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Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


I'm giving this a rewatch and Andre Royo is such a delight.

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Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


I never considered that Marla Daniels was the primary breadwinner. In fact, I thought the opposite was clearly alluded to, when Burrell tells Daniels that he came into a lot of money quick; that seems to indicate that it was Daniels' ill-gotten gains that provided for their nice house and lifestyle. That makes the most sense to me, since if she had a high-paying job Burrell's threat would be pretty neutered. Marla just seems like a socialite with political aspirations, and unfortunately her backstory doesn't seem to be fleshed out anywhere. Daniels does tell Ronnie that Marla stalled her career for his sake for many years, but we're never told what that career is apart from wanting political power.

Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


Rollie Fingers posted:

Namond, Michael, Randy and Dukie WERE Season 4 for me and by far the best part of it. I don't think the school and Carcetti plots had anything amazingly insightful in them, but the kids were great.
I had kind of the opposite reaction to season 4. I much preferred the political machinations of the election subplot to the school subplot. I actually was a teacher in extremely urban schools exactly like the one depicted in the show, and I always felt that tone the show takes toward education was very caricatured. That's probably a function of David Simon using that one school as a pastiche of education writ large in order to deliver his perspective, but it never sat quite right with me.

And despite his primary function as an allegorical character, watching Marlo was like watching paint dry. The actor has zero charisma and the role being written to highlight that was a terrible decision.


Ginette Reno posted:

I didn't dislike season 5, but I'm just not a big fan of the newspaper subplot. Templeton is a completely flat and one dimensional character, especially by The Wire's standards. The rest of the newspaper characters come off as similarly flat and one dimensional.

I like what they did plot-wise with the season and the police/omar/marlo stuff is all great but I don't feel like the newspaper angle was pulled off as well as a show like the Wire can.

Maybe part of that is them having only 10 episodes instead of their usual 13. Perhaps they could have done a better job character building with a few more episodes so that people like Scott and Gus feel less like caricatures.
On the other hand season 5 was just bad. The newspaper subplot is some weak poo poo and the serial killer stuff is crap. The speed with which the latter plot gets wrapped up is the kind of sloppy writing that's honestly not worth engaging much. I think you're exactly right about both the thin characters and the fewer number of episodes.

Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


I dunno I kinda felt the Big Reveal that Rawls is gay was the definition of an inconsequential detail and obvious attempt to add ~complexity~ to a character that had been pretty 1.1 dimensional, without understanding that his portrayal that way is already very effective for the narrative and didn't need to be "fixed" so to speak. It's already easy to infer that he's closeted from all his homophobic exclamations so seeing him in the bar reads are very "Here, idiot! Do you get it now? Do you?!" to me.

Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


Jerusalem posted:

I strongly disagree. For me, it seemed that it was pointing out these people are far more complex than the surface level look most of us get at them, and we don't truly/fully know any of them.

That's exactly what I'm thinking about, because I think Rawls already got that hint of complexity in this scene:

General Battuta posted:

The scene it adds the most to is Landsman's story about intrusive thoughts about McNulty while he's jerking off. It makes Rawls laughing even funnier because he grasps how horrible that would be on multiple levels!

because in that scene, we learn that Rawls is capable of some kind degree of forgiveness and grace. That's the polar opposite of his characterization in every other scene and does actually add something compelling to his character, and more importantly it develops the theme that realistic characters are complex and not just stand-ins for concepts (Marlo is one of the more notable offenders here). That's why Rawls' appearance in the gay bar feels so gimmicky to me, it completely fails to add to that theme or his character.

Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


General Battuta posted:

People aren't gay to add to a theme or character. They're just gay. They're tall or short, they're thin or fat, they're straight or gay or bi or whatever, it's just a trait people have.

I certainly agree, and I think including Rawls in the bar scene is an example of the writers being overeager to spell out what is already easily inferred from his previous characterization.

I also think that in the service of good storytelling doing things with characters should mean things. That's one of the reasons shows like The Wire and Sopranos and Breaking Bad are still so heavily discussed, and by contrast why Game of Thrones is now only heavily discussed for its failure to do meaningful things with its characters. Not everything has to be laden with significance and it is to all our benefit that in 2020 characters can be gay or trans or whatever without burdening them with thematic significance. But it makes sense to ask thematic questions and look for significance and generally be attentive and inquisitive when a major supporting character appears in a scene that he has absolutely no connection to. And while I can understand the "it doesn't mean anything" argument, I think it should and does, and comes off sloppy for it, which is itself an unfortunate trend in the later seasons.

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Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


I agree with the edited version of your post more than the original, but I still think Rawls' bar appearance is clumsy writing.

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