Series The Wire Discussion

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02:11:18 PM Jun 10th 2015
edited by Cughedhion
The Wire & The Walking Dead: Omar Little & Daryl Dixon

So: I was just watching S 03 E 03 of The Wire ('Dead Soldiers'), which includes the scene where Omar Little burns himself with a cigarette in his grief over the death of Tosha, one of his comrades who was killed in a firefight.

(Omar cigarette scene is available on YouTube: Time 1:08:33)

Now, as many people who are fans of The Wire and/or The Walking Dead know, the two shows have a lot of overlap between their respective casts (3 major characters, as well as several minor characters and crew members). Robert Kirkam, the creator of the Walking Dead TV series, loves The Wire (See this article in Business Insider for more:

In S 05 E 10 ('Them') of Kirkam's The Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon burns himself with a cigarette, mourning the loss of Beth Greene, who, like Omar's Tosha, was shot in the head.

In my opinion, such a resemblance between two shows, particularly when the creator of the that came second is a huge fan of the one that came first, and when many big actors from the first play big roles in the second, could not be a coincidence. I also see many similarities between Daryl and Omar: Each has/had a violent older brother, is sort of like a vigilante, and surprises people by his buried humanity, and neither is afraid to resort to sometimes-extreme violence. Though they are certainly very different characters, they still have these strong connections, and the mirroring of the two situations is unmistakable.

I am, of course, unable to confirm that the writers of The Walking Dead had Omar's cigarette self-harm scene in mind when they wrote Daryl's, but I know that we can add this to the long list of The Wire's echoes in The Walking Dead. I would, however, like to hear the thoughts of the TV Tropes community. What do you guys think?

Also, is there a Trope that represents something like this? If not, then I want to hear what you guys think of the name I have in mind for this Trope: "Same Flow, Different Show"
12:58:23 AM Nov 23rd 2015
The target of the Shout-Out is Referenced by...
03:25:25 PM Sep 20th 2012
edited by TrollBrutal
Diegetic Switch
  • Also the Greek music in the second-to-last episode of the second season.

It's a possible example, it's not clear the music originates in-universe, Spiros could be moving his hand in rythm but we are not shown the source of the music, and it also fits with casual jovial conversation with The Greek since they both laugh about something unrelated to the music.

I was about to just add the "possible" adjective but I moved it here due to the Examples Are Not Arguable thing. It really can go both ways.

The scene can be watched here

edit : I'm rewording it to make it an exception of Source Music but not an example under Diegetic Music
04:49:58 AM Mar 13th 2013
edited by TrollBrutal
Removed this one

  • He Who Fights Monsters: By the time the show begins, it's pretty clear that whatever morality most of the Baltimore police have is all but dead.

The trope does not apply, for one the police are useless, corrupt and there are some rabid ones, but the trope requires becoming what you fight, and the police don't go around killing people in the corners. They may hate and rough up the criminals, but they are not comparable to them, i.e. monsters. We see a number of detectives who show restraint and respect for the law.

The useless etc stuff is well covered by other tropes already (bad cop, incompetent cop...)

Alternatively the trope, a revenge trope at that, is not used, the audience is not told the police were once a corps of pure white knights.

McNulty may apply, we see his journey to delinquent, downplayed, arguable example because you can tell he is a one time example of I Did What I Had to Do, the rest of the time it's Cowboy Cop stuff, nothing extraordinaire. Becoming is the word here, Carcetti undergoes Corrupt the Cutie, so another borderline example. (I wouldn't write it due to examples are not arguable policy)

From trope description: "His obsession with meting out due punishment or worse twists him into a monster just as bad as, or even worse than, the one he's hunting."

As an aside, wiki policy encourages examples being specific, as in written examples for characters rather than groups and broad statements, otherwise it's an ellaborated form of bad context. I saw other editor taking exception from it, a bit harshly.
06:12:53 AM Oct 15th 2014
edited by
I agree on He Who Fights Monsters. And there's another aspect: doesn't the He Who Fights Monsters trope imply some causality? That is, it's the act of fighting monsters that corrupts the hero until he becomes a monster himself.

The Baltimore PD is shown as corrupt and brutal, but it's not shown that the cause of this is that they were corrupted by fighting crime. Rather, the corruption seems to come from working within a big, bureaucratic organization motivated by political goals, and maybe from people who would have been jsut as corrupt if they hadn't been crime fighters.
01:45:22 AM Jul 11th 2012
"Although the series has been critically acclaimed, The Wire never managed to earn anything more than a small but devoted following."

Is this actually true? I know the show didn't garner particularly exceptional ratings while it was on the air, but in the years since it has by all accounts exploded into a cult phenomenon. Its proselytizers are all over the Internet, it has over 66,000 ratings on IMDB (compare with just over 67,000 for The Sopranos), it's quite famously Barack Obama's favorite TV show, and hardly any discussion, anywhere, of "great TV shows" goes by without mentioning it - often right off the bat. It's even taught in schools, for god's sake. I feel reasonably confident in saying it's been Vindicated by History.
07:44:21 AM May 16th 2012
"During a trial Omar destroys Levy's attempt to discredit him as a witness by pointing out that his description could very easily be about himself.
I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game right?"

I used to think he said that too, but I think he really says "It's all the game dough" Not sure though
05:55:07 AM Oct 2nd 2011
This was deleted because "Don't think it was artistic license, was more of a joke (Wallace actually knowing the fact)." - and of course it isn't "Artistic Licence", it's Dee "Failing History". Now we're not allowed to call it Failing X Forever any more, is there anywhere to put examples of characters (not creators) making elementary mistakes for comic effect?

10:11:15 PM Jun 4th 2011
Dumping in-page discussion where it belongs:

  • Not just Randy, but all of those kids (i.e., Michael, Dukie and Namond) had their childhood taken from them.
    • In a general sense, yes, their childhoods were pretty messed up, but all of them weren't exactly broken the way Randy became overtime. Dukie's living conditions was terrible, even compared to Michael, but in contrast to his circumstances, he's a smart and surprisingly well-adjusted kid; at least before he had to fend for himself near the end of season five, when he started shooting up heroin (but even with that, his personality remained the same). With Namond, the pressure of eventually being involved in the drug game made him a frustrated juvenile, but beyond that, he's still a good kid who disliked the brutality surrounding the drug game. Of course, Colvin saved him from that life before he got worse. As for Michael, because of past abuse and being forced to grow up fast to survive, he was already broken before season 4 started. The only reason Michael joined Marlo's gang was because he needed protection from his stepfather, who was soon released from jail, and social services wasn't a reliable way to get away from him. Otherwise, he would've continued going the straight-and-narrow path, despite his past abuse. Randy's the most obvious version of this trope, given his drastic descent from "sweet kid" to "toughened juvenile".

09:47:22 PM Dec 6th 2011
Ah, I wondered where that edit went. :P

Anyway, if the above description wasn't obvious enough, I wrote the Break the Cutie entry in the main page, someone thought that more characters applied to the trope (i.e., all of the season 4 kids), and I provided a rebuttal. I guess it got pretty superfluous though, but that's what this page is for.
11:09:31 AM Apr 23rd 2011
What category should Rawls's never explained appearance in the gay bar at the end of Season 3 go in? What Happened to the Mouse does not apply, as he didn't disappear. I am surprised a reference hasn't been made already to it, as it was such a major plot dangler in a show that made it's name for not having any.
09:29:35 PM May 30th 2011
What's to explain? He's was in the gay bar because he's probably gay.
08:51:22 PM May 5th 2012
lol "plot dangler"
08:01:33 PM Jan 30th 2011
Is it just me or does everyone ignore the humanising aspects of Marlo and his organisation? Lets break it down to the good versus the bad and compare it to other gangs/individuals.

Good: Marlo provides school money to the local kids even though it might simply be a way of exercising his power. Good deed regardless of intent.

Marlo has a fascination and love for pigeons to the point where he hires locals to tend to his birds thus creating work that is only tenuously tied to the drug trade.

Bad: Killed a lover for talking. Killed a family because of rumours. Tended to kill his way up the organisation. Killed a security guard as a means of showing his power.

Now lets compare. Right back to the first season, Avon had a lover killed for talking. Wallace was killed based on rumours albeit about police involvement but that is what Marlo did to Bodie. Avon also ordered the murder of 2 state witnesses. One of which he had successfully turned to his side simply to state a message. As for the killing the way up the food chain, that's the game and has been since the Wire started. Even with the New Day Co-op, people were still getting capped and various infighting.

Comparing the good, Wee Bey loved his fish. Avon held large buffets for the community and the truce game was more about ego than friendly competition. If you look at any of the organisations, they all did the same tricks but Marlo is seen as pure evil because he's less charismatic and more direct with his aims.

The kingpins were all supposed to show a different vie for power as far as I'm concerned. Avon wanted the street cred. Stringer wanted the legitimate prestige. Prop Joe wanted the money. The Greek wanted the anonymous power and wealth. Whereas simple man Marlo wanted the dominance over others. The show tries to portray him as the sociopath which works. However no character could be said to be in full mental well being. Plus whether he is pure eveil or made that way by his environment is up for debate.

My interpretation of him is entirely grey. Marlo. Direct. Powerful. Simple.
09:14:39 PM Jan 30th 2011
I more or less agree with you. I don't "like" Marlo as much as I liked Avon or Stringer, but I don't think he's a Complete Monster or a totally morally black character. In fact, I tend to think that Stringer, while complex as well, was worse than Marlo.
12:24:27 PM Sep 27th 2011 Marlo may not be actively twirling a mustache, but he's about as evil as a sane character can be and still be remotely believable. He kills a bunch of people for little to no reason, never shows even a hint of altruism, and is willing to betray and murder anyone if it gets him more power and recognition on the streets. The pigeons are just pets. Having them doesn't subtract one iota from the death and terror he spreads through West Baltimore.

As for the kids, do you really think binding young children to the drug trade by giving cash handouts is a "good" thing? Trust me, he isn't suggesting they go give that money to the United Way or buy vegetables for the family. He's just fostering loyalty (or at least a reputation for power and wealth) in a new generation of kids.

In no way is Marlo anything other than a villain, and a despicable character on a show full of them. That doesn't make him uninteresting or unrealistic, but if he's not a Complete Monster, who the hell is? To go all Godwin's Law here, even Hitler loved animals, helped rebuild Germany's economy and lift the nation out of an incredibly severe depression, and (from his point of view. I repeat, from his point of view) was trying to do something good by getting rid of undesirable people from the Reich. No one does something 100% evil 100% of the time. But Marlo comes close.
07:02:21 AM Mar 21st 2012
edited by Hasfet
^ Agree completely.

Liking pigeons as a moral counterbalance to murdering people randomly out of pure sadism is Insane Troll Logic to the extreme. As for "he just wanted dominance over others," well that's what all psychopaths and Complete Monster types want- I fail to see how that is a defense.
08:49:16 PM May 5th 2012
he's a lot like Tony Soprano, if he just cut through the traditional bullshit and fully realized what he is at the core of his being.
05:51:08 AM Jun 25th 2012
edited by TrollBrutal
Marlo is not grey, black morality all the way. He kills a guard just because the guard talks back after his shoplifting right in front of his face and an entire family of a man who spreads rumors about Marlo being gay. He kills the dog (Butchie) to start a war with a retired Omar -nothing to do with the business- and he even kills his own mentor (Joe) . He kills left and right on tenous grounds just because he can get away with it, even Bodie is repulsed by his ways. Marlo is a pure sociopath like his last scene highlights.

Stringer had a pragmatic angle that reduces the bodycount, no qualms to kill Davis in a rage relapse but a least he tried a new more palatable way. Another important difference lies in Avon Barksdale already having the crown when the series starts and his main bloodbath is only alluded -offscreenvillainy- (the 10 murders from the last year Rawls had already forsaken before Mcnulty starts the ball)
04:28:35 PM Nov 25th 2010
This page is rapidly becoming one of the biggest walls of text ever. As much as I love the show and I love that there are other people who can ramble on for hours about it just like me, I really think we really should split this page into tropes A-Z or into series or something.

Any ideas?
04:40:52 AM Jul 20th 2010
The character alignment being cited, I can't get behind it. The characters are simply too gray to be confined to one. For instance, Bunk is a good guy, yeah, and when on the job he sticks to the law, but off the job he's a drunk and a lech (not to mention the drunk driving, hardly lawful).

Others like the evil character, does their complexity a disservice by confining them to chaotic evil or whatever. Some make perfect sense, like lawful evil for Levy, but Marlo being called chaotic evil doesn't seem to fit.

Maybe taking away the examples of who is what alignment would remove this problem? Just have it mentioned that some fit into them, while others are simply too gray?
12:55:06 PM Sep 4th 2010
Taking away examples would just water it down into meaninglessness.
02:46:38 PM Sep 4th 2010
edited by johnnye
It is pretty meaningless. It's better than former applications of this trope to this work have been, but I stand by the assertion that you can't apply Character Alignments to rounded characters.
12:03:32 PM Sep 27th 2011
edited by Teddroe
I think you can still fit Character Alignments to a Rounded Character, albeit imperfectly. There isn't going to be a paragon of Chaotic Good on a show like this, but I think Mc Nulty is a decent enough example. If anything, I think something like The Wire makes the whole alignment system more interesting; this is how alignments work in the real world.
11:56:08 AM May 2nd 2010
On Rawls, in the character section, would he be considered a Starscream? I know Burrel isn't a Big Bad, or even technically a villain, but both are certainly antagonistic in the show. Rawls is constantly scheming and maneuvering to try and usurp Burrel and become Commissioner in his place, while usually being a loyal subordinate to his face. Not to mention it even backfires a few times.. Apart from the way they aren't villains, their relationship seems to fit the description in the Starscream trope pretty well.

What do you think?
04:25:58 PM Nov 25th 2010
I think it goes more with the general Chronic Backstabbing Disorder that is rampant throughout the Balti-verse.
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