Giant day of NBA rest

Not like anyone needs me to play tastemaker here, seeing as no less a mainstream guru than Bill Simmons has touted its infinite virtues. But it's safe to say that everyone that Shoals has any respect for is eagerly awaiting Season 4 of television's foremost miracle. For reasons that took me weeks to decipher, supposedly episode one is available on On Demand tonight—a full week before its official debut. Needless to say, this is about as momentous in my life as Gilbert/Bron, minus the conflicted allegiance.

Consider this my excuse for a FreeDarko holiday, a plea unto the willing, an open thread if you need one, and an opportunity to link my long-forgotten Melo/Bodie comparison. My advance apologies for the potholed old post.

Oh, and if anyone cares, my top five favorite characters going into this season:

1. Marlo (bonus points for his crew)
2. Bunk
3. Cutty
4. Bodie (bonus points for having no crew)
5. Lester

CONTEST: First person to spot Richard or Romesh from Boys of Baraka gets his name in lights.


At 9/04/2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

I don't understand how that list doesn't include Omar.

At 9/04/2006 7:43 PM, Blogger stonecoldlampin said...

basketball isn't always jazz...

At 9/04/2006 8:03 PM, Blogger T. said...

is the wire even the best cop show that has to do with Baltimore?

(I like the Wire. . . but for my money, Homicide with the amazing Andre Braugher was the best Baltimore Cop show ever).

This, however, is the best show about basketball.


At 9/04/2006 11:28 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

well, after waiting all my life for this, it looks like hbo neglected to adjust their schedule for the labor day offage. what a way to start a week.

At 9/05/2006 10:32 AM, Blogger R.G. said...

Gilbert being left off the USA squad is like Lester being left off the major crimes detail, it may seem fine at first but sooner or later you run into a crew that is one step ahead.

At 9/05/2006 11:37 AM, Anonymous faux_rillz said...

Simmons on Idris Elba:

"With that said, Alonzo Mourning gives an inspired performance as Stringer Bell (Avon's manipulative consigliere). Maybe the best athlete/Hollywood crossover since Kareem in 'Airplane' (Wait, that's not Alonzo Mourning? Are we positive?)."

What, they all look alike?

The only way in which Idris Elba and Alonzo Mourning resemble one another is in their hypermanicured facial hair.

At 9/05/2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

fr, you're crying racism here?

This guy:
Doesn't look like this guy?:

At 9/05/2006 11:14 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

updated list after episode one:

1. marlo
2. bodie
3. marlo's crew
4. bunk
5. the new mcnulty

At 9/06/2006 12:12 AM, Blogger Taxman said...


At 9/06/2006 12:13 AM, Blogger Taxman said...

Great episode too, by the way.

At 9/06/2006 12:21 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

my problem with dookie is that he's like the retarded second coming of wallace. he's totally plausible, esp. since at some point there had to be a kid on there who wasn't destined for hopper-dom. but he's so fucking vulnerable, and seems so doomed, it's almost painful to watch.

At 9/06/2006 1:35 AM, Blogger S-Love said...

Simmons writes:
"In an attempt to be gritty, they didn't cast any of those Angie Harmon/Jill Hennessey types who always seem unrealistically cute for a drug/crime show set in a place like Baltimore. And since the actresses on the show are average-looking down the line, guess what happens? It's like the Lambeau parking lot, any press box or any NESCAC keg party ... the females who do appear on this show end up seeming disproportionately hot by about the fifth episode. Absolutely bizarre. I love when this happens."
He's partly right in that it is a testament that the show doesn't go for the L&O casting (which occasionally casts an actress who isn't nearly old enough to be an assistant DA). To make room for a bad joke, though, Simmons leaves out the essence: the world is full of average looking, yet still sexy, women and men. Most slick entertainments abjure these types, but it's too THE WIRE'S credit that it uses these sorts of people: the DA who likes to rut with married men, Bea (sweet, sweet Bea), Bunk (who smartly burns evidence of his adultery), etc.
I'm not as enamored of Marlo and Bodie as Shoals (and where are Omar and Bubbles?), but I find virtually every character and story arc compelling. (What is Simmons' problem? Season 2 was great.) When the show finished D'Angelo's ersatz Hamlet story and continued to be compelling, I was convinced of its greatness. Also it's attention to the little things, the small triumphs, such as the absoultely perfect casting of, and use of, Leo Fitzpatrick, Robert Wisdom, etc., etc.
I'm in China till the 21st. though, so I need to wait a few weeks before I can catch Season 4.

At 9/06/2006 2:49 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the thing with omar is that, like stringer, he's so positively mythical that you kind of can't help but be sucked in. these are awe-inspiring characters, but they don't charm you in the same (dare i say) personal way. and bubbles the literary creation sometimes feels like a grand charismatic hustle. his basis in fact nothwithstanding, of course.

like the psychoanalysis post dlic, burns, the recluse and myself did last year, i like to think that this list tells you as much about me as it does the show.

At 9/06/2006 2:27 PM, Anonymous PDGirl said...

A person’s favorite characters on this show *definitely* say more about him/her than about the show itself. So I should disclose that three of my favorite characters are D’Angelo, Wallace, and Frank Sobotka. Something in common there, I guess :). Both of my favorite scenes are season 3 though (Bunk telling Omar how things used to be, and Avon and Stringer on the balcony).

Re: Marlo--
By the end of Season 3, what did we really know about Marlo? It was all just what other people were saying about him and he was a device to hasten the demise of the Barksdale/Bell empire (although maybe it eventually became a sort of passing of the torch?, thinking of that scene from the last episode). Seriously though, I know less about and care less about him than any of the major characters ever on this show. I know I'm late in coming to this post, but I'd be interested if someone wants to explain his appeal.

Re: Bodie--
For me, Bodie is too numb. Obviously he is adapted to survival in his environment as well as (or better than) any other character, and his ability to put things out of his mind (or inability to feel, maybe) are what have allowed him to prosper (relatively speaking). Which is not to say that he is one dimensional—he’s charismatic and surprisingly wise, among other things—but I can’t “love” Bodie because I just don’t see that capacity in him, I guess.

The two returning characters I'm most interested in for Season 4 though are Cutty/Dennis and Bunny Colvin (who I didn't think would be back). Why no love for Bunny here? I know he was a cop, but he sort of reminds me of some of the old public defenders I know (one of the groups trying to help this fiasco who are sadly not really portrayed on the show).

At 9/06/2006 3:22 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i hereby declare a weekly wire open thread.

pdgirl--that balcony scene gets cited at least once a week when the freedarko organization and destiny gets discussed. little does everyone know, that really just means that silverbird and i are going to take down each other. avon/string, swagger/rigor, madness/method, me/silverbird.

re: marlo. last season he was all implication. coldest stare in the entire series, made stringer look soft and cuddly, straight to the top without avon's bluster. and vaguely, elegantly demonic. a true classy street sociopath. i'm coming to terms with what happens when you finally see behind the veil of mystery.

re: bodie. my soft spot for him is kind of inexplicable. he's been through so much, always part of the most crucial currents of the show, but somehow always ends up finding his way out in trivial, goofy fashion. he's like the street everyman, if the everyman had a seat at the table for two hours a day. and it's impossible to gauge whether, from event to event, he's getting more and more mundane or slightly great himself.

wasn't cutty on my initial list? i heard a rumor that this season was going to involve a cutty flashback. if it were top ten colvin would be on there, too.

actually i think i had them both on my first "draft" of the list, but then realized how lame it looked if all i had was season 3 newcomers.

At 9/06/2006 7:23 PM, Blogger B&B Enterprises said...

i can't really rank them but here are some favorite characters:

Brother Mouzone: The bow-tie assassin...spoke beautiful patrician English, always badgering his right-hand man to go pick up his new copies of The Atlantic and Harper's. For weeks I misheard his name as "Brother Moves On" -- vaugely menacing? I thought so. Hard to say if we ever see him again.

Frank Sobotka (sp?):
"We used to make shit in this country. Now everybody just has his hand in the next guy's pocket" Amen.


Marlo: If the writers don't humanize this guy somehow, it changes the dynamic of the show. I've often tried to distill the essence of the program to non-viewers by saying unlike in the cookie-cutter cop dramas on the networks, the charcters here are fully rounded human-beings; the good guys can be crooks, the crooks are capable of complex human emotions, etc. Avon & Stringer were really kind of loveable -- but not Marlo. What's under this dude's Darth Vader mask?

Carcetti: The actor hit the script out of the f'in park in episode 1. He's compassionate, cynical, mainc, astute. Theresa: "He can read a poll!"

At 9/06/2006 10:28 PM, Anonymous Fanboyardee said...

re Marlo: I think his humanization might have gone too far over the edge toward encroaching on the territory walked by our current characters. As little as Simon, Burns, et al pay lip service to making the show accessible to viewers, some nods to good guy - bad guy have to be made. I don't think we'll get too much love for Marlo in his time, but his backstory should run parallel to those of the new kids in some way.

On the fan of character side, I'll have to give nods to some elements of the real:

Slim Charles

DeAndre from "The Corner" as Brother M's helper.

ugh. Out of state tuition= no hbo.

At 9/06/2006 11:33 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

good call on marlo and the kids. i know i'm not the only one who watched the two half-hour infomercials for this season, where simon says "the wire is in a lot of ways about wasted potential. in every graduating class--in baltimore, the graduating class is eighth grade--you have two or three kids like marlo, who achieve an incredible amount of success and power at a very young age. that takes a lot of intelligence, leadership, problem-solving, etc."

then he also said that stringer wasn't some evil genius, he was just a talented guy who wanted to make it out of the ghetto and didn't realize that ultimately the drug game meant you could never leave.

i already said this in an email to b&b, but marlo might be the first ever character in that show with absolutely no sense of right or wrong. everyone, with the possible exception of stringer, has had their own code. and stringer seemed beholden to some weird abstract ideal of an orderly universe. marlo, though, is truly amoral.

tried to say this earlier, but he's basically a combination of the best (as in most effective, as in worst) aspects of avon and stringer without any of their liabilities (read: humanity). and that this character is possible in a show so riddled with ambiguity makes him truly frightening.

maybe that's it. marlo could be on any show, but what he means in the context of the wire is truly astonishing.

At 9/14/2006 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When/how will they address Rawls' chuckling, ghostlike appearance in the gay bar during Brother Mhouzone's (I must be misspelling that) search for Omar? Am I forgetting a previous story arc relating to this from Season 1 or 2? It's been a long time since I saw them.

Bunk and Bunny were season three's finest, early candidate for 4 is Marlo's nailgun operator.

At 9/14/2006 10:36 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

anyone coming to this thread late should travel to the blog it inadvertantly spawned.


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