Given all the hoopla at the start of the latest season of The Wire, I thought I’d give it a go–the writers’ strike is definitely encouraging me to seek out new television. I’d heard about the show in all my media outlets, particularly the blogs that I read, and, somewhat surprisingly, all over public radio.
Well, I just watched the first two episodes of the fifth season, and I can say with little reservation: it’s bullshit. I’m not at all surprised that this show gets terrible ratings. It’s sanctimonious, stereotyping, ham-handed, but mostly, really, it’s just boring.
All I can think is that people with intellectual aspirations think that liking this show reflects well on them, the idea being that only The Wire is daring enough to address the complex challenges facing society. Also, because it’s politics mirror fashionable urban liberalism (corporations=bad, politicians=bad, management=bad, labor=good). But really, the show is remarkably simplistic, perhaps most evident in these first two episodes by the Parade of Stereotypes pawned off as characters: the mercenary weaselly white mayor; the alcoholic Irish cop; the wise-cracking charismatic African-American news editor who is always right, and is always sticking it to the man; the silver-haired sensationalist condescending newspaper publisher; etc. etc.
And I don’t think I’ve ever watched a talkier show. It’s kind of like a soap opera in that there is a lot of commotion, but nothing really happens.
So, please, spare me the fawning criticism of the gritty reality and causal complexity depicted by this show. It’s little more than polemical claptrap to encourage self-back-patting. And while I largely share the creator’s political views, I don’t need them beating me over the head.
Wow. This post got quite screedy. It’s just that all I’ve seen is adulation, and no negative criticism.
God, I wish Battlestar Galactica were back on the air. Another couple months, I guess.