Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"The Wire" in Newsweek

There is a 3-page article about "The Wire" in Newsweek this week. While it's great to see it getting some press, it is, of course, hidden towards the back of the magazine. In any case, it's a very well-written article with some interesting comments from David Simon. In deference to the writers' strike, he is refusing interviews at this time (even though I'm sure he's desperate to get the word out about his fucking awesome show). However, this interview was completed before the writers' strike, and Simon agreed to answer a few follow-up questions for that reason.

It's pretty clear that he sees the fire in episode one as a metaphor for urban ills, mostly violence. The reporters watch it, but they don't have jobs unless nothing is done to fix it. The following quote is from the Newsweek article, written by David Simon in an e-mail in December.
He says that the show is "very much a critique [of] the fixation that Americans have with the pornography of violence, as opposed to the root causes of violence. We have zero interest in why the vast majority of violence actually happens and what might be done to address the issue. But give us a killer doing twisted shit or, better still, doing it to pretty white girls, and the media and its consumers lose all perspective."

As for critiques that the newsroom characters lack depth, Simon disagrees. My own opinion is that they do lack depth, but it's not all Simon's fault. We have 10 episodes in which to meet and get to know these characters, whereas we've had at least 13 episodes in the previous seasons, and for many of the characters, we've had all four seasons to learn their intricacies. Simon has said that the ten-episode season will feel accelerated to the viewer. He lobbied for 13 episodes, but HBO offered 6. They compromised at 10.

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