The Wee-Bey reaction GIF is 15 years old

Wee-Bey reaction GIF.gif

“She wasn’t no cop, man. She looked like one of Orlando’s hoes.”

That quote right there — that was the first ever “Wee-Bey reaction GIF.” You know the one even if you don’t know its source. A man with his hand on his chin, mouth staring, eyes agape, turns his head over his right shoulder as if shielding himself from impossible news.

Continue reading “The Wee-Bey reaction GIF is 15 years old”

The Wire Season 4: Marlo Stanfield, Baltimore’s serial killer

the-wire-marlo-stanfield-straight-and-true-headband

The genius of the character of Marlo Stanfield is that a textless, bold-colored headband came to feel too flashy.

He opened without one, an intro so perfect yet under the radar because the scene is about Bubbles, not this unnamed, previously unknown character whose first appearance departing a building is teamed with the sound of a bird chirping, as if Marlo is a hawk fledging from his nest and preparing to hunt the people of Baltimore like squirrels.

Continue reading “The Wire Season 4: Marlo Stanfield, Baltimore’s serial killer”

The Death of Stringer Bell, 10 years later: A look back at the greatest episode of (probably) the greatest television show ever

The Death of Stringer Bell, 10 years later

A look back at “Middle Ground,” the greatest episode of (probably) the greatest show in television history

by Jack M Silverstein (@readjack)

“…nothing I can do to change y’all minds…”

My parents had Kennedy.

I had Stringer Bell.

Granted, John Kennedy was an international figure, and real, and my parents experienced his death when it happened. And Stringer was local, and fake, and I didn’t watch Season 3 until three years after it aired.

Didn’t matter. Stringer’s death, silly as it sounds, was a “Where were you when?” for me.

I was at my parents’ with them and my brother, the four of us locked into the fates of nearly 40 characters over 10 hours of storytelling. And really, by the time Stringer was facing Omar’s shotgun to the east and Mouzone’s pistol to the west, we’d had almost 36 hours of this story.

That elongated buildup and knowledge of history is what makes Season 3 my favorite of the five. And that makes “Middle Ground” — that season’s penultimate, and finest, episode — the greatest 60 minutes in the show’s history.

I first saw it in 2007. But the night TV fans went to bed stunned by the death of this fictional drug dealer was Dec. 12, 2004 — 10 years ago today.

There’s a lot to like about “Middle Ground.” Let’s start at the beginning. The previous episode, “Reformation,” opens with the return of Brother Mouzone and closes with Mouzone and his assistant Lamar kidnapping Omar’s boyfriend Dante. I won’t even chop into that backstory, only to say that its strength and depth allows Omar to be one of the stars of “Middle Ground” despite having only two scenes, the first and the last.

That first scene is one of several that anchor the episode, the season and the series. By my count, there are nine.

Continue reading “The Death of Stringer Bell, 10 years later: A look back at the greatest episode of (probably) the greatest television show ever”

20 (ish) non-spoiler clips to show your friends to convince them to start watching ‘The Wire’

“You call the guy Snot?”

So, you love The Wire. Maybe you’re among the few who started watching on HBO back during the first three seasons. Maybe you caught on in 2006 for Namond, Dukie, Michael, and Randy. Maybe, like me, you tuned in right at the end, watching all of the seasons to lead into Season 5. Or maybe you’ve watched the whole show on DVD. In any case, you LOVE IT, and now want to turn every person you know into a Wire devotee. Continue reading “20 (ish) non-spoiler clips to show your friends to convince them to start watching ‘The Wire’”

The Return of Alan Sepinwall’s Writeups on The Wire

Nobody did "two men talking on a bench" like The Wire.

“Looks like you and me both trying to make sense of this game.”

“Speak your mind, Russell.”

— Stringer Bell and Bunny Colvin

Good news Wire fans! It’s the Summer of 2010, and that means television critic Alan Sepinwall is finishing his fantastic episode-by-episode writeups of The Wire. Sepinwall began his writeups during Season 4, which he covered as it aired. He continued the series when Season 5 aired in early 2008, and then went back to Season 1 at the start of that summer, followed by Sobotka, The Greeks, and the docks in Season 2 last summer. Continue reading “The Return of Alan Sepinwall’s Writeups on The Wire”

IMDb Wire character poll: And the winner is…

IMDb is a magical place for those who love listing and voting. The Wire, meanwhile, is 60 hours of fabulous storytelling with hundreds of fascinating characters and performers.

Omar Devonne Little: far and away the Wire's most popular character.
Omar Devonne Little: far and away the Wire's most popular character.

 

So it is no surprise that some of these IMDb-using Wire-maniacs have begun voting on the best characters in the show’s history. Of course, there must be loads of polls like this floating around, but this one stands apart in two important ways:

1. The thread launcher ‘Everyday-Struggler’ asked for a top 3, significant on a show with a million-bajillion memorable characters.

2. I have taken the time to total up the results. Continue reading “IMDb Wire character poll: And the winner is…”

All the pieces matter: analysis, essays, and anything else on The Wire

Avon and Stringer starred in Season 3, the epic Wire season.
Wood Harris and Idris Elba starred in Season 3, the epic season of The Wire.

I have posted a few items on The Wire here at the readjack.com blog,  referencing  it in my blog intro and covering it in a February 2008 essay. Now, as I have done with my Iran and Bulls coverage, I would like to pool all of my favorite Wire material into one spot. This one. So here we go.

**UPDATED JULY 26, 2015**

Please send me other essays/videos/links that you don’t see here. Either drop a link in the comments or tweet me and I’ll add ’em in. Thanks! –JACK Continue reading “All the pieces matter: analysis, essays, and anything else on The Wire”

The Godfather of Television

Following the thread: how The Wire became a cinematic masterpiece

February 29, 2008

It doesn't take McNulty and The Bunk to figure out why The Wire is so good.
It doesn’t take McNulty and The Bunk to figure out why The Wire is so damn good.

“We’re building something here, detective. We’re building it from scratch. All the pieces matter.” –Freamon

My true introduction to the The Wire came with a man in a wheelchair.

My dad and brother discovered the show last October when HBO re-ran the entire series; I’d been in and out of the house, catching an episode when I could. My family loved it, and while I thought the show was excellent, it did not have its hooks in me. That changed with “All Due Respect,” the second episode of Season Three. Continue reading “The Godfather of Television”

Alan Sepinwall, NJ TV critic and master of “The Wire” (SPOILERS)

“Got to. This America man.”

—Snot Boogie’s friend

Valchek v. Sobotka. Who knew where that would end?
Valchek v. Sobotka. Who knew where that would end?

 

With everything happening in Iran, and then Michael Jackson passing, I would like to mention something that makes me happy. New Jersey Star-Ledger television critic Alan Sepwinall is back at it with his episode by episode writeups on The Wire, one of the great cinematic experiences of my life. Continue reading “Alan Sepinwall, NJ TV critic and master of “The Wire” (SPOILERS)”