A Love Letter to The Wire

Dear The Wire,

So, you turned 10 this year!  Wow, the time has flown by.  It seems like just yesterday I was eagerly anticipating the Season 3 episodes in my dorm room on Sunday nights.  Yes, I will admit, my love for you was delayed 2 seasons, but once I got that first taste, it was over.  My heart was yours forever.  Me and my boo stayed in my Resident Assistant’s room for a complete weekend to get caught up on Season 1 and 2 so that I could know ALL of you.  Oh, how I miss you.  Sunday nights just haven’t been the same since you left.  Yes, it’s true, there are great network shows like Homeland and Game of Thrones that have given me some sort of solace, but you can never be replaced.

Whenever I see one of your characters on another show, I get so excited and want to watch that show, but it never works out.  Michael on the new 90210 (a show I loved during my childhood years – Brandon, Brenda, Dylan, Kelly – Oh my!) kept my interest for about 2 weeks.  Bunk, Lester Freamon, and Bubble’s sponsor on Treme kept me interested for almost a season and a half, but that hasn’t worked out either.  Even Boardwalk Empire, a show that I have watched all 3 seasons of faithfully, would probably lose me as a viewer if Omar left the show.

Why did I fall so hard for you?  Well, you are arguably the best show ever.  You drew me in with your characters and story lines that often evoked a true emotional response within me.  I laughed out loud, I cried, I got really pissed, and sometimes even happy (but not too often)!  I loved the way you connected the things that happen in the street to the things that happen in politics and business, and how the media can impact outcomes in each arena in a positive or negative way.  I love how you introduced me to Stringer, oh, I mean Idris Elba.  I especially loved it when he wore his glasses and when he was wearing a suit, whoa!  I love how you made me hate Marlo and Herc, and love Omar and Bodie.  I was so sad when Bodie got killed :-(  Most of all, I love that you gave me Season 4 with the kids!

Season 4 was everything!  I’m not sure if it’s because I have a passion for education and enjoy working with youth, or if it’s because it was just truly the best season.  Meeting Randy, Michael, Dukie, and Namond made the show that much more real for me.  My husband used to work at an urban middle school, and a lot of the challenges and incidents that were captured on screen are very similar to what he witnessed during his time there, so I understand it was not about the drama at all.  Most of the stories on the show were not about the drama in the way a Tyler Perry film might be (except maybe the made-up serial killer, but that was kind of funny); but they were shedding light on real situations that young people in the great USA live everyday.  Me and my BFF made up careers for each of the kids during season 4: Randy would be an entrepreneur, Michael would be a lawyer, and Dukie would be a software engineer or something like that.  Unfortunately during season 4, we truthfully didn’t see Namond with that much potential for a career outside of the street because of his character; but as we learned more, we realized his mother was probably messing up his potential more than he was.  Seeing that happened with them in season 5 was disappointing; Dukie the fiend, Randy assimilating to group home life in order to survive (the main reason I hated Herc), Michael on a path to become the neighborhood’s next Omar, and out of all of them Namond is the one on a positive trajectory to hopefully do something great.  What a lesson you have taught us, The Wire, about what is possible when you expose a child to a different lifestyle and other alternatives  What could have Dukie, Randy, and Michael become with such exposure?  It makes you think about how unfair it is that some young people basically don’t even have a chance.  Yes, the Obamas are in the White House and provide a fantastic example on the possibilities that exist for regular people all over the country, but has the world in West Baltimore or any other urban area changed?  How does the average child know how to do anything different than what they see around them if it is not modeled in some way?  I’m not saying there aren’t many who create a way for themselves regardless of their environment, but 9 times out of 10, they are an exception to the rule and not the standard.  Thinking that a Dukie or a Michael automatically knows how to live life differently in their current situation simply because there is a good example on TV is like me saying I can succeed in the drug game because I watched every episode of The Wire.

Sorry, The Wire, I didn’t mean to drop all that at your feet, this is supposed to be your dedication, I know!  But I think that is the crux of why I love and miss you so much; you, unlike any other show I’ve seen since, made us THINK deeper about all aspects of our society.  Who else, in one episode, has made us think about what’s happening in the hood, what is being taught in schools, how kids are being raised, how government money gets spent, what the responsibility of law enforcement is, how it seems like good people finish last or have to break the rules to get positive things done, about racism, and the list goes on (well maybe Treme does that too, but not as well).  No one can do it like you!  Everything else out here right now is arguably very one-note, or “reality” TV.

Come back to us!  Give us a movie or something.  Let me know what happens with the kids.  Anyways, I could go on and on, but just know that you are missed and I think of you often.

Sincerely,

Your Stan Kara

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