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May 5, 2011 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Det. James Francis McNulty, jack of diamonds, prince of smirk.
posted by lazenby (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
None of those were really smirks.
posted by puny human at 6:34 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Guess he didn't see the "no smirking" sign.
posted by w0mbat at 6:42 AM on May 5, 2011


It's funnier if you imagine that he farted just prior to each picture being taken.
posted by phunniemee at 6:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


AHAAHAA..phunniemee.

Yeah...maybe ONE of those are actual smirks.
posted by spicynuts at 6:48 AM on May 5, 2011


You made a goofy face!
No! That's just what I look like. See?
posted by Tavern at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2011


For a moment I thought the post was about this Jimmy McNulty.
posted by clarknova at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2011


I would say this was a smirk, or, at least, a decismirk. What is the international standard metric for smirking?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2011


Soundtrack.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:57 AM on May 5, 2011


Now that's a weak premise for a blog.

As much as I love The Wire and can watch it repeatedly, McNutty's smirking is not the reason.
posted by bwg at 7:00 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Guess he didn't see the "no smirking" sign.

What did I do??
posted by Trurl at 7:00 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, tangential: Did anybody else find the Wire to get better and better the less James Francis McNulty was on screen?
posted by The Giant Squid at 7:00 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Did anybody else find the Wire to get better and better the less James Francis McNulty was on screen?

[Vague microspoiler] I didn't like his character so much as his story arc -- like, he's in a place that works, sort of, and he's trying to find a place where he can be happy. So I found him a "likable" jerk whose company would get old quickly in real life, but whose efforts to find another way were honestly dramatic (if maybe cliche in their own way). Which, I thought was kind of refreshing. The fifth season is just ridiculous, however.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:06 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am going to save this and send it to every damned fanfiction author, roleplayer, and amateur writer who has their characters "smirk" endlessly when they want to have an endearing grin.
posted by Scattercat at 7:12 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fifth season is just ridiculous, however.

Good God, was it ever. It's like, did they hand over writing and set design to CBS?
posted by The Giant Squid at 7:14 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did anybody else find the Wire to get better and better the less James Francis McNulty was on screen?

As someone else -- on the blue, I think -- observed, Dominic West has a very limited range, but he excels in that range. McNulty was the perfect role for him; I cannot think of anything else I have ever seen him in that he was half as effective.

In any event, he is not there in a vacuum. McNulty on his own is irritating, Bunk a little tiresome, but McNulty-and-Bunk is sublime.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:16 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I still wish The Wire could have been renewed for a sixth season, rebooted as "McNulty and the Tramp," a zany Baltimore-centric TV sitcom about McNulty and Russell's home life with the crazy homeless guy as an adoptive domestic third party, while Herc and Marlo Stanfield team up to be a Wet-Bandits-like arch-nemesis duo.

Guest starring sassy lesbian Kima, Morgan Freeman-like sage Lester (and his ex-stripper wife), and Professor Pryzbylewski's Formidable Beard.

Come on. Tell me it wouldn't work.
posted by brownpau at 7:16 AM on May 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I forgot Bunk, the goofy sidekick.
posted by brownpau at 7:17 AM on May 5, 2011


Bunk moved to NOLA to play his 'bone.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:18 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I still wish The Wire could have been renewed for a sixth season, rebooted as "McNulty and the Tramp"...

I've long fantasized about spinning off S. Epatha Merkerson's character from Law & Order.

They get the "In the criminal justice system..." guy to do the opening...

There's the law. Then there's... Van Buren's Law
posted by Trurl at 7:27 AM on May 5, 2011


This Tumblr needs to be reassigned to the Marine unit.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:31 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Did anybody else find the Wire to get better and better the less James Francis McNulty was on screen?

Nope. The absolute high point for me was the second season, with McNulty working late into the night, looking like Homer Simpson with his half glasses on, not so he could solve a crime, but so he could jam up the major by proving a body belonged to the City po-lice.
posted by yerfatma at 7:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's got nothing to smirk about. His ex-girlfriend is marrying Michael Scott and he's been stabbed by Queen Gorgo.
posted by brain_drain at 7:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Trurl: "Guess he didn't see the "no smirking" sign.

What did I do??
"

No, no. It's "What the fuck did I do?"
posted by bwg at 7:39 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


ricochet biscuit: "McNulty on his own is irritating, Bunk a little tiresome, but McNulty-and-Bunk is sublime."

As Omar would say, "Oh, indeed!" (NSFW)
posted by bwg at 7:42 AM on May 5, 2011


Oh man, I hate that scene linked by bwg. It's kinda comical the first time round, but sounds very forced and unrealistic when you watch the series again.
posted by afx237vi at 8:15 AM on May 5, 2011


I didn't like his character so much as his story arc -- like, he's in a place that works, sort of, and he's trying to find a place where he can be happy.

The tragedy of McNulty on The Wire is that he knows what he needs out of life to be happy. He's a beat cop. He's a beat cop to the marrow of his bones. He needs a neighbourhood and a routine and to see regular people every day.

But he keeps getting pulled away by other people, by flattery, by a sense of duty, back into a job he might have a gift for but that just isn't him. And it destroys him.
posted by Shepherd at 8:16 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Smirking with different hair
posted by Huplescat at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2011


Good God, was it ever. It's like, did they hand over writing and set design to CBS?

And the conclusion! I was making a smirking McNulty face of my own watching the final episode.
posted by Hoopo at 9:03 AM on May 5, 2011


Is it a requirement that most Tumblr blogs be both narrow and shallow? Ye gods what a waste of pixels.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 9:39 AM on May 5, 2011


What?
posted by docpops at 9:45 AM on May 5, 2011


SHFNNNGHH BLIIYH! SHFNNNNGHH BLIIIAIAYHHH!!!
posted by dougrayrankin at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2011


I've been wondering for a while but haven't been willing to waste an askme on: For those that swing that way is McNualty really as hot as portrayed? Specifically he seems to be able to get laid at the drop of a hat by attractive women even when stumbling/passing out drunk and wounded by self inflicted injury (the waitress at the coffee shop after he repeatedly smashes up his car).
posted by Mitheral at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2011


Did anybody else find the Wire to get better and better the less James Francis McNulty was on screen?

Two points: 1. In general, the storylines/acting/dialog for the main white characters was not as good as for the African-American characters: the lawyers, McNulty, Ziggy, the Greek, etc. As a general rule, if all the characters on the screen are white, the scene is probably not as good as the converse.

2. The stuff about various characters' home situations was pretty uniformly bad. The McNulty character suffered from a lot of those"domestic" scenes about the wife, kids, etc., that were nowhere near as compelling as everything else. The same was true of Kima's domestic situation with her partner and the kid. I always think of those scenes as the equivalent to the Soprano's scenes in Meadow's dorm room.
posted by Mid at 11:21 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The McNulty character suffered from a lot of those"domestic" scenes about the wife, kids, etc., that were nowhere near as compelling as everything else.

I believe that was the point of those scenes, at least in part. The police work was so energizing and compelling that he couldn't commit to the less dramatic and less adrenaline-inducing home life.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:16 PM on May 5, 2011


I've been wondering for a while but haven't been willing to waste an askme on: For those that swing that way is McNualty really as hot as portrayed? Specifically he seems to be able to get laid at the drop of a hat by attractive women even when stumbling/passing out drunk and wounded by self inflicted injury (the waitress at the coffee shop after he repeatedly smashes up his car).

He's got that bad boy charm. The waitress thought he was a badass and maybe thought he had gotten into a fight. Theresa D'Agostino liked that he was the only man she knew who didn't wear a suit or give a shit about politics. The woman he hooked up with generally weren't interested in him beyond a good fuck.
posted by riruro at 2:01 PM on May 5, 2011


> Theresa D'Agostino liked that he was the only man she knew who didn't wear a suit or give a shit about politics.

Don't forget that she tried to reconnect with him to get inside dirt about Hamsterdam.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:25 PM on May 5, 2011


Oh man, I hate that scene linked by bwg. It's kinda comical the first time round, but sounds very forced and unrealistic when you watch the series again.

Assuming that's the 'fuck' scene, yeah I agree totally. It's a rare bit of 'aren't we clever' that doesn't really read as the characters doing a routine for onlookers (which would have worked better) or just swearing by reflex.

The silly thing is the blocking is brilliant, and showing them solving a crime without words is great, but the standout feature just draws attention to its own artifice in a way that is barely ever seen elsewhere in the show.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:29 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good points, Sebmojo. Your comment causes me to wonder if it would have worked better if they had used variations on 'whew' or something...
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:34 PM on May 5, 2011


Did anybody else find the Wire to get better and better the less James Francis McNulty was on screen?

I liked McNulty a lot, as a character. And Dominic West is great in the role. Like a lot of TV characters on long-running series, though, eventually the writers either lost interest in his character or couldn't think of anything else for him to do. To me, the character reached his apotheosis when Stringer Bell was killed, and McNulty was shocked, then shocked by his own grief, as if a close friend had been killed, not a bad guy he was trying to put behind bars.

Such great writing on that show.
posted by zardoz at 12:11 AM on May 6, 2011


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