The Wire: Season 2

My first e-mail:

1. This season is decidedly…whiter…than last season.
2. In general, I’m not a fan of the Russian/Eastern European bad guy; I feel like it’s been done. At least they’re mixing the groups together and it’s not just the Russian mob or something…?
3. I still feel slightly ashamed of myself for some of the things I laugh at on the show…but man, it’s funny!

Reply from Fan 2:

1.) Funny story about Season 2 being “whiter”:

    When I first started watching THE WIRE, I was watching Season 1 reruns on BET, Black Entertainment Television.  They would run for an hour and a half, because BET was adding commercials to HBO’s one-hour show.  They ran it almost un-edited, but blurred the nudity and silenced the profanity, but didn’t cut anything out. 
    When they started running Season 2, they suddenly were running for one hour total, even with commercials.  I was about 4 episodes in, before I realized they were cutting out parts that involved the white characters!  One episode started half-way through a major confrontation and I had no idea what was going on.  Reverse racism from BET!  And when I figured it out, because I knew how everything mattered, I stopped watching and went to get the DVD’s.

2.) Keep in mind, this season was created in 2002, so they were a little ahead of some of the EASTERN PROMISES style bad-guys.  And those are the real bad guys in the drug/sex slave trade.  But don’t worry.  The Baltimore “bad guys” will always be the center of the story.

3.) One of my favorite funny moments was early in Season 2, I think you’ve probably passed it, is when Stringer is having the meeting according to Robert’s Rules of Order, and Poot stands up to address the “Chair”.  Love that moment when Stringer loses it for just 2 seconds.

I could talk about this show for hours and hours.  In fact, I have.  So, feel free to write or stop me at Rolling Hills anytime you need to vent about what McNulty or Omar are doing. 

Reply from Fan 1:

this is hilarious.  I knew [Fan 2] would be so happy that were watching it Jenn (ps [Fan 2], Jennifer is also a big WEST WING fan).

Reply from Fan 2:

Oh, THE WIRE and THE WEST WING!   But only the first four seasons (the real WEST WING) written by Aaron Sorkin.  I could get lost in that show.  Two shockingly different shows set in cities just hours apart.  One steadfastly optimistic, one steadfastly pessimistic.  One with poetic, lofty dialogue, one with an absolutely perfect ear for the slang of the street.  One about the highest of levels of our nation’s government, one about the least of the least in American society.  Both assuming the intelligence of the audience will carry the day!

Still, I’m like the equivalent of a Trekkie.  If they had WIRE or WEST WING Conventions where people came dressed as the characters to talk about the show, I would go.  In fact, I wonder if we could make some money with an annual THE WIRE convention?  But we’d have to do it in Baltimore, and I’m a little scared to go there.

My reply:

Ok…I’m about to start the last episode of season 2. Here’re my favorite things so far this season:
1. “Puddin'” looks like a fat Wallace.
2. Frank Sobotka is one of the most dynamic characters I’ve seen on tv. I can really see his desire to do right by the union members and just doing whatever he can do better their lives. It’s really tragic….especially since I’m pretty sure the ep I’m about to watch is going to begin with him getting shot by Spiros.
3. In a related note, I love the portrayal of fathers & sons with Frank & Ziggy and then also Nick & his dad.
4. I love the parallels and themes they’ve woven through our three “worlds” (the cops, the thugs & the checkers)…all the way down to the lacrosse bit (Bunk’s sweatshirt & then Nick’s “Why they gotta use sticks, can’t they just kick the ball?” observation. Likewise, between this & last season, there’s the whole theme of wanting to belong to something bigger than yourself, whether it’s a good investigation, union or gang. I’d propose that last season’s D’Angelo is this season’s Nick’s-dad…the sad thing showing that even if D had successfully left the “trade,” the cycle likely would’ve picked back up in his son.

5. Bunk has some amazing one-liners. “What do you call a man who cares that much about his clothes?” Bunk: “A grown up.”
6. My favorite character of the season is definitely Proposition Joe. I want to know their writing process for the episodes, because whoever refines his & Omar’s lines is/are amazing!
7. I need more Bubs. I miss Bubs.
So, even though this season didn’t pack quite the same action punch of last season, I love the way it brought forward the ensemble & let McNulty become more of a guy who brings info to light and then supports the team instead of him just being our only protagonist. I really can’t say enough of how I loved the depth that they gave the “bad guys” like Omar, Stringer & Frank this season. I hope Avon gets shanked.
Now…on to the last episode & then I totes have the first disc of season 3 sitting on my coffee table, too…
Addiction is bliss,

Reply from Fan 2:

There’s so much about Season 2 to talk about, but here are a few notes:

-I hated Ziggy for a long time, and couldn’t figure out what his value was.  But then I loved how it ended.  We see that headline all the time on the news, “2 Shot and Killed at…  At this time the motives are unclear.”  But has any other show ever taken the time to show how good people from hard-working American cities and families are being beaten down into a rage?  It takes 13 episodes to show the story that most of the news outlets don’t bother to look into.  More on that in Season 5.

-How much do you know about David Simon and Ed Burns, the creators of THE WIRE?  Simon was a reporter for the Baltimore Sun for a long time, and Ed Burns was first a Baltimore Cop and then a Public School teacher.  So, all their characters are built from a real world that they studied and lived in for years and years.  That’s how they develop the characters and their dialogue.  Brilliant, isn’t it.  (small sidenote: you notice that with all the cussing in the show, Omar doesn’t curse?  He even reprimands someone else who does.  Brilliant.  And how great was Omar’s scene in the courtroom?  TV doesn’t get better than that.  Well, maybe it does with the Chess Scene from Season 1.  Oh, and Rawls and McNulty in the hospital is Season 1.  Oh, and about 10 scenes you haven’t gotten to yet in Seasons 3, 4, & 5)

-You’ll get more Bubs.  His story is deep.  What do you think it is about him that you like so much?

-I think Bunk may have been my favorite character after it was all said and done.  But, of course I love them all.  Bunk has some awesome moments for me, and some of the funniest lines also, especially when he’s drinking.  Like when he tried to burn his clothes to destroy the trace evidence, etc.  But he’s also got moments like when he tried to get Kima to try to identify WeeBey, but respected her when she didn’t.  He’s natural police.

-Simon and Burns talked a lot afterwards about how even though most people aim for Shakespearean drama, they were after Greek theatre (tragedies especially).  It’s mortals striving in a world where the Gods (institutions like the police department, the drug trade, the government, etc.) really hold their fates.  Chew on that huge thought for a while, it will start to warp your brain.

-I like Season 2, and hugely respect what risked and pulled off.  But most people will tell you it’s the weakest of the 5 seasons.  So, if you still liked it, the next 3 seasons will totally own you. 

-I love how they never have “tell-all” moments, you know those scenes at the end of every Perry Mason, CSI or Law and Order, where all the truth comes out, people confess and own up to everything?  Even in the last scenes of Season 2, when people are owning up to their actions, they still lie to protect others or just for the heck of it.  That’s life, right?

-I’m game for watching THE WIRE with anyone, anytime.  And once you’ve watched it once, let me tell you, it just gets better when you go back and watch the whole series again and again.  You see SO MUCH!  You don’t know it now, but so many seeds have been planted already for major plot points in the next 3 Seasons!  It’s awesome!

This is fun.  I’m living vicariously through you and re-experiencing it all again.  “Thin line between heaven and here.”

Reply from Fan 1:

oh wow.  [Fan 2]…you were holding back on me when I watched it.  I’m learning so much.

If I would have gotten [my dog] after watching THE WIRE, his name would have been BUNK.  I love Bunk!  Burning the clothes. classic.

glad everyone is enjoying you watching this great show Jenn!

My reply:

I’m about to watch the last 2 episodes of season 4 and I’m so scared!

Reply from Fan 2:

Yeah, that season is so perfectly written and balanced ANYTHING could happen in the last two episodes.  I want to hear your thoughts when you’ve seen them!

My reply (which came at the beginning of my first season 3 e-mail):

“So, I think my season three is most people’s season 2…It took me a long time to get into it… First, my thoughts on the end of Season 2 (bare with me, I’m a note-taker):

Brother Mouzone is the coolest ever. Seriously. The coolest.

I love that Prez is the “live wire” of the bunch, even though he’s the most unassuming – and that Daniels sticks up for him. I don’t understand why his name isn’t in the credits, though, when he’s always the one that actually cracks the case (or puts together a major plan).

The final episode, there is a LOT to say for Fathers and Sons…interesting…”

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