"The Wire" Does Not Equal Jesus

Gabriel and Robert, thank you for repeatedly sharing your obsessive thoughts about The Wire with me. As you know, I typically only listen to people's entertainment recommendations if they hammer it into me like a cerebral gangbang. But with you guys, it only takes gentle nudging outside the rim.

Last night I stayed up until 4:00 AM, consecutively watching the last five episodes of The Wire's first season. The show is unarguably great on multiple levels: crackling dialogue, cool characters, and a twisty narrative that steps outside traditional structure. (Each episode doesn't really have a beginning, middle, and end; the entire season is like one long episode divided into 13 parts.) I love Andre Royo's bouncy drug addict/informant, Bubbles; Sonja Sohn's feisty lesbian cop, Greggs; and Dominic West's defiant, charismatic, and oh-so-manly McNulty. And the chess-in-the-projects scene, as well as the "fuck" investigation scene, are amazing.

But I've got to tell you. I don't love The Wire. I really don't. I have deep respect and admiration for the show, and I understand why people fawn over it, and I'm perfectly happy if it wins Emmys, but, for me, it is not the second coming of Christ. I don't dote on it the way I do 24 or The Office or Arrested Development or South Park or Sports Night, etc. And if I'm going to spend hours and days and weeks and months watching a series, then, man, I'd better love it so much that I want to fuck it. So, no, I do not want to fuck The Wire.

Please post Season Two, Three, and Four spoilers here, so I don't get tricked into spending more time on this show.


  1. Here's the deal: Before you became convinced that the show was indeed worth watching, you had watched a bit of it on your own and prematurely (and wrongly) concluded it was not "all that."

    THEN...I pestered you and told you that if you hung in there long enough and watched just the first three episodes, you would be hooked.

    THEN...you called me and said you loved it.

    NOW...you are again prematurely trying to wiggle out of The Wire's unpredictable obtuse grip. See that's just it -- The Wire is not going to satisfy you in the normal way. It's like switching from Coke to Diet Coke. At first you think, God, the after-taste, I need the sugar. Why do people drink this stuff? But then, gradually, you can't seem to drink anything else. You can't really put your finger on how the transmutation from Coke drinker to Diet Coke drinker happened (aspertame crack addiction), but you don't care anymore. You just need Diet Coke 24/7.

    So it is with The Wire. You dismissed prematurely on a micro level and now you are dismissing prematurely on a macro level. And just as you pointed out the show is not so much episodic as it is seasonsonic (that's my term, please start using it), you will not come to understand that it really isn't seasonsonic...it's...its...
    catalogsonic. You don't really ever get that quick sugar high. You don't even get the big meal satisfaction. To get The Wire on it's level, you just have to commit, like an addict, like Bubbles. You just have to keep coming back. When you want to. When you don't want to. Doesn't matter. You need it now. And if you stop watching or listen to spoilers, you will have a nagging sense that you committed a small spiritual crime against the needs of your soul. Now stop whining, drink your damn diet coke, and go get Season 2.

  2. Folks, this compelling tract is evidence of how persuasive Robert is. He is an enabler. You see?! Just when I thought I cut myself loose of this godforsaken series, I feel like I have to go on anyway.

  3. Goddammit, just tell me if Bubbles dies!

  4. Bubbles. Oh, man. Just wait. Bubbles.

  5. A viewers with so many urgent questions sounds like someone who, oh, I don't know...

  6. Christ. Will you just please tell me if Telly is in subsequent seasons?!