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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DAVID SIMON: I like to tell everybody that the real subject of this film is Baltimore. Its particular set of social problems drive the romantic conflict here. Baltimore is a medium-sized city, as East Coast cities go. It's a stand-in for every place like it, these ports whose economies were just hammered by the collapse of the New Deal. Even so, there's an appealing human scale to the place. To a certain extent, that old-school solidarity still characterizes the social life of the city, if not the culture of local institutions. In Baltimore, everyone is one or two degrees removed from everyone else, more or less. You have these characters' social entanglements interfering with weaker professional or institutional ties—but which tie really is weaker? Are people more committed to their partner or to their institution? And that uncertainty breeds a natural suspicion. It's a culture where people live with a fundamental lack of trust in the goodness of other human beings. So it's not like he's not calling because he isn't into you—it's not about you! It's not about anybody, specifically. You never know who's talking to whom, or what anyone is up to. It's about this idea that the personal needs of an individual are not worth as much of a time investment as they used to be.
David Simon provides the audio commentary for the film He's Just Not That into You.