Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It's All Connected

The Wire is back, and threatening to pull off the most improbable double-whammy since the winter of 1999. That’s right, the complex HBO drama celebrated for being both the most realistic show on television and for employing the best black actors around (though the man in the middle might take umbrage at both of those claims) is precariously close to becoming not just the best show on television, but also the most overrated.

This is not intended to be a knock on the show. The Wire is definitely the best thing on the telly today (obvious exceptions excluded) and deserves every bit of praise it gets for taking on large social issues in a unique, uncompromising, and above all entertaining way. But when the Mongolian hordes of TV critics who were busy fellating Jack Bauer while Bodie walked out of Juvie in 2002 suddenly show up to trumpet the “reality” and “social significance” of D. Simon’s Frankenstein monster, I have to draw the line.

The Wire is to reality what pornography is to sex—and I don’t just mean better. What I mean is, both take a very real, very important aspect of human life—and show us only the interesting parts. They are instructive, thought provoking, perhaps even galvanizing to the viewer. But in the media of film and television, it is the content, not the message, that is essential. The Wire is an enjoyable show because the vast majority of the content is concerned with smart people doing complex things that they are good at. Reality, unfortunately, is not.

As for the question of social significance, well, Simon & Co. are mere midgets wandering in the vast shadow cast by our beloved Sammy D.

6 comments:

  1. Dead Ben Stringer BellJanuary 8, 2008 at 3:45 PM

    Clever post title. I also liked it when it was the title of an HBO behind the scenes look at The Wire....

    Avon is back!

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  2. Is that a plagiarism accusation? I knew where I got it from Fuckberg.

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  3. "Mr Samuel Dalembert says: 'aim high and aim far'". Obviously he was instructing the Haitian youths on the finer points of free throw shooting.

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  4. Dead Ben Stringer Bell needs to understand that the DR is all about building up and not tearing down.

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  5. The triumphant re-emergence of Miracle Milt is at hand, and what is he greeted with? Violent accusations and fundamentalist sarcasm! Maybe we need to beef up Milt's security detail so as to avoid another Benezir Bhuto triumphant return gone tragic. Stay focused Miracle.

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