Mar 13, 2008

Cutting The Wire

"Let's go home."

With those words, I and not nearly enough other people bid farewell to the greatest show ever to grace American television. I say American because I am sadly not versed in the television elsewhere, but I would bet this is the best thing put on television anywhere ever. I came late to the streets of Baltimore on the advice of friends, was sucked into the world through the hand of God that is OnDemand, devoured the previous four seasons, and eagerly awaited the glorisousness of season five.

David Simon and company did not disappoint.

Every week couldn't pass fast enough, as the creative staff behind this masterpiece kept me hanging on every moment, every twist, watching as they connected everything. A major criticism of the season was that the newspaper, the media, never connected to all that was going on in the streets. I contend that this was Simon's point: the media never seems to get what is really going on. Giving front page coverage to Clay Davis' slimy self, while the death of Proposition Joe, head of the New Day Co-Op gets a small mention inside the paper? To a fan, it seems inexcusable, but to the media, it makes sense. In his own way, Simon used this season as a commentary on not just the paper and media, but himself, and his show. He as good as admits that in trying to show these things that are so wrong, he missed what is really driving. But, at the end of the day, he tried.

I'm not going to recap the last episode, and all it meant, but the final montage really hit home for me. The show was never about the Jimmy McNultys, the Avon Barksdales, the Tommy Carcettis, the Bunny Colvins, the Omar Littles the Scott Templetons or the Marlo Stanfields. This show was about the systems that are in place that ultimately fail each one of these characters, that shape the flawed personas we end up seeing.

This show has been likened to a novel, with all the plots converging, and everything being connected. I don't know if the analogy holds, but I do know you rarely see a show be so daring to drop (arguably) the star charecter to the background for a whole season (McNulty in Season 4), and have it be hailed as the best body of work they had ever produced. My hat is off not only to Simon and his staff, but also to the cast of this show that took us to Baltimore every week, and did so with an unflinching eye of honesty. We saw it all; from the streets to the docks to the halls of power. From the classroom to the newsroom, The Wire was a microcosm as to why a lot of things in this country are the way they are, and it never lies to you and pretends there is an easy answer. But maybe, in the face of all this despair, there is a Cedric Daniels or a Bunny Colvin who really wants to change the system, to fix things at the source. Maybe there was some hope after all.

Further reading:

Interview with David Simon about the finale.

One of my favorite blogs' take on the end of The Wire.

My friends at The Bocker found some clips of classic Wire humor.

Extended interview about the whole series with the David Simon.

And below is the trailer for Season 5...go watch this entire series, and deny anything I've said regarding the greatness of this show. I dare you.

Yo Mike, how my hair look?

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