After about five months, Future Wife & I finished our Wire Project- taking the Wire, the incredibly great HBO series, on from start to finish. It was Kim’s first time through and what I think was my fifth. The Wire Project was meant to be our winter project, but we took it slow and so it became our late winter into spring and wrapping up in the dog days of summer project. Either way, it didn’t make ending the series any less fulfilling and ultimately sad.
Goddamn it’s an amazing show.
My top five characters listed in no particular order: Bodie, Slim Charles, the Bunk, Bunny Colvin, Avon. How I rank the seasons: season three, season four, season one, season five, season two.
Wire purists will surely deride the fact that we did not finish season two. We started it and got about four or five episodes in, but Kim was losing interest. As the navigator of the project, I thought it was more important to keep her interested so that she would stick with it, rather than be stubborn and slug our way through season two. Everything wonderful and legendary in popular culture- television, movies or music, comes with a hiccup and season two is the Wire’s hiccup. It’s too jarring for a season two; too much of a reach after a breath-taking first season. I understand what David Simon and the rest of his team were doing and I appreciate it. I do. But I continue to make the argument that season two best works as a supplement to the series and if you’re a first timer, skip it and continue on with season three. Then after you finish season five and you’re going through crippling withdrawal, reach back into your drawer and pull out season two.
It’s a win/win situation.
Now the countdown is on until I inevitably start the series again. And that’s not counting rocking a couple episodes of season one or three here or there- because that would be a countdown as weak as Scott Templeton’s journalistic credibility. I told Kim it really was only a matter of time until the right situation presented itself.
Re-watching the Wire is so easy because there is so much too it and like with anything great, repeat viewings just enhances the show, it’s message, it’s characters and it’s nuances. I love that it all comes together and how seamless it is. It’s so complete and totally flushed out- it’s the antithesis to Lost, where you were constantly questioning things. The Wire not only presents the questions, but the situations that prompt the questions, the answers and then the results of those answers. It leaves no stone unturned, nothing left unsaid and nothing open for interpretation. That is something we should not take for granted. Where so much popular culture is lazy and derivative, the Wire is the Olympic athlete of pop culture. It doesn’t take breaks and works for everything. Thus when it ends, when it finally crosses that finish line- it begs that you appreciate it that much more. Those dudes worked their asses off and we owe it to them to admire their hard work.
There is no Line in the Wire, that line separating good from bad, right from wrong, fair and unfair. Omar is a ruthless killer, but we love him. Bubbles, the Shakespearean fool of the show, is a hopeless junky, but we continuously route for him and love him. The Wire makes us like characters like Wee Bay, Snoop & Chris, even though all three are nothing more than hired guns who kill people all day. The reason why we like all these people, despite their faults, is that the Wire makes them real people and they are not just stereotypes. It all comes back to the depth of the Wire. The show lets us see these people in every single light imaginable so we get to know them as more than just their role, their name and their favorite food.
Seinfeld was a good show. Lost was a good show. Mad Men is a good show and so is Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Sopranos at times was a good show and Arrested Development was a good show that ended too soon.
The Wire though, is the only great show and I will literally get into a fistfight with anyone who thinks otherwise.
So let the countdown begin.
See you soon McNutty.
photo by HBO