Take a Drink: every time McNulty pisses off a supervisor
Take a Drink: every time a character does. Take Two: if it’s anybody but a cop
Take a Drink: for drug business details
Take a Drink: whenever McNulty’s a shitty dad
Take a Drink: every time Omar whistles or you hear “Omar comin’!”
Take a Drink: What? Product Placement?
Do a Shot: for every strip club scene
Do a Shot: every time Pryzbylewski is a dumbass
By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –
The first time someone told me The Wire was the best TV show ever, I took note. By the fifth time or so, I started to get annoyed. By the tenth, I just watched it already, and… they were right. Now it’s my wife’s turn to be annoyed at my constant giddiness about the series, and her turn to find out how right I am. If not…
The Wire is an in depth examination of the entire Baltimore ecosystem surrounding the War on Drugs, from dealers, to police, to schools, and so much more, in the guise of a typical police procedural. The jumping off point is live wire detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) assembling a team and arranging surveillance in order to take down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) despite substantial pressure from his superiors to leave it be. Wow, that synopsis doesn’t do this show justice…
Creator David Simon was a journalist for the Baltimore Sun for many years, and is a sociologist at heart. What separates The Wire from the rest of the TV field is how incredibly detailed and real it feels… often because it is. Simon based many of the characters and situations on real people, and his familiarity with this world comes through in every frame.
Yup, for real.
Each season maintains the main storyline while examining another sector of the system in Baltimore (and too many other parts of the country) that sustains this neverending “War on Drugs” and the cycles of poverty, addiction, and murder it perpetuates. The first season touches on many different aspects of the system, but is most focused on the Baltimore Police Department, with its labyrinthine politics and focus on career-making above all. It’s an incisive portrait, especially when contrasted with Barksdale’s drug operation, which seems better organized, managed, and motivated in many ways.
They fuck up, they get beat. We fuck up, they give us pensions.
What elevates The Wire from a meticulously researched achievement in realism to one of the finest examples of the film medium, even more than its cinematic storytelling and understated, high wire act plotting, though, is the focus on characters. It’s literally impossible to pick a best in show, from West’s passionate, wry McNulty to Clarke Peters’ heartbreaking Bubbles, Lance Reddick’s Lt. Daniels, or Sonja Sohn’s badass Kima. Wait… Michael K. Williams’s truly epic Omar has got to be number one, right? Oh, Harris’s Avon or Larry Gilliard’s D’Angelo? But what about Michael B. Jordan’s poor, poor Wallace? Yeah, it’s impossible.
Any review of The Wire is bound to degrade into a list of ecstatic adjectives, so I’ll leave it at this. Season 1 started it all, setting the stage beautifully for the real Game of Thrones.
Thrones may vary.