THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 2 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 2

July 7, 2010 by  

Welcome to Week 2 of The Wire Project. We are just scratching the surface of Baltimore’s grittiest cops and drug dealers. Alliances are forming, rivalries are building, and allegiances are being brought into question.

Early reactions from the GMMR community to Disc 1 were almost universally positive, with many noting Executive Producer David Simon’s attention to detail. To create a fictional world worth watching, Simon and his team took great pains to explain the agendas of each faction. Viewers are not hit over the head with a political philosophy. Instead, we are invited to form our own opinions about characters like Jimmy McNulty, D’ Angelo Barksdale, and Stringer Bell.

Heather & I got together via Barnes & Noble’s generous Wi-Fi policy to share our views on “Old Cases” & “The Pager.” By the way, if you have been interested in joining The Wire Project, but do not have access to the show’s DVD sets, GMMR reader “Makila” noted in last week’s discussion that The Wire is also available on iTunes. If you’re constantly on the move, or knee deep in iTunes gift cards, this could be your invitation to the fun!

Erik: With episodes 4 and 5 in our rear view mirror now, what are your initial impressions

Heather:  I looked Clarke Peters up after last week.  That first few minutes, when they were trying to move the desk – the look on his face was totally priceless. His awesomeness is no longer secret!

E:  Fair to say that Detective Lester Freamon is an early favorite of ours?

H:  I love that they say he is “natural police.” Like he has The Force.

E:  His nightstick must be a lightsaber

H: Heh. Exactly. And his story really emphasizes what we were talking about last week with the system standing in the way of good police work.

E:  I am a sucker for stories about mentors, and McNulty seems to understand that Freamon is someone he can learn from

H:  Yes. His respect for Freamon is going a long way toward making McNulty more palatable for me.

E:  Me, too. I am also going to start using “Pawn Shop Duty” as a euphemism in everyday life for thankless work

H:  Ooh, that’s good…Ignoring the seemingly-obligatory divorce/child custody drama, I found McNulty more likeable overall this week. Especially when he was working the old crime scene with Bunk.

E:  The angsty soccer game scene between estranged spouses has been played out. George Clooney & Michelle Pfeiffer got it right in One Fine Day. It’s time for that sequence to be retired

H:   Yes, I agree. I’m sick of that being shorthand for a certain kind of middle-aged man. He’s dedicated to his job! He loves his kids, but he just doesn’t have the time!

E:  Yet, he’s always asking for more time and copulating with a random woman while he complains

H:  And it’s a woman he works with, naturally.

E:  The best scene of these two episodes, by the way, is one you just mentioned: McNulty and Bunk at Deirdre Kresson’s murder scene

H:  When I was watching it, I thought it was amazing that this show and CSI started in even the same decade, let alone within 2 years of each other. You wouldn’t catch the CSI guys at that scene without lasers and DNA kits.

E:  What would CBS have allowed them to use as their “walk around curse word”

H: I loved it! In my notes I called it The F**k Opera.

E: The F word has never been used so much, yet been so creative
(Note to Self:  edit a few letters in Heather’s last entry 🙂 )

H: Hee hee!

E:  Since I’m a wannabe writer, that sequence proved how dialogue can often be unnecessary

H:  Made me glad this was on HBO so it could be in this form. Any other word would have ruined the scene.

E:  The lack of red lasers was a welcome change of pace, and it came across as first class police work

H:  My only complaint is that it felt a little anvil-like to have D’Angelo talking about the murder that same day, coincidentally…The scene itself was flawless, though.

E:  I think the narrative of D’Angelo’s boasts and their discovery was meant to move things forward, because of a shortened season construct…In a network show, that’s a hint you drop in episode 4, and come back to in episode 18

H:  Well, then, I can forgive the slight clumsiness :):)

E:  Switching gears, what did you think of Omar, who was a big focus of these two stories?

H:  Between him and Kima Greggs, I’m beginning to think that Baltimore is the most progressive city with respect to sexual orientation and no one knows.

E:  Ah, but is it? Omar’s bad ass reputation took quite a hit when some of Avon’s crew started speculating about his sexuality.

H:  It’s funny you should say that, because I was surprised by how small the reaction seemed to be. And it certainly didn’t make Avon any less paranoid.

E:  I think it was subtle, but clear. On the other hand, Brandon’s murder (Omar’s boyfriend at the arcade) did seem to be fueled by thievery of their stash more than by his sexuality

H:  Yes, I agree. That theft obviously shook up Avon pretty badly. The downside of being a dictator is having to spend all your time worried that someone stronger will take it from you.

E:  Drug dealers are more paranoid than 16 year old girls with extensive social networks

H:  Heh. Avon is worried that Omar wants to be the new queen bee.

E:  I enjoyed the power of Omar’s van when he returned to his old haunts. No one dared approach it or mess with it

H:  I’m sure this is intentional, but I keep seeing parallels between the power structures of the “good” guys and the “bad” guys. The things the guys at the top do to stay in control and keep the lower guys down…Like sending someone to Pawn Shop Duty.

E:  So, you’re happy to see stories moving forward after five episodes?

H:  Yes. I’m not head-over-heels in love yet, but I think I have a crush on The Wire. I’m happy to see where it goes. And you?

E:  I finally understand the hyperbole surrounding the show, and I’m excited to see what happens next. There are tons of questions floating around, and I am genuinely curious where they’ll end up…Besides, Bubbles is everywhere, and I enjoy his street performing routine too much to quit

H:  There was one other scene that I really loved. When Stringer Bell told D’Angelo to stop paying his dealers and see who asks for money and whoever doesn’t is the mole…It reminded me of The Godfather.

E:  So happy you brought that up, because it was an instant classic.

H:  Where Vito tells Michael that whoever approaches him to meet with Barzini is the one who has betrayed him and it turns out to be Tessio.

E:  Never saw The Godfather.  I’m that guy…As soon as that scene faded out, I thought about the veteran cops who didn’t want to work without overtime. There’s a commonality between these worlds that resonates

H: You never saw The Godfather?  No way!

E:  I did pay to see Dear John alone…Is that bad?

H:  You must go see it right now!  Honestly, I think you have to watch it to really appreciate this show. There is so much that I’m seeing through the lens of The Godfather.

E:  Wait, and you’re telling me that a romantic war movie starring Amanda Seyfried WON’T help me understand The Wire?  Ok, Roger Ebert…

H:  Dear John will make you appreciate why people start taking drugs. ..Oh hush, you can edit out when I’m pretentious.

E:  Maybe Omar will start dating a veteran, and I’ll have a better appreciation for it

H:  Then I will defer to your superior knowledge.

E:  I’m sure Channing Tatum would thank you for seeing my side of the argument.

H:  Though how would I know since he only has one facial expression?

E:  That’s a carefully constructed strategy, so that Party Time can stock Channing Tatum masks at Halloween

H:  Nice. Ok, I have to go walk now.

E:  Be careful, and don’t use a pager

H:  Oh, I missed that. Prez redemed himself by being a giant dork!

E:  If this show really comes full circle, he is still owed a pistol whip to the head.
See you next week for episodes 6, 7, and 8!

Which stories stood out to you in these two episodes? Were you shocked by the brutality of Brandon’s murder? What did you think of McNulty & Bunk’s investigative skills at the Deirdre Kresson crime scene? Are you finding yourself siding with the cops or the criminals?

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4 Responses to “THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 2”

  1. SaraK on July 7th, 2010 7:04 pm

    This show just amazes me with its brilliance. I love that the viewers are not force-fed anything. The Deirdre Kresson crime scene was superb. It’s crazy that I am invested in the criminals, right? Never felt that way about any other crime/cop show.

  2. Erik on July 7th, 2010 8:07 pm

    SaraK: You cannot help but immerse yourself in Avon & Stringer’s world. Because the show takes a big picture view, I don’t feel pressured to root for heroes, like I did when NYPD Blue or Law & Order were on my favorites list. This is a show that marinates in subtlety. Thank goodness we have so many episodes to go!

  3. Shannon on July 8th, 2010 10:56 pm

    I watched the 4th and 5th episodes immediately after I finished the first 3, so I got a good immersion into the world of The Wire. It was hard to stop watching, but unfortunately, the weekend was over and real life was calling! 🙂 Some good stuff happened with the introduction of Omar. I can’t wait to see what happens next, what with the murder of Brandon. It was very chilling to think about the fact that Wallace and the other kid are so young (between 12 and 15), yet had no problem calling D, knowing what would happen. Great stuff.

    Also, I really enjoyed getting a longer look at Avon and Stringer. I’ve heard and read a lot about David Simon’s great characters and I’m really starting to see what the fuss was about. And let’s not forget the badass Lester – finally getting recognized by some of the other members of the task force as being natural police. I like the parallel they set up between him and McNulty – I hope we get to see more of that.

    And of course that amazing crime scene with McNulty and Bunk – what can u say about that, except – f@*%!! 🙂 just a ridiculously great scene.

    Can’t wait to watch the next three episodes this weekend. My only fear is that I’m going to reach a point where I’m so drawn into the series that I’ll just finish the season and I’ll get ahead of “the project”! 🙂 I’ve been known to get a little obsessive about my TV shows. Haha

    Quick shoutout to Kath: hope u can get the first episodes and keep up with discussion. I’m hoping to hear some of your thoughts on the podcast.

  4. Erik on July 9th, 2010 2:45 pm

    Shannon: I wasn’t expecting to be so quickly engaged with the show, as it had always been described to me as a well-paced, methodical effort. To my surprise, I have literally had to pull myself away from the TV so that I don’t get too far ahead to discuss each disc intelligently! If you’re enjoying the show, and get a little bit ahead, don’t worry. We’ll be catching up with new viewers all summer, so your expertise will be welcome…

    Wallace is one of my favorite characters. On the one hand, he’s a protective father figure to the kids under his roof (by the way, are those all his brothers and sisters, or has he become the de facto protector? It’s unclear to me). On the other hand, Wallace is keenly aware of the danger involved in “the game.” It is a carefully written story, and Michael B. Jordan certainly did great work before he showed up on Friday Night Lights as Vince Howard!