Monday, July 14, 2008

Generation Kill: Episodes 1 and 2

I pretty much agree with Alexander Belenky's take on this, now that I've seen the first two episodes of Generation Kill. It's good, but I don't think anyone will care. All of the people that liked David Simon and Ed Burnes' work on The Wire won't buy into this show. The two main contingents of The Wire's audience were high-minded liberals that thought the show brought legitimacy to a disenfranchised group like people on the streets in Baltimore and those that felt the were well represented by the show (and bought the bootleg copies).

But those high-minded liberals just won't by into Generation Kill. They've already been reading the accounts of the war for years. To them, it's old news. Similarly, the kinds of people who are represented in the show aren't into froofy HBO shows. They already know the experience and they don't need to pay for it on premium cable.

As Belenky says, of all the movies made about war in the last year or two, none as grossed more than $15 million domestically. A pittance for the moviemaking business. Making shows about making war, it seems are nearly as unprofitable as making the wars themselves.

Even if the show ends up tanking, the microisms are valuable. Understanding the culture of war is important, even if it is distasteful. There are small moments of truth when they talk about how Marines "make do" with their lack of resources, and vulgar as the dialogue may be, there is something of an art to the one-upsmanship the Marines fire at each other. I'll be tuning in for the rest of the series, but I'm not sure anyone else will be.

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