Some Problems with The Wire

Sat Jan 9, 2010

I’ve been more-or-less frozen in here in South Louisiana the last few days, which isn’t too bad as it gives me a good excuse to eat massive quantities of gumbo and watch as the weather takes revenge on the many unwanted plant species in my yard. The city utilities folks also charged me for 29000 gallons of water usage last month and dug a picturesque ditch in my front yard. Any correlation between those two events remains uncertain.

In addition to eating, and working on a paper about a lesser-known work by a very well-known writer (a great genre for inspiring existential dread about your research, by the way), I decided to start rewatching The Wire.

Obviously, this show has been long since canonized, and I eagerly await the New Orleans-based one David Simon has in production. I didn’t watch all of Generation Kill, but I assume it was good. As good as The Wire is, however, it’s not perfect.

  1. Credits Theme. The lugubrious closing credit theme is terrible.

  2. DVD Quality. The Wire is the only DVD of a TV show I own that doesn’t project to 16:9.

  3. Herc. Herc was not written for very well, at least not until the later seasons. The bit about moving the desk in the office is not at all good.

  4. Accents. Though I’ve always been an admirer of the scene where Dominic West imitates an American doing a bad British accent, his actual imitation of American speech is not naturalistic.

  5. Verisimilitude. The second season features a stevedore with a π tattoo who also listens to the Stooges. The scene where they mourn Ziggy in the playground is overacted.

  6. Verisimilitude (cont.). Several of the actors are too theatrical. Avon’s sister and Lester on several occasions.

  7. Dialogue. I think the word “malakas” was overused in the second season.

There are other things, but that’s just what’s on my mind at the moment.