nenena: (Default)
Summer is the time when I always try to catch up on all of the shows/books/movies that I don't have time to consume during the rest of the year, and this summer I decided to buckle down and marathon the one show that nearly every single person that I know IRL already watches: Game of Thrones.

Now I have to admit, before I even started my marathon of all four seasons back-to-back, I wasn't exactly coming into this experience as an unspoiled virgin. Like I said, nearly all of my friends watch this show, and I already knew quite a bit about it from simple social and pop cultural osmosis. I knew that I was going to have to brace myself for a lot of rape and incest; I was already spoiled for the Red Wedding before I even started watching the first episode; and I knew more about author George R.R. Martin's astoundingly tin-eared, sexist defenses of, well, the rampant sexism and misogyny in the books than I ever cared to know simply from reading about the internet wank that resulted every time he opened his mouth. In fact, I even tried to read A Game of Thrones once, waaaay back in 1996 when it first came out, but I quit halfway through the book because it was too much of a sweaty neckbeard fantasy even for 13-year-old me to tolerate, and that's really saying something because 13-year-old me uncritically devoured a LOT of terrible fantasy books without really picking up on any racist or sexist content that was in any of them.

But yes, despite not liking the first book when I tried to read it many years ago, I was still tired of being left out of This Supposedly Awesome TV Show that most of my friends were absorbed in, so I did it: I watched every single episode of Game of Thrones.

And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Even though it was kind of terrible. And when it was bad, wow did it get bad. But when it was good... WOW was it good.

A very, very long review under the cut - with the obligatory warning for spoilers, of course. )
nenena: (Default)

Lego Clay Davis = best Clay Davis.

PS: The video is spoiler-free.

And now, this next one has a major spoiler for the series finale, but it is too awesome not to share: Micheal Williams, Sonja Sohn, Andre Royo, Larry Gilliard Jr, and Felicia Pearson in The Wire: The Musical!

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.