Grantland.com

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Re: Grantland.com

Postby chrisco » 13 Feb 2016, 16:31

Hua Hsu on Kayne in the New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/ ... picks=true

Grantland forever.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby Dthefritz » 10 Mar 2016, 01:08

So I referred to the Klostermann/Whitlock argument over BB/The Wire in the Better Call Saul thread. Of course, I had to go look up the original article and it was so bad, it made me angry. Like, even for Klostermann bad.

And now our latest edition of "Chuck Klostermann sells us some snake oil"

Because TV is so simultaneously personal (it exists inside your home) and so utterly universal (it exists inside everyone’s home)

Written with all the savvy of a guy who bought a book by some fashionable deconstructionist academic, gave up after 3 1/2 pages, but still displays it prominently on his shelf.

people care about it with an atypical brand of conversational ferocity — they take it more personally than other forms of art, and they immediately feel comfortable speaking from a position of expertise.

As opposed to movies? Where is this coming from?

They develop loyalties to certain characters and feel offended when those loyalties are disparaged.

Wasn't there a popular series of young adult novels where the entire fanbase divided itself into two camps over which vague semblance of what a preteen girl imagines a man to be should be loved by the heroine?

This is what makes arguing about these particular shows so intense and satisfying — even though most serious TV watchers enjoy (or at least appreciate) all four [note: Wire, Sopranos, Mad Men, BB], they habitually feel a greater internal obligation to advocate the superiority of whichever title they love most.

People love all books and movies the exact same amount. Only TV series causes people to develop internal rankings. Why do people read this fucking fraud? Jesus, this is even worse than I remember him being.

You hear a lot of sentences that begin, “I love Mad Men, but …” or “The first two seasons of The Sopranos were great, but …” And whatever follows that “but” is inevitably crazy and hyperspecific.

I don't know. I feel like criticisms people have made, like "the entire Dick Whitman subplot feels over-the-top and like a waste of time" is neither crazy nor hyperspecific. I think you mean people can still have problems with shows they really enjoyed, which is not really interesting so you had to dress it up in a fancy tuxedo.

This is especially true among people who prefer The Wire. There’s never been a more obstinate fan base than that of The Wire; it’s a secular cult that refuses to accept any argument that doesn’t classify The Wire as the greatest artistic endeavor in television history.

I have to admit this is probably more true of The Wire, even though I am one of these people.

. It’s almost as if these people secretly believe this show actually happened, and that criticizing the storyline is like mocking an episode of Frontline.

And way to take your point and fuck it to hell. Yeah, we're too stupid to tell the difference between TV and real life, but only in this one case. It's almost as if the show did such a great job of bringing its characters to life through FICTIONAL DEVICES OF STORYTELLING, that the characters carried more emotional weight with us than did other fictional shows. I never watched the movie Hardball and thought "I can't believe this real-life 9 year old kid died"! even though there are probably IRL instances of these kinds of things happening.

This was not a documentary about Baltimore: Wallace is not alive and playing high school football in Texas, Stringer Bell was not reincarnated as a Pennsylvania paper salesman,

oh thank god you broke the illusion of fiction by pointing out the other shows these actors did. Saved me a trip to psych ward!

and you are not qualified to lecture on inner-city education because you own Season 4 on DVD.

Just because Bill Simmons and naive, sheltered college students are shitheads doesn't mean the show is any less powerful. This is the strawmanniest of strawen.

The citizens on that show were nonexistent composites, and the events you watched did not occur. As a society, we must learn to accept this.

Oh boy. I'm depressed. It's like when I found out Santa wasn't real.

Which is not to say The Wire wasn’t brilliant, because it was. Of the four shows I’ve mentioned, The Wire absolutely exhibited the finest writing;

WHICH HELPED PEOPLE GET INTO THE CHARACTERS' HEADS AND EMPATHIZE WITH THEM THEREBY INCREASING THE EMOTIONAL PAYOFF OF THEIR ARCS YOU FUCKBAG

Mad Men has the most fascinating collection of character types, and The Sopranos was the most fully realized (and, it’s important to note, essentially invented this rarified tier of televised drama).

OK, fine.

But I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that Breaking Bad is the best of the four, or at least the one I like the most.2 Which I realize is not always the same thing.

The fact that you even need to acnowledge that there COULD be a difference between your inherently subjective opnion and some universal truth is either Simmons-caliber false humility, or a sign of greater psychic distress. "Guys, before you jump down my throat, I REALIZE there's a difference between objective reality and the visions I have where Aztec gods ask me to sacrifice the new grocery store checkout girl in a blood orgy after checking if she's a virgin."

And I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel this way.

He can't tell us his opinion about a fucking tv show. No. This is a journey of self-discovery he's sharing with us. How benevolent!

. It’s shot in the most visually creative style, but that’s not enough to set it apart; the acting is probably the best of the four, but not by a lot (and since good acting can sometimes cover deeper problems with direction and storytelling, I tend not to give it much weight).

Good acting: Sneakily secretly quietly a sign of a shitty TV show. You can't fool Chuck with your convincing simulation of human emotions on screen. He knows you're hiding something!

I suspect Breaking Bad will be the least remembered of these four shows and will probably be the least influential over time.

I feel like this is Chuck shooting his own argument in the foot, and I've been trying to figure out why I feel this way. Will you indulge me in a thought exercise full of tangents about how my brain thinks of things and how this makes me smarter than you?

Yet there’s one profound difference between this series and the other three, and it has to do with its handling of morality: Breaking Bad is the only one built on the uncomfortable premise that there’s an irrefutable difference between what’s right and what’s wrong, and it’s the only one where the characters have real control over how they choose to live.

That is so staggeringly wrong, I can't even wrap my head around it. Can you believe the Wire presents McNulty cheating on his wife and driving drunk as consequence-free actions that he was forced into by his superiors at the Baltimore Police Department?

Certainly, all of these series grapple with morality — more than anything else,3 it’s the reason they’re better than the shows around them.

Yeah, and they certainly don't grapple with it by saying that there's no such thing as good and evil, which is why you're struggling to backpedal so hard.

But the first three examples all create realities where individual agency is detached.

Which it often is in real life, which is why choosing a moral course of action is often more complicated than overcoming your own selfishness. GRRRRRR.

Mad Men is set in the 1960s, so every action the characters make is not really a reflection on who they are; they’re mostly a commentary on the era. Don Draper is a bad husband, but “that’s just how it was in those days.”

Those concepts aren't mutually exclusive you fucking nimrod. In fact, much of what makes the show interesting is precisely IN deciding how much of it is "the times" and how much of it is Don being a chode independent of that.

Every important person on The Sopranos was involved with organized crime, and its protagonist was a (likeable) transgressor who regularly murdered for money — subsequently, there were never any unresolved questions over Tony Soprano’s “goodness.”

No, but there were larger questions about what drove him to do good or bad things, and how this related to his upbringing, environment and the culture at large.

The Sopranos was compelling because we were continually watching innately bad people operate within a world not unlike our own — this, in one sentence, was the crux of the series.

Possibly, but you've completely dodged the issue of how the show somehow "ignores" morality. Which it doesn't at all, not to anyone with half a brain who watched it.

Meanwhile, The Wire was more nuanced: In The Wire, everyone is simultaneously good and bad.

Well, to an extent yes, but I think it's pretty safe to say that Marlo was not in any way good.

The cops are fighting crime, but they’re all specifically or abstractly corrupt; the drug dealers are violent criminals, but they’re less hypocritical and hold themselves to a higher ethical standard.

Stringer Bell - more ethical than the police! No one denies this!

its overall relativist take on human nature: Nobody is totally positive and nobody is totally negative, and our inherently flawed assessment of those qualities hinges on where we come from and what we want to believe. And this, of course, is closer to how life actually is (which is why The Wire felt so realistic). It’s a more sophisticated way to depict the world.

Don't be silly. I could have sworn we just proved that people only like the Wire because they're little children who can't tell make believe from real life.

However — from a fictional, narrative perspective — it ends up making the message a little less meaningful.

If only the Wire's Creators had De'Angelo Barksdale escape the limited options of the ghetto and family pull to the drug trade by hopping on his pet dragon and going to live in a castle above the clouds. That would have been really meaningful, and a judicious use of the tools of fiction.

If nothing is totally false, everything is partially true; depending on the perspective and the circumstance, no action is unacceptable.

This is not remotely the message of the show. For example, it might be understandable that someone with children would get addicted to drugs, given their ready availability, the lack of employment opportunities and the general breakdown in family structure. But it's still "unacceptable".

You know, I take back everything he said about misrepresenting the moral dimensions of these shows. He might just be dumb enough not to understand them on a basic level.

The conditions matter more than the participants.

Yes, but it is way way too far a leap to then say that morality doesn't matter on the show and that some actions are unequivocally wrong. Just because the drug war is counterproductive doesn't mean that drugs are good.

As we drift further and further from its 2008 finale, it increasingly feels like the ultimate takeaway from The Wire was more political6 than philosophical.

I mean there's certainly a political dimension to the show, but it also works as a story on a human level about people born in shit circumstances. The Dickensian Aspect, one might say!

Which is not exactly a criticism, because that’s an accomplishment, too … it’s just that it turns the plot of The Wire into a delivery mechanism for David Simon’s polemic worldview (which makes its value dependent on how much the audience is predisposed to agree with him).

Again this is flatly untrue. I know many people who are Republicans or Libertarians who love this show. I'm sure in the kinds of self-important corners of the internet that people like Chuck dwell, there's no shortage of people patting themselves on the back for loving the Wire in spite of differing politically from some of its message.

This is where Breaking Bad diverges from the other three entities. Breaking Bad is not a situation in which the characters’ morality is static or contradictory or colored by the time frame; instead, it suggests that morality is continually a personal choice.

Right. As opposed to the Sopranos, where, say, Carmela could walk away from Tony at any time knowing on some level it's the right thing to do, but chooses "continually" to stay with him.

The central question on Breaking Bad is this: What makes a man “bad” — his actions, his motives, or his conscious decision to be a bad person?

Totally unrelated to the Sopranos, which spends like a quarter of the series with its main character in a psychiatrist's office trying to figure out the exact answer to this question.

Judging from the trajectory of its first three seasons, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan believes the answer is option No. 3. So what we see in Breaking Bad is a person who started as one type of human and decides to become something different.

I kind of think it's an open question as to whether or not he was always bad, but the truly toxic nature of his personality wasn't unleashed until he felt he hit rock bottom, and then there was no turning back afterwards, despite multiple points he could have done so.

The difference between White in the middle of Season 1 and White in the debut of Season 4 is not the product of his era or his upbringing or his social environment. It’s a product of his own consciousness. He changed himself. At some point, he decided to become bad, and that’s what matters.

As opposed to Tony Soprano, who as he himself realizes, could have succeeded as a football coach or a heating systems salesmen [ooh fictional narrative meaning!] and chose to be a mafia guy. Did he choose or did his father push him into it? We don't know. Just like we don't know with Walter.

There’s a scene in Breaking Bad‘s first season in which Walter White’s hoodrat lab assistant Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) tells Walter he just can’t “break bad,” and — when you first hear this snippet of dialogue — you assume what Jesse means is that you can’t go from being a law-abiding chemistry teacher to an underground meth cooker. It seems like he’s telling White that he can’t start breaking the law after living a life in which laws were always obeyed, and that a criminal lifestyle is not something you can join like a club. His advice seems pragmatic, and it almost feels like an artless way to shoehorn the show’s title into the script. But this, it turns out, was not Jesse’s point at all. What he was arguing was that someone can’t “decide” to morph from a good person into a bad person, because there’s a firewall within our personalities that makes this impossible. He was arguing that Walter’s nature would stop him from being bad, and that Walter would fail if tried to complete this conversion.

OK. Decent analysis, actually. Quit while you're ahead.

But Jesse was wrong. He was wrong, because goodness and badness are simply complicated choices, no different than anything else.

Just like they're complicated choices in the world of the Wire, the Sopranos or Mad Men. Way to chase your tail and end the article at a point that has absolutely nothing to do with your alleged thesis.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby Rodney Farva » 10 Mar 2016, 07:23

Dthefritz wrote:LOTS OF WORDS, I MEAN LOOOOOOTS


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You coin contrarian bro and say shit nonsense like this.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby JT99 » 10 Mar 2016, 08:57

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BostonSucksMyBalls wrote:26 Jan 2017 10:53: need the D
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby Colonel Angus » 10 Mar 2016, 09:07

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Re: Grantland.com

Postby JichaelDick » 10 Mar 2016, 10:31

I, for one, read every word and despite probably watching a combined 2 hours of all four shows combined, was rather entertained by it all.
TVF wannabe - Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:42 pm: ...a good rule of thumb is if you post some thing like that and IMS quickly jumps in with an uncomfortable reference you went too far
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby mj3528 » 10 Mar 2016, 10:33

JichaelDick wrote:I, for one, read every word and despite probably watching a combined 2 hours of all four shows combined, was rather entertained by it all.

I have seen every episode of sopranos, wire and breaking bad. I skipped over the breaking bad parts as I want to watch it some day.

You should try Sopranos and The Wire jike. They are a better viewing experience than your staples of BBT and HIMYM.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby JichaelDick » 10 Mar 2016, 10:34

mj3528 wrote:
JichaelDick wrote:I, for one, read every word and despite probably watching a combined 2 hours of all four shows combined, was rather entertained by it all.

I have seen every episode of sopranos, wire and breaking bad. I skipped over the breaking bad parts as I want to watch it some day.

You should try Sopranos and The Wire jike. They are a better viewing experience than your staples of BBT and HIMYM.


I have a very simple mind, a short attention span, and am amused by the easiest of things, so I seriously doubt that.
TVF wannabe - Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:42 pm: ...a good rule of thumb is if you post some thing like that and IMS quickly jumps in with an uncomfortable reference you went too far
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby Theny » 10 Mar 2016, 10:38

JichaelDick wrote:
mj3528 wrote:
JichaelDick wrote:I, for one, read every word and despite probably watching a combined 2 hours of all four shows combined, was rather entertained by it all.

I have seen every episode of sopranos, wire and breaking bad. I skipped over the breaking bad parts as I want to watch it some day.

You should try Sopranos and The Wire jike. They are a better viewing experience than your staples of BBT and HIMYM.


I have a very simple mind, a short attention span, and am amused by the easiest of things, so I seriously doubt that.


Watched the first season of the wire on Netflix, back when they mailed you the dvd's. It was like getting crack in the mail.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby Gregs Kite » 10 Mar 2016, 10:42

Thanks for providing us content, DTF.
You fuckers ruined kite.

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Re: Grantland.com

Postby Goose » 10 Mar 2016, 12:58

Theny wrote:
JichaelDick wrote:
mj3528 wrote:
JichaelDick wrote:I, for one, read every word and despite probably watching a combined 2 hours of all four shows combined, was rather entertained by it all.

I have seen every episode of sopranos, wire and breaking bad. I skipped over the breaking bad parts as I want to watch it some day.

You should try Sopranos and The Wire jike. They are a better viewing experience than your staples of BBT and HIMYM.


I have a very simple mind, a short attention span, and am amused by the easiest of things, so I seriously doubt that.


Watched the first season of the wire on Netflix, back when they mailed you the dvd's. It was like getting crack in the mail.


I watched all of The Wire on DVDs from the library (#spreadsheet). That was some serious binge watching since you could only check out DVDs for a week with no renewal option.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby BostonSucksMyBalls » 10 Mar 2016, 13:07

The Wire is The GOAT.
PS: I will never like July 27th. It will always be the day Reggie died. I just hate this day. True Celtic fans know what I mean.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby Goose » 10 Mar 2016, 13:18

BostonSucksMyBalls wrote:The Wire is The GOAT.


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Re: Grantland.com

Postby babylurch » 10 Mar 2016, 14:05

I have seen a couple of episodes of the Sopranos, and less than fifteen minutes of Breaking Bad, the Wire and Mad Men combined.
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Re: Grantland.com

Postby BostonSucksMyBalls » 10 Mar 2016, 14:08

babylurch wrote:I have seen a couple of episodes of the Sopranos, and less than fifteen minutes of Breaking Bad, the Wire and Mad Men combined.


Oh you dont know what youre missing!
PS: I will never like July 27th. It will always be the day Reggie died. I just hate this day. True Celtic fans know what I mean.
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