As some people have already pointed out, when watching Generation Kill, especially after reading and watching so much of Simon’s previous work, it is impossible not to notice Simon’s “voice” in the show. One thing that jumps out right away is Simon’s infamous cynicism. Early on in the first episode the scene where Corporal Person (Who will always be Ziggy Sobotka to me) responds to the letters written by students with a tone of disappointment. While most people think of this as an act of kindness by strangers, Simon shows us a different light: what good is a letter from someone you don’t know?
Another Simon-specific aspect of the show is the “reporter affect.” Evan Wright is an actual character in the show. Like in the opening scenes of The Corner, the other characters on the show respond directly to the presence of a reporter. Simon, who had spent years learning how people react when reporters are present, demonstrates how people change when the reporter comes in as well as how the reporter is treated. Over the course of the episodes (and presumably over the season as well) this change in behavior will become less and less obvious as the reporter’s presence becomes more obsolete. This is an interesting insight into the affect of a reporter’s presence, and also, in a sense, demonstrates Simon’s belief that the best type of reporting comes from long periods of time spent spent in an area, or with a group people, as, over time, the reporter becomes obsolete and thus the people being reported begin to act “real.”
What is interesting is, despite their different styles and views, it is clear that Wright and Simon agree in many ways about this “true reporting” style. Would Simon’s adaptation to the screen have worked as well had Wright’s book not been similar (in this regard) to Simon’s previous books?