Sunday, March 9, 2008

"The Wire" ends - and the beat goes on......

UPDATE -- Here’s The Wire reunion from last night’s  PaleyFest (10/17/2014):


Well, tonight was the last episode of five great seasons of a TV drama, more "reality" than any reality-show sludge served up as such today. This polemic, written and created by David Simon and Ed Burns with the talented writers Richard Price, Dennis LeHane, George Pelecanos, Chris Collins and William F. Zorzi , seriously deserves Emmys all around this voting season. The entire cast was on-point and absolutely phenomenal. Hope to see them working in projects that showcase their talents really soon.

Just as Mayor Carcetti became the new Gov. Carcetti; Council Pres. Campbell became the new Mayor Campbell; Asst. State's Atty. Perlman became the new Judge Phelan, Dukie became the new Bubbles, Michael became the new Omar, etc., etc., so goes this race for the presidency.

After all, the devious, backroom, "you-scratch-my-back and I'll-scratch-yours" political machinations, newspaper sell-outs for fame and fortune and broken social issues are all merely our own, writ large in the show. The only difference is, "The Wire" ended and the actors get to move on unscathed. We don't have that luxury and talking about change that can't or won't happen, will leave far more bodies in its wake than they ever found in the vacants. The line, "shining up shit and calling it gold..." was priceless! Not only does it seem equivalent to this presidential race, but to our continuing to do the same things and expecting different results in these United States of America.

I really didn't expect the show to end much differently than it did. I was rooting for Bubbles from the first season to the last. I'm glad he figured out how to make it to the other side. I knew Marlo Stansfield would not want to "give up the crown" - such is the nature of those who seek power and wealth at the expense of others (too bad Chris didn't figure that one out!).

Michael was already a budding Omar when he dropped out of school. Smart and with more of a conscience than not, the Robin Hood aspect he took on from Omar's character was already evident in the way he took care of his little brother, got Chris to get rid of the mother's no-good boyfriend and took Dukie off the streets once he was promoted to running his own corner.

In a previous episode, Dukie's haunting question, "How do you get from here to the rest of the world?" seemed to me shades of things to come. And as it turns out, he couldn't figure out the journey from from point A to point B no matter the promise he showed in school. There was no one in his life to show him the way. Pryzbylewski tried, but he knew as soon as he saw him, it had not been enough. Glad Namond had Colvin.

That Kima showed up to tell Lester and McNulty herself that she'd dropped the dime on them to Daniels was exactly what I expected given the no-bullshit woman she was. Because of the relationship among her and the original "wire" detectives I also expected them to understand, and they did. A pleasant and unexpected turn was Police Commissioner, Cedric Daniels. Facing the loss of coveted political capital for a Black man in America - power, privilege and visibility - he chose to say, not just "No," but "He-e-e-yall no," to the continuing game. Personal integrity sure looked good on him!

There are many lessons young Black men (and women) can take from the show, but the most important was the one with which Daniels left us in that "where are they now" montage of a last scene. By figuring out how to get that paper, you can "buy your freedom" and have a better chance of not leaving yourself at the mercy of this society that rarely, if ever cares. That lesson deserved a tribute from the ghost of H.L. Mencken:

"I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.

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