Monday, November 30, 2009

The Wire: 100 Greatest Quotes

My friend MB recently forwarded me this collection of the 100 greatest quotes from the Wire.  I write a blog about LOST, but the Wire will always be my favorite show.  I've never seen anything quite like it and doubt I ever will again.  Watching these clips in quick succession took me back to when I was mainlining the the entire series on DVD, watching two, sometimes three, episodes at a time:

My only complaint is that the selections include almost no quotes from the kids.  We see Randy and Michael, but no Namond or Dukie.  I found these kids to be some of the most compelling characters on the Wire.  They're what makes Season 4 arguably the best of the show.  I would have loved to see at least one more glimpse of them clowning around on the corner or with Mr. Pryzbo in the classroom.


neoloki said...

Thanks Big, once again. I started watching this show when it aired, but it didn't take. I am not sure why. After the completion of season 4 and going into it's fifth season there was quite a bit of press about the singular unique voice The Wire speaks on American life. So, I gave it a go, again. Two and a half weeks later I was drooling for the final season. It bowled me over. The writing on this show is unmatched and it's unflinching look at street life and the viscous circle of the ghetto is uncompromising.
Thanks for the post. season 1 and season 4 are my favorites.

Bigmouth said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I gather you watched some of the episodes live, and others on DVD. Did you find that one method was preferable to the other? I ask because I read a curious article on Slate about how box series are a poor way to encounter shows like the Wire or LOST. My experience is quite the opposite of the author's, but I'm curious to get other views on this.

neoloki said...

Last year was the first year I watched Lost live. Usually, I would watch it the next morning online. The commercials killed me. It broke up the momentum and mystery of the show. One of the beautiful aspects of Lost is it's ability to immerse a person completely into another world, like any great fantasy series, but the commercial's would break and I felt like someone slapped me across the face. It was damn right disconcerting.

If I could wait a year (LOL) and watch the season back to back I would. For me Lost is never whole until I have seen the whole season over a few days. The timing, the pacing, character motivations, themes and the creative direction of the writers, etc, al. become alive. Watching it week to week makes it feel disjointed, slow, awkward and certain throw away episodes become too important in the context of the season.

With both The Wire and Carnivale it wasn't until l I saw a whole season that I was able to appreciate the story and the writing. In both cases I would watch an episode and think this is interesting, but not compelling. Finally, I would see an episode that really caught my attention and that would send me to the video store so i could sit down and watch 2 or 3 eps. back to back. And it is not until this situation presents itself that you can really taste the food, so to speak.

As far as the article goes, he seems to be complaining about having to think while viewing TV and feeling burden by other peoples recommendation. But, for all the little things you might notice are wrong about a TV series after watching a whole season consecutively, if the series is good, you will notice 5x that amount of detail that would not have been discernible. In the end it is all about the story and the story can't truly shine until you watch en masse.

Capcom said...

FWIW, that's my experience with watching the X-Files as well. On network or cable, the commercials break up the mood and momentum that is a huge part of the Files' aura. Watching on DVD makes the flow so much more engrossing and meaningful.

I'm working with watching those final couple seasons right now, to attempt to get some meaning out of them that was totally lost on me when they aired. I'm keeping my expectations low, but hoping for something to click for me where it didn't before. Those final eps of the mythology just felt so disjointed to me compared to all the previous seasons' story telling myth-arc.

Brazos said...

Glad to hear you're such a big fan of "The Wire". A group of friends and I somewhat recently started a blog ( that is attempting to determine the best character through an NCAA tourney style bracket. This weeks matchups have been somewhat weak, but I recommend you take a look. We're just about done with the first round.

J.W. Anonymous said...

Just read the Slate article and I couldn't disagree more with the author's point... I've personally gone through a few series entirely on dvd [The Wire, Six Feet Under, S&TC], the first three seasons of LOST, and the first season of Mad Men and I loved doing it that way.

It's kind of like reading a really good book that you can't put down... I don't want to wait a week to get to the next chapter. I think it works especially well with shows like LOST and The Wire since they have such season spanning story arcs.

One thing I will say however, I'm sure it's harder to keep up with weekly analysis on the internet, i.e. Doc Jensen, Bastard Machine, etc., when viewing a large chunk of episodes.

[Side note: I found your blogs through your interview with Doc Jensen and I must say your LOST analysis and commentary is extremely interesting. Keep up the good work.]

Bigmouth said...

Welcome, JW, I love your analogy to tearing through a great book! I remember finishing The Lovely Bones in one flight from NY to CA -- I just couldn't stop reading. That actually reminds me of a topic that may merit a separate post. Why haven't novels been adopted as series for television? I'm not talking about FlashForward, where the premise changes substantially. I mean taking something like the Dark Tower saga and turning it literally into an episodic serial.

Why does Hollywood only make literal adaptations of novels as films and mini-series?