Sunday, November 22, 2009

The New 'The Wire' Post

I have a secret. There is no best episode of The Wire. This flies in the face of my post on the Wire. Initially I wrote this post because I had just gotten into the show because of Bill Simmons (who is known primarily as a sportswriter for ESPN but also writes a lot about pop culture and media). He encouraged everyone to watch the show and like a good little Simmons lemming I did. I started during season 4, watched through to the finale, and then Netflixed seasons 1-3. It was brilliant. I'm sorry I didn't watch in order but I'm glad I watched. While most TV is simple entertainment and escape, this was TV with a purpose.

So why am I writing about this now? Well an interesting phenomenon about this blog is that for whatever SEO reason the Wire Post generates the most random hits from Google. When I first started the blog, I wanted to learn how this whole blogging process worked so I also installed some StatCounter html to track where people come to the blog from, what they're reading, etc. In fact, here's a map of my latest user activity (Hello Singapore!):

As I have thought about the phenomenon of the show in general, and the phenomenon of the stats for my blog post in particular it dawned on me: trying to decide a best episode is a monumental exercise in futility. It does the series a grave injustice. You can't just watch one episode and distill the entire essence - you really need to sit down with season 1, episode 1 and continue from there until the finale. And then think about what everything means. A lot. And then come to the realization that the concept of a 'best episode' for something so groundbreaking is really just a myth.

(And thanks to Matthew Yglesias for posting this and giving me a reason/excuse for this post).

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