THE WIRE: Not Brought to you by the Baltimore Tourism Bureau

baltimore the wire

This weekend, the TV Addict finally made use of the ON Demand services he pays his cable company (Rogers) far too much for by spending a few hours with HBO’s critically acclaimed drama THE WIRE.

Yet rather than wax poetically about the gritty realism and incredibly layered story (that I loved by the way), this TV Addict will simply say this. THE WIRE: Certainly not brought to you by the Baltimore Tourism Bureau.

Now don’t get me wrong, in ‘reality’ I’m sure Baltimore is a beautiful city. Unfortunately, we’re talking TV, reality has very little to do with it.

Often, when the only way you’ve experienced a city is on the big and small screen, perceptions can be incredibly skewed. Thus, in my mind right now, when I think Baltimore I think overworked/underpaid police force, corrupt politicians and the obligatory drug dealer on every corner.

Which naturally begs the question: Has a television series ever painted a worse picture of a city? Sure Dexter Morgan has given Miami a slightly bad rap, but at least his victims are bad guys. And while all three incarnation of LAW & ORDER usually start off with a gruesome crime, you can generally count on ‘order’ prevailing come the forty-four minute mark.

Is the TV Addict nuts, or do you too have a city you’re a touch wary to visit based on what you’ve seen on TV. Surely I’m not the only person who’s creeped out by LOST’s mysterious island? And still punishing Cincinnati for that whole JOHN FROM CINCINNATI debacle!

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  • ct

    Sadly, I don’t think that the image of Baltimore is all that skewed. yes, there are nicer areas of Baltimore (such as the Inner Harbor), but the area of Baltimore which The Wire deals with is every bit as scary as what you see presented on television.

    As for how television has influenced my opinion of cities, I’d have to say that whatever town Sesame Street is filmed in terrifies me. I mean, all those creatures walking around with hands shoved up their… um, never mind.

  • As a Baltimore native and a Wire addict, I have to agree with ct. Baltimore has a lot of very nice areas- with personality and charm. However, The Wire is not attempting to depict these areas. The neighborhoods that are being dealt with on the show are probably a 10 block radius (on either side of Charles Street since you are dealing with the West Side *and* the East Side) and they are meant to be unattractive, scary, and corrupt. That is the Baltimore- The Wire is trying to portray- and doing so excellently and realistically, I might add.

  • Pingback: Up On The Wire » Blog Archive » The TV Addict Doesn’t Want to Visit Baltimore()

  • shanna

    I like that about the Wire. Whenever they show NY it’s a bunch of lofts and the cobblestone streets of SoHo. That is not NY.

  • CT

    Why does it scare me when people agree with me?

  • Just Sayin

    The Wire is a great “HBO Series”. I think people should look at it for what it is. It’s an “HBO Series”. While only a series it does show Baltimore and events in Baltimore the way they really are. I know first hand because I live here. I remember seeing the news and watching footage about the open air drug market. There are open air drug markets still going on!

    Some people don’t like The Wire because it places a mirror to the face of the politician’s and other public officials and shows them where they “FAILED”!

    Just like other cities around the country Baltimore faces drug and crime problems.

    Regardless of the city everybody knows:

    Where the high drug areas are located.
    Where the high crime areas are located.
    Who the big drug dealers are.
    Who the low level drug dealers are.

    My conclusion is that some people in public positions are getting paid or or the just don’t care about the area or the people!

    Richard Pryor said it best: People come to the city and see people strung out on drugs, homeless and say “They need to stop begging and get a job” , “Nobody helped me, I worked hard for what I have”. Then they go home and find their kid smoking crack and say, “We have to do something about this drug proble”, “Just Say No”.

    Nobody wants to clean up dog sh#t until they step in it!

    Things will never change until we (all people) can look into they eyes of others and see ourselves. But for the grace of GOD there go I.

    With All My Love and Hope,

    Just Sayin

    Life long resident of Baltimore City
    Attended public schools
    Grew up in the hood/public housing
    Grew up on welfare/food stamps
    Always knew there was more to life
    Working to make a difference

  • Just Sayin

    Sorry for the typo’s


  • mbw

    I am a recent transplant from Northern CA to Baltimore. I have never seen The Wire, but I can say Baltimore is by far the worse place I have ever lived. It is dirty, polluted, you can’t leave your house without ending up in the ghetto, and the unemployment is the highest in the state of MD. I can’t wait to move away from this hell hole.

  • meghan

    mbw – spend some time in fells point or fed hill and talk to your neighbors .. parts of baltimore can be a little Wire-y but it’s still charm city.