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February 23rd, 2009

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01:02 pm - 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!

(13 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
The Wire is one of the best shows that I have seen on Television. When HBO wrapped up the last season, I was lucky to have noticed that they were airing each season, on ON Demand leading up to it. So I got to watch them a season at a time.
[User Picture]
Date:February 24th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
I didn't have HBO (much less cable TV I don't think!) when The Wire began, so I was pretty much in the dark about the entire series for most of its run. When Season 5 came around I was first told "You gotta see it!" and then "No, wait, no, you gotta see it from the beginning" and by the time I got around to watching through most of the seasons, 5 was over and I was burnt out.

Now I'm trying again. I can't quite put my finger on what makes it such a brilliant television program, other than the fact that there are many spots I see in each episode where I think "Okay, if it had been any other show, they'd have totally messed up here."

Such good stuff.
Date:February 23rd, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear! I thought Season Two of The Wire was magnificent, including Chris Bauer as Frank. You've got him in a nutshell in this post.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
This motherfucking show owns my motherfucking life right now and I can't even believe how good it is and I have spent a good percentage of the last 48 hours basically blackmailing my father, boyfriend, and another good friend of mine to start watching it with me. It is even better watching the second time around for the amount of stuff you can miss the first time.

And Season 2 is actually my least favorite (though am only just starting Season 5). And I still think Season 2 is totally amazing.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
I have yet to watch 5. To do so, though, I have decided to rewatch the entire thing again up until 5, just so's I know I'm Fully Caught Up(tm).

Personally I think 3 is the weakest season. But I don't care too much for the political side of it all, so I focus pretty much on the Barksdales there. Brother Mouzone is one bad shut your mouth I'm just talkin bout Brother Mouzone and we can dig it.

I really liked 2 in that it provided both a radical shift from the Barksdale investigation, yet still was able to dovetail plot points from it in. That and, yes, The Frank Sobotka Glare.

But Season 4, holy crap, I cannot wait until I am done with 3 so I can relive the joy of 4.
Date:February 23rd, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
The thing that occurred to me watching this season (which I just did like a week ago) is how rare it is to see blue-collar, non-WASP guys like Frank on television. For a while, there was Galen Tyrol and his deck gang on BSG (I loved the throwaway about how Cally had only joined the service to pay for dental school), but now he's a Cylon and all, so it no longer really counts.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
The Frank Sobotka Glare is an awesome thing indeed. And one of the things I've liked most about The Wire is how so often what happens is due to petty grudges, personal vendettas, or even random happenstance.

Chris Bauer showed up on a recent episode of Fringe, complete with Frank Sobotka Glare.
[User Picture]
Date:February 24th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
And one of the things I've liked most about The Wire is how so often what happens is due to petty grudges, personal vendettas, or even random happenstance.

And to think, the Barksdale case wouldn't have gotten off the ground if Bubbles' stupid pal hadn't tried the ghetto counterfeiting scheme and gotten caught.

I like tracing storylines in this show back to one or two pivotal moments. Moments which, on their own, are so small and thrown in among the rest of the anecdotes. It's great.
[User Picture]
Date:February 24th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's definitely one of its strengths. And it all piles on top of itself so it seems more like the random hand of fate rather than the heavy hand of the writers.
Date:February 23rd, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
Season 2 wasn't my favorite season, but I did love Sobotka and the Greeks. Oh, the Greeks.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
Likewise, Season 2 completely rocked. I'm almost at the end of the Greek tragedy like denouement of the Barksdale family, which seems to be the theme of Season 3.
[User Picture]
Date:February 24th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
Man, I can't even really separate it all into seasons anymore; it's just this big ol' continuity.
I should rewatch it.

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