Vacation: All I Ever Wanted
Greetings, amigos, as we take another rest stop on our tour of season five… to my left is Marlo Stanfield, who is so obsessed with putting his hands all over his giant stacks of money that he is incapable of being charmed by a beautiful French woman… (this is a problem that our friend Avon would never have had)… to my right is everybody‘s favorite homothug, wearing a white vest and scheming, as always, to get his hands on more… cereal. Can we just talk for a minute about where on earth — er, in Baltimore — these scenes were filmed? San Juan looked alright, but I swear they just dressed everyone in loud colors, threw a few signs up and filmed Antilles right there on the corner.
Usual disclaimer: Episode 53 spoilers below.
But first: does anyone else find it hilarious that the Slate discussion group is complaining about the amount of media coverage devoted to The Wire? Hey, pot! It’s the kettle: you’re totally the problem. If you guys want to eliminate some of the coverage, you could start by killing the feature you have devoted to the show. Simon’s posting explaining about the Sun plot and his reactions to your reactions was the best thing on the TV club, and he isn’t a member. Also, could you dudes get any more dude-tastic?
Short post today. I’m still getting into a groove with this season — it’s usually a slow taxi, as we all know — and right now I mostly want to make bad predictions (Lester and Jimmy go to jail! Jimmy sleeps with Alma! Beadie never gets any screen time ever again! Daniels becomes mayor!) and keep watching. But I have been thinking about the interplay of the different plots, particularly Marlo and the Sun, which are at two extremes of the show and arousing pretty extreme reactions from viewers. I understand why it is that some long-time fans are having trouble with the Sun plot — a lot of these viewers are journalists themselves, and so it’s not exciting to learn about that which you know all too well (although corner boys didn’t seem to have the problem of over-identification with the show… could it be that journos are just voyeurs?); for those that aren’t, newspapers aren’t that sexy. How many TV shows can you name that are about newspapers? And how many that are about cops & robbers? Open it up to TV news: would you rather watch Murphy Brown or Law & Order? It’s not even a contest. Column inches vs. bodies in vacants…
But what I like about the Sun plot is what I also have liked about the school plot, and Bunny Colvin, and the dockworkers, and the mayor’s office. There’s only so much brutal violence and life on the streets that I can take as a viewer. Simon & co., I think, are purposely pushing people to their limit with Marlo. Watching Budgie die this week was awful. Just awful. He died with dignity — we knew he would — but he died senselessly and brutally. Chris and Snoop and Marlo are as scary to me as child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Is there anything worse than watching a child kill a man? (and no, I don’t think it’s better to watch a man kill a child, so let’s not even get into that.) Whatever charge I got out of it last season, whatever pleasure I got out of their dialogue, their jokes, is over. Chris and Snoop show up on screen and I just want them to leave. After five seasons, we know the corner in and out. What I want to know is how the corner got to be the corner, and how it fits into the city. Shit is fucked, but why? This is why I like the Sun plot. I don’t think the death of the newspaper is “worse” or “as bad” as the prevalence of the drug game. But it’s bad on its own terms, and life isn’t a zero-sum game. I don’t think The Wire is asking “who’s got it worse — cops, dockworkers, addicts, dealers, or reporters?” This is just another room in the house that it’s building.
I also like little kids dressed in costumes. More Bug, please.