Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Wire: The Class

Break from a long hiatus due to rewatching the series again.

While this surely isn't the first class on The Wire, it's probably the highest profile. William Julius Williams!! Harvard!! Don't blame me, but I told ya so.

I do believe the show can stand up as a text in an academic sense (Wire Dissertation, here I come?), but the op-ed makes it sound more like a documentary studying urban life. As I rewatch it for a second time, I see how Simon juxtaposes certain scenes to suit his themes. While not as self-indulgent as season 5, rewatching season 1 illustrates the, at times, artificial nature of the work. When Daniels and Wallace get buried by the bosses for breaking rules, both figuratively and literally, it is to serve Simon's thematic arc not real life. We can read this as how modern institutions work philosophically, but must remember that it's only TV.

With these caveats, I'm all in favor. Classes like this and this build excitement that should be welcomed in the classroom.