- Train yourself to watch carefully. For one thing, with thirteen episodes a season (eleven in Season 5), there wasn't a lot of room for filler, for how-did-Jack-get-that-tattoo? or there's-a-black-market-in-the-convoy or I'm-having-this-weird-dream-of-being-a-salesman-in-Costa-Mesa or maybe-Joey-loves-Rachel-for-a-while-now. More importantly, though, David Simon & Co. subscribe to the butterfly-flaps-its-wings theory, in which seemingly unimportant acts can have significant consequences. So pay attention.
- Having difficulty with the language? Some of you may prefer to think of the patois in The Wire as an invented language, like Klingon or Dothraki. Simon has said (chortle) that the slang on the street changes so fast that the only way to achieve verisimilitude without seeming archaic was to make up new slang. Favorite examples: the use of the word "behind" to mean "because of," and the drug names that the dealers use. In any event, the slang may be daunting at first, but once you internalize it, you'll really want to start using it itself.
- Do not use Wire slang in public, unless you are an actor of the caliber of the actors on The Wire.
- Except for Clay Davis's catch phrase. That one translates.
- It was perhaps three weeks ago that you held the opinion that people who keep insisting that you watch The Wire should just shut up about it, you're not the boss of me, god, how annoying. Please remember this, because in a few weeks you will be insisting that your friends watch The Wire. And then you will be the one who should just shut up about it, you're not the boss of them, god, how annoying.
- There is a corollary to the above point. Every succeeding group of viewers that comes to The Wire seems to irritate many of the people who have already watched it -- ugh, those Johnny-come-latelies, offering their belated analyses and to-be-disproven hypotheses, as if the show is going on right now instead of eleven-to-three years ago -- even if the newly irritable just watched the show three months ago. Those of us who have already seen the program should remind ourselves regularly that only the succeeding generations of Wire-watchers rescue us from being the last people to discover the show.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
ON WATCHING AND REWATCHING THE WIRE: Just a few procedural comments for people approaching the series with some trepidation (which surely you are, since something had to keep you from the #1 prescribed television show of the last decade):
Posted by Isaac Spaceman at 10:31 AM