Episode Name: "Final Grades"
After getting charges dropped on Bodie, McNulty takes him for some lunch in a park over near Pimlico. This meeting prefigures the circumstances that lead to Bodie being killed, as having close dealings with a cop eventually gets him pegged as a snitch. Still, lunch acts as a common ground, a sort of neutralizer of roles. Over sandwiches in the arboretum, McNulty is not a cop for a moment, and Bodie not a lieutenant for Marlo. They are just a couple of guys working in two separate systems that are screwing them over. This is the second time that lunch brings the two together not as cat and mouse, but as two men who respect each other.
But why is he telling his story now? Why fess up when most of the world hadnâ€™t found out and his career is peaking again on â€œBoardwalk Empireâ€? Somehow, after each coke binge, he cleaned up, showed up and knocked off some of the most powerful scenes on TV. He never blew an acting call. There were no rumors about missed table reads, no whispers among directors about mysterious â€œsick days.â€ So, this is a story that didnâ€™t have to be told â€” or did it?
â€œI thought, â€˜Why me? Why did I get spared?â€™ I shouldâ€™ve been dead,â€ Williams says. â€œI have the scars. Iâ€™ve stuck my head in the lionâ€™s mouth. Obviously, God saved me for a purpose. So, I decided to get clean and then come clean. Iâ€™m hoping I can reach that one person.â€
My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.
It's all pretty great (read: bloggable (readable, too)), but this about Baltimore pride was funny:
If the ghetto dick-grab were known to me in 1985, I mightâ€™ve held on to mine when I uttered the following: â€œIâ€™m from Baltimore. And I can tell you what â€˜activeâ€™ means. It means we kicked his ass.â€ An empty moment floated through the crypt, and the other Americans on the tour just about died. At that instant, I felt it was a good thing I didnâ€™t go on with what I knew, because Ross was actually mortally wounded at North Point by two Baltimoreans with squirrel rifles who crept through the brush and shot him off his horse, infuriating the British, who sent an entire detachment of Royal Marines to kill the sharpshooters, named Wells and McComas. (They are buried under a monument in the heart of the East Baltimore ghetto and have streets named after them near the fort.)
Last week, The Wire creator David Simon was interviewed in the New York Times seemingly criticizing people for showing up to watch The Wire 4 years after it went off the air.
The number of people blogging television online â€” itâ€™s ridiculous. They donâ€™t know what weâ€™re building. And by the way, thatâ€™s true for the people who say weâ€™re great. They donâ€™t know. It doesnâ€™t matter whether they love it or they hate it. It doesnâ€™t mean anything until thereâ€™s a beginning, middle and an end. If you want television to be a serious storytelling medium, youâ€™re up against a lot of human dynamic that is arrayed against you. Not the least of which are people who arrived to â€œThe Wireâ€ late, planted their feet, and want to explain to everybody why itâ€™s so cool. Glad to hear it. But you werenâ€™t paying attention. You got led there at the end and generally speaking, youâ€™re asserting for the wrong things.
In an interview with Alan Sepinwall, Simon clarified his comments.
And through a miscommunication â€” probably my fault, I have no way of knowing â€” I have apparently told everybody that I donâ€™t want the show watched except on Sunday night at 10 oâ€™clock, which apparently is the exact opposite of things Iâ€™ve been saying in interviews for years. It is contradictory of everything Iâ€™ve said before. Iâ€™m reading it in the paper and Iâ€™m not making sense to myself. Sorry. My bad.
Turns out his comments had more to do with the recent Grandland.com The Wire character tournament.
The comments I made that seem to critique viewers who found â€œThe Wireâ€ late were not so intended. I thought, when I made that remark, that I was speaking to the reporter not about viewers in general, but specifically about folks pursuing the recent bracket-tourneys about best characters, shows, scenes, etc.
Kick off the Boston Book Festival with a thoughtful and timely exploration of The Wire with its cast and creators. Its creator, David Simon, referred to this powerful, gritty, and all-too-realistic exploration of urban poverty as a "visual novel." The Wire, perhaps the most critically-acclaimed series in television history, has been compared to Dickens, to Greek tragedy, even to Shakespearean drama. It is both high art and social commentary. Join several cast members and writer/producer George Pelecanos in a conversation about The Wire and issues of race, class, institutional failure, and the visual novel. The discussion will feature Donnie Andrews (the real "Omar"), Fran Boyd (the inspiration for David Simon's The Corner), Tray Chaney ("Poot"), Robert Chew ("Prop Joe"), and Jamie Hector ("Marlo Stanfield") and will be moderated by Reverend Eugene Rivers, co-founder of the Ten Point Coalition.
To D'Angelo, the formal labor market is fundamentally unfair. People are not rewarded according to their true worth, and powerful institutions regularly exploit those with less power. Social inequality is the inevitable result -- the McNugget inventor doesn't get his due. "It ain't about right. It's about money," D'Angelo tells the young dealers.
Reminds me of the The Snot Boogie Rules. "Got to. It's America, man."