This isn’t about Iraq. It’s this week’s open “Wire” thread, and anyone who watches the show will get the above reference. Up for discussion today:
1) Monster mama Brianna, brought to her knees — or tears, anyway — with the recitation of a simple truth: She sold her own son down the river.
2) Hamsterdam, Major Bunny’s tar baby. I think the writers, in trying to distract us from asking a fairly obvious question — “Why doesn’t anyone else in the police establishment know about this place?” — keep throwing Bunny new balls to keep in the air. I know “Deadwood” is supposed to be about how societies find their way toward law and order, but I think David Simon is doing it much more economically (and with fewer uses of the C-word) in the evolution of Bunny’s free-fire drug zone. First the cops were hardasses, then social workers, and now we’re seeing a health-care system creaking into operation to serve the prostitutes, addicts and other lost souls lurching around like zombies. I love how Hamsterdam isn’t the violence-free utopia envisioned by legalization advocates. I like that it’s hell. I love the “five-acre Petri dish” line.
3) Stringer Bell, moral puzzle. Who is he? Joe Kennedy, or just a thug in an expensive suit? (Yes, you can argue Kennedy was that, too.) Does he want out? Respectability? I think so. Which is why he went all playground on his ign’ernt-ass partner last night, who is married to the street. Crime evolving into respectability is not only a great theme for drama, it’s a time-honored way for poor people to find a workaround for their lack of advantages. This is an interesting guy.
4) And oh my, Marlo and Cutty.
ashley said on November 15, 2004 at 7:02 pm
Personally, I would pick WMD over Bottle Rockets any day. ;^)
Did Brianna get schooled by McNulty or what? I hate the whole plea-bargan system, but that’s what we have to deal with. That’s why D got 20 years, and Avon is walking the streets today. Now she’s trying to lay blame somewhere, but McNulty doesn’t care because it won’t make a black one out of a red one.
I also like how Hamsterdam is more like a cess pool than heaven. I don’t see it as a problem that the brass doesn’t know. Nobody outside of Bunny’s crew has any reason to ever drive through West Baltimore. You know they don’t want to. The telling tale will be how Colicchio gives Bunny up (because you know he will). They may try to revoke his pension. Odd seeing Clarence Clemons as a community rec guy, but why not…
I think Stringer wants it all. He doesn’t want out of drugs, because they are extremely profitable. Don’t forget, he’s the guy that got every supplier in town to “unionize”, and deal directly with the NYC wholesalers as a single entity. He just wants to be seen as a leader.
As long as Avon’s around, he won’t be THE leader. Don’t underestimate Stringer’s street smarts. He knows that the truly big money is to be made at a level where you have to have a tie, but without his organization, he can be eliminated at any time.
Now, the question is what happens since Stringer ‘fessed up to Avon. Will Avon do the right thing for blood, or the right thing for bidness? I see Avon as having the same goals as Stringer, but different priorities. Avon sees the legitimate business as a vehicle for a larger share of the drug market, and Stringer sees the drugs as a way to get into the legit (aka white collar) deals. Because of this, I don’t think that Avon will do anything to Stringer.
Brianna is a different matter…I don’t know how, but if she finds out what happened, she will be one angry momma. She, unlike Avon, believes that blood is thicker than water. She could cause problems. She could be eliminated if she does.
I know one thing for sure, Avon needs a whole lot more soldiers.
Cutty is doing wonderful, but I kind of think I’m being set up as a viewer. I remember one on-line chat that HBO had with David Simon. A viewer asked “What happened to the kids that Wallace was taking care of?”. Simon replied: “What do you think happened?”.
So, I see Cutty as evolving into respectable success, possibly even getting back together with the teacher, and then being cut down by Fruit for the hell of it. It hurts me to watch Bubbles and Cutty try and fight and crawl out of the mess only to get eaten up by it. Just as I shed real tears when I read that Gary died in “The Corner”, I don’t see Cutty and Bubs escaping clean. They have corners everywhere, and for every Blue success story there are a hundred Gary tragedies.
Marlo, otoh, has just opened a massive can of whoop-ass. I don’t care what Stringer says to Avon, Marlo went too damned far to just wing Avon. Marlo’s world is about to turn nasty.
Nance said on November 15, 2004 at 8:44 pm
Marlo and Avon will destroy one another. Ultimately, Stringer’s the better character because he’s a rarer bird.
ashley said on November 15, 2004 at 8:56 pm
Stringer may be better, but is he more evolved? Can he survive in both worlds at one time? Avon has no preconceptions; he doesn’t try to fit into the construction rehab scene, but he can survive on the street. Stringer thinks he can do both, but that may ultimately be his downfall.
Mark said on November 16, 2004 at 12:05 pm
Over the past two or three episodes, I have begun to see Bunny and Stringer as kindred souls. Both are trying to bring some new, more rational approach to their jobs; both are trying to reduce the level of violence in their “communities”; both are encountering resistance as they bump up against traditional, entrenched ways of doing things. Given the usual fate of reformers in this world, the outlook would not seem to be particularly bright for either man, although I would place a small bet on Stringer’s chance for success before I would wager on Major Bunny’s.
Nance said on November 16, 2004 at 1:29 pm
I read an interview with David Simon once where he mentioned this very thing — how often characters on both sides of the law will be trying to do the same thing, and having the same problems doing so. I think the example he used was D’Angelo Barksdale (season one) and Lt. Daniels, both being squeezed between incompetence lower down and unreasonable demands higher up. I think his comment was, “Middle management sucks.”
When I took screenwriting last year, we talked a lot about how to determine and clarify your characters’ motivations, because that’s the engine of the story — what they want, and how they’re being thwarted from getting it. What I admire most about the writing on “The Wire” is how clear that always is, without being obvious. I can’t think of a character who isn’t nakedly ambitious in his or her own way, but always bumping up against someone who’s got a different plan. It’s so much harder than it looks, like choreographing a full-chorus dance number. Very impressive.
ashley said on November 16, 2004 at 7:07 pm
Nance, I agree with your analysis that character motivation is the driving force of “The Wire”. Everybody’s motivation is pretty much crystal clear.
Only thing, with characters like Bubs, the motivation changes from time to time. Of course, it seems to be like that with most addicts.