Friday, December 28, 2007

Great moments in Wire history?

With the premiere of the fifth and final season of "The Wire" a little more than a week away, I'm already starting to work on my review (short version: still brilliant) and the standard-issue greatest hits-style sidebar. For other shows, I tend to do best episodes ever, but while "The Wire" certainly has brilliant episodes, each one is so much a part of the whole that it seems besides the point to single them out.

So I'm either going to do a best moments ever list, or possibly a funniest moments ever list, seeing as one of the themes of my review will be how consistently Simon, Burns and company manage to find the black humor in these incredibly depressing stories. (Season five is easily the funniest yet, in a way that doesn't at all diminish the drama.)

And as usual with these lists (whichever version I decide to do), I have a lot of the items already in mind, but I never want to miss a good one, so let me open the floor for suggestions in either category. With a lot of scenes -- like the one pictured above, the legendary all-F-word scene -- both categories will no doubt apply. Fire away.


Anonymous said...

mcnulty, drunk, singing along to the pogues' "transmetropolitan", sideswipes a pylon. then, he backs up and does the same exact thing again. classic wire.

another really great moment is the largely dialogue-free ending of the second to last episode of season two, as numerous outside forces inexorably line up to doom frank sobotka.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the vagueness here, but I'm not near my tapes, so:

--The scene by the railroad tracks (was it S4?), the one we discussed on your blog where you were asking about interpreting the symbolism of the trains (sheesh, my memory sucks)

--The scene in the gay bar where Rawls pops up (that was a funny, albeit brief, scene)

--Any scene from the final ep of last season, particularly involving Randy being stuck in the boys home or Namon at Bunny's house looking out at the street (not funny, but heartbreaking)

--Ziggy being carted off to jail

--The scene at the cop party at the bar where Bunk suddenly leaves and barfs in the street (hell, I vote for any scene involving Bunk and/or McNulty, for that matter)

--Kima going back to the scene of a homicide and finding the one piece of evidence everyone else missed (the one where you can almost see her thought process as she eyeballs shooting angles, etc.)

Anonymous said...

The best scene from The Wire, other than the F-word scene, is the very first scene of the series, with McNulty talking about the death of Snot Boogie. It's funny and sets the tone of the show to come. A brilliant couple of minutes. Close behind it would be after Stringer is killed and the business guy is describing what happened to Bunk and the other detective. "BNBG". Classic.

SJ said...

For me, the defining moment of the show is Wallace's death. That was when I knew that this show is in a league of it's own.

Bunk burning his clothes was probably the funniest. And according to "The Wire Odyssey", it actually happened with a police officer.

Anonymous said...

Omar testifying in Bird's Trial.

Especially the tie.

Anonymous said...

Omar goes to the store for a box of cereal. On the way back home, he stops on the sidewalk to light a cigarette in front of a row of seemingly deserted houses and a bag of money drops from a window above. Omar's reputation certainly precedes him!

Anonymous said...

I prefer the throwaway joke scenes. I like the scene in season 2 where the FBI joins the detail and Bunk & Freamon have that mock standoff with them. I also like the bar scene where the dockworkers convince Ziggy that he's knocked up some chick with "Love Child" playing on the juke box the whole time. Another great one is in season 4 when Freamon proves to be a terrible drinking buddy for Bunk, and Bunk can't help but repeatedly shouting "Jimmy!" in despair. Can't forget Gus Triandos.

As for serious moments. One of the best is probably the scene between Bunk & Omar in season 3; it served as a great reality check to fans who had perhaps grown to admire Omar a tad too much. Another really great scene is the end of an episode in the fourth season when Michael decides to reach out to Marlo for help. Another couple of great monologues was Bunny Colvin's paper bag speech and Rawls' "You are a gaping asshole" speech.

I suppose I've listed enough. Happy hunting.

T. said...

I can't even isolate the show's great moments, there are so many of them. I'd have to say three related moments: the falling out between Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell where Avon won't help him kill the politician ("You need a Day of the Jackal type motherf*9ker for that sh&t!", the moment Stringer realizes that he's good at crime but not cut out for legitimate business and last, the eventual showdown between Brother Muzone and Omar and Stringer in the warehouse.

That Dude Over There said...

Elliot already mentioned Omar's testimony and shaming of Levy as a great and funny moment. But the scene that immediately follows is equally good: Jimmy undressing and fondling the mannequin in his ex-wife's real estate office. That is just so immature and so precisely a McNulty thing to do that even after a dozen viewings, I still laugh at it.

Anonymous said...

Alan, you should add any scene involving Bunk, McNulty and drinking to the never not funny list
- hilarious season 1 scene lifted from homicide: the book

-Bunk gets rid of trace evidence

- no clip, but Stringer's 40 degree day speech from season 3

-Also: Gus Triandos

I really could go on. A lot of different types of humor at play in this show- pitch black gallows, malaprop ("I plead the 5th commandment"), drunken slapstick. I'm glad to hear they still make with the funny in the new season

Anonymous said...

Freemon's throwaway line in the first season when they are setting up the string measurement and no one knows how to do it: "A bunch of draft-dodging peace-freaks."

Season 1, after Kima is shot, her girlfriend sees the pen mark on the sofa and starts to cry.

The Season 2 "Diamond Cutter" line.

The Deacon's line to Bunny in Season 3 about fighting the drug war: "You're raking leaves on a windy day."

Cole telling Bunk he got laid last night: "Yeah, you're asshole still hurt."

Carcetti complaining to Rawls about the lack of investigative technique and myriad number of buy-busts he witnessed. Rawls response: "I've been fighting this bullshit my whole life."

The look on Snoop's face when Chris throws the nail gun in the reservoir.

Snoop bragging about killing Stringer.

Stringer and McNulty telling each other, "Nicely done."

McNulty taking Bubbles to the soccer game.

Bubbles instructing Sydnor on the finer points of being a junkie: "Boy, you married to that needle."

Omar sticking up the New York boys at the end of Season 1: "All in the game yo."

-M said...

You guys have to check out The Wire with a laugh track:

STILL awesome.

Mon-sewer Paul Regret said...

Anytime Clay Davis says "Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit!"

Anonymous said...

Bunk interrogating Cheese about killing his "dog" and giving up the wire. I couldn't stop laughing.

Loved the scene you pictured, with McNulty and Bunk investigating the murder using nothing but variations on the word "fudge" (To borrow from Christmas Story)

I loved the last moment of season 1, with Poot telling one of the corner boys not to take the money and pass the drugs himself, in case someone is watching. It showed that just as the cops are getting better, the criminals are getting smarter, too.

"Where's Wallace?"

Anonymous said...

So many amazing moments, it'll be tough to narrow that list down. Just re-watched the scene where Chris beat Michael's pedophile stepdad to death, so that springs to mind.

As for funniest, in Season 1 Rawls trashes McNulty's desk, only for Landsman to point out it's actually a different cop's desk. In Season 4, Carcetti tells the homicide detectives to just do what they normally would, so Kima puts her feet up, Lester goes back to building his miniatures, and Landsman flips open a porno mag.

I'll try to remember more standouts, but you pretty much can't go wrong.

SJ said...

"I'm just a humble motherfucker with a big dick." -Bunk.

"You give yourself too much credit." -Lester.

"Well then I ain't so humble." -Bunk

Best written show ever. What makes this even better is how real it all is.

Shawn Anderson said...

Sheeeeeeeit! Y'all already got my favorites listed.

Of course, I'm only midway through season 3 playing catch-up, but Omar's testimony and the 'f-word' scene are the obvious faves.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It's a measure of the comedy genius of the show that we can be 17 comments in and not a single person has mentioned Stringer's attempts to impose Robert's Rules of Order on the likes of Bodie and Poot.

Anonymous said...

You beat me to it, Alan. As I scanned the comments, I kept hoping no one would mention the Robert Rules of Order scene so I could. "Adjourn your asses."

The heretofore unmentioned Stringer bit I liked is McNulty following him to business school, and Stringer's subsequent attempts to explain the elasticity of the drug market to his subordinates.

Also season 2's "spot on" sequence. Juvenile, certainly, but still hilarious.

There are so very many great scenes, it's tough to isolate them.

Anonymous said...

Got these tees!

Anonymous said...

Most any Herc/Carver scene would fit the funny bill as well. Naturally, I can't think of a specific on right now.

Abbie said...

I loved the confrontation in the hotel room when Omar shoots Brother Mouzone.

And the scene where McNulty crashes his car twice.

When Wee-Bey turns over care of his fish to D'Angelo, and describes all of their personalities. "She think she cute."

I can't remember who was fucking over Daniels and taking all of the officers out of Major Crimes, except Lester and Prez, not knowing that they were the most important.

Rawls in the gay bar.

The scene where Daniels and someone are joking about Lester looking over his glasses and being the father you never had.

Anything with McNulty + Bunk + alcohol.

The last ep of season 3 when Brother Mouzone & Omar shoot up the warehouse.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read the final listing!
Others have listed some of my favourite moments. I think the beauty of the show is that there are so many amazing, unforgettable scenes that impress on us all differently. Here are a few of my favourites:
-For funny: Stringer admonishing one of his guys for taking notes at the co-op meeting: "are you taking notes at a criminal f*&^in conspiracy?"
-I've always loved the scene where Cutty asks Avon for money to start up his boxing gym and Avon and Slim Charles just crack up when they learn what amount he was looking for (chump change in Avon's world).
-Snoop buying the nail gun
-and of course...Wallace.

Anonymous said...

Avon and Stringer on the balcony looking out over the city and reminiscing, each one knowing they've sold the other one out.

McNulty, in S2, trying out a British accent in an attempt to infiltrate the brothel. I thought it was a great moment of the show/actor making fun of itself. Brit Dominic West, with his horrible American accent, portraying an American with a horrible British accent.

Anonymous said...

I'll butcher them, but here are some of my favorite moments...

After Lester tells off McNulty, and then, once McNulty's gone, tells Prez to go pull the real estate information for B&B.

When Herc tells Carver he has to start treating him like a sargeant around the troops.

Carcetti and his daughter playing Battleship ("I can still win this one" or something to that effect)

Carcetti's fake fundraising call.

Every time Carcetti is with his campaign managers and tells it like it is.

Poot (I'm really going to butcher this one): "Does the chair know we're all going to look like chumps"

Anonymous said...

Alan, if you just list all of the great Duquan/Dukie moments you'll have a solid top ten list.

What a character. Every time he's on screen the show rises to another level. The scene near the end of the season where Namond tries to punk Dukie and Michael sticks up for him kills me. So well made. I hope those guys get some screentime in season five. They put that show over the edge - there will never be a better show.

Anonymous said...

Alright Alan, I think the high number of suggestions that you have seen in both arenas indicates that you should do both a best moments and funniest moments list.

Another great funny moment is Carcetti's pretend fundraiser call in the season 4 finale:

"Hey there, Jim! Tom Carcetti here, remember me? We met at your sister's house -- you know, the one that's married to that Republican c**t. I know you don't remember me. I know you don't have any use for f**king politicians, and frankly, I don't give a flying f**k about what you think or what your concerns are. But I do care about what your cute little blonde wife thinks about so many things. But, Jim, the reason I'm calling is because I want you to write me out a check for four thousand dollars, the maximum allowed by law. And because we don't trust you to actually mail that check, we're gonna send over a couple of furloughed DPW workers to beat the check out of you."

Emma said...

Man, you're killing me with these teasing little references to season 5!

Amen to the brief shot of Rawls in the gay bar, but only because the show never, ever mentions or refers to it again. Awesomeness by omission.

I've always loved the scene in season 3 when McNulty finally and bitterly gives up on ever nailing Stringer Bell: "The motherf***er tried to sell me a condo."

Finísima Persona said...

Regarding the "Rules of Order" bits: Stringer Bell admonishing one of his men for writing during the meeting (was it Bodie?), and him retorting that a written record must always be kept according to said rules... classic!

But there are so many more:

- Cutty coming back to Avon after his failed hit and getting out of the game. Once Cutty is out of the room, Slim Charles mentions that "back in the day, he was a man". Avon replies "Yeah. He a man now." So much respect...

– The painful dignity that Bubbles exhibits as a junkie. So much hardship, and still you can't keep him down. Awesome.

– Every scene with Michael in season 4. The kid has a hard stare that just shows he won't be messed around with.

– Cole's funeral is a masterpiece, from Landman's emotional speech to the entire room drinking and belting out "The Body of an American".

– Norman Wilson in any scene. He makes budget talks sound as interesting as car chases.

– McNulty and Bodie at the sandwich shop in season 4. Weirdest lunch pairing ever.

– Rhonda looking at the drunken McNulty thru the peephole. "RHONNIEEEE!!!"

– Preston "Bodie" Broadus' last stand.

– Bunny Colvin's realization that Namond's Mom is the main reason he'll never be able to leave the streets.

– Prez's breakthroughs with his class. "The trick is making them think they're not learning, even when they are" or something to that effect. (Or is that a Bunny quote?)

Anonymous said...

Funny moments, not listed were

Bubbles and all his wisdom pointing out that McNutty was fucking around...something with McNutty asking why Bubs had all that wisdom and why his life was so bad and Bubbles response.

Carcetti asking why a talented black person would be in Baltimore and Norman saying he asked himself that 'on several occasions.'

Carcetting and Norman waiting for Rawls to leave and then sprinting to their SUV, after Rawls told them Watkins was in play.

Some great moments not listed were,

The scenes with Bubbles and McNutty leading to Bubbles' observation about 'a thin line between heaven and here'

I'll close with the speech Daniels gave to Carver after finding out Carver was Burell's inside man.

Anonymous said...

-- Any scene that shows investigative police work for more than a few seconds (the "fuck" scene from S1, McNulty's triangulation of the floater in S2, Kima's work on the Braddock case in S4).

-- S4: Proposition Joe (aka Sidney Handjerker) calling the BPD and inquiring about Sergeant Hauk.
-- S4: The graffiti in the CID bathroom.

Anonymous said...

Wow have you got a tough job ahead of you. I'll throw in my two cents, for what it's worth. Most have already been mentioned, but these are the scenes that I have to rewind again and again:

- First scene of the series regarding the death of "Snot Boogey"

- D'Angelo's turning point ("Where's Wallace")

- The death of Wallace (probably the most memorable scene of the entire show)

- The death of Stringer Bell

- The death of Bodie

- Rawls one-finger salute to McNulty in the first episode ("You have my undivided attention")

- Rawls speech to McNulty in the hospital after Kima is shot.

Realizing that I could go on and on, perhaps it would be easier to ask us to list the scenes that weren't memorable.

Anonymous said...

Re: Mr. Bad Example

It's Shamrock and Stringer at a New Day Co-Op meeting and Stringer says something like,"N----, is you takin' notes on a criminal f-----' conspiracy?"

So many moments to pick from that can go in either the funny list or "best of" list, but Bubbles' line in season 1 where he asks them how their job doesn't want to make them get high is a classic.

Bubbles' explaining to Sydnor how to appear to be a dope fiend.

Jimmy walking out of Beadie's place in season 2 in a rare moment of conscience.

Bubble's nightmarish trip through Hamsterdam in season 3.

Chris understanding Michael's problem in season 4 and taking it out on Bug's father.

Brother Mouzzone chastising his flunkies for not picking up his Harper's from season 2.

Think that about does it.

Cinemania said...

I'm so glad some of you finally got around to honouring Bubbles (and Royo's standout performance), as he is, for me, the heart and soul of the show, as I argued over at The House Next Door last year (

Due to his addiction, he is stuck in a dead end game, and it seems that his storylines are always doomed to tragic conclusions, yet (until s4) he always managed to pick himself, dust himself off, and carry on. Bubbles is a classic Sisyphusian figure in so many ways.

Three of my favourite Bubble's moments:

Sitting on the park bench, s01, soaking up his sensual impressions of the world around him, in his newly (and, as it turns out, temporarily) cleaned up state.

Season 4, Bubble's tutorial of his mathematically-challenged charge, including discussions of market shares and glass ceilings, is right up there irony-wise with Stringer's attempts to impose Robert's Rules on his underlings.

Lastly, Bubble's heartbreaking discovery of the death of said charge, his realization of his role therein, and his subsequent suicide attempt are all vital prologue to the most heartbreaking Bubble's scene of all, when Waylon (Steve Earle) comes to visit Bubbles in the hospital, while Kima, feeling truckloads of guilt, stands impotently outside the door, then walks silently away. Royo's work in that scene just about broke my otherwise ice cold heart.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with many of the scenes mentioned above. A couple of others that sprung to mind:

- The Chess scene from S1, especially Bodie's line "Unless they some smart ass pawns."

- The scene from S4 where both the schoolteachers and Western district officers are both getting lectured by brainless government officials, especially Carver's line about what happened to Al Qaeda when they came over to the West side: "Apex's crew jacked them up, took there camels and robes, and buried their asses in Lincoln Park."

- And of course, the Bunk: "do you know that the plural of pussy is? Pussi."

Patrick said...

S3: The police tearing down Hamsterdam is one of the most heartbreaking things on the show for me. And Carcetti's subsequent speech about the new for a change in the approach to crime is one of the most chillingly ironic.

S4: Pretty much anything in the last episode, particularly Bodie's death, the scene with Carver in the car and the single shot of Dukie on the corner.

Anonymous said...

Lots of great stuff being mentioned here. Another hilarious one, from Season 4:

After Royce's secretary tells Herc the mayor is expecting him, Herc still insists on banging on the door and loudly announcing his intention to enter, having previously burst in on Royce in a compromising position.

Herc was hilarious in the early part of last season, before his foolish actions wound up having deadly consequences. And Landsman was mostly comic relief all year, until his heartbreaking encounter with Bubbles. This show manages to deftly balance the comic, the serious, and the humane so very strikingly.

Bruce Reid said...

I don't know if this is quite what you're looking for, but many of my favorite "scenes" are the four season's opening credits. The first few episodes there's just this fabulous montage of inscrutable images, then as the series progresses and we can identify the source each reviewing carries a remarkable frisson. Bodie smashing the security camera; a Russian passport, nails painted red, and another finger, male, unadorned, pressing the security system to pass a cargo container through; Cutty at the punching bag, a police officer silhouetted by an enormous power point demonstration, the ominously empty streets that will become Hamsterdam; the percussive explosion of the nail gun, Snoop waiting in the playground, the kids entering the school doors to start their day.

Anonymous said...

How could no one have mentioned the subplot bit that still makes me laugh out loud whenever I think about it? Too many classic lines to list, but here are a few...
"You gonna shoot at a n***a while he takin his wrinkled-ass Grandmoms to pray????"

"They shot off her crown?"

"That lady thinks I work in a cafeteria!"

Cannot WAIT for Jan 6 (a nice Twelfth Night of Christmas present).

Anonymous said...

"This is a tomb... Lex is in there."

Anonymous said...

So many to choose from, but here's my list:

1. Season 4: McNulty and Bodie eating lunch in the Arbortoreum (sp?); "We like them little bitches on the chess board"

2. Season 1: McNulty and Bunk canvassing the kitchen and only saying variations of that one little word.

3. Season 3: Justin sparring with a younger, smaller, but more skilled boxer while Cutty tests, and quietly admires, his determination. "Go on soldier, you're done for the day."

4. Season 2: Ziggy breaking down and unable to flee the scene of the crime after he shot Double G and his employee.

5. Wallace waking up and getting the kids ready for school. "Rise and shine motherfuckers!"

Anonymous said...

One more:

- season 1: Rawls telling McNulty that he didn't do, "a single fucking thing to get a cop shot."

Anonymous said...

I'm doing a re-watch of the series right now. In the 4th episode of season two when Kima and Daniels tell their respective wives that they are taking Valjeks new detail and they cut back and forth between two pissed off women eating dinner. That was comedy gold.

Anonymous said...

I'm only halfway through season three, but I think my favorite scene yet is Bunk and Omar, having it out on the park bench in early season 3. It's a rare treat to watch such great actors sparring so powerfully.

Another favorite moment is when McNulty is brought back from the marine patrol, walks into the new office and says his catchphrase for the first time all season: "What the fuck did I do?"

T. said...

This thread and all the wonderful memories it brings to mind are almost enough to make me forgive you calling Chuck a good show!

Thanks for a great thread.

Anonymous said...

Another thing I loved from season 2 was Valcheks traveling surveillance van.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the waning days of season 4. Two dramatic moments are when Michael's brother's father says to Michael "you've grown".

Next the opening scene of "That's got his own". You have Chris and Snoop chasing Michael. At first your scraed he is being hunted then you fear that he has veered onto the wrong path and is in training. We also see the decaying former glory of industrial Baltimore

Anonymous said...

Limiting myself to scenes not previously mentioned. Quotes are from memory, so apologies in advance for any inaccuracies.

S1: "Officer Pryzbylewski discharged his weapon into the wall." The desk-moving scene in the detail office. D'Angelo: "Lawyer." Bodie stepping out of juvie and hitching a ride back home. D'Angelo thinking Wee-Bey was about to whack him, when all the guy wanted was someone to feed his fish. McNulty observing Stringer in junior college.

S2: Fuzzy Dunlop. Prez reorganizing the target board thanks to GPS data to the strains of "Walk the Line," ending with him standing back and saying, "Fuckin' A." Ziggy's doomed, mad charge at Glekas.

S3: "Urban renewal." Cutty: "I ain't got the game in me no more." Any scene with Squeak in it. Burrell: "If the gods are fucking you, find a way to fuck them back."

S4: Snoop and the nail-gun hardware guy. The "global economy." The Deacon: "A good churchman always up in everybody's shit." Carcetti: "Yummy. My first bowl of shit." Also, his taunting of city services to get them to actually do their jobs. Prop Joe: "I just talked myself out of an open grave."

Anonymous said...

Late to the game, but a few more:

Bubbles, going back to the corner at the end of season 1, to McNulty "Don't tell her, okay?"

Cutty seeing his old flame in Season 3. "Looking at you...hurts." "You shouldn't look, then."

Kima in her hospital bed in season one looking at photo arrays, telling Bunk that sometimes, things just gotta play hard.

Season 2: Any scene with Chris Bauer is gold, but Frank visiting Ziggy in jail is great and heartbreaking.

Lester Freamon in season 4, looking at the boarded up houses and finally, wonderfully, figuring out where the bodies are.

Bunk to McNulty: "Happy now, bitch?"

Anonymous said...

What about Herc & Carver (along with their dates) running into Bodie & Poot (and their dates) at the movie theater. I liked seeing them meeting when all 4 players were 'off-duty'.

SJ said...

How about when the whole team is trying to tail Avon after the basketball game, and then you see Avon pass by Daniels in slow-motion wagging his finger...Daniels' expression is priceless.

And one of my favorite Omar scenes in Season 1: When he jumps out of the alley on Wee-Bey and his other partner who are about to hit someone else. "Hey now" and then he shoots him. "Yo Bey, you come for the king, you best not miss."

Anonymous said...

One of the funniest throw-away lines in Season 2 is from Bunk, with Beadie, staring at the photos of headless bodies and saying that somewhere another cop is looking at a table full of heads.

There are two moments from season two and season four that parallel each other. Frank Sobotka seeing Ziggy in prison, looking so beat up as he heads back into general population. Then in season four, Omar headed into the same room with a five-figure bounty on his head.

In season three, Stringer telling Avon that he ordered D'Angelo killed and the ensuing fight between them.

Chris Partlow's beating of Bug's dad in season four. Both for the revealing brutality of the murder and for the beautiful way Snoop's face is shot. Both by her expression and the lighting, she looks like some kind of madonna.

Anonymous said...

The scene where Ziggy realizes what he's just done and can't stop shaking, not even to light his cigarette, was exceptionally well done.

Almost done re-watching season four, and Prez giving Dukie his lunch and change to get a soda is my favorite Dukie scene (so far... I seem to remember there being even more tearjerking scenes involving Dukie.

Anonymous said...

You could easily have a top 100 scenes column and still have a plethora of honorable mentions- that's how good the show is.

- Avon and Stringer on the rooftop reminiscing about childhood- one of their last scenes together.

- McNulty and Bunk's picking up women at the bar using the "good cop/ bad cop" routine.

- McNulty talking to Bodie at the arboreum, when Bodie decides to testify against Marlow (right before he gets shot).

- Royce congratulating Carcetti and Norman on a well-run campaign in the mayor's office.

- Bunny Colvin's "booze in the bag" speech.

- Omar on the witness stand, calling out Levy, saying they do the same thing, only he does it with a shotgun while Levy does it with a briefcase. (extra points for his unique way of wearing a tie).

- Carv and Herc trying to work over Bodie in the interrogation room with no success. Herc ends up beating on Bodie while Bodie says "no, you're suppposed to be the good cop".

- Omar holding his own in jail after, getting taped up with the poor man's flak jacket.

Anonymous said...

Among the funniest scenes ever HAS to be the line by Bernard, the kid whose job it was buy the burners in season three. After all that nagging from his girlfriend, he says "I can't WAIT to go to jail!"

Also, a few episodes earlier, the scenes where Lester sets up Bernard are great. First when he reads off the numbers he dials and then when Officer Massey, posing as the cell phone store clerk, tells him to hurry because he's got bingo.

Anonymous said...

Herc playing Shaft for the big chase scene and then singing/quoting it.

Who is the man that would risk his neck? For his brother man? SHAFT!


geoffrey said...

tTwo that I certainly believe belong on a 'best moments' list are:

1 - D'Angelo's analysis of 'The Great Gatsby' in his final episode in the second season. (It is just beautifully tragic how he is fully aware of the mistakes he has made and how he is caught in such a dead end--it really makes David Simon's comments (about how The Wire is influenced by Greek tragedy) ring true.
2 - The conversation between McNulty and Bodie in the park in the season 4 finale. The scene is utterly tormenting because it is so very clear what Bodie's fate will be (it is a 'Wire' motif, is it not, that a character is put in an idyllic situation as an indication that the opposite will happen to him?).

Anonymous said...

Oh man, there are so many comments, I just can't read them all before posting.

Ones I didn't see in the first twenty or so comments:

- The chess tutorial from 1.03. The only scene more classic is Snotboogie. And maybe the Chicken McNuggets. And "What the fuck did I do?" And... yeah. But D'Angelo teaching Wallace how to play chess, the comparisons to drug management, and Bodie's retorts just make an amazing scene. The King stay the King.

- Bunk & McNulty convincing D'Angelo to write a letter to William Gant's kids.

- "Where's Wallace, String? WHERE THE FUCK IS WALLACE?!"

- Bubbles and Landsman in the interrogation room... I cry every time.

I had at least twenty more rolling around in my head while reviewing commentary that I just can't recall now. I can't wait for this Top 1000 The Wire Moments list!

Anonymous said...

A funny scene from S1 was the interrogation of Bird.

Bird: "F--- you, fat man."
Landsman: "Hmph. I thought we were friends."

Omar: "Bird sure know how to bring it out of people, don't he."

Anonymous said...

How about Wee Bey confessing to all those extra murders because, what the hell, he's going to be in for life anyway might as well help out his crew as much as possible - and oh yeah, they gave him another BBQ Pork sandwich with extra horseradish.

Anonymous said...

Any scene with Valchek cracks me up. He's such a great little character. Right from the start of season two when he realizes he was too late with is stained glass window to his promotion in season four. I could watch him all day.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Mcnulty having his 2 kids do a "front and follow" on Stringer Belle at the market!!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA, Fuzzy Dunlop!! That was a great one.

I really liked how Carver and Herc diverged last season too, as Carver started maturing and getting his act together just as Herc was becoming more and more of a fuck up.

T. said...



Did anyone know about this already or am I the last to know? In case it's a mistake, check it out now before HBO realizes their mistake.

Alan Sepinwall said...

T, I think everybody knows if they've been to the main blog page today.

Anonymous said...

Another one I just recalled from S4, but which won't make a list in any family newspaper in this universe --

Carver: So what did you say?

Herc: That's a good strong dick you've got there, Mr. Mayor, and I see you know how to use it. What the fuck do you think I said?

KcM said...

So many excellent moments. It makes me want to watch 'em all again. I second String and Avon's last real conversation on the balcony, Roberts Rules of Order, McNulty's car crash bender, "The Body of an American," the Sunday crown incident, Cheese and the dog, most McNulty-Bunk drunkeness, and dozens of others above. But a few more I didn't see. (From memory, so I'm paraphrasing the quotes.)

S1: Wallace: "Man, Alexander Hamilton ain't no President!"

S1: Moving the desk in/out of Major Crimes.

S1: Bubbles' Red Hat trick.

Beginning of S3: Bunk figuring out at the baseball game that McNulty, (staring at his ex-wife on a date in the front row) isn't listening to a word he says. "So, I've decided to become a woman."

S3: Officer Santangelo (busted back at the end of Season 1) blows a hood's mind (while letting him out of the cop van) upon the opening of Hamsterdam. "I've heard Pandemic is the bomb."

S3: McNulty at a DC fundraiser: "Bushmills? That's Protestant whiskey."

S3: McNulty wordlessly recreates D'Angelo's "suicide", and sees it doesn't add up. (Also, his later confrontation with D'Angelo's mother.)

S3: FBI Guy to McNulty: Stringer's given name on this case? Achmed. (Also, the fact that the top-end equipment they need is languishing in a box in the basement -- same with Prez's schoolbooks in S4.)

End of S3: Levy breaking down the Clay Davis situation to Stringer. "You got rain-made. He rain-made you."

End of S3: McNulty dropping his keys on the table for his date with Teresa D'Agostino, then grabbing them again when he realize he's only being pumped for info.

End of S3: Bunny calling out McNulty for breaking his silent deal with the now-dead String. "You always did like to cut them corners, Bushytop!"

S4: Bunk trying to convince McNulty that his domestic bliss with Beadie is probably a mirage. (He talks about how the fish served in corner stores isn't real fish.)

S4: Rawls to Landsmann on Election Day. "American Democracy. Let's show these Third World fucks how it's done."

S4: Royce's poker game (as a means to shake out contributions.)

S4: Randy's last words to Carver (and Carver's silent reaction) "You gonna look out for me, Sgt. Carver?"

And there's obviously more...what a great show. :)

KcM said...

Arg. Another great one came to mind while posting on Episode 51 at GitM:

"A life Jimmy, it's the shit that happens while you wait for moments that never come."

It's a quote I like to keep next to Al Swearingen's similar rumination from Deadwood.

"In life you have to do a lot of things you don't fucking want to do. Many times, that's what the fuck life vile fucking task after another."

John D. Moore said...

A lot of great funny moments have been mentioned, but what generally sticks most in my mind is the potent devastation this show can wreak on my feeble soul.

1) Season 1: Wallace... need I say more?
2) Season 2: Ziggy's duck dies. It's some of the most heavy-handed symbolism the show engages in, but still works very organically in the show. This moment feels like a hand on the shoulder, with The Wire whispering in your ear, "You knew it was coming. And it's only going to get worse. Sorry."
2) Season 4: Marlo's showy standoff with the store security guard after his poker game, and its consequences.

geoffrey said...


'S3: Officer Santangelo (busted back at the end of Season 1) blows a hood's mind (while letting him out of the cop van) upon the opening of Hamsterdam. "I've heard Pandemic is the bomb." '

I thought he said something to the effect of "I've heard that WMD is the bomb"

Alan Sepinwall said...

I believe Geoffrey's right, that Santangelo calls WMD "the bomb," and not Pandemic.

And can I say that I love that we're having this discussion?

However, I'm beginning to feel that this blog post is doing a much better job of hitting both the Great and Funny categories better than I could in print. My editor, a devout Wire fan, pointed out that whenever he tries to describe funny scenes from the show to people who don't watch it, they just don't find it funny out of context.

So at the moment I'm exploring other sidebar options. (A look at the opening scene of each season and how, per Simon's explanations, they encapsulate that year's theme, is the current frontrunner.)

Anonymous said...

I'm working my way through season 4, and episode 7 has three gorgeous moments near the end --

Prez, in the classroom, sees Dukie working at the computer Prez pulled out of the basement, Dukie with a huge beaming smile on his face.

Kima closes the Braddock case, and she and her partner realize Carcetti's victory in the mayoral race hinged not on a murder, but on a stray bullet. "I fucking love this town, I do."

Bubbles goes home hoping Sherrod will be there, and sits alone, worried and tearful. Another great Bubs moment, more agonizing when we know what's to come.

I believe that's what's known as an embarrassment of riches...

KcM said...

Ah, it is WMD, isn't it? My bad...I was trying to remember the timely drug-name of that season, and Pandemic came to mind first.

Anonymous said...

The card game in season four.

Marlow: "One of these days I'm walking out of here with a Rolls".

Older gent across the table: "Way you been going to school up in this here room, son, I suspect you're gonna walk out of here with Morgan fucking Freeman to drive it for you, too."

Anonymous said...

Great Moments:

-I love all the end montages, but the Ending of Season 3 gets me every time. I think it's something about the fact that nobody was sure that the show was going to come back for a fourth season, and there's a mournful and elegaic feel to the scenes of McNulty walking the beat, Darnelle weeping alone at home, Avon seeing Brianna and Marlo in court, all played out to Solomon Burke's "Fast Train".

-Also the beginning of Season 3, with the towers coming down, effectively setting up the parallels between 9/11 and the war on terror, and the war on drugs effortlessly.

Heart-Stopping Moments:

-Some people have already mentioned Michael running from Snoop and Chris, as well as Omar, putting his fists up in Central Booking as the knife is pulled out. But one of the most gut wrenching scenes for me was seeing Bubbles' feet swinging from the ceiling.

Hilarious moments:

-Ziggy waving his dick at the bar as the band start up a roaring cover of "16 Tons".

-Season 1, when the newly formed MCU attempt to get a desk through a door.

-"Like a 40 Degree day!"

Eric Hartley said...

Someone mentioned McNulty's line about Stringer trying to sell him a condo, but I don't think anyone noted this great pair of lines:

Lester: From the looks of things, Stringer Bell's worse than a drug dealer.

Prez: He's a developer.

Anonymous said...

It's a mark of what a good show this is that this comments thread is so great.

One scene I haven't seen mentioned so far: the training scene in Season 4.

I also vote for:
- Snoop buying a nail gun, first scene of season 4
- And certainly the Fuck scene, which I think many would agree is the scene that crystallizes what this show is all about.

Anonymous said...

These are all great, but there's a couple I love that I didn't see mentioned:

- A scene early on, it must have been the first season, where D'Angelo meets with Avon while Avon is working in the kitchen at a church social. That to me was a key moment in the series, because it shows this drug kingpin not only with a human face and keeping a low profile, but also implies all kinds of things about how deeply the community relies on and is tied into his illicit business.

- Also in the first season, after Bubbles gets cleaned up he's supposed to meet Kima in a park, but he doesn't know that Kima was shot the night before and is still in the hospital. Then when he tries to page her, cops come and interrogate him, then McNulty finally gives him money to buy drugs, for his "help." Heartbreaking.

- And finally, after Stringer is killed at the end of season 3 and McNulty heads up to his apartment, and it turns out to be finely decorated and clean. After picking up "The Wealth of Nations" from Stringer's bookshelf, McNulty says something like, "Who the fcuk was I chasing?"

rukrusher said...

I just rewatched the first six episodes of season two. The scene that stands out for me was McNulty coming to the rescue of Bunk and Freemon and the back and forth between them as they explain how McNulty will lay out the case for them, great job.

D'Angelo discussing the Great Gatsby

McNulty figuring out the tides and the gleeful look when he faxes the results to the State Police.

McNulty saluting Rawls when he walks by in the hallway and Rawls expression of disbelief that he had the balls to come to CID

Herc doing the hand to hands, Its all about the Props

The scene when Daniels and Kima tell their wives that they are doing the detail, just great. No words, just four people in two dining rooms eating dinner. And getting more and more angry,

McNulty undressing the real estate dummy

Omar, man that courtroom scene is priceless. I got a shotgun you have a briefcase, the pause before Levy understands what he said, and the Judges bewilderment about a possible objection, classic Wire.

Stringer preaching Econ 101 to the crews, You remember Worldcom? Change the name. Inferior product in a saturated market.

Killing D'Angelo, the scenes with his mother, I need to live in this world, Avon telling Stringer its not working with D'Angleo, convincing Stringer he is a liabilty, and I forgot the now creepy scene where he picks up D'Angelo's son and whispers too him that his father is bucking them, deciding to kill him while he held his son, that was an ugly layer of Stringer I had forgotten about.

This is six episodes of Season 2 and I could go on for 20 more paragraphs.

Good luck with the Column

Anonymous said...

Bunk and McNulty drunk on the curb outside the bar/funeral, Bunk says: "Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy...Shit is fucked."

Season 2 Bunk approaches McNulty at his new position, and says something along the lines of "Women are always talking about the little man in the boat. I never thought I'd actually get to meet him."

Season 4, Randy asked Prezbo to "computer him up" some candy.

Snoop in the first episode of Season 4 describing the nail gun/interaction with the hardware store clerk (and establishing the season's focus on the miscommunication and disconnect between the "corner" and the rest of the world: "He said it was the Cadillac of nail guns. He meant Lexus, but he don't know."

Moving from funny to haunting:

Randy in the hospital repeatedly yelling at Carver's back as he walks away, "Are you going to help me?"

Daniels revelation that he went to school in the building where the excess corpses are being housed.

Anonymous said...

I'm stuck in the funny tonight, so the one that occurs to me is McNulty first meeting Freamon and with astonishment, calling him "real po-lice."

Lester, recounting his time in purgatory - "13 years, 29 days..."

And another Lester moment, sad, but true: "When they ask you - and they WILL ask you..."

I'm still laughing at Omar's shakedown of the poker game in season four. Marlo about to watch his money disappear, saying "That's my money." And Omar - "Money ain't got no owners, just spenders."

Good times, good times.

Anonymous said...

Man I've read through all of these and they're all great. This is truly the best show ever. A couple more that I don't remember being mentioned yet:

- Wee-Bey in the S4 finale:
"Man came down here to say my son can be anything he damn please." "Except a soldier."
"Who the f**k would wanna be that if they could be anything else, De'Londa?"

-Bodie's "This must be one of 'em contrapment things!" and McNulty being like, "Kid's got a point."

-that montage of Avon and Stringer walking up to D'Angelo and his boys where they used slow-mo (rare for The Wire but it worked great here)-- they look so powerful and bad-ass that you can understand why little kids who don't know that there's a whole nother world out there look at them and wanna become that

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous of all of you with the DVD's of the earlier seasons. I am a newbie, just catching up on seasons 1-4 on OnDemand!

I totally agree with this one and I'm glad it was mentioned:

- And finally, after Stringer is killed at the end of season 3 and McNulty heads up to his apartment, and it turns out to be finely decorated and clean. After picking up "The Wealth of Nations" from Stringer's bookshelf, McNulty says something like, "Who the fuck was I chasing?" --> I always wanted to know what the book title was, I couldn't figure it out, even after rewinding

- Also, the Marlo/Omar encouter... It showed Marlo vulnerable for the first time...

- There are so many more, but one I haven't seen mentioned is Omar bringing the claim ticket back in for that clock, which was actually serviced by Prop Joe and presented (all while being shaken down)...

Anonymous said...

Classic/humorous moments (that have not already been mentioned.)

The dialogue between Brother Muzone & Omar when BM confornts O. in the alley. Great writing.

The meet between Stringer and Omar that Joe arranges. Joe is breaking down how to fix a marriage when Omar walks up. Joe sees him and says, "Speaking of cocksucers..."

Carcetti going to the black ministers and Norm says something about it always being a good time for black people whenever they can see a "begging ass white man."

Norm and Carcetti waiting for Deputy Ops car to pull away before they run to the truck.

Carver in the car after he drops Randy off.

Wee-bay efectively passing Namond over to a better man (Colvin)to give his son a better life. (I cried and cried.)

When Rhonda gets a call from D'Angelo's lawyer and she expects it to be the black woman and it's Levy instead. (I so wanted to see D'Angelo out of the game.)

When Colvin brings in the thug for the do-gooder, the thug raises up and the white guy flees the room.

after Omar and the boy toy rob the drug depo in S4, Omar says, "did you see the look on his face? that's why we get up in the morning.

when Omar and boytoy are following Prop Joe's people, boy toy complains he has to go to the bathroom. Omar hands him some toliet paper and says something like "if you're squatting in an alley or sitting on a throne it don't really change the moment, do it?"

bill komissaroff said...

Cheese:(In Joe's shop right before Omar busts in) "You know who has the fattest asses AND the best pussies?...Midgets, N----"

Anonymous said...

There are the great set-piece moments (Wallace in particular) but it's the little details that make the Wire great...

Brother Mouzone and sidekick going to gay bars:

You're the perfect bait. They will view you as conflicted, your homophobia is so visceral.

sidekick: You see, I ain't even gone in there and you're already calling me a cocksucker.

calling Landsman the "John Goodman off-his-diet Motherf*cker"

Bunk and McNulty on how Bunk dresses

"You know what they call a man who obsesses so much about his clothes?"

"A grown-up"?

dronkmunk said...

What I tell you about those away games??

Omar in Joe's antique shop

The king stay the king

Anonymous said...

Not sure if it was mentioned, but the scene with Avon and Stringer in which Stringer reveals that He "snatched" D'Angelo's life. To me, that was the culmination of all Wood Harris/Idris Elba scenes. "You know what I see? A man without a country."

Another very moving scene was the face-slashing in Prez's class in Season 4, and particularly when Dukie sits by the attacker and holds the pocket fan, which he has finally gotten to work, up to her face.

Also, when Namond and Michael confront Kenard. That, along with the following scene where Michael slaps up Namond, is where we see the transformation of the two as complete.

I can't believe noone has mentioned Kima's shooting yet. Probably the most tense scene I have ever seen on TV.

Funny scenes: Wee-Bey listing his murders to Bunk;

Avon inquiring what hitters they might use to get at Marlo, and Slim explaining how each one is unavailable;

Slim and Cutty trying to explain the plan to attack Marlo's people to their ragtag bunch;

Kenard telling Namond the package was stolen.

Anonymous said...

This comment is so far down and several days later, no one will probably read it, but I noticed something that needs to be said: the comments to this particular blog thread are filled with the best spelling, punctuation and sentence structure of any comments I've ever read. Proof that the smartest show on TV attracts the smartest, or at least best educated audience. As for the funniest scene, The Bunk trying to burn his clothes, McNulty's awful attempt to fake an English accent (certainly a challenge for an English actor). Best scene, maybe not at the moment, but looking back, Avon and Stringer's last night together, their camaraderie, both real and fake, both of them fully knowing they've betrayed the other one. If you only saw that scene the once, go back and look at that bitch again.
PS: my 3 week old son as been nicknamed Snot Boogie. Yes, I know what happened to the real one, but it's too good a nickname not to use. My wife, who hasn't wached an episode of The Wire in her life, loves it.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on becoming a dad. And ít´s indeed a funny nickname for a baby, but i wonder if your wife would appreciate it if she saw the scene.

As for this thread, it brought back a lot of great memories, and shows how good The Wire is. Poot didnt get the attention he deserves, though. He had quite a few fantastic scenes.

-Bodie gets picked up to celebrate Stinkums promotion, and Poot is "The Man" for an hour.

-His "we gonna look like some punk-ass bitches" comment in one of Strings meetings in Season 2

-When he and Bodie meet Herc and Carver at the movies and Poot cant say anything but "Ya´ll go to the movies?" about 3 times.

-The opening scene of season 3

-When Poot gets out of jail and Bodie tells him he works for Marlo now, he´s like: "Oh well, one boss is as good as the next one"

Anonymous said...

Attorney Pearlman exiting Daniels office stops to observe Carver and Herc making the stripper (Lester's future gf) pace out the length of Avon's office using a piece of string tied to her ankles. Brilliant

Anonymous said...

There are two moments that stand out for me. 1 is the last episode where we see the characters of old being replaced by new, Micheal in a life of crime has become Omar while Dukie shooting up ( a scene that had me shocked) has become Bubbles. The other scene is when Marlo tries to turn Slim against Joe by saying he should be leader but Slim just says he likes being second in command. I know it's not the best but I really liked Slim and thought this was a good insight into his character, even with the killing of Cheese he remains loyal beyond his boss's death.