Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

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  • mr_purple
    replied
    Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

    Originally posted by Armak View Post
    Best show ever. That is all.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Appreciating a complex narrative: The Wire

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

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  • Mike M
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    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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  • DavidK
    replied
    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: .

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    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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  • Mike M
    replied
    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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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    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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  • killertv
    replied
    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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  • BenJacoby
    replied
    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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  • Anagram
    replied
    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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  • BenJacoby
    replied
    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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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    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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  • JoeBanks
    replied
    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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  • Anagram
    replied
    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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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    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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