The American Culture and Difference Program, College of Arts and Sciences, will host a talk by Dr. Wendy Wyatt, Department of Communication and Journalism, and Dr. Peter Parilla, Department of Sociology, on “Media Constructions of Urban Problems: The Wire as Case Study.”

Dr. Wendy Wyattt

Dr. Wendy Wyattt

Dr. Peter Parilla

Dr. Peter Parilla

Although HBO’s “The Wire” wasn’t a ratings success, critics hailed the show, which ran for five seasons, as one of the best in television history. The show began with what Paco Martin Del Campo of Columbia University called a “deceivingly simple cops-and-robbers narrative” in which “the wire” was a wiretap aimed at catching Baltimore’s drug kingpin and his cronies.

As the plot developed, however, the wire took on symbolic meaning as well – the interconnectedness of all of Baltimore’s important institutions: the police department, the drug trade, City Hall, the unions, the school system and the media. The series makes interesting observations about structural problems facing America’s cities but also, as Del Campo notes, raises questions about power and who has it. Finally, it “provides a powerful argument for why American cities remain poor, corrupt, and dehumanizing.”

The talk will be given at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in Room 126 (lecture hall), John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts.

The talk will look at some of the issues raised in “The Wire,” will question whether the show authentically and truthfully portrays Baltimore’s urban problems, and will explore what the show wants viewers to do with the issues it presents.

Wyatt and Parilla are co-teaching an honors seminar on “The Wire” this semester.

The talk is free and open to the public. For more information contact the American Culture and Difference Program, (651) 962-5649