I’m finally watching The Wire.
I know, I know. Paging 2002, what took me so long?
There used to be such a thing as missing the boat. You could be too late to a show to join in, and you’d have to do something else to fill your time, like read a book.
That was a joke, please still read books.
Now any show you missed over the last twenty years is swirling in the timeless waters of streaming services like the River Styx.
The River Netflyx.
In this case, the Amazonian Prime.
I was home sick, decided to give The Wire a shot, and now I’ve watched twenty-one episodes in three days. I only pause to adjust the volume so my neighbors don’t think I have guests who swear this much, or, you know, shoot each other.
I’m essentially a full-time drug-crimes investigator now—or an addict.
But I’m only in Season Two, so don’t tell me anything!
Can we extend the spoiler-free window to say, fifteen years? Ten?
Perk of coming to a show late: it’s easy to avoid spoilers because everyone stopped talking about it.
The catch: all I want to do is talk about it.
I’m alone in my craving for hard-shell crabs and Dominic West’s perfect butt.
My cat was stealing my dog’s food this morning, and I intervened only to cup his furry face and say, “You either play the game or get played, son.”
That’s a seventeen-year-old reference, but that’s where my brain lives now.
And Pip didn’t get it anyway. Boy is soft.
Bingeing an old show is like entering a time capsule. The Wire’s first season centers on pagers. I had to look up “how do pagers work?” on my iPhone to follow along.
Any time machine that takes me to Idris Elba in his prime, or his even-primer, is fine by me.
Although it is confusing to feel so motherly toward baby-Michael B. Jordan mere months after drooling over him in CREED II.
Some shows suffer with time. I tried to watch The West Wing, but it felt like some Candy Land version of Washington. The doing-the-right-thing musical cues as earnest public servants make good-faith arguments and the president speaks in paragraphs—who are they kidding?
Today, Veep is aspirational.
Sometimes shows sour because the actors’ reputations change. House of Cards was on my watch-list, but now I feel weird watching Kevin Spacey act creepy and predatory when I know he’s, allegedly, a creep in real life.
Maybe it’s good to give the hottest shows a fifteen-year lead to prove themselves. I remember feeling left out of the LOST craze, but then the ending was so universally reviled, I was saved from crashing on that desert isle.
Give the cream time to rise. With so much great TV available, it pays to be patient.
Assuming you can handle your friends’ reactions when you reveal you haven’t seen a beloved show. People freak out.
It’s like a Great TV Grief Cycle. First there’s disbelief, “What? How have you not seen it?” then bargaining, “You have to, you can use my log in, I’ll watch it with you;” ending with anger, “I can’t believe you haven’t seen it!!”
I just did this to a friend who told me he’d never seen an episode of Seinfeld. I refused to believe him.
“Not even accidentally? It’s on every night when I’m making dinner.”
“I don’t cook dinner,” he said.
He’s such a Jerry.
I always knew I’d succumb to The Wire eventually; I date straight men. Guys have been proselytizing to me about this for years.
I should amend my dating app profile: “Currently loving The Wire, but need a big, strong man to explain it to me,” and watch the matches roll in.
Most relationships are at least partially based on bingeing shows together. “Netflix & chill” was once a euphemism, now it’s just a modern form of intimacy.
Forget shared values, I’m looking for someone with the same gaps in their TV viewing.
Although, the Wire fans I’ve dated always told me, when they reached the acceptance phase, “I’d watch it again with you.”
I don’t think I want them to. I can’t wait for someone else’s schedule to sync up before I watch another episode, there’s a new one starting in four seconds.
Because the best thing about coming late to a show?
It’s all yours.
Copyright Francesca Serritella 2019