Making The Wire references used to be the way the city-dwelling, Chomsky-reading intellectual flaunted his cultural literacy. It was a way of signaling one’s membership in a certain “in-crowd”. But now that Bill “Teen Wolf” Simmons has watched the show and has given it his typical “the world began when I was born” Bill Simmons treatment, The Wire references feel as if they have been reduced to the level of mindless Anchorman one-liners. Any-goddamn-one can quote Omar Little out of the blue with no context, that’s no fun. What is fun for me is having a three hour conversation about how the socio-economic forces at work in West Baltimore parallel those that are at work more slowly on the docks, as shown in Season Two. What is fun for me (and kinda disturbing, actually) is reading about a drop in crime in the paper and cynically assuming that the numbers were fudged on orders from the Mayor. What is fun for me is noting that an unnamed city or state politician is “just like Clay Davis” and having people know exactly which politician you are talking about and agree with you. And on the occasion I did drop a stray quote here and there, at least I could do so without having to worry about sounding like Bill Simmons.
No spoilers, and I recommend clicking through to see the ending of this post.