Bubbles and the Corner Characters

13 Nov

When I watch The Wire, I keep making comparisons between the characters here with the ones from the Corner. Ever since we read in Linda Williams’ “Ethnographic Imaginary: The Genesis and Genius of the Wire”, the fact that she pointed out that viewers will “recognize in Gary more than a glimmer of one of the series’ most beloved characters, Bubbles” (217) stuck with me. Because David Simon created both shows about Baltimore, as I am watching these episodes, I can’t help but draw comparisons between the two. There are several moments when Bubbles reminds me of Gary – such as the metal capers, being duped and given baking soda instead of drugs, and being “intellectually and morally a cut above most of the people he hangs out with” (218). In this way, I see in Bubbles the intelligence of Gary and a certain moral code – Gary doesn’t do capers that will injure others. We can see that Bubbles also does not like violence as he is extremely upset when his friend is beat up mercilessly.

However, Bubbles also reminds me of Fran, especially in the scenes where he goes to the Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and later when he tells a friend that he wants to get clean. The scene at the meeting reminded me exactly of when Fran would go to those meetings. They both had the courage to go up and receive the pins for however long they were clean (even though Bubbles was not in the program, but he was moved to act). What I see in Bubbles is Fran’s desire to get clean, and also her fall back into drugs, as they are both addicts. I also see in Bubbles a certain tendency to nurture and protect the people they care about – Bubbles with his younger addict friend, and Fran with her children.

Another comparison I drew between the two shows is between DeAndre and Wallace. Specifically when Wallace told D that he wanted to stop dealing and go back to school, it really resonated DeAndre’s continuous struggle to do the same. They are both young boys who have their feet in both worlds, and are both capable of redemption. I especially like the scenes where Wallace takes care of the younger kids he lives with – helping them with homework or packing their lunch boxes.  Reminiscent of DeAndre taking care of DeRodd or when DeAndre plays with the little girl at the youth center, they are both portrayed as people who want to do right but unfortunately get caught up in the drugs.

With so many parallels between The Wire and The Corner, and with both shows written by Simon, I wonder if he expected viewers to have seen both, and if so, if there is a specific purpose for making these characters so similar? For me, these connections make me like Bubbles and Wallace even more because I see the optimistic characteristics transferred over; in my head, I am hoping that these characters will turn out just as well or even better.  (I have not seen the rest of The

One Response to “Bubbles and the Corner Characters”

  1. evanharold November 14, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Simon takes advantage of people like Bubbles, Fran, and all the characters he gives attention to, because they represent a larger mechanism within the urban system. Bubbles’ similarity to Gary seems to be the simple fact that Gary is interesting, or at least willing to share a story with Simon and Burns.

    Having read The Corner, watched The Corner, and then watched The Wire, I’m disappointed to see all of these behind-the-curtain references and obvious comparisons. I felt this more when watching The Corner, because it has characters giving monologues verbatim to the camera. It seems like a hokey, awkward staging, but this could be the nature of recognizing a source in an adaptation. Also, the idea (expressed more elsewhere than in this post) that the realness of the figures in The Corner lends realness to The Wire is untrue, but this is not to say that Simon’s simultaneous co-option of “real-life” people mixed with artistic crafting is poetically truthful, or easy to talk about.

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