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Monday, August 24, 2015

Show me a Hero Mini-Review: Train Wreck in Slow Motion.

Let me be clear, the fact that this show is a train wreck is completely intentional. This is a small town civic tragedy that will suck you in and will not let go. In 1988 A judge demanded that Yonkers NY. build 8 affordable housing projects in order to integrate it's blizzard-condition white populous. In the hands of a lesser crew, the lines of good and evil would be clearly drawn: projects development good/small white town prejudice bad. Unfortunately, that is not something David Simon has ever done. Up to, and including, this miniseries.

You care about the families, young and old, that are forced to live in NY's decrepit projects. That's the easy part. The fact you end up rooting for the achingly naive mayor Frank Wasicsko's quixote-esque quest to stop a federal ruling is not. Oscar Isaac is so quietly endearing he could have been lobbying for the deportation of infants and I'd still hear him out.

There are no easy answers in the first 2 episodes, I dare say there's no answers at all. The entire situation sucks. Hard working middle class people will have their property values thrown into the sh**ter against their will. But their childish belly aching towards their impotent public figures burns away any sympathy they're owed. The town hall meeting in episode 2 pulses with an anger that's hard to define. It feels like you're there, when it ended I was completely worn down. But again, the most lovable character in this show ran on a platform to keep Yonkers white. If Game of Thrones didn't teach you a lesson about history not having any real villains, this will.

Like nearly all of Simon's work, this is more of an historical record than entertainment. The fact it's also rapturously compelling is a bonus, I guess.

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