Mala noticia.

This show is going to kill me yet. How many times have I stood in the crowd during the newsroom-cutbacks speech? Many. The only difference was, our cutbacks were stupider. My scrappy little daily had no bureaus in Johannesburg to close, so our publisher gathered us in the newsroom to announce we were cutting our own circulation. Yes, cutting our own circulation — the “unprofitable routes” at the outer edges of our footprint were being cut, because it cost more to deliver way out there than some bean-counter figured it paid back. If that isn’t the very definition of nose amputation for facial spiting, I’d like to know what is.

I like to say that’s why I knew we were well and truly FUBAR’d, but truth to tell, that was only one in a series. But that’s when I personally threw up my hands.

So I keep reading, here and there, that the Sun storyline is the weakest of the season, and maybe of the series, but I won’t have it. This shit is like reading my diary.

And so we’re back to the lying game. I liked that we’re seeing a bit of how those what’s-the-harm-if-it-gets-me-outta-Baltimore Templeton lies hurt. Twigg’s not the only one with game around here, but Templeton’s killer quote, which he knows he won’t be called on as long as Nerese Campbell is pissed at Gus Haynes (a long time), is still malignant — it could end up bringing down Cedric Daniels, too.

All the buzz this week is about Omar, in…I’m going to say Puerto Rico, but I thought there was nothing more poignant, this week, than the still-too-young-to-drive Dukie and Michael having to hire a gypsy cab to take them to Six Flags? The day offered a rare chance to be a kid again, before the responsibilities of the world came crashing down. I read a David Simon interview years ago where he said one lesson of Season One was: Middle management sucks. Guess it still does.



  1. I gotta say, Nancy, that I’m on the side of the Sun-storyline bashers. I keep waiting for any complexity in these characters – for Templeton to have something vaguely redeeming about him, or Gus to have the slightest hint of a flaw (other than the arrogance of the righteous). But when I heard Clark Johnson on Fresh Air last night talking about how Gus *is* Simon, it all added up for me. It seems to me that Simon is getting the facts right about the big picture shittiness in the industry. But he’s doing so at the expense of well-rounded characters…. at least from what we’ve seen so far.

    On a lesser point, we were thinking Puerto Rico for Omar, too.

  2. Good point, Michaela. Maybe Gus’ flaw can be…he’s just TOO good. The classic mother’s complaint.

  3. I don’t like the characterization of the newsroom storyline as “weak.” The viewpoint about earlier Wire cop/criminal characters being more interesting and dynamic is one that has been highly conditioned by decades of sensationalist news and cop shows. I will grant that the fifth season has some very big shoes to fill – it will be difficult in a sensationalist environment for some J-school grads with sheepskins to compete with the life stories of those who dodged bullets to put food in their bellies (notice how that applies to the cops and the crooks).

    David Simon is peeling the problems of the American city(and society) back another layer. The new subjects are complex and very important. Most middle class Americans are only marginally affected by the inner-city drug trade. But, whether they want to acknowledge it or not, they are highly affected by the decline of newspapers and the changes in modern news and media. If they don’t want to hear the important stories about their own world because it might ,like, implicate them with responsibility for their own fate and their own world, well, that’s too damn bad.

    The last season … perhaps you will get out of it what you put into it.

  4. […] Omar on NPR’s Fresh Air Spurred by this comment to Nancy’s newest post, I dug up the recent Terry Gross interviews of Clark Johnson (Gus) on […]

  5. Ha, Nancy, maybe that’s MY character flaw, too! (I wish…)

    Racy, I think you’ve got a good point about the advantage The Wire gains from all those cops & robbers shows being so 2-D (so to speak). But isn’t the same true about lots of movies and TV shows about the media? From All the Presidents Men to Shattered Glass, reporters are either heroes or dirtbags, with not much in between. So I’d say there’s plenty of opportunity for Simon et al there, too.

    I actually don’t think the Sun storyline itself is weak, just that the characterizations are so far. It’s a niggling point, but an important one, I think.

  6. Maybe Gus’ flaw can be…he’s just TOO good.

    I guess the smoking grays him up a bit.

    OTOH, everyone I’ve ever known that worked at a newspaper of any size smokes(d).

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