This post contains no spoilers of the season, sorry, series finale of The Greatest Show in the History of Television, a.k.a. The Wire. Read on without worry.
Nadia fucking Comaneci, by which I mean a perfect 10. I don't think I've ever been this happycontentedecstaticandyeahmaybeevenalittlebithorny after watching a TV program. My generation is used to letdown in every facet of life, but in no more way do we bemoan our disenfranchisement with society than we do as it relates to entertainment. I blame the Internet. And George Lucas.
So when we are presented with absolute beauty, we cherish it. We appreciate it. We hold onto it like it's a part of our lives that we can't live without. And when it's gone, we mourn. Often, we even resent it a little bit. Sometimes a lot.
For the precedent has been set a hundred times or more. It's easy to start out strong; the challenge lies in the conclusion (God, how I know that's true). To quote Keith Elam, "It ain't easy, motherfucker." It's hard to say goodbye, but it's even harder to stop imagining what could have been. What if Kurt Cobain hadn't done so much heroin? What if Dostoevsky had written the second Karamazov novel? What if Biggie and Tupac had squashed their beef? What if Pringles sold grilled-kimchi-flavored potato chips? What if Len Bias hadn't taken that speedball? What if Scott Norwood made that kick? What if Bison Dele didn't set sail in the South Pacific? What if Roland Deschain never met Eddie Dean? What if the Portland Trailblazers had drafted Michael Jordan? What if you weren't such an insufferable, psychotic rhymes-with-Mitch?
That, of course, is figurative; the literal is more painful. Why did you have to leave me? We had something special. It wasn't our time. There was so much more left to be said.
That's why the series finale of The Wire is such an achievement. The plot ends. There's little closure for the characters, yet there is for viewers. The curtain slowly draws closed, and while these characters will live on in our imaginations, there's no frustrating ambiguity as it relates to the series' plot. And with a series chock-full of such well-written, memorable characters, that alone places it second to none*.
Drinks on me, let's toast the dearly departed.
What a run.
(By the way, if Hasbro sold The Wire action figures, tell me you wouldn't buy them. Then tell me the truth.)
* To paraphrase Teddy Duchamp, The Wire is a real guy. No way The Simpsons could beat up a real guy.