Omar Little, we never know you
THIS SPOILS NOTHING
CC touched on this in her last post, but I’ll say it in my own halting fashion: looking back at this blog, I kind of wonder why we ever said anything. As useful as it might be to draw comparisons and craft systems, The Wire is a program that lives to shatter convenience. Maybe there’s truth in everything we’ve written, maybe the show’s unfolding has rendered it all mistaken crud, or perhaps its the reflection-as-process that makes fan blogs flawed at their most perfect.
As you all pause on the lip of #50, though, I wanted to share a few fairly mundane thoughts about Omar, everyone’s favorite character whom I’ve never connected with. As a mythical being, he’s rousing as all hell. But as I’ve said before, he’s an action hero, a figure who strains the program’s steep insistence on realism. This certainly applies to his professional life, and I’ve realized lately that it’s every bit as relevant a critique of his personal affairs. If you haven’t noticed, Mr. Omar is a hopeless romantic, a serial monagomist, and arguably the most committed lover this side of Cedric Daniels. He risked it all to avenge Brandon, and has consistently chosen beaux over business. His relationship with Renaldo is nothing short of sappy in its tenderness, what with his refusal to let its warmth often overwhelm the discipline a crimer partnership would seem to demand. Though we don’t know what happened to his guy from Season 3, there’s no reason to believe he’s been anything less than a model of chivalry and devotion. At some point, I made a list of things that have gone right in the history of The Wire‘s semi-fictional Baltimore; allow me, if you will, to add Omar’s loves to this list, at least while they last.
While I have no interest in calling this implausible, it’s at odds with the show’s general pyramid of dysfunction. Certainly, the idea that pristine love can flourish amidst the ravages of the drug game is a little screwy. Were it a man and a women, we might be questioning this aspect of the plot, but something about them being homothugs keeps us from squinting at this Clyde and Clyde motif. It also seems like an extension of the same superhuman grace that allows Omar to run through peril unscathed, or the good fortune that landed him an unconditional patron in the form of blind bartender (!?!??!?!?!?!) Butchie. If Omar is fantastic, should I be surprised that this extends to every facet of his iconic existence? Or is that with each aspect of perfection he braves, his character somehow becomes both too cohesive and strangely dissonant?
Slightly related note: Renaldo as lone Latino. I don’t know enough about real life Baltimore demographics to judge how realistic this is, but it seems to resonate with the theme of the city’s isolation and provinciality. Like this country’s in the midst of a major wave of immigration, and yet Renaldo’s the only Latino presence. And despite this, he’s constantly blasting reggaeton and speaking half-Spanish, as if to underscore his ethnicity and make it all the more foreign.
More Melo: Does anyone know if he invited the whole cast, or just the actors who showed up? Interesting to consider the commonalities between their characters, or what it tells us about his affinity for the program.
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