Attention to Detail

I thought the articles on David Simon were amazing. I really enjoyed reading them because they delivered what I hoped they would. With The Wire you expect the author to be unique and passionate and all these things in one, and my perception is that he is all I expected him to be. It was great to read about his strict attention to details, concern with realism over anything else, and his loyalty to things he believes in. His dedication to Baltimore is a little unbelievable, but he is committed to it being the focus of The Wire and from they way he talks about it, it is clear Baltimore really is. There was a lot to enjoy such as the point about not giving a shit about the average reader. Instead, Simon seeks someone that wants to immerse themselves in a show and let it develop a little more before everything becomes clear. Simon talked about his specific pitch to HBO and how he left out his somewhat lofty intentions for the show because they would be laughed at. His pitch focused around HBO’s slogan, “It’s not TV, it’s HBO,” stating that he had his own version of the police procedural and all the other ones on TV sucked. The Wire would illuminate this fact and it eventually did, despite average ratings. Ratings did not seem to discourage Simon and he acknowledged that people really started picking up on the show after the fourth season or so. All of this stuff was really cool to read about as was specific things addressing the show, in particular casting and music.

Simon talked about Idris Alba (Stringer) being English and that not mattering at all even though he was so focused upon the realism the show portrayed. He justified Alba’s casting by simply putting hat he nailed the roll and fit perfectly, which is hard to argue with, and that the realism would not necessarily be affected as Alba isn’t a recognizable face along with all the other characters. Sure I knew about the ensemble cast, but thought it was interesting how he latched on to particular actors from previous stuff like Homicide and placed them in The Wire. He clearly is very loyal to those he views as talented and his city. All of the writers appear to have come from The Baltimore Sun, where Simon previously worked, and also contributed to the uniqueness of the show, as none were pure television writers. The music aspect was interesting too. There is the montage in each season finale, but despite that the only music that is apparent is heard through in the setting of the show, through boom boxes and open windows in cars. Also there is the opening credits song, which changes each season, which is explained by Simon. Each version of the song fits in with the season theme such as having the song be sung by a Baltimore boys choir in season 4. These are aspects that I like hearing be explained and never really quite understood. Simon is committed to the detail and in turn the realness of the show.

I guess I am just spewing out the stuff in the articles that I like or that struck me, and haven’t formulated it into an argument. David Simon does come off as a smart ass or thinking he is smarter than the rest of us, but that is what I want and expect the author of The Wire to be like.

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