The Harvesters and The Wire

7:00 AM

Peter Bruegel the Elder, The Harvesters, 1565

The Wire is a modern-day incarnation of Pieter Bruegel’s Harvesters, with each piecestaking low aspects of life and lifting them into the public eye to create something truly dynamic. Bruegel, an aristocrat by birth, spent more time with peasants than nobility. Most of his work, other than the absolutely crazy pieces, focus upon the day-to-day monotony of life in a normal village instead of making peasant life seem more grand than it truly is. His honesty in this effect actually works to his advantage, because his focus on the peasants in what was considered high art elevates them enough so that he doesn’t have to exaggerate them.

The show does something similar, taking life in broken Baltimore and observing each and every aspect of how its characters live. Praised as one of the best TV shows ever on television, the show is described as a literary work, drawing connections and creating characters with far more depth than what most shows on television ever offered. Bruegel and the writers of The Wire share this innovation in common, taking underrepresented societal groups and bringing them to the forefront, giving them the chance to shine for what they are and not for anything more or less. They allow honesty, which is a rarity for both the arts of painting and television.

Editor's Note: While we love The Wire, we also all like our jobs. We searched high and low for a clip that did not contain explicit language. We had no luck.

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