'The Wire' Is The Best Show Of All Time Because It Makes You A Better Person

'The Wire' Is The Best Show Of All Time Because It Makes You A Better Person

Great art should make you a better person, and damn it if "The Wire" didn't do just that.
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My obsession with "The Wire" has run to the point of serious addiction - I literally cannot go a day without either mentioning "The Wire," and a significant, powerful quote from the show usually stays in my head for days. But there's absolutely no shame in that - after all, David Simon's magnum opus is a masterpiece, God's gift to the Earth, and without a doubt the greatest TV show of all time. In fact, I'm proud to repeat those words to any ear, no matter how unreceptive they are to the unwarranted raving about the show.

However much I may personally enjoy it, I'm not sure how compelling it is for people to hear a fanatic like myself just rave about "The Wire." Here, I will make my most personal, level-headed, and reasonable argument for why you should watch "The Wire," and why it is the best form of art to ever grace Television.

As the ardent fan I am, I regularly check posts in the Facebook group for "The Wire," and throughout the month of April, one of the members of the group started a bracket-style tournament where people in the group voted on their favorite characters. Eventually, the poll came down to two characters who happen to be my favorite on the show: Omar Little and Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins.

The member who started the tournament, Martin, released some personal stuff going on in his life. He had recently lost a job at a company he'd been with for 19 years. Not wishing to be beaten, however, he found another job within weeks and was soon to be taking a test to be a taxi driver. And in telling the group this, he shared a quote that captured what made "The Wire" such a great show for him.

"Great art should make you a better person, and damn it if 'The Wire' didn't do just that."

In thinking about this, I realize that that reason, for me too, is why I've elevated "The Wire" above every other TV show I've ever watched, why I revere it so. And this is something that is so hard to capture in words.

I can say this assuredly: "The Wire" taught me empathy. "The Wire" taught me compassion. I know that sounds generic, but let me show you what I mean.

The character that best taught these two valuable traits to me was Bubbles. When I read the approach that actor Andre Royo used to play Bubbles, a heroin addict and police informant, he said,

"I wanted Bubbles to be human first, addict second...I wasn't trying to play the addiction. I was trying to play the person."

And that, too, stayed with me. In February, I wrote an article about why that was - and that was because the character of Bubbles and Royo's approach to playing him taught me to at least try to stop putting people in boxes and treat people with a basic sense of respect.

And that's not just this one character - it's all of them. Even though Wee-Bey, for example, is responsible for many of the murders on the first season of the show, he's still a great, loving father to his son. Even though Thomas Carcetti, the Baltimore mayoral candidate, is a politician so narcissistic that he gets aroused by his reflection in the mirror, he also genuinely cares about fixing issues. He is constantly in a state of flux between his own self-ambition and doing what's right for his city, and many times he does right for one, but there are many other small moments where he does right by the other. Even though Avon Barksdale is a West Baltimore drug warlord, he still donates $15,000 to his former employee, Cutty, to open a gym.

It was in thinking about why I liked all these characters, even though their roles mark them by society and the media as outcasts. Most of us were taught by our parents to stay away from drug dealers and drug addicts, to slow down while driving or look the other way when we're around cops. "The Wire" showed me that these are just people, every one of whom is deeply flawed, but also deeply good despite whatever dysfunction they're surrounded by or even pervade. There are very few characters in "The Wire" that are purely good or purely bad - they're in the gray area, on that wire between the two. And what the show teaches us is that above all, these aren't people aren't their jobs or what they do in society. They're people.

But then again, the one who taught me most to reserve the fury of judgment is Bubbles. He is responsible, one night, for the death of a teenager named Sherrod, when the kid shoots up battery acid. He is tormented by so much shame that the next day, he turns himself into the Baltimore Police Department Homicide Unit for the murder, and when the two detectives, Landsman and Norris, leave the room, Bubbles tries to hang himself. Fortunately, the detectives catch him before it's too late, but Bubbles hits rock bottom at that moment: he's done something he can never, ever forgive himself for.

Throughout the next year, Bubbles goes to Narcotics Anonymous meetings with his Christian sponsor, Walon. He starts volunteering at a soup kitchen, and it's there where a reporter, Fletcher, is so fascinated by Bubbles's interpersonal skills that he wants to write a feature article on him. This article makes Bubbles uncomfortable because it captures everything: his strained relationship with his sister, Sherrod, but also the good - how he treats people at the meetings and the soup kitchens. This then leads Bubbles to open up about Sherrod to at the meetings, and where he says these words:

"Ain't no shame in holding on to grief, as long as you make room for other things too."

It's moments like these that pervade the show - that taught me to look for the good in people, and not to condemn or ignore the bad, but accept it. Because after all, they're people. Notice how I've used each of the characters' names, and that's something I've carried into my daily life - using people's names when addressing them. I always feel the need to address people by their names - because that helps me stop putting them in whatever box I previously put them in.

This past year, I've grown more at 21 than I thought I would have by 30. While I opened up about my own childhood and past trauma, many others have done the same to me. No, I did not handle them perfectly and wish I said some things differently, but "The Wire" taught me the power of just being there, just listening, and a lot of times, I don't have to say anything. I don't have to give advice. Minor characters associated with the churches, like Walon and the Deacon, who embody this empathy and lack of judgment, have given me hope and a model for what I eventually wish I can be as a Christian. That's someone who wants to help people get to where Reginald, or Bubbles, did, and help them break the power of shame.

I can say it now unabashedly: to me, "The Wire" is the best show of all time because it has definitively made me a better person. I think you should watch it because I'm confident it will do the same for you, too.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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