February 23rd, 2009

Tom Lehrer is Smug

We're going Sobotka Crazy over The Wire Season 2

The primary Guy To Watch in the second season of The Wire is the
dockworker and union chief Frank Sobotka, whose only crime at the time
an investigation is launched against him is that he bothered to -talk-
with his local church before donating a stained glass window (as
opposed to the Baltimore Police major who surprises the parish with
his own stained glass window donation, only to get Incredibly Offended
when the church says "Well, uh, the dockworkers already gave us a

I love that. The catalyst for the entire season is a tiny dispute
over a stained-glass window. (The actual murders that are discovered
in the first episode don't kickstart anything. The Major has to
get his panties in a wad before he even considers sending cops over to
take a look at Sobotka's yard, and all the authorities who may have to
investigate this murder are too busy trying to force 'em off on the

Anyway, the think about Frank Sobotka is that he's got one hell of a
reaction shot to him. It's not so much a reaction shot as it is a
reaction glare, really. There are so many scenes in which his
glare takes over. First there's an establishing shot of the yard
office. Then we go inside and see Frank sitting at his desk doing his
work or whatever. Then there's a commotion outside. Frank either looks
out a window or steps outside for a closer view.

What could it be? Oh, it could be the discovery of a shipping crate
full of dead bodies! That pesky dock cop Beatrice could be driving
around again. Frank's useless son Ziggy might be getting into a fight
or otherwise behaving like a buffoon. Maybe two dogs are getting it
on! Or maybe the guys just found a plastic bag being blown around like
the wind and they're all watching it and saying it's the most
beautiful thing ever.

No matter what is going on, however, Frank reacts in the same way: His
eyes go wide, his brow furrows, and his nostrils flare. It's the Frank
Sobotka Glare, ladies and gentlemen, and it's a doozy.

Were Frank to have his own Facebook page, it'd be easy to maintain.
All he would have to do is set his status to this:
Frank Sobotka can't fucking believe what he's fucking seeing.
And he'd never have to change it again!