“We’re living through a crisis of ________”

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I’m not going to pretty up this post with photos. If you want to see that stuff go hit my blog and enjoy. I’m also not going to put in any spoilers, though I am dying for a full on discussion of the series. What I’m going to say here is somewhat more serious. I would like to respectfully say that if you haven’t watched the Wire you have missed a pivotal piece of the quest toward the solution of the problem that is our country right now. Seems over the top does it not? I’m still going to stand by it.

The title here is a quote from a DVD extra in the final season of the show. In this instance the blank was filled in with “the media” and that was the focus of Season 5. You could fill in that blank with a number of other things and still be a. telling the truth and b. talking about a theme given in-depth investigation by this show.  They have looked at education, drug trade, business, government, the police, recession, addiction, human trafficking, port security, lordy I could go on forever and I don’t think they’ve shorted any of those topics.

Firstly it’s a love letter to Baltimore which is a fabulous choice not only because the creators, an ex-policeman and an ex-reporter, know and really do love the city but because Baltimore is a microcosm of America. Its a smaller city than Chicago or LA or New York and it doesn’t carry some of the glossy baggage that those places do. It’s not a small town exactly either but it has small towns within it. The result is a place that is a melting pot of the problems that we can safely say the entire country is confronting and, I would conjecture, are failing to solve.

I make it sound pretty weighty and difficult to watch don’t I? In some ways it is. They aren’t just tossing around answers and happy endings and they aren’t sugar coating the physical and emotional violence so prevalent in our society. They are, however, structuring reality in a way that will grab you by the throat and not let you go for five full seasons.

I am character driven. It’s true of my artistic work and it’s even more true of what I’m drawn to in other people’s stories and art. The characters here are deep and surprising and appealing and frightening, each of them, all at once. Let me give you a short list and you decide which of them are good guys and which are bad:

– A brilliant, drunkard playboy of a homicide detective

– An intelligent, clean cut, inner-city twentysomething drug dealer cum real estate mogul

– A highly successful, ambitious, visionary politician

– A homeless, IV drug using junk peddlar

– A teenage gangbanging girl navigating that culture without trading in sex or feminine wiles

– A gay, vigilante hitman

OK, let me grade your answers….you got them all right! The characters are written so well and the situations so realistically complex that no one is good or bad. They all have aspects that are noteworthy, admirable, abhorrent and heartbreaking. I’ll warn you right now that if you step up and watch this series you’ll feel something. Scary, I know, but worth it, worth ten times more.

It’s not a comfortable show to watch. If it were it wouldn’t be this good. If knowledge is power then the Wire provides a compelling and inspiring body of evidence to start us off on a path to reform. In this election year when we should all be investigating social and political issues to the very limits of our abilities I give you the Wire as a palatable, if not easy, entree into the issues that we absolutely need to resolve in order to be able to give ourselves and our descendants a country of which we can be proud. It won’t be simple and it won’t, alas, provide us with any instant gratification. We owe it to ourselves to try, though, and this show, the people behind it and the people that it represents make me want to be a better citizen, a citizen who, honestly, wants to make an effort toward change.

Go now and watch it from start to finish. Then call me. I have so much more to say.

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7 Responses to ““We’re living through a crisis of ________””

  1. Zelda Says:

    I need to add this to my list of things to watch. Your writing alone makes me want to! brilliant words!

  2. Darci Says:

    Love your take of the theme….Kung-fu Panda….must go see that!

  3. Free TV Sucks « Angst Girl Says:

    […] I read an entry over at Please Pass the Popcorn written by Kizz in which she discusses a show that has been on HBO for five years. FIVE YEARS! I […]

  4. mrschili Says:

    I’m going to see if my video store rents these by the season. If not (and I’m almost sure they do), I’m betting they’ll buy them for me if I aask…

  5. Kizz Says:

    Thanks Z!

    If your video store doesn’t rent them by the disc you probably want to get a back up video store ASAP because these guys have no business savvy at all. 🙂

  6. saintseester Says:

    This has always been on my “to watch” list. I just never seem to find the time to watch much of anything these days. I had a friend who heavily suggested I watch this show. His opinion was much along the same lines as yours.

  7. eatsbugs Says:

    Wow. I might have a TV show to watch after I finish Heroes! Thanks!

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