Aug. 3rd, 2012

nenena: (Default)
Yes. Yes, I did.

I remember watching bits and pieces of the first season of The Wire when I was in college. But "bits and pieces" is definitely not a good way to watch The Wire so I was mostly just confused and unfortunately aware that I was missing out on something great. But I also knew that (at the time) I just didn't have time to sit down and watch the show the way that it needs to be watched: paying attention to and absorbing every intricate little detail of the stories that David Simon and co. tell.

I remember hearing at one point that The Wire's fourth season was about Baltimore's public education system, but by 2006 I was neck-deep in my Americorps year teaching in Minneapolis public schools and the last thing I wanted to do was watch some cheesy (or so I thought) television dramatization of what I was already doing every day. So I gave the show a pass. I did, however, add "the Wire season 4" to my Television To Watch Someday checklist. And there it stayed for six years.

So there I was last night, giving myself a break from doing prep work for next year, when I decided to choose something from my perpetual Television To Watch Someday checklist. (Hey, I only make a dent in this thing during the summer, okay? Such is the life of a teacher.) And I choose The Wire, season 4. I only intended to watch one or two episodes and then get right back to work, I swear. I swear!

And now here I am, thirteen hours and a lot of tears later, trying to calm myself down enough to get some sleep. Even just a little bit.

I don't really have any coherent thoughts to write down right now, other than that:

1. It was really good,

2. It was impossible to stop watching once I started, and I attribute that to a combination of characters that it was impossible to not care about and a multilayered, thirteen-episode-long, epic trainwreck of a tragic story that it was impossible to look away from,

3. Pryzbylewski was me six years ago, that was ME six years ago, and I thank my lucky stars every fucking day that now I live and teach in one of the few states in this country that has made actual headway in eliminating the problems of segregated and impoverished urban public schools, and

4. All of the stuff about teaching to the standardized tests and how that's such a massive waste of class time was so true to life that it hurt to watch. It actually hurt.

There was only one moment in the entire season - only one moment - when Did Not Do The Research reared its ugly head and I was briefly thrown out of the story. That was when Pryzbylewski sent one of his students to the principal's office by writing him a hall pass and sending him on his merry way. And the kid actually went. Oh my god lol no. I've never taught in a school where it was okay for a teacher to just send an angry, worked-up kid out into the hallway without an escort. (And I've taught in three states!) But other than that one nitpicky moment, everything else about The Wire's depiction of the how the combined forces of No Child Left Behind and the outdated public eduction funding system just endlessly shit on both students and teachers in urban public schools was painfully, horribly true to life.

Okay. Need to get some sleep now, then do some more work, then watch season 5 of The Wire all in one go tonight. No spoilers please.