Just when you thought devotees of “The Wire” had found every possible form of homage to the gritty Baltimore-based HBO series set in Baltimore, comes the news that some literary wise-guy has re-imagined it as a Victorian novel.
It shouldn’t come as too big a surprise, actually. Critics have frequently likened series co-creator David Simon to Dickens (fans will remember Episode 6, Season 5, “The Dickensian Aspect.”)
Now, Sean Michael Robinson, writing in The Hooded Utilitarian, “fancifully positions The Wire as a forgotten serialized novel written by a contemporary of Charles Dickens, a fictitious author named Horatio Bucklesby Ogden.”
(That’s how Gawker put it in a post today that has, apparently, caused The Hooded Utilitarian to crash. So, clicking on the link may bring up a cached version.)
Anyway, peruse it at your leisure, this chilly Baltimore weekend, Wire fans.
Ogden’s “The Wire,” the faux lit-crit author opines, is actually superior to Dickens’ work in that it strives less to create “endearing characters” and more to build up “a socially complex world.”
“For one thing, The Wire’s treatment of the class system is far more nuanced than that of Dickens,” Robinson writes. “Who could forget ‘Bubbles’ – the lovable drifter, Stringer Bell – the bourgeoisie merchant with pretensions to aristocracy, or Bodie – who, despite lack of education or Victorian ‘good breeding,’ is seen reading and enjoying the likes of Jane Austen?”
A lot of this is basically bizarre sepia-toned line drawings of characters like Bunk Moreland and literary comparisons to Dickens, from which the author squeezes some laughs. Media types may like this one:
“None of The Wire’s villains have the unadulterated slimy repulsion of David Copperfield’s Uriah Heep, except for perhaps the journalist, Scott Templeton.”