The Wire Final Season

Week 2: Avon Returns
Talking television.
Jan. 14 2008 2:48 PM

The Wire Final Season

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Jeff,

I know what you mean about the endless Wire commentary. I'm having a hard time separating what I see on the show from what I read in the papers (and magazines, and blogs). Sometimes that's because what I'm seeing on the show is what I am reading in the papers. During the episode last night, it's-hard-to-be-a-saint-in-the-city editor Gus Haynes savages the Sun editor's idea for a public schools expose:

David Plotz David Plotz

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

[If] you want to look at who these kids really are, you have to look at the parenting or lack of it in the city, the drug culture, the economics of these neighborhoods. … It's like you're up on the corner of a roof and you're showing some people how a couple shingles came loose. Meanwhile, a hurricane wrecked the rest of the damn house.

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This morning, I read the Columbia Journalism Review's opus about Simon's war with Marimow and Carroll and saw this quote from Simon:

You can carve off a symptom and talk about how bad drugs are, and you can blame the police department for fucking up the drug war, but that's kind of like coming up to a house hit by a hurricane and making a lot of voluminous notes about the fact that some roof tiles are off.

It's a great metaphor, incidentally.

Let me just return to my other favorite moment in last night's episode: the visiting-room negotiation between Avon and Marlo. It plays a great trick by making us root for the heartless murderer Avon because he's putting one over on the even-more-despicable Marlo. (That kind of sympathy manipulation is a specialty of The Wire. See also: Prop Joe, Omar, Bodie …) Also, how great was the final moment of chitchat between them, when Avon, hungry for details about the street, asks: "What about you, how you been?" And Marlo answers with a shrug: "You know. The game is the game." That's what I'm going to start saying whenever anyone asks me about my job.

David