“It’s all in the game”

The Wire is a slow burn. In each of the series’ five seasons, there’s a pattern of extremely gradual plot progression, especially in the early episodes. If you you find yourself feeling lost, or bored or unable to keep track of who’s who, what’s what, don’t blame yourself.

The Wire is stubborn in its intent on telling the story on its own terms. Deal with it — “it’s all in the game.”

So never mind the overwhelming number of characters and unique dynamics between them, language itself is a huge hurdle for many a white woman watcher. (Closed captioning can be a lifesaver.) But The Wire refuses to condescend to its HBO-subscribing audience by “whitening” the way people speak in West Baltimore where the population is almost exclusively black and poor.

Do not be intimidated or feel guilty if you’re bored while watching. Some storylines will gel; others, you might miss altogether. That’s fine. Just remind yourself that all your friends haven’t been hassling you to watch it for naught.