Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why you need to be watching THE WIRE
As promised, I'm going to get to my review of season 4 of HBO's The Wire (a.k.a. The Smartest Show on TV), but as I was working on it, I realized I'm writing it for the person who's already watched it, whereas the important thing here is to bring in new viewers, since not enough people are aware of this unbelievable show. So, this one's for the people who have never seen The Wire.

I wanted to give you a taste of the show, and there's no better way to do it spoiler-free than to show you the awesome three-minute opener of season 4 (which has been the best season). I'll set it up for you first.

Snoop walks into a hardware store with her DeWalt nail gun, complaining that if she doesn’t charge it properly, it runs out of juice just when she needs it the most. Snoop is one of the soldiers for Marlo Stanfield, who moves in as the prime drug dealer of season 4. She's from the streets, and works with her partner Chris, disposing of Marlo's enemies and boarding them up in vacant houses in West Baltimore (hence the nail gun). In this scene, the hardware store employee -- oblivious to the fact that when she says she did 5 jobs last month, her definition of “job” is NOT the same as his – helps her out and suggests the “Cadillac” of nail guns, which impresses Snoop about as much as Snoop will ever be impressed with anything (though she later insists that he meant to say “Lexus” of nail guns). When she peels off a bunch of $100 bills, he stares at her like she's from Pluto. It’s the perfect beginning to the season, showing the dichotomy of the two worlds – the underground, dangerous, cash-driven world of the drug trade, and the mostly unaware, mostly white day-to-day world that continues around it – and how they clash, yet need each other to survive. When Snoop gets to the car, she wonders why they use the nail gun as a nail gun, and not as an actual gun, and Chris just laughs. Yet, she's hit on a really important point -- gun casings can be traced, but can nails?

Snoop, aka Felicia Pearson, is played by… Felicia "Snoop" Pearson. Her life is as fascinating as her character on the show, and you can read about her here and here. She's a self-professed "crack baby," born premature and weighing only 3 lbs, with two incarcerated parents. Thrown from one foster home to another, she grew up on the streets, surrounded by violence and drugs, and was pretty much raised by the type of character you see on The Wire. She did time for shooting a woman, and while incarcerated, heard that her father figure had been killed, and decided she needed to change her life. When Michael K. Williams, a.k.a. Omar, a.k.a. my all-time favourite villain, met her, he instantly saw something powerful in her, and introduced her to the producers of The Wire.

I'll warn you: when you hear her talk in this clip, she's a little hard to understand, but that's because she's one of the only actors on the show who really is from West Baltimore, and she put on the true accent of the area. She's a quiet secondary character for most of the season, but whenever she's on screen, you can't take your eyes off her.

So enjoy... and I hope this clip helps pull you in to the world of The Wire. As I said in my last post, start with season 1: this clip is just to give you a taste of the world of The Wire, but you can only truly understand it by starting at the beginning.

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