The Wire: Smacketology

I don’t normally post about TV stuff here on PPH, but I’m going to make an exception because I’ve stumbled across something quite stupendously brilliant, and it’s about my favourite TV show ever*: David Simon’s deep, dark, complex, funny, suspenseful and educational HBO drama The Wire.

The writers at US-based sports and culture website Grantland, tired of conjecturing over who is The Wire’s greatest character, have put a plan in motion to decide once and for all.  They’ve drawn up a basketball style set of ‘brackets’, divided the characters into regional sections, and pitted them against each other.

Obviously, Barack Obama’s Favourite Ever Wire Character™ Omar Little is the runaway favourite, but what about the shark-eyed nihilism of Marlo Stanfield, the deadpan militance of the underrated Brother Mouzone or even the androgynous, hair-trigger marauder Snoop (played by real-life ne’er-do-well Felecia Pearson)? Hell, what about Stringer Bell? It’s not all about violence either; how’s about fuck-up turned teacher-with-a-conscience cop Prezbo? The social revolutionary and Hamsterdam architect Bunny Colvin? Or even one of the tragic kids from Season 4? That’s the beauty of The Wire. Has there ever been a show with as many rich, unforgettable characters?

You can participate yourself over at their Facebook page, and read their opening article here. Furthermore, you can – and absolutely should – also follow Grantland on Twitter @Grantland33. It’s a great site.

The game’s already underway (it was ever thus, and “it done changed” etc…), and in what was a ridiculously high-calibre first-round tie, Marlo’s ice-cool yet vicious lieutenant Chris Partlow was vanquished by reformed hard-man and boxing gym owner Dennis Wise (no, not that one) aka ‘Cutty’.

In tribute to Partlow, who remains one of my own personal favourites, I’ll sign off here with the most disturbing Wire clip I could think of (from Season 4, Episode 10: Misgivings), but not just for shock value. I also happen to consider it one of the very best moments of the show’s near-faultless five season run. Directed with fearless precision from former Spike Lee collaborator (and Do The Right Thing DOP) Ernest Dickerson, the scene is a masterclass in creating suspense, and advancing character development through carefully judged use of violence; the explosion of brutality from the normally precise Partlow speaks for his past in a way that he’s never likely to be prepared to do through dialogue. It’s probably best not to watch it if a) you’re faint-hearted or b) haven’t got to Season 4 yet. *SPOILER ALERT* “Enjoy”:

*apart from Cheers.

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