Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

David Simon is tired of your love for The Wire

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Echoing that handful of commenters who balk at every Wire-related story on the Internet, David Simon has let it be known: He’s pretty sick of all the public displays of affection for The Wire, and he finds the whole endless discussion and dissection of the show—particularly among those who only got into it after the series was already over—“wearying,” to quote David Simon’s most frequent complaint. In a typically contentious New York Times interview, the guy who would probably appreciate it if we didn’t refer to him as “Wire creator” waxed crotchety over his exhaustion with all the too-late love for the show, which could have used that sort of attention when it was still on the air. Because, like the scrappy punk band that only sold a handful of records in its heyday, but now everyone is so into it, you just weren’t there, man:

I do have a certain amused contempt for the number of people who walk sideways into the thing and act like they were there all along. It’s selling more DVDs now than when it was on the air. But I’m indifferent to who thinks Omar is really cool now, or that this is the best scene or this is the best season. It was conceived of as a whole, and we did it as a whole. For people to be picking it apart now like it’s a deck of cards or like they were there the whole time or they understood it the whole time—it’s wearying. Because no one was there in the beginning, or the middle, or even at the end. Our numbers continued to decline from Season 2 on.


So yeah, thanks for nothing! Please show your character brackets to someone who gives a damn. Anyway, while Simon’s “amused contempt” can definitely be read as some understandable bitterness about the way The Wire struggled, only to be appreciated long after it was dead like so many brilliant, starving artists, the complaints don’t stop there. Above all, Simon is pretty sure you know nothing of his work, even—or rather, especially—if you were there as it was happening, and that goes double for the critics:

The number of people blogging television online — it’s ridiculous. They don’t know what we’re building. And by the way, that’s true for the people who say we’re great. They don’t know. It doesn’t matter whether they love it or they hate it. It doesn’t mean anything until there’s a beginning, middle and an end. If you want television to be a serious storytelling medium, you’re up against a lot of human dynamic that is arrayed against you. Not the least of which are people who arrived to The Wire late, planted their feet, and want to explain to everybody why it’s so cool. Glad to hear it. But you weren’t paying attention. You got led there at the end and generally speaking, you’re asserting for the wrong things.

So in a way, like a battle against systemic corruption that we don't actually understand at all, you can’t win with Simon: Even if you’re there from episode to episode, discussing the storylines in the moment and eagerly anticipating their directions, you’re just getting in the way of the big picture’s completion. And if you came to the story after that beginning, middle, and end were finally in place, to assess it properly as a complete story, now you’re "picking it apart like it’s a deck of cards." And in either case, no matter what your final understanding of the story, well, chances are you weren’t actually paying attention and, generally speaking, you are wrong and should shut it. About the only thing Simon will agree on? That Omar is “really cool”—“but it’s wearying” to hear about it, he concludes. Just keep that to yourself from now on.