(Part 7 of 7) "Dude, check it out. I wrote U.S.A. with my piss." - Person
All that for nothing. Not much was gained and so much was lost. Over the span of Generation Kill we've all marveled at the ineptitude and idiocy of the people running the show over in First Recon, but not until this episode did it become clear that it wouldn't have made a difference who was in charge - dumb or stupid. This was a losing battle before it even began. Operation Iraqi Freedom? US military PR at it's finest.
(Part 6 of 7) "You know, Iraqis don't really seem good at fighting, but they never really completely surrender either." - Person
And therein lies the difference between the Iraqi Republican Guard forces and the Fist Recon Marines: heart. Guess which side is lacking it?
The point is furthered even more when most of First Recon finds solace and happiness as they realize that their mission is over. M.R.E. milkshakes, Colbert's stash of Chef Boyardee, and an unopened issue of Juggs are the things that make people smile now.
So while everyone is celebrating the end, leave it to Brad to run around with his shirt off, giddy that Godfather is giving First Recon one more mission - one more chance to maybe, just maybe, do something remotely close to what they were trained for.
(Part 5 of 7) "You think givin' them some rice and a chocolate bar is gonna fix things?" - Espera
This was by far the best installment Of Generation Kill we've seen yet. Burns and Simon stayed 100% true to Wright's account. I remember reading about the battle on the bridge at Muwafaqiyah and wondering what all that insanity must have looked like. To be so scared that, as Trombley put it, the adrenaline rush is so intense that it messes up your blood flow and some Marines achieve happenstance erections.
It wasn't just the bridge battle that made this one such a memorable episode though. Along with the continuing escalation of stupidity by all those with higher rank, there were some great scenes where we saw Colbert, Fick, Hasser, and even Encino Man evolve. Clichéd as it may sound, war changes people and we're bearing witness to some pretty screwed up transformations.
(Part 4 of 7) "Well sir, it's just that you're incompetent, sir." - Doc Bryan
I've asked before, and I'll ask again: why aren't more of the good guys dying? When CIA-trained Iraqi friendlies get waxed by Saddam's Republican Guard because they don't have a clue? When leadership like Encino Man are floored to hear that they're stupid? When men like Captain America don't understand how using enemy weapons could cause harm? Why aren't more of the good guys dying?
It's because of the bottom on the totem pole players. The Colberts. The Persons. The Ficks. The Esperas. It's because of them that we're getting to see their story as a humorous account on HBO and not as some sappy, tears in your eyes Ken Burns PBS documentary.
(Part 3 of 7) "Yeah... these guys waving at us are probably the same ones who tried to kill us yesterday." - Cpl. Josh Ray Person
On the road again. More banter. More offensive jokes. And lots more stupidity. Honestly, the fact that no one has uttered the word "mutiny" is mind-boggling. To the contrary, everyone has fallen in line. I'm not sure if you caught it, but Sixta's constant harping about the grooming standard finally worked. All moustaches were gone.
I'm serious about the mutiny thing though... honestly, this is like having Michael Scott (from The Office) as your commanding officer, only with extra idiocy and far less humor.
(Part 2 of 7) "You gotta respect the pajama." - Sgt. Brad Colbert
At the end of this episode, I find myself less enthralled with the battle scenes we finally witnessed and more anxious to just hear what these "devil dogs" will say next. Seeing Colbert and the rest of Bravo Company get "lit up" as they rolled through Al Gharraf was impressive, yet it was still nothing new. War is in the movies and it's on TV and this was standard fare.
Thus far, Simon and Burns have stayed very true to Wright's account, and for those that have read the book, the battle descriptions hold nothing to Colbert and Person's banter. Sadly, we know war. What we don't know is the people who are fighting it. Now we do. And apparently, they think that patriotic, "I love America" songs are "straight homosexual, country music, Special Olympic gay."
(Part 1 of 7) "Marines! Kill on three! One! Two! Threeeeee....!" - Sgt. Maj. John Sixta
HBO doesn't have much going on right now. They're lacking hits. There are some new favorites out there that have wowed critics, but lack viewers, like In Treatment, Flight of the Conchords, and Tell Me You Love Me. The ruling days of Tony Soprano, Nate Fisher, Carrie Bradshaw, and Al Swearengen are done. Once the fall season starts off, the veteran Entourage will make a welcome return and HBO is also putting a lot of faith in Alan Ball's new drama, True Blood - a vampire saga that is, if you ask me, almost doomed to fail. HBO doesn't exactly have a stellar track record with specialized dramas that demand niche audiences. Regardless, it hasn't slowed them down. HBO Films' last effort John Adams was well received and now comes Generation Kill, based on the book of the same name by Rolling Stone's Evan Wright. I've read it, twice, and it's a damn shame this is only a mini-series because it's the best thing on TV this summer.
I remember seeing a promo for Generation Kill very briefly after the series finale of The Wire, but at the time I didn't think much of it. Which is crazy, really, because the promo clearly states that it's a new mini-series from the creators of The Wire. I should have been psyched but for whatever reason, I sort of just forgot about it. It's not like it's new or anything. David Simon and Ed Burns have been signed on to the project since Februrary of 2007. With the July air-date approaching, I would imagine they've been working on it since The Wire wrapped back in September. I feel like we've heard nothing about it though. Then last week I was in a Barnes & Noble and I saw the book (same title) that the seven part mini-series is based on. I bought it and read it in about 2 days cover to cover. Holy crap was it good.
Expect to see nothing but Iraq war films, miniseries and television shows coming out of Hollywood over the next couple of years. Enough time has passed since the war's inception to see all manner of first person narratives and analysis published and snapped up by production companies. What distinguishes Generation Kill is its look at the war's earliest days, the specificity with which it addresses military bueracracy and its characterization of today's soliders. They are not their WWII and Vietnam counterparts. As Wright described them, Marines are "on more intimate terms with videogames, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents." Different generation. Different war.
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