Welcome to the Inanimate Blog watchalong for The Wire. Every week all summer we’ll be watching two episodes and posting our thoughts. We’re not recapping each episode in detail; that’s what Wikipedia is for. This week is Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2.
Sam: Before watching episode 1 last Sunday, I knew all of three things about The Wire: 1) Everyone says it’s the greatest thing ever, 2) There are characters called Stringer Bell, McNulty, and Omar, and 3) It takes place in the city of Baltimore. And yet, when the show started and they said something happened on the “west side,” I instinctively wondered what city it was and whether that was a valid comment for a real city or if they’d fictionalized an existing city. And then I went OH. RIGHT. That’s this show. Got it.
Emily: Going in, I knew pretty much the same amount about The Wire as you did. The other major thing I knew about was that each season took a look at the problems and corruption in different institutions in Baltimore, and the first season focused on the police department.
Sam: Right! I had a vague notion that each season had a different topic, and that it was notoriously hard to follow. I will admit to watching the first episode with a kind of hyper-vigilance to make sure I was paying attention to everything that happened so I wouldn’t get lost. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it actually isn’t bad at all; they don’t spoon feed you anything, but it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on from the context. What a novel concept- plot development through what the characters actually do and say and who they do and say it with. Good job, David Simon!