OH SO NOW YOU EXPECT ME TO FORGIVE YOU FOR SETTING D’ANGELO UP WITH AN EXPLANATION OF WHY YOU DID IT. D WAS ROBBED.
That’s all I’ll say on yesterday, other than I obviously don’t pay good attention. The other bracket was a no-brainer anyway. Some tough choices today.
Bunk (#1) vs. Brother Mouzone (#8). Bunk rules for two reasons: every scene where you find out more about him makes him more lovable (lacrosse? Junior Bunk?) and every scene where more of the narrative is revealed through him makes “The Wire” more lovable by proxy. The only other cops I like more than him are Rawls and the semi-anonymous homicide detectives. True, I say it with some regret, as Brother Mouzone’s complaints about magazine selection are hilarious and his “take your black ass back across Charles Street to where it belongs” scene rules. But Bunk is the man.
Wallace (#4) vs.Maurice Levy (#5). On importance to the narrative, Wallace. On general goofiness and entertainment value, Levy. Clearly we’re playing for the latter here, so Levy.
Jimmy McNulty (#3) vs. Cedric Daniels (#6) McNulty began as the eyes and ears of the audience. In season 1 and 2, we see everywhere he goes, we think of Stringer and Avon the same way he does, we begrudgingly chuckle at his loutish behavior. By season 5, he’s become Loki, a trickster God who destroys everything he touches. Spectacular.
This is against Daniels, who is almost his opposite. What we don’t see and don’t know for sure about Daniels is what keeps him cool: his dirty past, the way he never shows a wrinkle under enormous stress. And he’s a good cop: he nurtures his detectives, he’s merciful instead of spiteful, and he closes cases. But what makes this decision toughest: Daniels drops some of the best one-off lines and shameful glares in the entire show. They don’t stand out on the first viewing, but some of the stuff I remember most fondly comes from him. I don’t think he wins, but I want him to. McNulty.
Clay Davis (#2) vs. Bubbles (#7). Shiiiiiiiiit. Another tough call. But the masses pick Clay. It doesn’t do Bubbles justice, but Clay Davis is a great character, played by an awesome actor whose career goes way beyond his catch phrase*.Also, he gave birth to my second favorite Wire spoof clip (I’ll share them later). Clay Davis, shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
Stringer Bell (#1) vs. Herk (#8). It’s not even worth discussing, other than to mention that Carver’s absence is pitiful. Stringer Bell.
Wee-Bay Bryce (#4) vs. Lester Freamon (#5). Tough one. Wee-Bay made the most selfless decision in the entire show— sending his kid out of the life to live with Bunny. But against Cool Lester Smooth? C’mon. There is nothing about this guy that is not awesome. He makes tiny furniture, gives expert advice, seduces strippers solely to convince them to finish college**, and gets his hands dirty whenever he can. Freamon.
Calvin “Boadie” Broadus (#3) vs. Bill Rawls (#6). Ugh, I love em both, but I am not letting Rawls, the embodiement of institutional evil go home this early. Rawls.
Marlo Stanfield (#2) vs. Shakima “Kima” Greggs (#7). I hope this one isn’t the blowout I expect. Kima is perhaps the most under-rated character on the show; she spends the entire narrative becoming “real police”— when was the last time a show successfully did that with any career?*** Lest we not forget, she also had the “Goodnight Moon” bit, the “what the fuck is wrong with you yuppies?” girls’ night, and what I’d argue is the single best line about human nature in the entire show, “Oh, if I hear the music, I’m going to dance.”
This is up against Marlo, who gave me nightmares. He’s the anti-Daniels. There’s not much to say about this character other than his name is almost Shakespearean in its evocation of villainy, he’s terrifying, and he murders people for scolding him.
He. Murders. People. For. Scolding. Him.
This being about Baltimore, where “the Gods are not listening”, I have to pick Marlo, but Kima is always first in my heart.
*Dude played the doc who gave Henry Hill a benzo while jump into the fire was playing and the helicopter was chasing him. COME ON!
**Ugh, this is so gross, exploitative and out-of-character that I’m sorry I made a joke about it.
***Seriously, the West Wing tried (Rob Lowe quit), every law and hospital drama tries. Not many have succeeded.
Here’s where our philosophical differences in this game show up. I took Mozoune over Bunk. Bunk is amazing and kind and good fucking police and a great partner. But the Wire is a show about the power of institutions over individuals, and I think in this bracket I’m prizing characters who either subvert the expectations or rage against the man. Bunk - with his easy going demeanor, his desire not to pick up the phone and take that body when its not his turn, his lacrosse (!!!) - has found his way to assimilate into the system, and has managed not to let it eat him alive. Sure, he has his marital problems and his hangovers, but he doesn’t suffer either the angst or the transcendence that some of the great Wire characters. He’s a good guy. Mouzone is a good character - he manages to live both in and above the Game.
For the similar reasons, I took Wallace over Levy, because oooh, Wallace still haunts me. And Levy managed to find a nice little niche in this overwhelming grind of a system, but at the same time he built a career based no not asking too many questions, which is a cardinal sin in the world of the Wire. I took Bodie over Rawls - both were company men, but Bodie seemed to take more pride in his work than Rawls did, and Rawls’ unexamined privilege made his company-line towing much less admirable than Bodie’s. Rawls seemed evil - part of the machine, while Bodie seemed like someone trying to climb the ladder that was given to him through loyalty and hard work.