I hate to say it - and I realize that judging one episode of The Wire is like reading an isolated chapter of a book - but I was disappointed on Sunday watching the show. Not so much in the storyline, which I knew I wouldn't understand - but in the acting and atmosphere in the school scenes. For the most part, the kids' acting was wooden and unnatural. They were mostly obviously way too old to be playing middle school students, and the distracting inauthenticity of the classroom - the small class size, the quiet - totally threw me for a loop. I know it's middle school and not high school, but that doesn't excuse the acting or the lack of "school noise." I enjoyed some of the dialogue, particularly the discussion of North Avenue ("They know how to use a chainsaw."), but figured that Ed Burns would do a better job of re-creating what it's like to be in a Baltimore school.
Maybe it will all mean more to me when I watch this entire season on DVD, sometime next summer. But my dad always loved the gritty realism of the TV cop shows depicting his profession, and maybe I just can't handle it; I focus on the things that aren't realistic, and can't focus on much else. But I just couldn't get past it.
And did I mention the acting by the kids...? For someone weaned on My So-Called Life (one of the five greatest TV shows ever), I'm used to teens being able to really act well on television. It's not happening here, at least this Sunday.
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