I just finished the 4th season of the wire and it was so horrible I ended up kinda mentally switching off and being less interested in what happened next. I can already hear the response; Simon is just telling it like it is and if I can't handle it then that's my problem, no doubt a result of my (undeniably) sheltered and cushy existence.
But that's not quite right. It's not like the first three seasons are relentlessly uplifting and I haven;t complained about the Wire's pessimism till now. Horrible things have been happening from the very beginning (in fact, I re-watched the first episode recently and one of the worst incidents happens there).
I haven't been watching The Wire like I watch most stuff, constantly thinking, "That's stupid. He would never have done that." I've just been watching to see what happens, I'm genuinely interested to see how each character acts in each situation. This is to the show's eternal credit, but I also think that my gut reaction of, "Oh common! This is just too randomly tragic!" means something.
On further reflection, I almost certainly wouldn't have had this reaction if one incident (horrible, but not central to the plot) had been omitted or changed.
This could mean we're back to assuming that I just need to toughen up, or that David Simon doesn't want to educate us so much as drive us to despair.