Catching up on back seasons of Game of Thrones is fun in part because you start matching well-known actors to all the weird names you’d heard thrown around. And, as with any post-Oz HBO program, we recognize some faces from previous worlds. It’s difficult, for example, not to think of brothel owner Petyr Baelish, played by Aidan Gillen, as the similarly cunning Mayor Carcetti from The Wire. In fact, sometimes I just imagine Carcetti stepped into a C.S. Lewis-like wardrobe and never came back.
I haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica, although people tell me I should watch it because it’s like The Wire but in space. You know what I have seen a lot of? Friends! It’s like The Wire, but for white people living in cushy rent-controlled apartments in the West Village in the ’90s, and without any sort of believable dramatic storylines. Plus, remember Marcel the monkey? Loved that monkey. Anyhoo, some intrepid internet artist did one of those mash-up things in which he (or she—let’s not get sexist here) made a funny little montage of Battlestar scenes set to the Friends theme song. Could it BE anymore fracking funny? (Did I do the ‘frack’ joke right?)
[via The Hairpin]
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Is there anything Michael K. Williams can’t do? First, he plays one of the greatest characters in the history of television on one of the greatest shows in the history of television; then he totally rocked our faces off in a brief excerpted musical version of said show; he pretty much singlehandedly brought marriage equality to the state of Maryland (guess Maryland legislators didn’t want Omar comin’ for them, and who could blame them?) and now, to top it all off, he made you a mixtape. Or rather, he described how he creates playlists around his characters and gave Vulture the Omar Little playlist and then they posted it. But still, it’s nice to dream.
Turns out, playlist-making is a big part of how Williams crafts his characters, including pop culture icons like Omar and Chalky White from Boardwalk Empire. “Music for me is a portal,” Williams told New York Magazine. “Once I’ve gone to that dimension and I’m there, whatever got me there, I just loop those songs.” In the case of both his most-recognized characters, songs by Nas, including the staple "One Mic" in Omar’s case, feature quite prominently. Wonder what he had stocked for his appearance as Professor Kane on Community. Are there any good songs about terrariums?
Vulture’s got the whole Omar playlist, featuring headliners like Biggie, 2Pac, Nas and Lauryn Hill, compiled on Spotify. Check out the track listing and listen to the opening song, 2Pac’s slow-burning "Unconditional Love," below. Goodnight, everybody!
- 2pac, “Unconditional Love”
- Nas, “Let There be Light”
- Young Jeezy, “Dreamin’”
- Mary J. Blige, “My Life”
- Lauryn Hill, “Oh Jerusalem”
- Jay-Z, “You Must Love Me”
- 2pac, “So Many Tears”
- Biggie Smalls “Suicidal Thoughts”
- Young Jeezy "Bury me a G"
- Jay-Z, “Oh My God”
- Biggie Smalls, “Who Shot Ya”
- 2pac, “Against All Odds”
- Biggie Smalls, “Everyday Struggle”
- Nas, “One Mic”
- Lauryn Hill, “War in the Mind”
- Common, “It’s Your World”
- Lauryn Hill, “Mystery of Iniquity”
- Meshell Ndegeocello, “Akel Dama (Field of Blood)”
- Lauryn Hill, “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind”
- 2pac, “Dear Mama”
- Sun Tan "Sunscreen"
On June 2nd, 2002, David Simon’s Charm City HBO drama The Wire made its debut. A decade later, the show has amassed a large international following—including President Barack Obama, who was a big fan of Michael K. Williams’ Omar Little—and since become a course at Harvard, referenced in Aziz Ansari standup routines and even the subject of a Grantland head-to-head bracket for character supremacy.
Pretty much the only thing The Wire hasn’t become yet is a musical… until now. With the help of much of the original cast, including Michael K. Williams (Omar Little), Felicia Pearson (Felicia "Snoop" Pearson), Larry Gilliard Jr. (D’Angelo Barksdale), Andre Royo (Bubbles) and Sonja Sohn (Det. Kima Greggs), as well as Joe Hartzler as "Jimmy McNulty" and Faizon Love, who wasn’t on The Wire but was in Friday and Elf, among other things, Funny or Die has brought to you, The Wire: The Musical. From opening number "Omar’s Comin’" to the finale, led by a singing syringe, this is truly toe-tappin’ fun. If you don’t go see it, Omar will come for you.
The only thing this musical is missing? More Idris Elba. Watch:
Last night, a new, longer trailer for the forthcoming HBO series The Newsroom, helmed by pulse-quickener Aaron Sorkin, premiered. It showed off what looks like a robust role for Emily Mortimer, some old-people-versus-young-people tension and a very, very strange idea of what a newsroom is like.
As people who have worked (and sometimes slept) in newsrooms for years now, we’re always interested to see how Hollywood portrays our coffee-scented cubicle wastelands. Nothing we’ve seen every quite hits the nail on the head, but many have made a fine effort. Here are some favorites.
While a newsroom this crowded with employees is something rarely seen today, and typewriters are only used for twee decoration, the trailer for All the President’s Men, a movie that asks us to believe there are newspaper reporters as handsome as Robert Redford, paints a picture of an exciting, cloak-and-dagger life that never involves copyediting fashion credits
Thanks to 1976’s Network, the idea that TV news is fast moving and supremely dramatic was lodged into the collective unconscious. And while dwindling budgets have probably made some people’s lives more exciting by saddling them with extra responsibilities, it’s unlikely that a day at CNN will ever provide the kind of excitement that fictional UBS did.
Murphy Brown’s assistants were always a bit wacky, perhaps a relic of a time when newsrooms could afford to have characters around for the sake of entertainment. These days, any assistant who can’t carry three lattes while making dinner reservations at a yet-to-open restaurant and simultaneously reading her boss’ mind would never even make it past HR.
Then there’s this scene from The Wire. It follows the totally unlikely storyline of… Oh, wait. This is in fact the everyday occurance of an understaffed paper’s editor trying to explain to his remaining employees the forthcoming budget cuts. Welcome to the real world, kids.
Yesterday, The Wire creator Davis Simon gave a typically eloquent interview to the New York Times in which he expressed some frustration with the way his show is watched today: by people who came to it years after it aired under the pretense of being ultimate fans, chattering about how awesome Omar is. "I do have a certain amused contempt for the number of people who walk sideways into the thing and act like they were there all along," he said, among other thoughtful things, like how the television recap economy is intellectually bankrupt and how he intended The Wire to be seen as a complete work rather than reduced to its individual elements.
But today, he clarified his comments with HitFix.com in a way that doesn’t make him seem like a complete curmudgeon. "You can watch it any way you want. I know I’m not allowed to speak for how people want to watch The Wire," he said. "But let me put it on its head and ask, am I allowed to say what I think has value in the piece for me, and for the other people who worked on the show? For us, telling us how cool Omar was four years after the entire thing is on the page — if that’s the point, then our ambitions were pretty stunted to begin with."
To reiterate: Simon doesn’t think you’re a poser for coming late to the Wire party. Only a real jerk would think that. No, he just thinks you’re kind of a bummer if you view its prismic, multi-faceted view of society and corruption in terms as simple as "Omar FTW" and "Who is cooler Jimmy or Bunk???" He even specifically discussed Grantland’s Wire bracket, which pitted every character against each other in a March Madness-styled tournament. "I don’t have much regard for which was the coolest season, which was the coolest character," he said. "Sorry. That’s the case. The fact that I’m reading this stuff on Grantland, and going, ‘Man, this is what it comes down to? You work on something for 8 years and it comes down to this?’"
Strong words. It’s a very, very long interview, but well worth reading if you like reading smart guy thoughts about smart guy things. There’s a whiff of self-righteousness, perhaps, but I think he’s allowed to interpret the thing he created. Whoever said the artist was dead probably never created anything anyone ever really cared about.
Here’s a casting call destined to blow up the Internet: Michael K. Williams, best known as Omar from The Wire, has just signed on to play Ol’ Dirty Bastard in an upcoming movie called Dirty White Boy. Instead of being a strict biopic, it’ll center on Jarred Weisfeld, "a 22-year-old VH1-intern-turned-manager" who falls in with the rapper, and the fun they have leading up until ODB’s untimely death in 2004. "This felt like Risky Business and 8 Mile, with equal elements of darkness, humor, and humanity," producer Lars Knudsen said in a press release. Those movies make for strange bed fellows, but hey, we’re all eyes and ears.
ODB was a bit of a bulkier guy than Williams, but that’s why they invented Krispy Kreme. More importantly: The Wire and the Wu-Tang! To quote every one of my Facebook friends, "Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick." Dirty White Boy is by the team that brought us the Oscar-winning Beginners, which means you’ll probably end up crying at some point — maybe with laughter, when Dirt McGirt jumps on stage at the Grammys to talk about the children.
● Eva Mendes chaperoned Ryan Gosling’s movie date with his mother. [People]
● Isiah Silva says of his mostly hush relationship with Frances Bean, "We’re eachother’s everything…We don’t go out to clubs so you won’t find us stumbling out of them with Lindsay Lohan. We stay at home, read books and watch Arrested Development." [People]
● First things first, everyone needs hair cuts: A sneak peak at Jersey Shore‘s return to Seaside, just ahead of Thursday’s Season 5 premier. [HuffPost]
● Rachel McAdams worked at McDonalds for three years before she was famous, but she was too busy washing her hands to be any good of an employee. [Us]
● Russell Brand is taking his divorce from Katy Perry as you might expect anyone to take a divorce: not well. Word has it that, not "up for celebrating," he spent New Year’s Eve alone with takeout in his hotel room. [Page Six]
● MTV believes that 2011 was dubstep’s biggest year yet, and they’ve got a colorful infograph to prove it. [MTVHive]
At the University of Chicago, they have this legendary annual scavenger hunt. Past scav hunt items have included a plasma ball made out of a Mason jar and “a unicorn in a bicorn. A bicorn in a tricorn.” You get the idea. The University of Chicago is full of scary geniuses. (I once heard a rumor that teams had to bring back a live elephant.) This year, one of the things the teams had to do was edit The Lion King down to a sub-five minute synopsis of all five seasons of The Wire. The winning team produced a video that’s kind of brilliant
Highlights include: “McNulty, you fucked up. You have to ride the boat,” said in voiceover as Zazu rides a log down the river; the creepy place where the hyenas hang out is Hamsterdam. I mean, the editing is sketchy and not all of it makes sense, but the fact that it works at all boggles the mind.