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Catharsis: Thoughts and Ruminations on HBO’s The Wire

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Thoughts and Ruminations on HBO’s The Wire

December 8th, 2008

I doubt that anyone has ever really thought about it, but I’ve been living in a state of shame since, earlier this summer, I reviewed the first two episodes of The Wire, Season One, and made the follow proclamation:

“I figured that the more people talk about what is (thus far, and by all accounts) a fantastic series the better for my readers, readers everywhere, and maybe even the show’s long-shot Emmy chances.”

That post, and a post comparing the show to The Dark Knight, were the only two times I’ve talked about The Wire on this blog. Now, this isn’t that uncommon in terms of other shows I’ve caught up on: I got through four and a half seasons of Six Feet Under without talking about it (no, I haven’t finished it yet. Maybe next summer), and until the third season started I didn’t fill you all in last summer when I caught up on How I Met Your Mother. Due to both the speed at which I burn through these episodes, and the relative age of the material, it doesn’t seem like something that is entirely necessary.

But the difference with The Wire is that it wasn’t a normal catchup session – stretched out over a number of months, experiencing The Wire for the first time was something that still hasn’t left me. While I’ve almost forgotten I’ve seen most of Six Feet Under, I can’t help but wax philosophical about The Wire at every opportunity. Those of us who have seen the series, admittedly, must sound like a broken record, but there’s a certain creed of sorts: in any discussion raising the question about television shows to recommend, or television shows that have made an impact, or television shows that deserved more awards attention, or sometimes even just television in general, The Wire is going to be our go-to suggestion.

Tonight at 9pm EST, I will be joining Dave, Devindra and Adam of the /Filmcast for a live indepth discussion of The Wire, which will be the first time that I have truly entered into a dialogue about this amazing series. [To listen in to the live podcast, click here at 9pm] Considering this I felt like, even if I don’t have the substantial back catalogue I wish I had and that could have pulled you as readers into this universe sooner, I could at least offer some brief thoughts as I (if not through watching it) revisit the Shakespearean journey that is David Simon and Ed Burns’ The Wire.

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog – “Act II”

Admittedly, I’ll have less to say about part two of this little experiment (since I got most of my general comments out of the way for the first part), but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some really positive things to say about it.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along-Blog – Act II

What Act II does that Act I didn’t is embrace and engage with all of these characters. It’s still clear that Felicia Day’s Penny is the most underwritten of the characters, but it works because of how fantatic Neil Patrick Harris is on the other side of the equation. Day has a nice ease to her that allows the dialogue to flow and the songs to pop just right, so it’s not an issue of performance: it’s just a really simple character who’s trapped between two really awesome ones.

And no, enough things cannot be said about Neil Patrick Harris: his delivery during his exchange with Penny at the laundromat (In particular, the awesome “Sometimes there’s a third layer that’s the same as the first layer” line). I just love this character, and am glad that they broke my clear issue with the first part about the blog’s feasibility. It seems like before this point he would have run into the obvious problem of announcing a fiendish scheme on his blog and then having Captain Hammer/LAPD on his case, but at least it’s addressed here.

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Weeds – “Lady’s a Charm”

“Lady’s a Charm”

June 23rd, 2008

When Nancy Botwin is wearing an extremely short dress, her family knows the score: she isn’t shopping for a bed skirt, that’s for sure. After we learned last week that Guillermo had plans for her that went beyond the “sales floor,” it was pretty easy to put two and two together that he had plans to exploit his muse to the fullest, so to speak.

The result is the usual theme for Weeds, as Nancy’s new experiences are told through an alarming sequence wherein she’s way over her head and where Mary-Louise Parker can continue to indicate why she’s so great in this role. It’s at least, though, more of a learning experience for Nancy than before, as she might just have some time to grow into this one without fear for her life…but probably not.

The second episode of Weeds’ fourth season is a lot like the first: a lot of setup with little payoff. This isn’t a bad thing, I’ll stress that point a lot, but it does mean that the most shocking thing about the episode was that Silas got a new haircut. This isn’t to say that Weeds needs to shock us, but it does mean that things are continuing at the snail’s pace the show can be known for.

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