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Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

I'd forgotten how good the first season was.

Usually, when I'm bored and sitting at home, I'll throw on an episode or two from the later seasons (2 onward). I never went back to the early part of the first because a lot of it is about the birth of the Major Crimes unit, and I like the series more when the detail is firing on all cylinders (legally or not).

But man, I'd forgotten just how loving good it was. Especially Daniels. The mental image I've always had of him was of a stand-up guy, but I'd forgotten why I'd come to that conclusion, and the first season does a fantastic job of showing it. He's on the shortlist for major, he wants the job, he wants to make a career out of the force...but when the Barksdale case starts spooling up and he's faced with making the choice between real police work and a career where he has to wade through bullshit, he picks the work. That scene where he's talking to Burrell and Rawls and shouts This is bullshit is pitch-perfect. Burrell's eating and doesn't really give a gently caress; you can see behind Rawls' straight face that he's filing Daniels away for a paper-loving later on, and Daniels himself, knowing that it's likely to cost him an easy future, decides to to what's right. All because of the case.

It's a fantastic scene, and it makes me wonder. If Daniels had never been assigned to Major Crimes, or if he'd listened to his wife and just focused on climbing the ladder, do you think he would have turned into another Burrell?

Asbury fucked around with this message at 19:11 on Jan 29, 2013

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Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

MC Fruit Stripe posted:

I'm not trying to be a dick but being able to do the same math that everyone else in class can do doesn't make you smart, it's more of a "not stupid" - even Wallace wasn't particularly bright.

I can't think of a single individual in the Barksdale organization that strikes me as particularly smart, there are just people we sympathize with more than others but that doesn't make them smart.

Depends how you define smart.

I always feel like an rear end when I'm talking about these things in an academic setting, but: people like Wallace and D'Angelo (and to some extent, Bodie) were smart for the street. That is, they knew what they were in the scheme of things (pawns), and knew they had to be some smart-rear end pawns not to get capped quick. Problem is, being smart meant getting out of the game, which is something none of them were able to do.

But people like that, with the drive to do well and an understanding of how poo poo works, they'd do well in a world outside of urban Baltimore. They were plenty smart, and plenty clever, but were never afforded the opportunity. I mean, yeah, you never hear them talking about synergizing the paradigms between social constructivist and expressionist pedagogies or whatever, but there's a long league between smart and educated.

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

cletepurcel posted:

Yeah actually to the contrary, I would say that was one of McNulty's BETTER moments. Brianna completely deserved the smackdown he lays, and as you point out he is correct. He even says he's sorry for bringing it up again because he knows nobody will give a poo poo except him, it's just another one of his smartest-gently caress-in-the-room exercises.

As a counterpoint: that was the moment I realized what a total gently caress McNulty is.

For most of the first season, I thought of him as an archetype. You know. The Loose Cannon Who Doesn't Respect Authority. And I admired the way the show went about demonstrating that archetype, because (at that time) I thought the series was still just a cop show. So things like him doing Lead and Follow with his kids, or his drinking, or his habit of going behind people's backs--all that, I thought it was just demonstrating a character we'd already seen in a new way. So I kind of admired it.

But when he talks to D's mom and completely loving ruins her, that was the point where I stopped thinking of him as an archetype, started thinking of him as a person, and actively started hating him. I mean, no one with any shred of human loving decency would say that to a grieving mother. She already fears it, and a part of her already knows it, but it's the dickest of dick moves--especially coming from someone in authority--to actively say, "Yeah, he died because of you."

He was right, I agree. But he's also a perfect example of how being right and being good aren't the same thing.

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

Not disagreeing. She told her son to take one for the team because that team gave her the life she'd grown accustomed to. All of her talk of family meant "what's good for me," which is a selfish-as-gently caress justification.

All that said: she knows it. And any decent person would've avoided saying that to her. McNulty isn't a decent person. In point of fact, he takes pride in lording it up over other people in those earlier seasons. He's happiest when he's loving somebody else, either in a case, in the court, or in the office. It's how he proves he's the best. (This isn't exactly a newsflash, I know, but it's who he is: he has to be right. In everything.)

Brianna isn't a good person, but she knows what she did lead to her son's death. Taking that knowledge and flaunting it in front of her, while (maybe) being something she deserved, doesn't make McNulty a good guy for doing it. If anything, it proves what a gently caress he is.

edit: rewatching the scene, he almost gleefully shows her the postmortem shots of D's neck. I'd call that flaunting at worst and inconsiderate at best. She's vile, but he's rubbing her nose in it. While it's justified, that doesn't make him a good person.

goin for dat double edit: It's a loving brilliant scene. When Bri goes to wipe the tears away you see everything her money bought: gold watches, rings, nice nails--they all rattle around.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 18:11 on Feb 16, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

escape artist posted:

What episode is that, by the way, so I can re-watch the scene for better discussion?

Moral Midgetry (3x08).

Out of episode context, here's the youtube clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHuCn34NMl8

(Great discussion, by the way.)

cause I feel like editing my posts like a motherfucker: I know that season 3 gets a lot of flak for being largely unrealistic,* but there are some great, great scenes. Marlo's first appearance in 3x01 is literally everything the audience needs to know about his character in less than ten words.




*Bunny's attempt to legalize drugs not being discovered, Omar and Muzone's team-up of the century, not to mention the in-your-face symbolism of the towers going down and Slim's line about fighting wars on lies

Asbury fucked around with this message at 18:56 on Feb 16, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

Escape Artist and Jerusalem: when the thread gets to season three, you mind if I do a couple of write-ups? I'm re-watching 3 now and I think I was kind of a moron the first time I saw it, because I never realized that the whole season is an allegory for 9/11 and the Iraq War. There's a lot of stuff I want to talk about.

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

escape artist posted:

Oooh, dammit, I've been looking forward to season three write-ups.


But if it's cool with Jerusalem, I'm cool with granting thee thine wish!

I really just want to do the first episode and the last; all the rest are yours.

I invaded Iraq just about this time in 2003 (Marine Corps; similar to some some of the things that went down in Generation Kill) and now I have an MFA, which means I like to get drunk and write about poo poo, and I really want to cover 3x01 (Time After Time) and 3x12 (Mission Accomplished) because I want a reason to look at that dumbfuck war through a different lens. So thanks!

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

Cinematography question (if that's the right term):

I'm glad you brought up this shot in your writeup--




because I've always wondered about that. The camera angles in that scene--almost fish-eyed--always struck me as very strange for a season which, minus a few odd scenes,* took pains to use shots which added to the verisimilitude of the show. That scene in the parking garage, when Levi and Avon and Stringer are close together, always felt off to me, but I was never able to figure out a reason why. Any ideas why they used the angle they did?



*Avon slow-motion bro-walking through The Pit

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

Short answers (someone else can do longer ones if these aren't good enough but I'm on a phone so...)
Bodie went back to the corner for the same reason Nick went back to the union hall; it was all he knew. He took a certain kind if rough pride in it, too, the same kind of pride guys in the infantry take. He even says so when he's talking to McNulty: You're a soldier, Bodie. Hell yeah.
So he stood his post, so to speak, even when his own boss wanted him killed. His self-respect cost him his life. (Incidentally, he was the third and last person from that chessboard scene way back in season one to be killed because someone thought he was snitching.)

As for the newspaper: Alma and Gus raised the stink about Templeton. But Templeton's lies brought prestige to the paper and accolades to the bosses. So the bosses at the Sun shitcanned her and demoted him because they weren't willing to be team players, ie a part of the lie.

Efb I'm never posting from a phone again

Asbury fucked around with this message at 05:57 on May 16, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

I'm working on that write-up for S3E01 if you guys are still down with that.

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
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Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

Just as a heads up, I'll probably have season 3 episode 1's write up posted on the 1st. (It's getting longer than I thought it would, and besides, there's more than enough stuff in season 2 to have a good conversation for a few days.)

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

Season 3, Episode 1: Time After Time
Story by: David Simon and Edward Burns
Directed by: Ed Bianchi
Air date: September 19th, 2004


Bodie posted:

“Don’t matter how many times you get burnt, you just keep doin the same.”
I mention the air date in the intro because it’s worth pointing out. A large part of this season plays loose as an allegory about the jingoistic and aggressive first few years of the early 21st century, most of which revolved around America’s War on Terror and its foray into Iraq. In 2004, Iraq wasn’t yet the hideous quagmire it would become known for in 2005 and 2007; around the time David Simon was writing the season, the largest image in the American consciousness was the statue of Hussein being pulled down in Baghdad and George W. Bush’s absurd photo-op with his Mission Accomplished speech. I’d argue that this season of The Wire was a chance for Simon to--among other things--examine the start of the War on Terror in an oblique way.

I’m coming at this episode looking for those parallels because I served in the invasion of Iraq. I was in the Marine Corps infantry at the time--I enlisted in July 2001 and was in recruit training for 9/11--so I’m particularly biased toward this season. (I won’t say it’s the best, but it is my favorite.) Being gone from civilian life for the start of the War on Terror means that I missed a whole lot of the cultural impact of 9/11; most of what I caught I caught through Fox News in the chow hall, so most of what I know I know is wrong. Giving this season a good analytical re-watch is a chance for me to see those first few years in a different way. So thanks to escape artist and Jerusalem for giving me the chance to write up a couple of episodes and organize my thoughts. If I've confused any details or characters, let me know; I'll correct anything I've gotten wrong.
---

The season starts with the fall of the towers. Not the World Trade Center, but the Franklin Terrace Towers, a setting of some importance over the last few seasons. Poot and Bodie (and Puddin, who was in both season one and season two, but uncredited), they bullshit about it as they walk to see the demolition. Poot’s sad that they’re falling because he has some good memories in those towers; Bodie’s fronting and saying that the only sad thing is that they’re losing some good real estate for business (“Y’all talkin about steel and concrete, man. Fuckin steel and concrete.”)

At the same time, Mayor Royce, in front of a small crowd, is giving a speech. The back and forth between the two scenes is worth noting. “People? They don’t give a gently caress about people,” Bodie says, and a scene later you have Royce saying “You are very soon going to see low- and moderately-priced houses built in their place,” which really won’t change a goddamned thing about the underlying problem, since the towers were meant to be low- and moderately-priced in the first place. Bodie goes on to talk about how often Poot keeps doing the same poo poo and getting burned, while at the same time Royce says “Now…mistakes have been made. And we will learn from those mistakes. Reform isn’t just a watchword with my administration. No, it’s a philosophy.” Royce’s speech is coated with a politician’s slime--passive voice, buzz words--and Bodie’s is comically vulgar, about Poot’s dick looking like a fried chicken wing.

Royce does a countdown using a Bugs Bunny-looking detonator (a T-Handle box), but it’s nothing but an image; the demolitions crew sets off the explosions using their own tools. And down goes Franklin Terrace, not to screams and crying, but cheers and applause--at least until the dust and debris clogs the streets. Royce looks around, panicked. The towers fall down, the politicians don’t know what to do, the people they purport to represent get caught up in the aftermath, and soldiers are about to go to war.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbK5HIfdyWc
---

There’s a new intro this season, and a new intro song (my favorite of the five versions). I could do a whole essay on the credits themselves, so I won’t go into here, but it’s worth noticing one image that has particular resonance: dead soldiers crushed under a boot heel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4u6XdlM6pE
---

This season picks back up on the Barksdale case, which took a backseat to last year’s murders in the docks. McNulty and Sydnor are on surveillance in an abandoned rowhouse, watching their current target, Cheese (Melvin Wagstaff), Prop Joe’s nephew, who we saw beat the poo poo out of Ziggy last season (and torch Ziggy’s car). Over in the Major Case building, Lester and Prez are listening to the wire, translating street talk with the help of Caroline Massey, a police officer new to the unit (and the show). “Girl, you do have an ear,” Lester says--a compliment from a man with one hell of an ear himself. The case is running to some problems, however--Cheese’s crew is disciplined, with Cheese himself never on a phone.

Over in the Western, Carver and his crew (including Herc and two new characters, Colicchio and Dozerman) are planning to run a corner bust. They’re expecting a runner, but Carver’s sure it’ll be a decoy. (Herc, getting in his car, starts playing the theme to Shaft, which becomes diegetic soundtrack for this scene.) Things go well at first for the squad--the expected runner takes off, and Carver tells him to step light--but then he grabs a duffel bag from behind a set of stairs. “Is that the stash?” Herc asks, and the squad takes off after him. Carver’s right; it is a decoy, and once the squad splits, someone else picks up the real stash and walks away.

Carver calls in some backup and gets a ride from Herc to the block where the kid went to ground. Carver jumps on the roof of the car. “Listen to me, you fuckin little piece of poo poo,” he shouts. “I’m gonna tell you one thing and one thing only about the Western boys you are playing with. We do not lose! And we do not forget! And we do not give up! Ever! So I’m only gonna say this one time: if you march your rear end out here right now and put the bracelets on, we will not kick the living poo poo out of you! But if you make us go into them reeds for you, or if you make us come back out here tomorrow night, catch you on the corner, I swear to fuckin Christ, we will beat you longer and harder than you beat your own dick! Because you do not get to win, shitbird! We do!”

Twenty-first century American war policy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBbkMdzbdOI
---

Over in the funeral home, Stringer’s base of operations since the raid on Orlando’s, Stringer himself is chairing a meeting. Shamrock’s reading Robert’s Rules of Order (written by Colonel Henry Robert, in the 1870’s) and making sure that the meeting follows the rules. Bodie and Poot want to take new corners; Stringer explains that taking territory means bodies and bodies mean police. Product, he says, is what it’s about these days; he wants to share territory to maximize profit. Poot, he points out that the gang would like like a bunch of punk-rear end bitches, and Stringer goes ballistic. Meeting adjourned.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPS9YKGaKQE
---

Back at Major Crimes, Kima and Lester, heading out, run into McNulty and Syndor, who’ve been in the vacant watching Cheese since dawn. McNulty talks with Lieutenant Daniels and Rhonda Pearlman, both of who point out that in two weeks, they charge what they have. McNulty knows they don’t have a case and wants to push it above the street to get Joe and then Stringer. Daniels tells him that they need to make headway or give it up.
---

Major Colvin, in the Western, greets two new officers, Baker and Castor. He gives them a stock speech about the importance to knowing their location and hands out a pair of compasses. Herc and Carver, just outside the office with the (beat to poo poo) runner, laugh at the new officers on their way out, but point out that Colvin’s been giving that speech for years. Colvin asks Carver what they’ve learned from the bust. Herc’s answer is piss poor at best.
---

Bubbles and Johnny make their first appearance this season, pushing a shopping cart full of metal. They lose control and it crashes into a parked SUV. The owner of the vehicle and his gang jump up, ready to shoot Johnny, when someone else walks out and asks what’s up. “Do it or don’t,” he says, “but I got some place to be.” This is Marlo Stanfield’s first appearance.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0vgw-PeSFc

Bubbles and Johnny get away alive (minus their pants). Which, considering the kind of person Marlo later turns out to be, is no small miracle.
---

Another important character makes his introduction in the following scene: Councilman Tommy Carcetti. He and Tony Grey are grilling Burrell and Rawls at a police department review meeting. Felonies are going up, Carcetti says; Burrell passes the reply to Rawls, who says that he’s increasing tactical support during particularly busy hours. Carcetti asks Burell out to lunch to talk a little shop.

In the back, we see Marla Daniels talking to Odell Watkins. “Who’s that skirt with him?” Carcetti asks Grey.
---

Lester, McNulty, and Kima sit in a car, watching a dealer named Drac, Prop Joe’s nephew, “the talkinest motherfucker I ever heard on a wiretap,” according to Lester. Here, listen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5BG-81hsH8

It turns out that Drac’s supplied by Lavelle Mann, who Syndor’s been in undercover contact with, and they decide to arrest Mann, hoping that Drac gets promoted and starts talking more important poo poo on the wire.
---

Carcetti and Burrell bullshit at lunch before getting down to business: crime and schools are Baltimore’s biggest problems, the reason so many people are fleeing the city, and the mayor, according to Carcetti, doesn’t seem to care. He offers an open door to Burrell if he ever wants to work around the mayor. Burrell points out the virtue of the chain of command and leaves.
---

In prison, Wee-Bey’s talking to an inmate who’s about to be paroled: Dennis “Cutty” Wise (also a new character this season). Cutty was once a brutal enforcer, similar to Wee-Bey. They’re outside in the exercise yard, and Avon cuts across a baseball game to talk to them. The game stops for Avon, who has as much power inside as he did out.

Avon tells Cutty that things are different since he’s been inside, but some things stay the same, and without the towers, he needs someone to take things to new places. He wants Cutty to work for him. Cutty takes a phone number and walks away. “The joint mighta broke him,” Avon says. Wee-Bey isn’t so sure.
---

Daniels asks Burrell for more phone surveillance. Burrell, practicing his putt in his office, simply says they can’t afford it. Daniels explains the plan to promote Drac. Burrell asks why Daniels thinks they’ll promote the wrong man, and Daniels, looking at Burrell, says that the police department does it all the time.

Speaking of promotions, it turns out that the mayor is holding up one for Daniels; Royce wants to know what Marla is doing--Marla wants to knock off an ally of Royce.
---

McNulty and Bunk (and Bunk’s son) are at an Orioles game. Jimmy’s here to meet Elena, his ex-wife, and to pick up his sons. He spots her with some dude in a suit. Maybe they’re just friends, Bunk says, but McNulty shakes his head. Guy’s up in the cake. Bunk, for his part, has to head to work; the department caught five tonight, and Ed Norris, who’s already working a scene, tells homicide to put Bunk on the newest one. “I love this town,” Norris says, standing over a body.
---

Johnny and Bubbles sit in their home. Bubbles, he’s feeling rough after an equally rough day. Johnny says tomorrow will be better. Distant gunshots and screams follow. Cutty walks past boarded up rowhouses and fields overrun with grass. It’s his grandmother’s neighborhood.
---

Rawls, heading a ComStat meeting with Burrell, browbeats the poo poo out of Major Marvin Taylor. Rawls is pissed because of the five new bodies and takes it out on the major for shoddy policework in a string of robberies. “Poor loving Marvin,” Colvin tells Lieutenant Mellow. “Better him than us, right?” Mellow answers.
---

Syndor’s getting strapped with a wire for his bust on Lavelle, and McNulty asks if the guy’s ready to sell. Sydnor’s sure. Pearlman discovers that Cedric’s living out of the office. Find your way home, he tells the crew.

The bust goes without a hitch. Somebody snitchin, Sydnor shouts. Shut the gently caress up, Kima tells him, and pats him on the cheek.

The plan works. Drac starts blabbing on the wire. Except Cheese gets promoted instead of Drac. “Ain’t no luck at all to this case,” Lester says.
---

The Daniels marriage has become a sham. Cedric goes to his house and Marla greets him at the door. After a chaste little cheek kiss they hold hands and walk into the living room, where Delegate Odell Watkins and a number of other political contacts are having a meeting. Being married to a lieutenant means a lot to the candidacy, Watkins says. “Anything I can do to help,” Cedric replies. Marla needs his support for her career, and he’s in an unenviable position of using his role to support a spouse to whom career is more important than marriage. After looking longingly at his old bedroom, he falls asleep on a chair in the upstairs hallway and leaves after Marla announces her guests have left. He feels obligated to support Marla for all the years she supported him.
---

Rawls and Burrell walk into Carcetti’s next review meeting to find it thick with the media. Carcetti’s grilling the two of them the way they grilled Marvin Taylor. Coleman Parker, one of Mayor Royce’s aides, is trying to figure out why Carcetti’s made such a show; his district is getting the funds it needs. Parker’s sure he’s angling for the mayor’s seat. Royce shrugs it off--Carcetti’s white in a city that ain’t--but with the rising crime rates, he can knife at the mayor’s advantage, soften Royce up for someone else. Royce and Parker put Burrell in a bad position: they need him to drop the rate of felonies and murders. Royce wants 250 for the year; Burrell tells him it’s already at 232; they aim for 275.

The poo poo Carcetti started rolls downhill. At the next comsat meeting, Burrell and Rawls demand a five percent or more decrease in felonies, and they want the murders below 275. Colvin points out there are ways to juke the stats, sure, but it’s hard to make a body disappear. Laughter’s hidden behind coughing as Rawls stares him down in the way that only Rawls can, mentally filing him away for a lubeless paper-loving later on. Bunny doesn’t give a poo poo; in six months, he’s out on a major’s pension.
---

Major Cases is looking for another approach to their case. McNulty suggests a bug they can’t afford. Pearlman suggests they charge what they can and move on. McNulty’s pissed at the idea; they came down early two years ago, and that’s why Stringer got away in the first place. “You’re tellin me we’re gonna let that same son of a bitch beat me again?” he asks. “How many times you gonna let a cocksucker like Stringer Bell go around the board? Collect another 200? Million?” It’s a clever little analogy, given that Stringer’s playing a real life version of Monopoly--buying up real estate and developing it. “You against the world,” Lester says sarcastically.

Later, McNulty digs out the old Barksdale files. Prez shows up at midnight to relieve Carolyn and finds him looking at the picture of Wallace’s body. “What the hell is all this?” Caroline asks. “Don’t look at what you did before, you do the same poo poo all over,” McNulty says. Time after time. He looks D’Angelo up on a computer.
---

Cutty calls the number Avon gave him and Shamrock gives him a g-pack. Cutty stakes out a corner and realizes that Fruit, one of Marlo’s boys, runs the corner. Cutty offers to sell. Fruit wants an even split; Cutty wants 60/40. Fruit agrees. That night, he goes to meet Fruit and sees a woman giving a back-alley blowjob for a score. Fruit tells him the police snatched it and shoves a gun in his face. “We ain’t back in the day,” Fruit says. “Walk it off, motherfucker.”
---

Lieutenant Mello calls up a meeting of his officers, tells them to stop throwing beer cans on the roof, tells them not to get captured. Colvin goes on a tour through the district. Crime is everywhere he looks. And adding insult to injury, one of Marlo’s corner boys, Justin, tries to hell him some spider bags.

Colvin drives off.
---

That long-rear end play by play out of the way: this episode sets up a number of events and introduces a number of new characters that’ll drive the rest of the series. On the political side of things, we meet Carcetti, Royce, Gray, Watkins, and Parker; in the streets, Marlo and a lot of his crew; some new officers in the police department, and finally, Cutty. Season One, while still very good, was very much a cop show at heart: it set up a case and played the string out to the end. With Season Two, the show began to expand past the story and become what the series is best known for: a long and naked look at the people America forgot. With season three, that approach begins to expand. Over the next nine episodes, three major stories come to pass: Carcetti’s ascension, Bunny’s attempt to legalize drugs in Hamsterdam, and the Barksdale-Stanfield war.

Aside from the towers and the start of the war, there isn't a whole lot in this episode that hits a lot of parallels to the War on Terror and Iraq--which is fair, since it takes time for a reaction after any action. But it's worth looking out for them in future episodes.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 19:31 on Jun 2, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3635 days!


Hair Elf

I don't think you're reaching far at all. Remember Person's point about the Marine Corps in Generation Kill? "See, the Marine Corps is like America's little pit bull. Beat us, mistreat us, and once in a while they let us out to attack somebody."

Edit: Also, an interesting bit of trivia to make you wonder where the gently caress time went: Today is the 11th anniversary of the first airdate of the show.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 06:10 on Jun 2, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
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Hair Elf

Thanks. It isn't as analytical as I would've liked, but the episode was more about setting up the cards for the rest of the series, and aside from some of the larger bits of symbolism (eg the towers), most of it was plot driven. I don't know a lick of poo poo about cinematography or production or any of that so I couldn't justify commenting on it.

I'm binging on season 3 today, and one thing I've been noticing: even though this season came out before the sectarian conflict in Iraq really spooled up, it does a hell of a job forecasting what happened between 2006-2008. (In a later episode, after the Barksdale-Stanfield war heats up, Bubbles even says to Kima, "It's gonna be like Baghdad.") The parallels really work; you have two rival groups fighting for control and a police force trying to stop poo poo from spiraling out of control.

edit: Also, this'll be irrelevant in about 30 minutes (as of 8:09 pm on Sunday, June 2, 2013), but you got avatar hosed, friend.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 00:09 on Jun 3, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
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Hair Elf

I only contracted myself for "Time After Time" and "Mission Accomplished" and given the work I put into just that one write up, it kinda blows my mind how Jerusalem and escape artist were able to do so many.

So somebody else step up!

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
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Hair Elf

I meant besides you guys. Find some corner boys.

(Edit: seriously, I spent about six hours watching [and re-watching] that one episode in order to nail the play-by-play, in addition to researching characters, looking up police jargon, and doing the write-up. That you two have done all of season one and two kinda blows my mind.)

Asbury fucked around with this message at 00:12 on Jun 13, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
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cletepurcel posted:

I find it funny how disdainful Bunny is of the academics, both in this episode and next season (when he's disgusted that Dr. Parenti only valued the pilot project as an academic study) when Harvard and several other colleges have created courses based on The Wire. (Granted, at the time this was made it didn't have near the cult following it does now). It's one of those things that I think Simon refers to when he rants about how people miss the point of the show.

It's an interesting meta-critique that has some flaws.

I mean, I agree with the things Bunny says. I hate talking about the show with my friends here in grad school because 1) everyone loves it, 2) they believe it's written to force the onus of social change upon the viewer, and 3) not one goddamn person I know, myself included, has done anything to solve or prevent the kinds of things The Wire shows (WHITE GUILT). In short, just discussing it (even here in the thread) becomes the kind of academic exercise that Bunny rants against.

The thing is, it's a fictional television show. It isn't an exposé. It's based on the things Simons and Burns saw, and many characters are based on people they knew, but in the end, it's still fiction, and any good form of fiction is going to generate discussion. Sometimes that discussion will be academic, sometimes it'll be about character, sometimes it'll be about the production or on-set stories, but whatever kind of discussion there is, there's no sin in having it. Even if doing so seems to miss whatever point of the show Simon rants about.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 16:33 on Jun 23, 2013

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Jerusalem posted:



3Romeo asked long ago to be allowed to do the write-ups for Episodes 1 and 12 of this season, and I'm more than happy to sit back and let somebody else write the next of these

I hate to pull out after specifically asking to do this episode, but real life obligations (to wit: a thesis/novel I'm really, really starting to sweat) have taken priority in my daily writing. I'm happy to do a smaller addendum to someone else's writeup, but I don't currently have the time to do any kind of scene-for-scene summary and analysis that can match the quality of your (and others') past recaps.

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quote:


Point Blank



LA taught yall foos
how to gang bank flip crack
LA mua fuckas
killed pac and biggie
LA gangs
control other countries like ms 13
LA foos
put usa on a movement


If a "b more nigga" come to
the LA county jail talking that mess
ill give yall respect
but i gurentee u the rips or damus dont get you
the eses will
cuz yall eastcoast foos act like LA aint active
and we out here playing patty cake.
poo poo i got stories for yall


This poo poo is loving poetry.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 00:34 on Jul 30, 2013

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Just as an aside, I watched season 4 when it aired and thought it was pretty great, but then I watched it again after I started teaching and decided it was a loving brilliant work of art.

The way I teach I teach because of this season. Don't underestimate your students. Don't think they're stupid. Don't think you can run circles around them with academic thought. They care about what they care about because they care about what's important to them and not anything else, and if you give them the chance, they'll loving stun you with insight.

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double post for some goddamned reason

Asbury fucked around with this message at 03:34 on Sep 14, 2013

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omg chael crash posted:

Just curious, but what are some of the things that people didn't like about the show? It can't ALL be gold, right?

Personally, I couldn't stand a single thing about Brother Mouzone. He just seemed so silly and overacted, and he felt like nothing more than a caricature of a Nation of Islam member. Though, I suppose I'm not much of an expert on that particular subject. Aside from him, I was mostly bored senseless of the News plot until the last 2.5 episodes or so. It ended up tying together rather neatly but the journey there, for me, was a bit of a slog.

Season 5's newspaper arc, like Jerusalem and ally_1986 said, will probably come up a lot. But for a different answer: there are times, especially in season one, where Simon and the writers aren't subtle at all with their proselytization. The one scene I can think of that settles for all is when Herc and Carver are talking at the desk, and Carver says, "You can't call this a war. Wars end."

I mean, I'm sure that cops've argued that before, so it isn't specifically unrealistic or anything, but it's one of the times where you see the guy behind the curtain. Most of the show avoids this--it rarely tells the audience what to think or how to feel--but when it misfires, you know it.

Oh. And it's me. I'll be the guy who says season one's "gently caress" scene. It's brilliant, and I admire it, but like the chess scene, I don't particularly like it as a part of the series--both scenes feel like they're done by writers who are showing off. Same thing with Slim's "If it's a lie, then we fight on that lie, but we have to fight" line. None of these scenes are bad, exactly (far from it), but like Carver's bumper-sticker wisdom, they're flashy in a show that otherwise isn't.

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Lugaloco posted:

I feel I can easily forgive those Season 1 scenes because they're trying to establish something that's incredibly complicated in only 13 episodes. Without that foundation I can't imagine how lost I'd be (more than I already was) on a first time viewing. To take the chess scene as an example, I was mostly taking Bodie's line of thought that if you make it to the end of the board then you'd win when I first saw it. But D'Angelo makes the unbelievably important point (which permeates throughout the entire show) that even if you do make it to the end there's not much there, and that's if you're not "capped quick" by that point.

To put it a little clearer, sometimes those scenes are necessary in order to keep the audience on the right track, even in shows like The Wire where you're thrown in at the deep end with lead boots on. I agree that those scenes can be a little on the nose, but they are very, very well done for what they are.

Oh yeah, they're great, no argument there. I mean, the writing in the chess scene is loving fantastic, and McNulty and Bunk solving the shooting the way they did was a great bit of characterization and backstory (not to point out the obvious, but it shows that they're both great at what they do and that they've been working together so long they have the happy kind of telepathy that close coworkers acquire after awhile, and the end result is a scene that moves the plot forward and helps define a relationship using only one word--it's a pretty great piece of writing). But you're exactly right; in a show that's as complex as The Wire, they're a necessary evil, and I think you nailed it by saying they're too on the nose.

Another line I was thinking of: Prez watching football and saying that no one wins; one side just loses more slowly. Great metaphor, great character (especially that far along in his arc), but lines like that are the intellectual equivalent of David Caruso putting on his shades and dropping a one-liner.

Taken individually, they're great, and in any other show they'd be hallmarks of good writing. But in The Wire they come close to breaking the fourth wall just by their nature--they're show-offy in a series that's otherwise very subtle.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 14:07 on Oct 27, 2013

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I think you're right about it being trite and obvious, but I also think that's because it was couched as such, becoming profound exactly because the audience isn't yet familiar with the show but expects a healthy dose of cynicism and irony to go along with insight--even if the insight itself is the kind of soundbite wisdom you expect a couple of knuckleheads like (early season) Herc and Carv to have. Without that contextual, um, camouflage, I guess, the characters become nothing but mouthpieces. And it was an important enough line to make it past the cutting room floor.

In case you missed it, this really is just me splitting hairs.

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Ixtlilton posted:

I've been watching this show for the past month or so, and I'm finally caught up with you guys. This is my first watch and I'm not going to pretend I read all of the summaries you spent so much time on, but the ones I did were excellent, I especially liked the S3 E1 post.


That was mine. When you finish the series, go back and read the rest (or read them as you do another watch). Jerusalem's and Escape Artist's are far more insightful than the one I did.

Boywhiz88 posted:

Yeah Herc is probably the street-level officer I dislike the most. McNulty is obsessed with his ego but at least his pursuit is admirable and he's attempting to bring BIG cases through hard work. Herc is self-serving because he wants to have glory and bust heads. He's not about cases, he's about cuffing guys.

And his negligence is just so infuriating. From the beginning of Fuzzy Dunlop to the end of his career. I agree, gently caress Herc.

There's a scene early in season one where Herc ransacks a woman's house, and after he finds nothing, apologizes profusely to her. It's an overlooked scene since he turned out to be such a poo poo later on, but still a good one to mark, if only because it shows how greatly his arc and Carver's diverged.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 23:22 on Nov 10, 2013

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quote is not loving edit, btw

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computer parts posted:

The US government, for one (though they only show up at the tail end of the Hamsterdam arc).

That's the closet parallel, but I don't think the comparison entirely holds--what we see of the government in the show boils down to either a hideous bureaucracy or the component parts working against each other (like the FBI leak in season two that lets the Greek escape).

I'd argue that, at least in Simon's point of view, it's the particularly American mix of capitalism and representative democratic government that's the equivalent to the Greek. Like the Greek, it has no real name, no real face, creates entire institutions to support itself, and devours the people that serve it--except for the close circle of people at the top. And it's happy to do wrong and aid the enemy in pursuit of its own interests. The only difference is that it's made up from many instead of one. (I don't think it's an accident that the guy is The Greek, not The Turk or The Russian--he's someone who comes from a place known for inventing democracy.)

That makes it sound like the loving Illuminati or some poo poo, and this isn't a particularly nuanced argument, but whatever.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 17:12 on Nov 30, 2013

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The Greek posted:

I am not even Greek.

Neither is democracy

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It was meant as a tongue-in-cheek reply to The Greek's quote about not even being Greek. And escape artist, dude, this is one of the best threads on the forum that all of us have contributed some great discussion to (you and I both have done some writeups)* so I think we've earned the right to have a useless post now and again.



*still blows my mind that Jerusalem has done so many, because they aren't exactly easy

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Joe, yeah. Or maybe like Butchie. Did enough in his younger years to earn respect, but smart enough to know it's better just to keep things quiet. Slim's great strength, like you said, is his self-awareness--he's been around long enough to see both Avon and Marlo lose the crown, but now he's working with people (Vondas and The Greek) who understand the importance of discretion.

But like Orange Devil said, I can see Slim selling off the connect after a year or two and retiring like Omar did. Slim's loving awesome.

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...in the context of the series.

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team overhead smash posted:

In the context of the series he's still a drug dealer and murderer. Yes society has put him in an awful lovely position and he's had little agency in his life and compared to other people in a similar position he comes of comparatively well, but you shouldn't try and romanticise who or what he is.

Basically just go and read one of David Simon's criticisms of people who think Omar is so badass and cool, but substitute Slim for Omar.

I mean in the context of him as a fictional character. I admire him for the same reason I admire Al Swearengen or Titus Pullo or Batiatus--they're well-written, well-acted, and well-developed charismatic characters who evolve organically throughout the course of their stories. Slim's loving awesome because he's all of those things, but his story is particularly awesome because he started off as a background character and ended up by accident wearing the crown. I'm romanticising him as a character, not a living breathing person, because--and let's be honest here--while The Wire prides itself on its verisimilitude and we like to use it as a way to document a forgotten part of modern American society, it's still only a television show full of fictional characters and written with a certain agenda and story arc in mind. Even if the stories come from Simon and Burns' experience and even if the characters are based on real people (and even if Simon himself gets petulant about watchers who care more about the characters than the themes), it's still a story using story-telling devices to maximize emotion, full of characters written to propel it.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 04:20 on Dec 4, 2013

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empty baggie posted:

Interesting article about the sound editing of The Wire: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat...isrc=burger_bar

That was a pretty interesting article. Some of that I'd noticed, like McNulty and the dogs, but I was never able to make that associative leap between the character and the idea. Kinda cool.

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Hey, since we're coming up on the end of the series, I just wanted to say it was cool following along on a rewatch with you guys. There's certainly a novel's worth of analysis here and it was always enjoyable to read and discuss.

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I completely missed your interpretation of the talk between Michael and Snoop. You point out that what Michael's asking, he's actually asking about himself; I thought he was asking those questions because he knew that Snoop knew he always asked those questions, and he was trying to keep her from being suspicious--in short, he didn't want her to know that he knew. Your insight in your write-up makes a lot more sense.

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Yeah. A lot of the fifth season is really loving great. What leaves a sour taste in people's mouths is how extreme the characters acted.

I say extreme--and not out of character--because it really isn't out of character for McNulty to get drunk and do something hideous in the name of police work or for Lester, who'd been poo poo on for thirteen years, to take the opportunity to do the same. And it isn't like Simon hadn't used his characters to make a point before, like he did with Bunny and Hamsterdam back in season three. But that said, a lot of the last season just felt off, and I think it was because this was the first season where the plot served the theme instead of the other way around.

But all that aside, there's a lot to admire, here at the end. There's Bubs, of course, but there's also Carcetti conceding to the devil on his shoulder, Marlo's ironic victory, Omar's shocking but perfectly acceptable death, and the final gasp of Major Crimes.

Speaking of the MCU: the series, in a nutshell, is about the birth, life, and death of the unit. And the fifth season is Major Crimes lying in a hospital on life support.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 03:03 on Jan 16, 2014

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Yep! And I don't think that's a metaphorical accident. Look at how many young lives in the show get hosed over by institutionalized adults. They shine when they're young (Wallace; Randy), but they're beat down so hard and so often that they never recover. Or they die before that happens. I think the unit itself serves the ongoing theme.

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That's the really great thing. Marlo got what Stringer wanted (rubbing shoulders with the Baltimore elite) and Omar got--post mortem--what Marlo wanted (legendary fame).

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I never minded the character (like Carver, he came a long way since the first few episodes), but the plot turn to make him a teacher left a bad taste in my mouth. It was one of those points that started giving the show the "Dickensian aspect" that critics began to identify in late season three (and throughout all of season four) and which Simon meta-grumped on in season five.

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Jerusalem posted:

To be fair, it's based on the life of co-creator Ed Burns, who became a teacher after retiring from the police.

I'll add to your point and say that Burns' experience (and using Prez as the link between the cops and the schools) lead to one of the most powerful seasons of any show ever televised, so it isn't exactly a bad thing. But the character transition might've been smoother if, for example, Prez just got fed up with the department politics and decided to quit. The accidental shooting just came off as particularly forced in a season that was already giving up a fair amount of realism to make either a social point (eg Hamsterdam) or for pure entertainment value (eg the Muzone/Omar teamup).

But this is me picking nits on a unicorn. There's a lot I love about season three, and it's always the most fun on a rewatch.

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