Wednesday, April 15, 2009

RE: David Simon

I too enjoyed getting a look at what the creator of the wire had to say about the show. One thing I thought was particularly interesting was Simon’s discussion of why he felt Baltimore was the best city to set the show in. Simon sees Baltimore as an ideal setting for the show because it is a “less-than-unique or less-than-grandiose second-tier” city. In this way, the city itself is less important, and the ideas and themes discussed can be easily reapplied to most other American cities, making Baltimore the ideal “Everycity”.

I also thought it was funny how much trouble they went to to avoid being flashy. Even when they were casting, they tried to find little known or foreign actors so that “their faces are unfamiliar and therefore less likely to pull viewers out of the moment” (Also: who would’ve guessed that Lester Freamon, Stringer Bell, and McNulty were all played by British actors?). This is a counterintuitive move for television, a genera which normally rewards and even focuses on highlighting well known actors. I suppose this is just another reason why the wire received such low viewership while on TV, but was still so highly regarded by critics.

I liked how Simon mentioned that the Mayor/Governer of Baltimore/Maryland hates the show and even tried to hold up their filming permits. Kind of a silly move on his part, especially since the later seasons focus more on corrupt politicians and such, seems like a pretty blatant admission of guilt. I wonder how average Baltimore cops feel about their portrayals in McNulty and the gang. It has to be uncomfortable having people point out the shortcomings, but probably refreshing to know that people recognize your problems. Cause most of the times that things don’t work out for the cops, it’s not as much their fault as the system “throwing lightning bolts and hitting people in the ass”.

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