Inside the Mind of a Genius

Google any phrase like “best television show” and The Wire is sure to dominate your results.  It wasn’t always this way.

Back in September of 2000, David Simon (one of 2010’s MacArthur Genius Grant recipients) made the pitch to HBO.  About what you’d expect.  79 pages of proposed episode synopses and thematic sketches.

What surprised me the most were the ample changes throughout.  Here’s a rundown:

Conspicuously absent

  • Wallace
  • Wee-Bey
  • Poot
  • Pryzbylewski

Names changed

  • Stringy Bell = Stringer Bell
  • Aaron Barksdale = Avon Barksdale
  • Jimmy McArdle = Jimmy McNulty
  • Doughboy = Proposition Joe
  • William “Bunk” Moreland
  • Lester Weeks = Lester Freeman
  • Shakima = Kima

Character differences

  • Slim Charles is fat.  Really fat.
  • Herc is really into steroids.

Significant plot deviations

  • Bubbles has AIDs and dies by the end of the first season.
  • Kima gets murdered by Slim Charles at Orlando’s.
  • Orlando’s undergoes a name change to Odell’s afterward.
  • Herc gets busted for steroids and gets fired.
  • Santangelo is still a rat for the Major in charge of the homicide department, but also for Stringer Bell.  This sets up a situation where a Barksdale crew tries to kill D’Angelo, Lester, and Sydnor in a motel room.  Santangelo eventually gets arrested for this and Lester and Sydnor beat him up badly in a bathroom.

I know, right, Michael?

[David Simon’s pitch to HBO via Kottke]

[images via Blake Hicks & Variety]
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October 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Reading.

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