Response to Beck & the Series

After reading Beck’s interview with David Simon, I too felt he was overly defensive and simply incorrect. Generation Kill the series did not work for me for reasons both explainable and unexplainable. Firstly, it was boring. The Wire was sometimes too, but it was so complex and intricate, I couldn’t allow myself to get bored. In Generation Kill there is the unit and that is it. You either like it or you don’t. I liked the Marines and found them to be entertaining to watch and listen to, mainly because I have no idea what it is like to be a Marine. I was intrigued by their humor and found it funny that they made fun of these kids that were forced by their teachers to write letters to them. Cpl. Person his comedic monologues were undeniably funny, which David Simon in the interview with Beck was quick to point out were sometimes crafted by him. Although there was humor and intrigue, the lack of action and repetitiveness wore the series down, and overall, it wasn’t enjoyable to watch. I found myself extremely confused trying to keep up with all terms, resulting in me having no idea why they were invading a certain place or whether or not they would end up killing civilians. Even some of the realism that Simon talks about bothered me; “Godfather” was hard to hear and the guy with the intense accent was too much to handle. As Beck points out, there was a criticism that two of the characters looked too similar with Simon’s response being that there is disorientation in the unit and that the viewer doesn’t need to being holding a scorecard when watching to keep track of characters. As a previous poster said, this was a weird response, as this ultimately detracted from the viewing experience finding myself trying to figure one from the other in the first couple episodes. In the ensemble cast, I don’t think there is the luxury of not being able to distinguish characters. There were the four main characters in the Humvee, yet outside of it, it was hard to keep track of who was who and who was supposed to be important. With that said, Cpl. Person was very prominent, very funny at times, yet hard to embrace as a central character to latch on to, like a McNulty was, especially when everyone kept thinking about his character as Ziggy. Lastly, certain emphasis such as on the mustaches in the first couple of episodes was unnecessary and boring. More action was required ot keep the viewer interested as the weaving of plots that held The Wire together was not available to Generation Kill.

It was a unique perspective to take on the Iraq War and it worked in certain aspects, but overall Generation Kill did not match Simon’s craft in other productions. I don’t think we can expect him to admit that, but certainly we have the background to make the claim.

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