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NBA playoffs are 'Wired': Part 2

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NBA playoffs are ‘Wired’: Part 1

I need to get the 2011 NBA playoffs a gift. It can’t wear jewelry, it can’t drive a car, it doesn’t need clothes or trophies. Hmmmm. What about honoring it with the greatest television drama of all time?

Now here’s where you say, “‘The Wire?’ That show had bad language! A lot of it! Actually, that show reinvented how to say certain swear words! You can’t do this! You’re going to get fired!”

Nope. We have to do it. One of the show’s best traits was its language — it stayed true to the city and itself, never worrying about things like, “We might be turning off potential viewers” and “It’s going to be much harder to syndicate the show unless we cool it a little.” Creator David Simon only cared about capturing downtown Baltimore. For five seasons, the show documented the city’s struggles with the drug culture — the police couldn’t stop it, newspapers were too broken down to cover it, lawmakers were too corrupt to care, and the school system didn’t have a chance. Every time a major drug kingpin was murdered or arrested, someone else easily slid into his place.

Sounds like the most depressing show ever, right? Not if you grew to love characters like Bunk and McNulty (my favorite buddy cop tandem since Crockett and Tubbs), felt yourself rooting for Omar (a gay, gun-toting Robin Hood who only robbed drug dealers), found yourself fretting because the relationship between lifelong friends Avon and Stringer (a drug kingpin and his business-savvy consigliore) was slowly crumbling, or becoming attached to the four school kids from Season 4 (the greatest season in television history, in my opinion). “The Wire” made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think, it made me so angry that I remember having to remind myself — more than once — that these were just actors, not real people.

Filed Under: Art, Bill Simmons, Events, General topics, NBA Playoffs, People, Simmons, Sports, The Wire, TV

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Bill Simmons is the editor-in-chief of Grantland and the author of the New York Times no. 1 best seller The Book of Basketball. For every Simmons column and podcast, log on to Grantland.

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