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    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Awesome breakdown of "The Wire"

    (first of all, how freakin hot is he? Survey says "MUY")

    I tried to get into "The Wire" from the beginning because it's set in Baltimore, the city I was born in and where my family still lives. I was horrified about being from there for years but now I'm immensely proud - a city with an intersection of southern and east coast culture. Then when my sister's house was used as a major location at the beginning of Season 2 - I started again. This show definitely takes a commitment - a bit more of a commitment than a novel actually. But it is so brilliant and so worth it. And yet I always struggle to break down an overview. Today, as I was browsing the full season on Amazon (that and online recipes ARE my porn) I spotted among several beautifully written reviews of the series, this really nice concise breakdown, written by Christopher Stensrud of Madison, WI.

    "Season 1 effectively examines the danger of being an individual in an organization, using Detective McNulty and a drug dealer (D. Barksdale/Larry Gilliard Jr.) who both struggle against the reins of their respective employers. This issue develops against the thrilling backdrop of the drug war and an investigation into druglord Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris).

    Season 2 shows the death of work in the post-industrial world, particularly the loss of blue collar jobs. This is shown through the port of Baltimore and its workers who start illegally importing items and dealing drugs to keep afloat.

    Season 3 artfully reveals why reforming these institutions never works. Again this issue is examined through both a cop (Major Colvin/Robert Wisdom) and the drug dealer Stringer. Specifically, Colvin makes his district a drug-free zone to combat other crime, while Stringer tries to go legitimate in addition to trying to eliminate violence from drug-fueled gang wars.

    Season 4 illuminates how kids fall through the cracks in schools, largely as a result of their hostile environment. The tagline, beautiful in its simplicity, for this season points to the political nature this story by sarcastically claiming that this country pursues a policy where "No corner [is] left behind".

    Bringing this whole story full circle, Season 5 ties all of these problems together and argues that the media skews our perspective away from these important mattters to sensationalistic stories. This storyline revolves around a perceptive, noble editor (Gus/Clark Johnson)
    and one of his deceitful writers (Templeton/Thomas McCarthy) who is more concerned about Pullitzers than real news. This season ends by showing how these issues create a circle of explotation and victimhood, a point made by showing how these drug dealers, cops, addicts, and even modern day gunslingers get killed, retired, and reform only to have their places taken by the next victim and predator.

    Throughout the entire series The Wire pursues and achieves a level of quality, insight, and empathy never before reached in any television series or episode. It truly is the equivalent of a televised novel. It is the first Great American TV Show."

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