March 9, 2012

TPG WIRED: In Praise of Slim Charles

I have finished watching "The Wire" and simply put, it is the best TV show I have ever seen*. I enjoyed the show on so many different levels, I've decided to share my various perspectives on it with you guys here. So, if you haven't seen the masterpiece I will be talking about the the show as a whole, which is complicated way of saying SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERSThat being said if you have seen it, please tell your friends about these series of posts, and if you haven't gazed about the power of epic TV, allow me to say that the hype is real.

It seems like I finished "The Wire" just in time. Thanks to the popular site Grantland's March Madness inspired bracket for the show, my facebook feed has been blowing up with people chiming in with their favorite moments and characters. Yet besides my man Carver being left off, there is one character that I feel is one of the most underappreciated on the entire shebang. I'm talking about my man Slim Charles, who TV critic Alan Sepinwall calls a "samurai" in one of his excellent recaps of the show. He may not be as flashy as other people on the show (I'm looking at you Omar) but got dayum if he isn't the wisest, toughest, and loyal in the entire thing.

Everyone's always talking about Omar! Omar is the shit, Omar is the most badass character on The Wire/Earth/Any fictional Universe, yeah yeah, please! You know who is the first to thwart a Omar Stash house robbery? Slim Charles! At the start of season 2 Dude is lurking upstairs and starts a major gunfight with the shotgun savant. The fact that he goes up against Omar, and seemingly even outsmarts him, when he's at the height of his powers should show you that Slim is not to be taken lightly.

But that's not what makes him such an incredible character in my eyes. Slim is like the walking embodiment of the code of the "streets" and in some ways the world. Throughout the show he drops serious knowledge that is in fact so deep, you think he's almost some type of B'More prophet. Back in Season 3 it is him that scolds the young shooters for going at Omar and his Grandma on a Sunday. It's also him that tells Stringer he doesn't want any part of "this assassination shit" when the Kingpin orders him to put a hit on Clay Davis. But it's not until Slim drops some serious truth on Avon after Stringer's death that the corn-rowed gangster shines through.

Besides Avon's crisis of identity, this scene is notable because Slim Charles is not only tackling the war with Marlo, but very obviously tackling the real world war with Iraq that was raging in 2004 when this episode aired. Sure, it's not subtle, but it's effective and further proves just how wise the man is.

But let me be real with chu. Slim Charles is probably most well known in "Wire-Lore" or "Wiore" (is that weird) as the dude that so refreshingly kills Cheese in the series finale. Over the course of the show there are only two characters that I despised. The first was Scott Templeton, the lying sleazy reporter from the Sun and the second was Cheese Wagstaff. He sold out Prop Joe to Marlow, tries to act tough all the time, goes up against Brotha Mouzone and survives (totally un-earned). So when Slim, the legend, the Baltimore Street Jesus ices him, it's not just Slim doing it, it's for everyone on the streets and us watching the show, that hate fake ass gangsters or as 50 cent once said  wankstas." When the dealer who kind of looks like Spike Lee says: "This sentimental Motherfucker just cost us money," he's shrugged off. He iced Cheese as everyone knows for Joe, but he also puts one in his dome him because Slim Charles is the greatest character on the Wire and only he was worthy to kill the most annoying. His reward for the noble deed, good sir, is inheriting the co-op and control of the streets of Baltimore.  Slim. Charles. Legend.

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