sentence. I'm sure he expects most of Marlo's money to be there for him when he gets out. Or maybe not, maybe his sister hasn't forgiven him and he just wants to provide for her because she's family; at that point in the show, I don't remember if its clear what kind of relationship they have. Is it season 5 or 4? I'm thinking maybe season 4, and if so maybe she says something in the meeting with Namond and his mom? I have to watch this show again, I'm getting a lot of things mixed up.

              Network cop shows aren't necessarily "low level", they have to satisfy different needs, different audiences, different watching habits, satisfy the casual viewer that starts watching mid-season, etc. That's why I'm not sure one can say The Wire is the best tv show ever. I can certainly say it's the best serialized crime drama I've ever seen, but how can I compare The Wire to a procedural? Or a sitcom? Or a soap opera? It's apples and oranges and bananas. They were designed with different purposes and aired under different conditions.
              Last edited by Dr. Vergerus; 12-10-2012, 06:20 PM.

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              • #37
                Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                The Wire also had hilarious moments. In season 3 when they set up Hamsterdam, and the dealers complain they have no customers. LOL

                I was dying when they made the dealer gives Bub's homeboy the money back and rounded up all the fiends to take them to free zone. So the dealers could slang to them.

                I wish I could've written for this show.

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                • #38
                  Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                  I think I've read somewhere that after season 2 the network forced Simon and Burns to change the direction they had set for the show. I wonder what happened and what was their original vision.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                    You guys know Simon wanted to create a spinoff series based around Carcetti?

                    But if you ask me that would have been an incredible political show, watching Carcetti even more intimately than we were able to portray him within the show, watching that guy maneuver toward the governorship and maybe beyond. That would have been an incredible journey through what politics actually is. Not 'Father Knows Best' politics, but actual politics. I reached out to some of the better political writers, and they were like, 'Yeah, if you can get that, I’m on.' I was already constructing a writing staff.
                    HBO turned him down but he says he understood why.

                    (about former HBO CEO Chris Albrecht) This poor guy must have been listening to this and saying, 'Yeah that’s what I need, I need two shows that nobody’s watching in Baltimore, Maryland. What the …' He had to be laughing his ass off inside."
                    I wonder what he meant by 'governorship and beyond?' The presidency?

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                    • #40
                      Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                      Originally posted by Anagram View Post
                      I wonder what he meant by 'governorship and beyond?' The presidency?
                      Carcetti is modeled largely on former Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, now Governor of Maryland and possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2016

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                      • #41
                        Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                        I don't know... I found Carcetti to be utterly dislikeable (I blame the actor, though) and can't imagine watching a whole show around him.

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                        • #42
                          Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                          Wow, I didn't know about the potential Carcetti spinoff. That would have been great. Yeah, he's utterly unlikeable, but what a great character. Probably the truest portrayal of a politician I've ever seen. Goes from ambitious idealogue to just plain ambitious. You can see him sacrificing his beliefs one scene at a time. When the democratic committee comes to visit him and tells him to build a convention center and put his name on it, then they can talk governor. And then, the banquet with the poker playing developers that used to be Royce's boosters. How he and Royce had that bonding scene after the election, laughing and joking, proving that politics is the biggest game of all. And, my personal favorite, that early scene where he cheats on his wife with the woman in the bathroom -- staring at himself in the mirror while doing the deed. Pretty perfect.

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                          • #43
                            Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                            Yup it was about honesty rather than a politician that appealed to viewers.

                            And the realism was so awesome, the character flawed and so layered, that I loved Carcetti too. He was real.

                            And how about a shoutout to Norman Wilson, the coolest political advisor ever?

                            I think Deion pointed out that many of the supporting characters on the show are more interesting than most of the stars on other tv shows.

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                            • #44
                              Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                              "The last white boy I voted for was Bobby Kennedy, and you ain't no Bobby Kennedy."

                              He was awesome. Heard he auditioned for several parts throughout the seasons. I think Freamon was one he didn't get. He was perfect as Norman.

                              "Who you gonna vote for? Tony Grey? Royce?"
                              "Yeah, one of those brothers."

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                              • #45
                                Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                                Originally posted by Anagram View Post
                                You guys know Simon wanted to create a spinoff series based around Carcetti?

                                HBO turned him down but he says he understood why.
                                Loved Carcetti. Just saw this tidbit in that Sepinwall book, though not with the quotes so thanks for reposting.

                                Ironically, Chris Albrecht just canceled a show that was very similar to a Carcetti spinoff about the mayor of another town - even starring Kelsey Grammar, BOSS couldn't get viewers.

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