Trip Through Your Wires

My last post was about my recent binge watching addiction.  And while I digest all the suggestions about what show I should watch next, I thought I’d write about my favorite one so far.

In the distance
She saw me coming ’round
I was calling out
I was calling out

I had heard so much about The Wire on America’s Favorite Radio Station, all of it good, that I was sure it was oversold to me.  I expected a severe letdown. But I got the reverse.

This series was amazing.  Sure, it had its low moments (which I will get to below), and it was gritty to the extreme, but it was also the most “real” of the shows I recently watched.  It also offered potential solutions to real world problems, even if some solutions are extremely radical.

And the acting/casting?  Beyond superb.

Probably the weirdest thing about watching this show was its timeframe.  It began its run in 2002, so police stations were just starting to utilize the internet, everyone had flip phones, and an aversion to technological advancement was a real thing.  (And I was probably getting better graphics on my ICQ messages in 1999 than these cops were getting on their computer in this show.  But that’s nit picking.)

Still shaking
Still in pain
You put me back together again
I was cold and you clothed me honey
I was down and you lifted me honey

Season 1 was really good.  It definitely sucked me in pretty much immediately, and also planted a seed that would grow throughout my viewing of this show:  Who, exactly, was I rooting for?  I found myself often empathizing with almost every character in this show.  Except the politicians.  They never made that list.

The cops were doing a thankless (not to mention impossible) job, the dealers were just filling a need, and the tweakers were just trying to escape their day to day hell.  I get all of that.  And every “good” group has to have at least one bad guy and every “bad” group has to have at least one good guy. I get all of that, too.

And season 1 left me wondering who was good and who was bad.  So, yeah – I was sucked in.

Angel or devil
I was thirsty
And you wet my lips
You, I’m waiting for you
You, you set my desire
I trip through your wires

Season 2 was the low point of this show for me.  In the grand scheme of things, it was a necessary story line driver, but the whole arc of the season did little for me.  The new characters seemed too “over the top”, not to mention I had to buy the fact that Michael Scott’s goofy girlfriend from The Office (Holly Flax) was a cop.

But season 1 was so good, and I knew the show lasted 5 seasons (I doubted the second season was the beginning of the end), so I fought through it.  You can, too.

I was broken, bent out of shape
I was naked in the clothes you made
Lips were dry, throat like rust
You gave me shelter from the heat and the dust
No more water in the well
No more water, water

In season 3, shit gets real.  Or realer.  The original team starts to reassemble, technology gets a little better, and an officer of the law comes up with a “so crazy it just might work” plan to reduce crime in the drug infested areas of Baltimore.

That officer, by the way, is my favorite character from this entire series.  He’s the kind of guy you pay attention to, that you gravitate toward.  He was a fascinating personality, and a damn good actor.

Angel or devil
I was thirsty
And you wet my lips
You, I’m waiting for you
You, you set my desire
I trip through your wires
(All I need, all I need)

Season 4 – the GOAT (greatest of all time).  I’d watch this entire series again, stem to stern (and probably will), but I’d also watch season 4 over and over and over again on its own.  This was the season that started to put all moving pieces in one place.

Is the drug problem a political problem? An education problem? A law enforcement problem?  All of these?

Well season 4 starts to bring all of that together as one of the cops becomes a teacher, my favorite character becomes an education consultant, an idealist (or opportunist?) runs for mayor of Baltimore, and street dealers damn near unionize.

It’s fascinating viewing.  Hell, I might start watching it again tonight.  Once I complete a series, I remove it from my watchlist.  But The Wire Season 4 has remained on my list because of how damn good it is.

Don’t get me wrong – season 5 is great.  And it ties up a lot of loose ends.  But season 4 is the meat – the point of the entire series, I’d imagine.

In the “real” world, a lot of people find themselves in situations that are not ideal.  Or maybe they judge somebody based on a small sample size rather than a full, empathetic experience?

I don’t know.  And I doubt I ever will.

But The Wire made me question a lot of things.  And for that, I’m thankful.

Thunder, thunder on the mountain
There’s a rain cloud in the desert sky
In the distance she saw me coming ’round
I was calling out
I was calling out
– “Trip Through Your Wires”, U2






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