Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

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  • #46
    Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

    Originally posted by Mike M
    The Wire certainly isn’t the highest rated show, or a popular favorite, or even the most award winning (although it should be) for a lot of reasons, mainly mainstreams resistance to a largely minority cast, the slang, location and slow builds, etc. Many casual viewers don’t have the patience or the intellect to watch The Wire. They’d rather watch four episodes of Honey Boo-Boo. Most shows cater to the mainstream.

    The best part of The Wire is, they didn’t give a sh*t. They were never there to simply "entertain" the viewer, but to make a dramatic statement about so many social issues through the use of narrative fiction. It’s so much more than just a television show; it’s a work of art. It’s the equivalent of a great novel. Its argument is as clear as reading an educational essay. Practically all other shows, even outstanding shows, when you boil them down, are just television shows. They are there to entertain.
    Actually, it is highly rated: IMDB -- 9.5/10; Filmaffinity -- 8.8/10.

    You say "mainstream" and "entertainment" like they were dirty words

    And I don't get the pride in not giving a **** about entertaining the viewer. Don't you think it takes more talent and effort to make an important statement AND entertain the viewer?

    Do you think that because you like a TV show that other people don't, that somehow means you're smarter? "Many casual viewers don't have the intellect to watch The Wire"? Really?

    Wow.

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    • #47
      Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

      Originally posted by Dr. Vergerus View Post
      Actually, it is highly rated: IMDB -- 9.5/10; Filmaffinity -- 8.8/10.

      Don't you think it takes more talent and effort to make an important statement AND entertain the viewer?

      Do you think that because you like a TV show that other people don't, that somehow means you're smarter?
      Okay, you're putting words in my mouth. Intellect was a poor word choice, but I'm not claiming to be smarter than anyone. I'm not saying mainstream stuff is bad at all.

      I'm saying many people don't have the patience to watch something such as The Wire, where you literally have to watch the entire show to fully get it. Simon's said this numerous times.

      It takes a lot of concentration to watch it, more than any show I can think of. If you miss one scene, you can be lost. It isn't a show you have on in the background. You have to become fully immersed in it. I've constantly heard from people that say they've watched the first few episodes and gave up on it because it's "too slow.-

      And I never said they didn't give a sh*t about entertaining the viewer. They also had other agendas for the show aside from it being pure entertainment and I respect that. They set out to make the show how they wanted, regardless of it appealing to the masses or not, which in many ways it doesn't. Having a show with a largely minority cast is a huge risk, it's pathetic but true, that just this will already keep you away from the masses. Even George Lucas had trouble getting support for Redtails and he's GEORGE LUCAS.

      I think anyone who watches the show will agree it's incredibly entertaining. They clearly did an amazing job in the entertainment category; I'm just saying it goes beyond that.

      By highly rated, I mean cable ratings. It was actually on the verge of being canceled twice. In fact, Simon convinced HBO to let him do Season 4 and 5 because they loved the concept so much, even though they knew the ratings would not be good. I respect that, a lot.

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      • #48
        Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

        Okay, I misunderstood what you meant by "highest rated" (although it probably would have been clearer if you said the show didn't get the best or highest ratings; "rated" sort of implies the action of someone giving a rate, not one passively achieved through viewership, or at least that's how I understand it).

        You got to watch those word choices of yours

        What would you say is your favorite season?

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        • #49
          Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

          Originally posted by Mike M View Post
          It takes a lot of concentration to watch it, more than any show I can think of. If you miss one scene, you can be lost. It isn't a show you have on in the background. You have to become fully immersed in it. I’ve constantly heard from people that say they’ve watched the first few episodes and gave up on it because it’s “too slow.”
          I agree with this. A few months ago I watched it all again for the third time and convinced a friend of mine to watch with me. He nearly gave up and it was episode 5 before he started connecting. At the end of season 2 he went out and bought the DVD set.

          There's much more humor in The Wire than people generally realize, although I found the humor is more noticeable after you've already seen the whole series once.

          There are some brief moments that paint huge strokes in the background. For example in season 3 (?) there is a scene where one of Avon's boys is looking for Omar in a gay bar and there's a quick shot of Rawls drinking comfortably at the end of the bar. This is the only suggestion of his homosexuality throughout the entire series and he wears a wedding ring. Blink and you'll miss it but it's a tribute to the genius of this series that the smallest moments can add some much depth to the story. It's also why the series warrants repeat viewing.

          As to favorite characters it's hard to choose but I fell in love with Omar, Freamon, Bunk, Phelan and the sensational Clay Davis. It's hard to choose a favorite season but I'd go with 3, and the fantastic sequence and soundtrack at the end of season 2 is worth having on DVD all by itself. I would LOVE to have a set of CDs with the music from the series - like everything else, the rarely acknowledged score is brilliant.
          Last edited by DavidK; 12-11-2012, 03:41 PM. Reason: .
          "Friends make the worst enemies." Frank Underwood

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          • #50
            Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

            Originally posted by Dr. Vergerus View Post
            Okay, I misunderstood what you meant by "highest rated" (although it probably would have been clearer if you said the show didn't get the best or highest ratings; "rated" sort of implies the action of someone giving a rate, not one passively achieved through viewership, or at least that's how I understand it).

            What would you say is your favorite season?
            Lol. It's tight between 3 and 4.

            Simon talked about his vision for a sixth season that would focus on the growing Hispanic community in Baltimore. There's a large population along Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown and Greektown (Greektown isn't really Greek anymore). I wonder how that would have turned out, although I think five seasons was a perfect length for the show.

            Originally posted by DavidK View Post
            There are some brief moments that paint huge strokes in the background. For example in season 3 (?) there is a scene where one of Avon's boys is looking for Omar in a gay bar and there's a quick shot of Rawls drinking comfortably at the end of the bar. This is the only suggestion of his homosexuality throughout the entire series and he wears a wedding ring. Blink and you'll miss it but it's a tribute to the genius of this series that the smallest moments can add some much depth to the story. It's also why the series warrants repeat viewing.
            Exactly. And there's so many scenes like this. The chess scene in season one, then in four Bodie mentions he "feels like a pawn." I think in episode 1, McNulty tells Rawls how he hates boat fumes and he gets sea sick. A few episodes later, Lester warns him they will send him where he hates if he keeps pissing them off. He tells McNulty to never say where he doesn't want to go. Then, at the end of season one, Rawls says to McNulty, "I want to make sure you land okay. So, where don't you want to go?" McNulty just smirks. We know McNulty already told him, and he knows that. Start of season 2, he's on a harbor duty.

            The only other mention to Rawls being gay is in Season 5, Jay finds a note in the bathroom that reads, "Rawls sucks d***." If the viewer missed the scene you were talking about, that note is pretty insignificant, but when you take that scene, it's not.

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            • #51
              Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

              http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...,3207915.story

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              • #52
                Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

                Originally posted by Armak View Post
                Best show ever. That is all.
                "Mr.Purple is another guy on another job, you're not Mr.Purple!"

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