Every several months or so for the past few years, a rumor will circulate about The Wire returning to the screen. Sometimes the rumor is about a possible 6th season. Sometimes it’s about a three or four episode mini-series coming to HBO. Sometimes it’s even about a possible major motion picture adaptation.
Usually, these rumors will have no basis in reality. Someone read something where someone said that they overheard David Simon say something about a “grown-up Namond,” and after a couple rounds of the telephone game that turns into “The Wire is coming back!!!”
Naturally, since everyone who’s ever been within 125 yards of me knows my feelings about The Wire, whenever one of these rumors pops up, I’ll get a couple excited emails or texts from someone who thinks they’re about to tell me the best news I’ve ever heard. I mean, I am the person who once said…
“If I were single and season 4 of The Wire were a woman, I would literally drink her bathwater…after she just ran a marathon…while on her period. (I know)”
…so of course I’d be giddy about reuniting with Michael, Marlo, McNulty and the rest of my Baltimore-based buddies.
As much as I loved The Wire, there are no parts of me that wants to see a remake, rehash, or reunion. It had its five season run, it ended, and, well, it ended. I spent enough time with those characters and that city. I already drank my The Wire cup of tea. It was great. So great that I’m content to let it sit in my stomach instead of attempting to regurgitate it and drink it again.
And, if I’m thirsty again, I’ll just get a different drink.
This feeling isn’t unique to The Wire. I don’t mind sequels, repeats, and retreads when it comes to action movies that are more about the franchise than the character (The Dark Knight, The Bourne Identity, etc), fantasies (Star Trek, The Matrix, etc), or sprawling stories that need multiple installments to be told (The Hunger Games, The Godfather, etc), but when it comes to character-driven stories, once the story is done, I’m done with them.
And yes, although The Best Man Holiday may actually be a great movie, that story and those characters were done 14 years ago (Yes. 14 years ago. You are officially old as the fuck.), and I don’t want to drink no 14 year old cup of tea.
But some of you do. And, I don’t understand this.
And, please don’t give me any shit about “I’m just happy to see Black faces on screen” and “I gotta support our people” and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The buzz over this movie has nothing to do with that and everything to do with our depressing tendency to wallow in nostalgia. You don’t want to see this movie to see Taye Diggs or Sanaa Lathan or Wet Wipes Howard. You’d just rather hold on to 14 year old characters and stories instead of inventing and investing in new ones.
But while you might reunite with these characters, you won’t reunite with the person you were in 1999—which is what you’re really trying to do. We don’t want throwbacks. We want to be thrownback. And we need to stop doing that. You’re not the same person, this isn’t the same world, and…there’s nothing wrong with that. Shit happens. More shit happens. People grow. You grew too. The world is not stopping for any of us. 1999 will never happen again. Fortunately, as much as some of us want to vice grip the past, 2014 hasn’t happened yet. It (probably) will. And you might even like it if you give it a chance. But you need to give it a chance. Try something new.
That said, I’ll probably end up seeing the movie eventually. For no other reason than when The Best Man Retirement Community comes out in 2027, I’ll need some points of reference if I decide to write about it.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)