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Author Topic: Sam Watches The Wire  (Read 9979 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #80 on: May 01, 2014, 12:09:27 PM »
Season 5

This season might be the best argument for considering The Wire as a series of overarching seasons and less as a collective of episodes. Looking at the holistic picture, what the show attempts this season makes the entire season come together to be much better than many of its individual episodes. There are lots of flaws in each individual episode, but taking a step back, and the gaps become less of a problem than they were in the individual episodes.

Because so many of those episodes donít completely hold up in the moment, this is the weakest season of the show. The creation of a fictional killer crosses a line into a show that is a bit too absurd and silly for The Wire. Itís a narrative move that does give the season a thematic richness, but it fails to be narratively or psychologically believable.

The seasonís focus on how institutions reward lies and how those lies conflate and grow does allow the show to explore a number of compelling ideas. The most obvious one is that society is quick to present what is presented to them as truth. McNulty and by Scott end up feeding the public lies and no one things to every question the veracity of what they are presented. Thereís an assumption of truth from authority that can easily be abused.

Another exploration of this theme, which isnít revelatory, is how the lies feed and grow. At first, Scott just makes up a catchy quote to grab attention for a fluff piece, later heís misconstruing someoneís story. As the lies grow, itís necessary for Scott to make up more in order to continue gaining the attention and praise of his superiors. Later, he ends up getting a Pulitzer Prize for a story thatís a lie, and his bosses know itís a lie.

Likewise, McNultyís creation of a fictional serial killer grows more and more out of hand as the city eventually gives him more manpower and resources than he can use. It also takes away from actual police work. While his creation of a killer gets him the power he needs, it also necessitates continuing to perpetuate the lie in order to continue to have the power.

While neither of these stores feel as complex or groundbreaking as some of the other seasons of The Wire, it does beg an interesting question: does society want the truth? The newsroom is supposed to be a service to society, to tell them the truth, but is that actually what people want? Do they want honesty, or the sensationalism of half-truths and outright lies? Is it easier for us to buy and process that than the harsh realities?

Itís a moment where the show seems to reflect upon its own palatability to audiences. From early on it has taken complex, multifaceted looks at complicated issues in modern, urban American and itís honest about not always having a solution or an answer. The truth often doesnít have easy, simple answers, but thatís often what people want. Itís why stories that often simplify and characterize reality often do better than those that present the world as more complex and ambivalent.

Iíd argue that The Wire is compelling precisely because it refuses to be easily palatable or digestible, because it presents us with hard truths and admits to not having easy solutions to complex problems. It is able to be dramatic without simplifying or marginalizing. It presents the truth as something hard and sometimes being honest is admitting we donít know the answer. Such frankness can be frightening, but thereís something refreshing and liberating about it as well.



I feel like this series needs at least one more post, but I don't know what it looks like yet. Haven't been properly inspired. I'll mull over it a while longer.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #81 on: May 21, 2014, 10:45:27 AM »
And here it is, that one lasts post:

Watch The Wire

Note: The Wire is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Here is my argument for why you should watch the show.

The Wire might be the most important work of art from the past decade. I donít say this lightly. It represents a number of things: the rise of television as a more artistically complex and nuanced medium, a sprawling exploration of the nuances of an urban America, and a modern Dickensian tale realized on TV. Itís also a crime drama that usurps the typical representation of cops and criminals in the media.

As Lester Freamon (Clarke Peters) says, ďAll the pieces matter.Ē The Wire might be the pinnacle of season story arcs in television, a masterful construction of characters and subplots that intertwine and influence one another in unanticipated ways. Season three of The Wire is the best at taking plots that run parallel to each other and crossing them at certain key moments to show how nothing in the world of The Wire exists independent of the whole.

As the show progresses, it increases the audienceís perception of the world. Season after season widens the world of Baltimore. Season one starts with cops and drug dealers, season two adds the global crime world, season three introduces city government and politics, season four brings in the education system and season five examines the local newspaper. None of these worlds exists in isolation. All of them inform and impact the other in some significant way.

And as each of these world collide, it becomes more and more apparent that the social issues facing urban America and complex and multifaceted. One of the great strengths of the show is that it presents social issues with a depth that make simple judgments difficult. Yes, there are many places of corruption, but the roots of the corruption are more nuanced and donít give way to easy solutions.

Because of the reality of this world, the characters that inhabit this space donít fall along the easy good/evil dichotomy that is often presented in the crime drama. There are no good guys in The Wire, the police are just as corrupt and abusive of their power as the drug dealers. Everyone is morally compromised on some level, nobody has the moral high-ground.

Therefore, The Wire elicits sympathy from characters of all walks of life. Detective McNulty (Dominic West) struggling to try to be a father is contrasted against the boys of the street slinging who look to DíAngelo (Lawrence Gillard Jr.) as a father figure. Fan favorite Omar Little (Michael K. Williams) is just as prone to physical weakness and frailty as the drug-addicted Bubbles (Andre Royo). In characters from every world, there is a spark of humanity, a sense of tragedy, and a call for empathy.

Ultimately, The Wire isnít about proposing social reform. It presents a lot of problems, but doesnít call for solutions. Instead, it asks for understanding, an understanding that urban America is a place with people we should understand first and foremost as human beings. These are not people we should look down on, but people in which we can see ourselves, our hopes and dreams, our struggles and demons, our desire to want good and our penchant to do evil.

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #82 on: March 18, 2015, 05:20:20 PM »
Season 1. 11 Episodes in.
I'm most enjoying what Sam refers to as the show's Long Game strategy. All the events we get, dramatic as they are, are just pebbles in the pond. My favorite scenes involve different departments being at cross purposes and screwing each other up. This frequently comes up from the different groups who want to shut down Lt. Daniels and McNulty. The best example being when McNulty's boss puts in for warrants to make arrests so he can keep his stats high, even though they would blow the main case to bits by taking out low-level guys. At the start of Episode 11 - which follows the major incident of the season - a police officer from another department offers his assistance. "If you need more men or more money, just name it. You got it." I don't believe for one second the offer was sincere. The show doesn't live in that kind of world.

Antares

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #83 on: March 01, 2020, 03:16:08 PM »
I'm in the midst of my 4th full viewing of this outstanding series, and one thing I've come away with is that although Omar Little, Marlo Stanfield, Lester Freamon & Bubbles are all strong, popular characters, with an important arc in the storylines, the best character in this show, hands down is Bodie Broadus. J.D. Williams portrayal is a revelation as to how a young kid grows up and survives in the debilitating drug world that acts as its own little universe in the ghetto. It's a shame that his character is very rarely mentioned when the cast of great characters are named in reviews, discussions and chat rooms.
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oldkid

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #84 on: March 01, 2020, 03:49:19 PM »
I'm in the midst of my 4th full viewing of this outstanding series, and one thing I've come away with is that although Omar Little, Marlo Stanfield, Lester Freamon & Bubbles are all strong, popular characters, with an important arc in the storylines, the best character in this show, hands down is Bodie Broadus. J.D. Williams portrayal is a revelation as to how a young kid grows up and survives in the debilitating drug world that acts as its own little universe in the ghetto. It's a shame that his character is very rarely mentioned when the cast of great characters are named in reviews, discussions and chat rooms.

This. 

Bodie is the character I most love, most relate to, most want to know more about. 
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #85 on: March 01, 2020, 05:47:42 PM »
He is a great character. Honestly, I feel like I could write 200+ pages on The Wire and not even come close to expressing all my thoughts and connecting all the pieces.

Antares

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #86 on: March 01, 2020, 09:14:06 PM »
3.11 Middle Ground

Instead of leaving McNulty where we found him last episode, the season decides to push his character further. He gets another shot with Theresa, but McNulty doesnít seem interested. They canít really talk about their jobs to each other and he actually ends up turning her down when she tips him off about the free zones. Sheís probably the wrong woman and he still canít let go of the case.

In this scene I came away with the feeling that McNulty realizes that Theresa mentions the free zones in hopes that he'll have answers she can feed to Carcetti to use against Royce. It's an awakening moment for McNulty as he feels the tables being turned on him for once, by someone just as devious as he is when it comes to using people for their own purpose.
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Antares

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Re: Sam Watches The Wire
« Reply #87 on: April 06, 2020, 07:30:21 PM »
So I was bored tonight, you know, the being home all the time thing!, and I was surfing the net. Somehow I found my way on to IMDB's The Wire page, and here's a bit of trivia. Clarke Peters, who played Lester Freamon, was a session backup singer in England in the mid-70's.

In this first song by Heatwave, he sings the famous line "Got to keep on dancing, keep on dancing."

https://youtu.be/Eqk7YKh3aQg

In Joan Armatrading's top ten hit Love And Affection, he sings the line "Oh give me love."

https://youtu.be/pWFKKtvAvak
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