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The Wire's over. Sheeeeit.
March 10, 2008 1:59 PM   Subscribe

One Last Long, Boozy Irish Wake for David Simon’s Accidental Masterpiece. New York magazine calls the finale of The Wire "an almost absurdly exhaustive festival of closure," has shot-by-shot commentary on the final montage, and lists ten questions left unanswered [spoilers a go-go]

Ptolemy Slocum, who played the Business Card Killer, recounts shooting the last scene. Dominic West's diary of the last week of shooting (about halfway down the page).

The Washington Post recap has behind-the-scenes interviews and footage of filming the last scene. The Baltimore Sun hated it.

Salon interview with David Simon (who had a cameo):
If you're saying that there needed to be scenes of the Internet interacting with journalism and bringing down journalism, I will now write you a scene: Interior, garden apartment anywhere. A white male, mid-30s, sits at a laptop computer in his underwear, linking to a Baltimore Sun story. He then scratches his left testicle until satisfied and continues to type commentary about that story onto his blog. Cut to drug corner, and on to the next scene.
-30-
posted by kirkaracha (76 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
The final montage.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:08 PM on March 10, 2008


Q & A with David Simon.
posted by dhammond at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2008


I was pretty disappointed with the fifth season, pretty much beginning to end. I liked the line editor at the newspaper--great character and actor, but much of the rest of it was nonsense. Very disappointing considering how strong season four was.
posted by dobbs at 2:17 PM on March 10, 2008


*SPOILER*

Dear David Simon et al:

Fuck you for killing Omar. No, I know that it probably had to happen, but seriously, fuck you.

Love,
sp

on preview: I'm with dobbs in that other than the penultimate episode, it all felt weak. Especially after the amazing fourth season.
posted by sleepy pete at 2:25 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


That quote from Simon in the Salon article about bloggers is the single greatest thing ever written by anyone, on any topic, ever. Good for that cranky old motherfucker.
posted by waxbanks at 2:28 PM on March 10, 2008


Can we all agree that Slim Charles is just too cool beyond words?
posted by dhammond at 2:28 PM on March 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


(Especially given that the interviewer, Heather Havrilesky, is arguably the worst TV critic in the entire universe - and a fucking blogger! Yeah!!)
posted by waxbanks at 2:28 PM on March 10, 2008


posted by tkchrist at 2:29 PM on March 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


.
posted by dhammond at 2:31 PM on March 10, 2008


I find Heather Havrilesky really entertaining, but I don't really watch most of the shows she writes about, I just like her snarking.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:40 PM on March 10, 2008


I found the whole wake-scene surprisingly moving. Bunk's response to Landsman's eulogy was great.

If a series can pull you in so far that you laugh unselfconsciously along with the characters and their lives and jokes, someone must be doing something right...
posted by hototogisu at 2:49 PM on March 10, 2008


Just after this shot, is that Marlo that Spider shakes hands with?
posted by mullacc at 2:54 PM on March 10, 2008


When Bubbles sits down with his family... fuck you David Simon for making me cry at a tv show.

Oh and killing Omar, for me,... genius moment.

I've never seen the like before... and I'll doubt I'll ever see the like again. All in the game.

(I'll just point at this AskMe I posted on how the hell I'm gonna fill the gaping Wire shaped whole in my life.)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:12 PM on March 10, 2008


I'm just happy Cheese got what was coming, after having Omar and Prop Joe get killed. (Going back to the prequels, Omar and Prop Joe both died. Bunk and McNulty lived, but their friendship was severely strained over the season. Bunk looked happy at McNulty's wake, though, so maybe they're OK.)

What's Alan Watching? has a long recap and a Q&A with Simon.

is that Marlo that Spider shakes hands with?

I thought the same thing at first, but according to Simon's Salon interview: "After leaving the circle-jerk of developers, [Marlo] walked up on those kids who were telling an Omar story and challenged them. He wasn't on a corner otherwise."

When Bubbles sits down with his family... fuck you David Simon for making me cry at a tv show.

From the What's Alan Watching? recap: "a guy goes up some stairs, and another guy takes a bullet to the head for being an asshole, and these are the feel-good moments!"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:31 PM on March 10, 2008


[Marlo] walked up on those kids who were telling an Omar story and challenged them. He wasn't on a corner otherwise

Ahh, thanks, kirkaracha. I hadn't gotten that far into your post yet. Good stuff. Thanks for the post.
posted by mullacc at 4:07 PM on March 10, 2008


Nice post! I just watched the finale earlier today, and can't believe I really have no more new episodes to come... I'm one of those late comers, and wound up getting through all of it in the last year. And wound up deciding by season four that it really was the best thing ever made for TV.

The wake, followed by the montage (the best montage they've had yet, obviously) was perfect. But now I have to go back to watching crap, or waiting and starting The Wire afresh, with a totally different perspective on what I'm watching from the start, which ought to be nice.


I also highly recommend The Corner to anyone who loves The Wire but hasn't seen it. It lacks the action and breadth of character development, but what it does for one family in that neighbourhood is just mesmerising.
posted by opsin at 4:13 PM on March 10, 2008


kirkaracha: Thanks to that interview with Simon, I was clued in to the existence of The Wire's inclusion into the Tommy Westphall Universe. Which to me, makes it just that much better....
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:20 PM on March 10, 2008


another guy takes a bullet to the head for being an asshole

You can't be talking about Omar, because Omar was not an asshole. He was one of the few moral compasses in the entire show, constant, unwavering.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:40 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The montage is already gone to a copyright claim...here's another.

Omar getting killed doesn't bother me so much anymore now that Michael has become New Omar.
posted by aerotive at 4:51 PM on March 10, 2008


This thread is all-spoiler, yo.

other than the penultimate episode,

I agree, that was the only truly awesome episode this year. Snoop went out like a G, for sure.

I thought the finale was almost too neat, and too kind to too many characters.

And Chris got one shot in the yard with Weebay (sp?)? I wanted more.

You can't be talking about Omar, because Omar was not an asshole. He was one of the few moral compasses in the entire show, constant, unwavering.

Pretty sure he meant Cheese.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:52 PM on March 10, 2008


It's a good job they killed it, because they took a damn good run up on that shark, and a few more episodes and they'd have made the jump completely.

The serial killer subplot was completely ludicrous. How the hell does McNulty change personality 180 degrees from season to season? And no way in hell would Lester allow the evidence to be compromised after working that many years to build a case.

Even the newspaper stuff, which had the potential to be good, was lame.

Weakest of all five seasons, and it's a blessed relief that they killed it when they did.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:56 PM on March 10, 2008


first let me say, great great show. Best tv show ever probably, if Six Feet Under isn't.

but the Baltimore Sun makes some very solid points:

Mucnulty gets off way way too easy. It felt fake and untrue to what the show was about.

what a lack of visual imagination!
This has always been the show's weak point, if it had one. (that and the lame theme music)
using video, even when shown through a video (security) camera, is just wrong and breaks the world. I completely don't get the decision to shoot in 4:3 (traditional tv size) The show was so much less epic-looking than it could have been if it had been shot widescreen, as most HBO shows are.

I liked Marlo's ending, although i would love to know how he laundered that $10M cash without seeming to the authorities to still be in the Game.


Oh and David Simon: you're brilliant, and your rip on bloggers is funny and accurate. But please please don't be that guy who argues with people on the internet. A true artist is above that. Don't be Kevin Smith- you have too much talent.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:59 PM on March 10, 2008


The way the final montage was bookended with McNulty makes me wonder if it's supposed to be designed to make you think "this is what might happen."

The theme seemed to be that "The shit rises to the top" as anyone who juked stats, or gave into the corruption on the shield side ended up on their feet.
posted by drezdn at 5:15 PM on March 10, 2008


I was not a fan of the last episode, or the whole fifth season, for that matter. Although the short scene with Chris and Weebey in the prison yard was kind of amusing.
posted by extramundane at 5:30 PM on March 10, 2008


I want to effect changes in current drug policies. Personal experience with the whole system has made it very obvious that while the drugs themselves cause great damage, the enforcement of "the war on drugs" has wrecked havoc and ruined many more lives than the drugs ever did.

I want to take a stand, I want to stand up and say this insanity has gone on too long, I want to bring about changes.

With lots of free time (all) and a sufficient magic mailbox to fund me, I can devote much effort and time.

I need ideas of what you people think are ways of bringing about change. From smart metafites I ask what is most effective action and what is least. If caring a protest poster outside of the courts is the answer, I am more than willing to do that. Liking nothing more than an audience I am very good at and enjoy public speaking. Thoughts on speaking to community groups about jury duty and refusal to convict non violent drug offenders seem interesting. Speaking to drug offenders about the need to refuse plea bargains and thereby jamming the court and jail systems. Talking to community and religious groups about the drug war as really a war on the poor. Speaking to court officials, judges, prosecutors, parole officers, social workers of a way to bring about change to a system that was broken and lost long ago and which now rents the social fabric....just say no to procustion; a strike if you will.

Help me with ideas, facts, and directions. I am passionate about drug law reform on a large scale. I need ideas, help and encouragement. We need to use the weapons devised in the Civil Rights wars and the anti war. The money used to send people to prison is better used for treatment. You could fund all who want to go to collage an education for what is spent on sending young and poor to jail. Drug abuse is not a moral problem but rather a public health problem, the only vile morality issue is the stigmatization of a young adult to a life outside outside our own middle class, a life never to be redeemed.

Obscenity is seen in the avarice and soulless institutions that make up the "War on Drugs"

I feel so strongly about this issue that it is something that I would die for without a second thought. I do need help. The producers of "The Wire" as I do. They have informed me and I need to act, but how? Help me show me the way.
posted by Rancid Badger at 5:45 PM on March 10, 2008


PeterMcDermott: "It's a good job they killed it, because they took a damn good run up on that shark, and a few more episodes and they'd have made the jump completely."

Absolutely. This series really was a load of old cock compared to any of the others (I still watched it religiously, mind you, just shouting at the telly half the time).

There was just no need for the serial killer plot - they could have dealt with the corrupt journalist angle in any number of ways without having the whole thing take such a turn for the silly. And I've always found McNulty to be by far the least believable character (completely plot driven) so having the focus on him again was always going to be irritating, regardless of his storyline.

They packed too much in, really - it would've been great if they'd given the newspaper business the same amount of attention as, eg., the education system, but it ended up cartoonish. Chillingly accurate in places - Klebanow and Whiting were absolutely spot on - but it still all felt a little slapdash. And having Templeton win the Pulitzer at the end? Silly.

But, yeah, still the best telly ever. And previous series that I wasn't so keen on have improved with a second viewing, so maybe this one'll grow on me, if I fast-forward all the bits about the fake serial killer.

sleepy pete: "Fuck you for killing Omar. No, I know that it probably had to happen, but seriously, fuck you."

I actually loved that he was just bumped off like that, no grand poetic conclusion to his story, just... *bang*. Shame, though: an 'Omar just sort of wanders about being all hot and moral and shooting people and stuff' spin-off series would've been great. Even better that the Clay Davis sitcom idea I saw suggested somewhere!
posted by jack_mo at 5:53 PM on March 10, 2008


Having the series run only 10 episodes instead of the other seasons' 12/13 episodes really compromised this season. They would've had more time to flesh out the newspaper subplot, which was most people's complaint about this season. I had my problems with the newspaper stuff, but I think they did OK considering the time constraint.

You can't be talking about Omar, because Omar was not an asshole.

Plus I was quoting a recap of the finale, and Omar wasn't in the finale.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:54 PM on March 10, 2008


(Huh, I thought Annapolis was a weird truncated pronunciation of Indianapolis the whole time, like 'Balmer' for Baltimore. Not even in the same state, I see.)
posted by jack_mo at 5:59 PM on March 10, 2008


I thought this season was just fine, but then I like season two quite a bit as well and most people seem to disagree with that. I do agree that a few more episodes would have helped to flesh things out a little more though.

Whether you dug it or not, "bad" eps of The Wire are still better than most other shows' best eps.

Now on to BSG's final season :( Then after that, maybe I can be one of those "Is this something I'd need a TV to understand?" folks.
posted by First Post at 6:20 PM on March 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, I too vote "yes" on a prequel The Omar Little Chronicles weekly series.
posted by First Post at 6:24 PM on March 10, 2008


What really bothered me about this season is how it sorta ignored the threads of the perfectly good story set up from the fourth season -- for instance, the bodies in the vacants were passed over in favor of the serial killer story. The bodies were a much better story, and the way the newspaper handles black-on-black crime would have been more interesting than the serial killer/Jayson Blair angle they chose. Watching the Major Case Squad trying to crack the bodies case would have been interesting without the silly "cracking the code" storyline.

Other random thoughts:
The Mayor was so debased from the beginning of season five that every scene he was in felt pointless.

One of the links above mentioned that David Simon has said that Randy was Cheese's son. Man, that's interesting. I would have liked to see them interact.

I'm sad that we never got to see Cutty go all old-school fists on someone.

I wish they had killed Omar in season three. I got tired of him way, way before everyone else did.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:53 PM on March 10, 2008


I still watched it religiously, mind you

Not just watched it religiously, but searched bittorrent on a daily basis, in the hope of getting the jump via screeners, HBO on demand copies, etc. etc.

Personally, Snoop's demise moved me far more than Omar's.

"How my hair look, Monk?"
"It look good, girl."
BOOF!

Speaking to drug offenders about the need to refuse plea bargains and thereby jamming the court and jail systems.

This is only a good idea if you're offering to do their time on their behalf. Otherwise, join one of the many organizations that have been engaged in this struggle for the last 20 years or so. Drug Policy Alliance is the obvious place to begin.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:02 PM on March 10, 2008


Preparing for post-Wire depression by stocking up on The Corner, and the Homicide book, plus works by Price, Pelecanos and Lehane

I also made this mashup of The Wire and Survivor. I can't say it was my idea. All the credit goes to Clay Davis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb5kqMEwu20

posted by jaybushman at 7:06 PM on March 10, 2008


"How my hair look, Monk?"
"It look good, girl."


Sorry to be a pedant, but, uh, no. Why would she call Mike, Monk? She said, "How my hair look, man [or perhaps, Mike]?" to which Michael responded, "You look good, girl."
posted by papakwanz at 7:36 PM on March 10, 2008


Thanks Peter, the DPA is a great org. It seems that as The Wire points out that things will only change when the community demands change. Getting people to understand befor they are called up for jury duty that it is better to aqquit than allowing this system of opression to continue. Educating (teach ins) the community that rapist and robbery are ignored as being too hard a case. Cops poping a few users is easy and they are gonna doing the easy thing. I do not think that (DPA) reaches into the inner city where it is needed most but the church does.
posted by Rancid Badger at 7:41 PM on March 10, 2008


Having the series run only 10 episodes instead of the other seasons' 12/13 episodes really compromised this season.

Yes. Definitely. As soon as I heard that last year, I thought, "uh-oh." And it was true; the first half of the season just didn't have that sprawling, leisurely feel all the others did, which had a big negative impact on the development (and my enjoyment) of the stories. I still don't understand why they made that change.

What really bothered me about this season is how it sorta ignored the threads of the perfectly good story set up from the fourth season -- for instance, the bodies in the vacants were passed over in favor of the serial killer story. The bodies were a much better story...Watching the Major Case Squad trying to crack the bodies case would have been interesting without the silly "cracking the code" storyline.

Amen on all counts. From the beginning, when we jumped a year ahead and just had to accept without question such a dramatic change from the situation at the end of the previous season, it felt off. The last few episodes did a great job of digging them out of the hole created by the first half of the season, but this will always be seen as the worst year, by far.
posted by mediareport at 7:47 PM on March 10, 2008


Yeah, Snoop's demise was quite moving, and chilling. Omar's was just tragic. I never got tired of him though... Did anyone (besides Bookhouse)? I agree that Season 5 was the weakest, taken by itself... But when do you ever take any one season, or episode, or scene, or moment in the Wire by itself? I completely agree with this: Every scene hangs on the subtext of years' of accumulated storylines; the story, now, is not just the script but also all that we've learned of these people's motivations, their impulses, their relationships, the constraints in which they operate. The story is the system, and now, finally, we're seeing the system in full. Novelistic quality, Dickensian Aspect Ratio, etc, etc... But its true. It says a lot that even at its worst, the Wire was still the best thing on TV.
posted by AceRock at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2008


To all of you who didn't like this season: motherfuckers namedropped Joseph fucking Mitchell. When was the last time you saw that on the TV?
posted by enn at 8:09 PM on March 10, 2008


.
posted by superchris at 8:33 PM on March 10, 2008


I think Season 5 was the weakest season of The Wire, which still makes it one of the best seasons of TV in history.

The problems have been said here. The newspaper storyline was a bit too one-dimensional. The characters were set up from the beginning as straight good or bad, a negative change from the moral complexity of the show in general. A second problem was the fake serial killer / Blair-Glass storyline. The Wire has always been about showing the drama of everyday life in the inner city. It has been real, yo. A manufactured serial killer and a newspaper reporter who bullshits his way to a Pulitzer are not part of the drama of real life. They are too sensational, too out of place to fit with the rest of the series.

However, in defense of season 5, there were some amazing moments. Clay Davis on the stand; the humanizing of Burrell; finally getting clued in to Daniels' file; Michael's agon on the corners and eventual transformation in Omar II; the fall of Dukie; the redemption of Bubbles; the moment of despair in Omar's eyes at the shootout in Monk's apartment; Carcetti completing the descent into pure political hackery while trying to convince himself that he still stands for something; Marlo's chilling psychopathy; Pooh managing to get off the corners (and into a goddamn shoe store); Freamon's twenty minutes of triumph in the penultimate episode as he took down the Stanfield crew; Carver continuing his development as real po'lice; Prez becoming a real teacher; Landsman's eulogy for McNulty; the strain on the Bunk-McNulty friendship; McNulty hitting rock bottom; the thuggifying of Randy Wagstaff; the look on Templeton's face when McNulty busted him in the final episode; Slim Charles finally stepping up from lieutenant to boss, and taking out Cheese in the process; and last, but certainly not least, the deaths of Prop Joe, Butchie, Snoop, and Omar, the last one especially so because of its complete banality and lack of sentimentality. His death was ignoble, and while it was such a huge deal to the audience, it was just glossed over by everyone on the show, much as it would be in real life. Like Bodie, Omar was just another statistic on the wall, another player lost to the Game. As with everything in the show, the best moments turned things back on the audience. Do we really care about Omar as a person, or just because he's on TV? What about the Omars and the Bodies and the Savinos who die on the streets every day? Even the serial killer story had its merits. Was Kima right to inform on McNulty and Freamon? Is lying OK if it puts someone like Marlo away? I'm still not sure. But I have no doubt that The Wire is the best drama to be on TV. As much as I loved The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Six Feet Under, this show just blows them all out of the water.
posted by papakwanz at 8:34 PM on March 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


The montage was circular, showing that no matter what changes, it all stays the same.
posted by bwg at 8:40 PM on March 10, 2008


Yeah, enn, I noticed the Joe Mitchell nod, too. It was nice. No one's saying there weren't great moments - there were, many of them, both during the season and in the final episode (Cheese's death, e.g.). But as a season it just didn't work for me. The sudden shift at the start from last season, the shortened arc, the completely unnecessary and unbelievable fake serial killer - it all took a toll. Still great, watchable television with something to say, yes. Just not anywhere *close* to the level of the previous seasons, especially season 4.

In other words, a disappointment, though one that will still end up better than anything else on television this year.
posted by mediareport at 8:40 PM on March 10, 2008


Also, I declared that the show jumped the shark when Omar jumped out of that window, and I'm glad to say I was wrong. I yelled at my teevee for ten minutes after he did that. But damned if it didn't manage to rebound.

I still found that moment to be terribly stupid.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:03 PM on March 10, 2008


Yeah, I can see where the complaints come from, but I still thought it was fantastic. I just have to find a way to introduce my family to the show. Or force them to watch it.
posted by graventy at 9:15 PM on March 10, 2008


Why are several stories floating around wondering what is in Cedric Daniels' file? Didn't they explain that in season one? It was something about taking money from a big drug bust or something?
posted by mathowie at 9:17 PM on March 10, 2008


I don't think they revealed it in season 1. I remember McNulty's friend at the FBI saying that Daniels had dirt on him, but to my knowledge, it wasn't until this season that they revealed it was from skimming money off drug busts. Either way, though, I also don't understand why people are acting like its a big mystery left hanging.
posted by papakwanz at 9:25 PM on March 10, 2008


I still found that moment to be terribly stupid.

To be fair, the guy Omar's based on (Larry Andrews) supposedly fell from a much greater height (twice) and survived, and it became a big part of the mythology around the man.

Incidentally, he plays Butchie's friend who helps out Omar in jail, and dies when he and Omar try to invade Monk's apartment.

(this is all in the interview kirkaracha posted)
posted by mammary16 at 9:28 PM on March 10, 2008


Also, I declared that the show jumped the shark when Omar jumped out of that window, and I'm glad to say I was wrong. I yelled at my teevee for ten minutes after he did that. But damned if it didn't manage to rebound.

I still found that moment to be terribly stupid.


Did you know that the real Omar actually did that, except he was two stories higher.
posted by Bonzai at 10:01 PM on March 10, 2008


Why are several stories floating around wondering what is in Cedric Daniels' file? Didn't they explain that in season one? It was something about taking money from a big drug bust or something?

It's never been *fully* explained, but you're right that it was strongly hinted that the dirt on Cedric involved suspicious income (in season two, I think, when Burrell and Daniels are going back and forth about setting up the dock detail).
posted by mediareport at 10:21 PM on March 10, 2008


Did you know that the real Omar actually did that, except he was two stories higher.

That doesn't make it work any better for me -- "but that's the way it happened" is a porr excuse for a beginninng fiction writer, much less masters like the Wire's staff. If a factual moment rings false in a work of fiction, it is false. (Whether or not it rings false is up to the viewer, and I know I'm pretty much alone in my dislike of the Omar character after about season two, so opinions can vary there).
posted by Bookhouse at 10:24 PM on March 10, 2008


Whether or not it rings false is up to the viewer

Yep. I think it's funny that Simon and Alan Sepinwall defend the fake serial killer story in that Q&A by comparing it to the Hamsterdam drug legalization experiment, which involved hundreds of cops and went on for weeks with no one finding out. "You believed that," they say, "and this was much more plausible!"

Um, except that I *didn't* believe the Hamsterdam thing. Thought it was the least believable thing the show had done to that point, actually, and despite some fascinating scenes, consistently interfered with the realist vibe going on in the rest of the show, pulling me out of the Wire world I loved so much and back into my living room. It's bizarre to see them use that to justify the serial killer plot, which did exactly the same thing.
posted by mediareport at 10:52 PM on March 10, 2008


It's never been *fully* explained, but you're right that it was strongly hinted that the dirt on Cedric involved suspicious income (in season two, I think, when Burrell and Daniels are going back and forth about setting up the dock detail).

OK, I think this has already been mentioned a few times, but just to clarify again: in THIS season, when Burrell was bitching to Nerese about being forced out, he produced the file he had on Daniels and said that it had evidence about him stealing money from drug busts. So, it has been explained.
posted by papakwanz at 10:58 PM on March 10, 2008


papakwanz, I just watched the scene over again and you're right; I'd forgotten that we got a clear statement this season. It's about 20 minutes into episode 4 where Burrell says, "He came up in the Eastern District, part of a bad drug unit that was skimming siezed drug money. I actually had to..." Nerese cuts him off before he can say more.

That still leaves a lot unsaid about the extent of Daniels' involvement. It's easy to imagine a situation where Daniels had gotten sucked into a corrupt unit where he was compromised so much he couldn't do the right thing. In fact, that's pretty much how I envision it happening. Daniels sure acts like he did something wrong, but I'd still say it's not been "fully explained" after that one sentence.

Which came from Burrell, after all. :)

Am I still talking about this show? Ugh. I really loved it. Time for bed.
posted by mediareport at 11:24 PM on March 10, 2008


Sorry to be a pedant, but, uh, no. Why would she call Mike, Monk?

She wouldn't, of course. Brain fart.

I do not think that (DPA) reaches into the inner city where it is needed most but the church does.

They don't, but they do act as the major informational clearing house/grant making/focus for all of the smaller organizations out there, so if you wanted to know what was going on in any particular area or community, DPA would be the obvious place to start.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:12 AM on March 11, 2008


Watching the Major Case Squad trying to crack the bodies case would have been interesting without the silly "cracking the code" storyline.


The fact that the 20+ bodies investigation got dropped was important to the larger theme of the show. The press didn't care about the more than 20 dead blacks after the initial shock, and the politicians cut the funding because they needed to get the school numbers up. They didn't care either.
posted by drezdn at 6:38 AM on March 11, 2008


In my perfect world, Canard gets brought into that orphanage hell and Randy is waiting for him, fists clenched, ready to pound the piss out of the new meat.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:40 AM on March 11, 2008


For those saying "it really happened that way" regarding Omar... as others have mentioned, that's irrelevant.

A few years ago I tried watching season 1 and turned it off in disgust when Houc and Prez and Carv went to the projects drunk and raised a fuss (and had tvs thrown at them). That plot point was ridiculous and I mentioned it here on Mefi and was chewed out by the "it really happened!" crew.

The Wire had a few of these moments in it which is really unfortunate as it's a pretty good show. Season four was among the best tv I've ever seen. Though I still prefer Deadwood over the Wire and think it's a much more fascinating drama (with considerably more conflict), I have rewatched all of The Wire ('cept #5) twice which is surprising considering its length.

I recently watched Gone Baby Gone. I didn't much care for it but it was good to see some of these actors getting play (Omar's in it briefly and Silas from Deadwood has a substantial part). To me, the acting on The Wire trumped the writing most of the time ('cept for Dom West, who I really can't stand) whereas on Deadwood, the writing always was the best part, which is saying something considering that I think it's the best acted television show ever ('cept for Tim Olyphant, who I really can't stand).
posted by dobbs at 6:42 AM on March 11, 2008


Great show, sad it's over. The question now is, is anyone else going to try to tell such an ambitious story in a TV program? I loved how the individual stories made no effort to fit inside a single episode arc.
posted by Nelson at 8:02 AM on March 11, 2008


A few years ago I tried watching season 1 and turned it off in disgust when Houc Herc and Prez and Carv went to the projects drunk and raised a fuss (and had tvs thrown at them). That plot point was ridiculous

I'm not in the "but it really happened!" crew (although I find the true stories behind many of the events extremely fascinating) but what is so ridiculous about this plot point? That drunken cops occasionally go let off steam by harassing people? That, when anonymous, people will take advantage of said cops and throw shit at them? That violence can easily spiral out of control? Yeah, fucking sci-fi, man.
posted by papakwanz at 9:53 AM on March 11, 2008


For those saying "it really happened that way" regarding Omar... as others have mentioned, that's irrelevant.

I totally disagree. If your criticism of a story is that it's unbelievable, that it couldn't have happened that way, then I'd say "it did happen that way" is a pretty darn good argument against you. The problem's with your expectations, not with the show.
posted by designbot at 11:09 AM on March 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


If your criticism of a story is that it's unbelievable, that it couldn't have happened that way, then I'd say "it did happen that way" is a pretty darn good argument against you.

Fiction has harsher requirements than reality -- that's why people say truth is stranger than fiction. For instance, using a one-in-a-million coincidence to resolve a storyline is usually a bad thing in fiction, but one-in-a-million things happen every day.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:24 AM on March 11, 2008


Good lord will I miss this show. Season 4 was the pinnacle for me, but I'll take the worst of The Wire over the best of most everything else. Once I caught up last year in a great big glut for the first time in my life I purchased an HBO subscription. I couldn't stand to have a moment spoiled by some blogging fools.

Thanks for all the links -- I'll add a few: I've been following Slate's (mostly annoying) coverage and a couple of late posts made it all worthwhile: this selection of greatest moments (I would have also included Omar disguised as an old man while taking down a Barksdale stash house, and Omar's whistling confrontation with with Brother Mouzone -- or any other Omar scene for that matter). There's also a great page of links to radio and print interviews with cast members.

There is nothing I can say to neatly sum up my feelings but I will never forget The Wire. It's such an improbable accomplishment in so many ways, and left me sad for the brilliant actors, who will likely never get to work on a project this good again -- for so many dying American cities, not just Baltimore -- and especially for all those trying to survive when the odds are so brutally stacked against them they can't rightly be called odds, just another word for fate.
posted by melissa may at 12:02 PM on March 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I completely disagree with criticisms of the 5th season, especially the serial killer plotline. It's a completely natural arc for McNulty and Lester: brilliant cops with no respect for the bosses who buck the game time and time again, finally try something insane and it brings them down. I genuinely didn't think it made any sense until the last episode, but now I see it. The attempts to change the way the game is played (whether we're talking Hampsterdam or the fake serial killer or Stringer trying to unite everyone) have always been shown as insane, questionably ethical and doomed to failure. Say what you will, but The Wire has always had two currents: the first devoted to an extremely realistic depiction of life in Baltimore and the second equally devoted to a utopian strain of reformation. You can't ignore the second, though most people have, and to me, it's the most amazing thing about the show. An ancient professor of mine once stated that literature has basically stopped progressing and will remain stalled until someone writes a piece that not only attacks current problems but shows how to solve them. While we can argue about the social value of art (and I'm permanently torn), The Wire managed to not only, without being didactic, launch a ruthless criticism of everything but also to suggest solutions. That's what's insane, but in a completely amazing way.
posted by Football Bat at 1:01 PM on March 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


You've got to watch The Wire
posted by Siberian Mist at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2008


I don't know about the rest of you, but when Omar was killed I actually said, "Noooooo!"

Snoop had it coming.
posted by bwg at 5:27 PM on March 11, 2008


To quote the film Snoop quotes before dying, we all have it coming, kid.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:36 PM on March 11, 2008


I'm not in the "but it really happened!" crew (although I find the true stories behind many of the events extremely fascinating) but what is so ridiculous about this plot point? That drunken cops occasionally go let off steam by harassing people? That, when anonymous, people will take advantage of said cops and throw shit at them?

I had no problem with the tvs being thrown, it was pretty much everything else that happened in that scene that was beyond belief the way it was presented. I simply did not believe those three cops could be that stupid. And, though they were sometimes pretty fucking stupid throughout the next few years, none were ever that fucking stupid.

And, as bookhouse so succinctly put it: fiction does have to pass a higher test than reality... because reality doesn't have to pass a test.

A while ago on mefi there was a video of a guy who jumped out of a plane (video from his pov) with a parachute and the chute didn't open. He lived. Put that into a fictional film or story as a plot point and people won't believe it and they'd be right not to even though it really happened.

Countless things happen every day, doesn't mean they'd make good (or believable) drama.
posted by dobbs at 8:08 PM on March 11, 2008


To quote the film Snoop quotes before dying, we all have it coming, kid.

Kid?
posted by bwg at 8:11 PM on March 11, 2008


I simply did not believe those three cops could be that stupid.

They were drunk, dude.
posted by shotgunbooty at 8:28 PM on March 11, 2008


Kid?

"We all have it coming, kid." It's from Unforgiven, as is "deserve's got nothing to do with it," which Snoop tells Michael before he shoots her.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:38 PM on March 11, 2008


I simply did not believe those three cops could be that stupid.

I would love to live in the magical fairy land that you come from where cops are smart and never drunkenly harass people just to compensate for small cock size.

/snark
posted by papakwanz at 9:09 PM on March 11, 2008


It's from Unforgiven ...

Gotcha. Cause I'm way too old to be called kid

Except by folks 20 years older than me, that is.
posted by bwg at 1:16 AM on March 12, 2008


A while ago on mefi there was a video of a guy who jumped out of a plane (video from his pov) with a parachute and the chute didn't open. He lived. Put that into a fictional film or story as a plot point and people won't believe it and they'd be right not to even though it really happened.
dobbs: that happened in in King of the Hill, it even played out over several episodes.
posted by Iax at 1:28 AM on March 12, 2008


Huh, Slim Charles was (is?) in The Backyard Band and is a DJ. That's pretty awesome. I just found that over here in Slate. I'm guessing I'm slow on knowing this, but it's still cool.

Just thought I'd through that in here for posterity.
posted by sleepy pete at 3:42 PM on March 14, 2008


Jesus, through = throw
posted by sleepy pete at 8:28 AM on March 15, 2008


I enjoyed it, end of story.
posted by zouhair at 2:25 AM on March 17, 2008


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