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Goner Message Board / ???? / Last Sopranos tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:21 pm
 
No one is excited about this?!!? It's me , the plasma HD, and a gabba gool sandwich at 8:00! I don't want no phone calls or any yapping kibitzers around. I've devoted 8 years to dis thing. Also I'm cancelling HBO as soon as I've watched it a second time.
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:24 pm
 
Also I'm cancelling HBO as soon as I've watched it a second time.

i bet you're not the only one!
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:28 pm
 
I don't watch "The Wire" ,I hate "Entourage" and "Big Love" does nothing for me. Now that "Rome" ,"Deadwood" and now "The Sopranos" are gone . HBO can go fuck themselves. 9 million showings of "King Kong" will not keep me around.I believe HBO's stock quotes will be interesting to watch tomorrow.
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:36 pm
 
torrent makes hbo and cable in general obsolete. i might not get it until tomorrow but fuck it, im not paying for it anyways.
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:42 pm
 
i cant wait for tonight. in the mean time, i am going to dedicate the next 4 hrs to watching season 5 again instead of working on my finals.
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:43 pm
 
I don't watch "The Wire"
You really should.
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:51 pm
 
torrent makes hbo and cable in general obsolete

only for some people.
i think HBO's biggest business remains the boxing stuff
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:53 pm
 
Now that "Rome" ,"Deadwood" and now "The Sopranos" are gone . HBO can go fuck themselves

I agree.
But I'll still keep it.

I'm totally loking forward to it.

MFs better put a twist on that shit though. Everyone killing each other off just AIN"T gonna do it for me. It's already been said, but if it doesn't involve AJ I'm gonna be really pissed that they ate up SOOO much time on his faggotry.

Gotta hafta DVR it for later.
My liver hasn't had enough abuse yet - all day/night show going on now.
Posted: Jun 10, 2007 9:53 pm
 
http://www.eztvefnet.org/
have torrents of almost all television shows and specials within hours of airing.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:04 am
 
Aw Motherfucker Cocksucker David Chase ! YOU SUCK!
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:05 am
 
FUCKING SUCK ASS FAGGOT FUCKHOLE CUNT! I WANT MY HOUR BACK!
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:09 am
 
WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:22 am
 
What more could you want ? The whole family got whacked at the diner. I mean did your cable go out or something?

Killer ending!
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:24 am | Edited by: bazooka joe
 
these douches need to learn how to grow some balls and give the people a concrete story for once. i hate these speculative endings. it's a trite/ trendy technique by this point in cinema and it's gutless.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:25 am
 
I don't watch "The Wire"



the best tv show ever
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:26 am
 

the best tv show ever



Nope CYE.

FUCK HUUUUGH!
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:26 am
 
P.S. The Wire rules, you soccer moms can have your sopranos. You just watched it cuz it made ya wanna eat meatballs.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:31 am
 
"The Wire"
the best tv show ever

If I want to see that kind of shit,all I have to do is look down at the end of my street.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:41 am
 
i was in baltimore for 10 minutes. fuck that mess.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:42 am
 
yeah, never mind, I can't believe they let blacks on TV either.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 3:45 am
 
Nope CYE



larry sanders was much better but curb is still great


sopranos lost its momentum on two fronts long long ago

the rape of the shrink which was melodraamtic and not followed up

the S kids' dating (eg the black dude from cali; fatboy's rich friends)

BORING AND TRIVIAL AND UNRELATED TO MOB AND TONY'S PSYCHE
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 4:22 am
 
BORING AND TRIVIAL AND UNRELATED TO MOB AND TONY'S PSYCHE
Your fagella ass wouldn't know .I am certain you were glued to the Tony awards tonight.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 4:29 am
 
Wow. That was awful. I gave up on the Sopranos a couple seasons ago, and it looks like I made the right decision.

I agree that the Wire is the best TV show ever. Nothing even comes close to it in terms of quality.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 4:38 am
 
Fuck. That. Shit.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 4:40 am
 
What a pile.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 4:46 am
 
I am certain you were glued to the Tony awards tonight.


lebron but nice random unrelated dickwad guess from a village idiot

in case you don't know music either choke on this greatness

URL
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 5:06 am
 
the rape of the shrink which was melodraamtic and not followed up

the S kids' dating (eg the black dude from cali; fatboy's rich friends)

BORING AND TRIVIAL AND UNRELATED TO MOB AND TONY'S PSYCHE



I totally agree with you there. Couldn't stand the fourth season for that reason. All of those boring subplots about Meadow and Anthony Jr. were so fucking boring and poorly written... all that Furio/Carmella PG-13 flirting bullshit was so fucking boring, too. I thought the fifth season was a bit of a rebound, went back to more of Tony being an asshole and dude's getting killed a lot, and Steve Bushemi was a bonus. Season 6.1 was alright, particularly enjoyed the episodes involving the straight to DVD slasher flick stuff, but it also dragged on that Tony coma thing way too long. Haven't seen any of this most recent shit and now I don't know if I do.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 5:06 am
 
i cannot believe this fucking ending. AFTER ALL THIS TIME HOW CAN YOU LEAVE US WITH A FUCKING DO IT YOURSELF ENDING. I DONT WANT TO GUESS WHAT HAPPENED I WANT TO FUCKING KNOW.

people will defend this saying that it "made you think" and it was a "cool prank" making people think their cable went out. no serious legitimate series should end with a "cool" fucking novelty prank. i feel cheated. FUCK.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 6:18 am
 
seriously.

fuck that shit.

I've spent almost 10 years watching that show...

HOWEVER

i did hear that there was a movie in the works - so the ending was probably made that way for a reason - i mean not to have 1 2 hour season finale already made me wonder what was up.

the worst thing about the show was how they kept killing people off so much, I couldn't follow who all the fuckin new people were...

ANYWAY

that totally sucked
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 6:23 am
 
i won't see this til later in the week....

the NY Times feel differently than you all do....

here is it:

June 11, 2007
The TV Watch
One Last Family Gathering: You Eat, You Talk, It's Over
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY

There was no good ending, so "The Sopranos" left off without one.

The abrupt finale last night was almost like a prank, a mischievous dig at viewers who had agonized over how television's most addictive series would come to a close. The suspense of the final scene in the diner was almost cruel. And certainly that last bit of song "Don't Stop Believing," by Journey had to be a joke.

After eight years and so much frenzied anticipation, any ending would have been a letdown. Viewers are conditioned to seek a resolution, happy or sad, so it was almost fitting that this HBO series that was neither comedy nor tragedy should defy expectations in its very last moments. In that way at least "The Sopranos" delivered a perfectly imperfect finish.

The ending was a reminder of what made David Chase's series about New Jersey mobsters so distinctive from the beginning. "The Sopranos" was the most unusual and realistic family drama in television history. There have been many good Mafia movies and one legendary trilogy, but fans had to look to literature to find comparable depictions of the complexity and inconsistencies of American family life. It was sometimes hard to bear the encomiums the saga of the New Jersey mob family has been likened to Cheever, Dickens and Shakespeare; scripts were pored over as if they were the Dead Sea Scrolls. But its saving grace was that the series was always many different things at once.

The decline and fall of the Sopranos Tony; his wife, Carmela; and the rest served as a parable of America in decline, yet week to week the series was also just a gangsters' tale, with lots of graphic sex, gruesome violence and most of all a sense of humor.

In last night's episode Meadow Soprano, trying to explain to her father why she wants to be a civil rights lawyer, said earnestly, "The state can crush the individual." Tony replied, "New Jersey?"

And, as last night's episode showed one last time, a troubled marriage struggles on, devastating intergenerational conflicts scab over but never quite heal, and power comes and goes. Some things endure, but nothing is permanent in American culture, or in the Soprano family.

Tony remains alive, still in business, his wife and children are safe, but he resumes his criminal enterprise surrounded by ever-darker shadows of prosaic impeding doom: an indictment and most likely a trial.

From the very beginning of the final season, there were myriad hints and red herrings suggesting completely different conclusions. It wasn't hard to suspect that a cornered Tony would be turned and enter a witness protection program. And that seemed to be where he was headed when he went to the F.B.I. agent named Harris whom he had mocked and dismissed for so many years, and offered information about two Muslim acquaintances, saying, "Can I bank the result in good will?"

Soon both Tony and the F.B.I. learned that Phil Leotardo, a rival mob boss, planned to take down the Sopranos and rub Tony out. Last night when Tony asked for a secret meeting with Harris to seek his help in locating Phil, he was sent away. Later Harris changed his mind, leaking to Tony Phil's whereabouts, which he learned during postcoital pillow talk with a female agent.

And that breach of F.B.I. ethics led to one of the series's most revolting death scenes. Phil, who had gotten out of the S.U.V. in which he was riding with his wife and their two grandchildren, was shot dead by a gunman. His wife, horrified, leapt out of the car with the shift still on drive. As the vehicle drifted forward with the two babies strapped in their car seats, the scene seemed headed toward a tragic tableau of innocent children destroyed the collateral damage of organized crime.

Instead it veered into sick comedy: the wheels slowly crushed Phil's head with a juicy, crunching sound that made a bystander vomit.

Tony's troublesome son, A. J., seemed headed for disaster all season, and instead ended pretty much where he began: a spoiled, materialistic layabout. A. J.'s obsession this season with being jilted, as well as with the Iraq war, terrorism and the heedless materialism in American society, led him to a suicide attempt; after a ziti-laden buffet that followed his Uncle Bobby's funeral in last night's episode, A. J. lashed out at guests cheerfully discussing "American Idol" and "Dreamgirls." He quoted a line from Yeats's famous poem, "The Second Coming," though he pronounced the poet's name as if it rhymed with Pete's.

Tony even made his peace with Uncle Junior, so senile he didn't recognize his nephew or remember that he had shot him.

Yet Tony's rift with his longtime psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi so sudden it seemed hastily added in the show's final hours to make room for a last-minute dramatic resolution was not mended. Instead Tony went to see A. J.'s new psychiatrist, an attractive woman, and, perhaps reflexively, began to tell his own family history: loveless mother and miserable childhood. Carmela, at his side, scoffed and sent him dagger looks.

But Mr. Chase's last joke was on his audience, not his characters. Tony, Carmela and A. J. are gathered at a diner in a rare moment of family content that cried out for violent interruption. A shifty-looking man walks in and eyes them from the counter, then, in a move echoing a scene from "The Godfather," ominously enters the men's room. Outside, Meadow is delayed, trying to parallel park, then begins walking toward the restaurant.

Nothing happens. Credits. What?

Mr. Chase wanted to end his tale without melodrama or even a splashy denouement. He succeeded.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 7:26 am
 
I thought the whole thing was halarious. Sooooo many great one liners. I think they intentionally made the whole thing comical. And why not go out on a fun note. Thats what I think.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 7:55 am
 
in a couple episodes earlier, bobby told tony that you wont hear the gunshot, and everything will go black. we (the stupid audience) got whacked!! lame.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 2:01 pm
 
Supposedly, three endings were shot. I liked all the red herrings at the end and seeing Phils head crushed like a grape. My expectations weren't so high, so I was happy with the ending.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 2:58 pm
 
I liked all the red herrings at the end and seeing Phils head crushed like a grape. My expectations weren't so high, so I was happy with the ending.

Ditto.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 4:32 pm
 
But Mr. Chase's last joke was on his audience, not his characters. Tony, Carmela and A. J. are gathered at a diner in a rare moment of family content that cried out for violent interruption. A shifty-looking man walks in and eyes them from the counter, then, in a move echoing a scene from "The Godfather," ominously enters the men's room. Outside, Meadow is delayed, trying to parallel park, then begins walking toward the restaurant.

Nothing happens. Credits. What?

Mr. Chase wanted to end his tale without melodrama or even a splashy denouement. He succeeded.


alright. since it's been put that way...

in a couple episodes earlier, bobby told tony that you wont hear the gunshot, and everything will go black. we (the stupid audience) got whacked!! lame.

that's actually pretty cool. maybe i made too hasty of a judgment? i can think about it and change my mind if i wanna! i still wanted some chaos though.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 4:40 pm
 
i still wanted some chaos though.

If you go back through all the previous seasons, it seems like all the big shit goes down in the next-to-last episode of the season, and the season finale is all wrap-up, fallout, and anti-climax. Looking at this season, it went the exact same way. Last week, the gang war broke out, Bobby got whacked and Sil got shot, and Dr. Melfi "fired" Tony as a patient. Then the season finale, it was a wrap-up of the previous week, and ultimately all about the family.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 5:09 pm
 
am i the only person that interpeted that as tony got shot? after the bobby & tony's flashback last episode to the "you don't see it coming, it all goes black" (paraphrasing) from the first episode of the season.

i liked the ending, although i had my fingers crossed/was knocking on wood/asked santa, to see AJ die, and die horribly. oh well. paulie's pretend sweeping after nearly getting caught smacking the cat with the broom had me coughing up my pizza.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 5:24 pm
 
paulie's pretend sweeping after nearly getting caught smacking the cat with the broom had me coughing up my pizza.


that was amazing. and what was that crazy line he said at the dinner table? that crazy nonsensical shit? it didn't make a like of sense and i loved it.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 6:16 pm
 
You talking about where he said "You can give 2007 back to the Indians?" that was funny as hell.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 6:25 pm
 
am i the only person that interpeted that as tony got shot? after the bobby & tony's flashback last episode to the "you don't see it coming, it all goes black" (paraphrasing) from the first episode of the season.
He either got shot or nothing happened and they had a nice dinner at the diner.

Of course, the ironic bit about Bobby was that he saw it coming, heard the gunshots, etc. I suppose you don't hear any gunshots or that sort of thing if you get your brains blown out like Phil.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 6:48 pm
 
You talking about where he said "You can give 2007 back to the Indians?" that was funny as hell.


there was another line. i tihnk it was supposed to be gibberish.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 7:14 pm
 
am i the only person that interpeted that as tony got shot? after the bobby & tony's flashback last episode to the "you don't see it coming, it all goes black" (paraphrasing) from the first episode of the season.


spoken like a true watcher of movies and even a true student of chekov, even if you didn't study what he said about drama... man its so ingrained into writers that it just happens

me? i have yet to see this episode. but last week's left me plenty satisfied.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 8:40 pm
 
didn't see it, haven't watched it, but this reeks of justification:

After eight years and so much frenzied anticipation, any ending would have been a letdown. Viewers are conditioned to seek a resolution, happy or sad, so it was almost fitting that this HBO series that was neither comedy nor tragedy should defy expectations in its very last moments. In that way at least "The Sopranos" delivered a perfectly imperfect finish.

nope. that's weak, fawning shit.

you started this whole thing, fucking finish it.

endings are hard. "it was all a dream, sue ellen" fades to black, and other tricks are easy.
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 9:06 pm
 
nope. that's weak, fawning shit.


the times also said after first year (second?) that the show was the single largest (important? grteatest?) contribution to american culture for the last 4 or so decades leaving aside obviously altman's films, delillo's books, ashbery's poetry, the two godfathers, velvets, cormac, jasper johns, nabokov's last 5 novels, bellow

blah blah blah

who reads the times movie/music sections anyways?

jeez
Posted: Jun 11, 2007 10:46 pm
 
You know, I guess the ending was in keeping with the realism of the show. We never saw Tony get his comeuppance, just like most of the self-important pricks and criminals in real life never get their comeuppance.

I thought the most important thing about the ending was when AJ said something about remembering the happy moments. If indeed the show is a parable of modern life, I think Chase was trying to say, fugheddaboudit, all the fucked up shit that happens all over the world every day dinner with the family is the only thing that really matters anyway.
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 12:24 am
 
that sounds like making excuses. the sopranos isn't real life it's a fucking tv show that should have a concrete ending for me to watch instead of coming up with my own interpretation of what happens. if i wanted to do that i would have written my own fucking television series.
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 12:33 am
 
i did my part; i was asked; i said "hamlet" - everyone dies...a lowly messenger comes in to say to a room full of dead people, "silvio and paulie walnuts are dead" just like in "hamlet" when the messenger says "rosenkrantz and guildenstern are dead."

but no one listens to me...
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 3:37 am
 
i just finished watching the last episode for the first time and managed to shy away from this topic until i finished the show. i thought it was a great ending. totally surprised unexpected ending for me. the funniest part of the whole show was when phils head was ran over. the whole show (for just a few seconds) almost turned into some retarded stupid comedy and then back at it again. its going to take a few days before it all sinks in that this is the end of the sopranos but if they decide to create a movie (as i read in an earlier post) to end it off, im sure id watch it, ruining the whole story.
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 4:43 am
 
Anyone else cancel HBO this morning?
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 4:58 am
 
Ha! Ha! WWE just gave The Sopranos ending everyone wanted. Someone blew up Vince McMahon's limo on RAW! Vince McMahon is "presumed dead". Awesome.
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 4:59 am
 
vince mcmahon is a genius. i just wish i appreciated wrestling
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 6:05 am
 
yeah, so you invested eight years watching the best TV show ever fucking made. A big part of why you dug it is because it was real. So whaddya want? Some big hyped Hollywood ending? if you didn't wanna go to art school, don't watch the Sopranos...faggots.
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 6:07 am
 
But yes, I'm actually just cancelling cable altogether. I can buy the Adult Swim stuff on DVD 6months later...so fuck it.

hugs,
m. toasty
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 6:34 am
 
Uh,....EXCUSE ME???!!!!

I'd like to take this time to mention that I have formally announced on Entertainment Tonight the other day,(June 7th to be exact) that I, Sarah Jessica (your favorite! tee-hee!) will be starting production on a much more important HBO series turned movie extravaganza!

SEX AND THE CITY THE MOVIE!!!!! I know, I know,...It's alot of excitement to handle at once. I'm sorry I didn't make an official announcement here, but I've been invited to soooo many red carpet parties since the announcement, I might need to hire another Pepe!!!!!! You can post your resume here if you like. Pay is relative to your ability to FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS. Easy enough right? Right!

So , don't be shy Goners, IMPRESS ME!!!!

In the meantime while your in your local ER/converted stable barn (whatever it is!!??)getting over the shocking awesome news I just told you waiting on the greatest movie ever starring me, Sarah Jessica Parker, you know what you can do?

BUY MY PERFUME!

And please post your resumes! I hear a Mister Stands needs a job....Stands???
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 7:08 am
 
Meadow can't parallel park for shit! Why have we failed to discuss this? Clearly the most confounding segment of the entire season! She had TONS of room! Lives in NYC! I, personally, was stymied...dah!
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 7:17 am
 
i liked it
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 7:19 am
 
I thought it was great!
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 7:40 am
 
Don't stop believin'...hold on to that feelin'...
(it WAS great)
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 8:16 am
 
f you didn't wanna go to art school, don't watch the Sopranos...faggots.


umm excuse me

If I was a faggot I'm pretty sure I'd wanna go to art school
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 2:26 pm
 
yeah, so you invested eight years watching the best TV show ever fucking made

longer, and i can still go back and watch the HONEYMOONERS again!
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 3:03 pm
 
i can still go back and watch the HONEYMOONERS again!


here here!
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 6:29 pm
 
Don't stop believin'...hold on to that feelin'...
Two days later it's still in my damn head. That's the legacy alright.
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 7:09 pm
 
walking down the booooooo-levard!
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 10:22 pm
 
From imdb.com:

The Sopranos creator David Chase maintained Monday that he did not leave the final episode of the series unsettled so he could return with a theatrical movie tying up loose ends. In an interview with the New Jersey Star Ledger, the "hometown" newspaper of Tony Soprano, Chase said that he hasn't thought much about a possible movie. "I never say never. An idea could pop into my head where I would go, 'Wow, that would make a great movie, ' but I doubt it." Chase declined to discuss the final scene, saying, "I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there."
Posted: Jun 12, 2007 10:50 pm
 
i can still go back and watch the HONEYMOONERS again!

hey.........what about the FLINTSTONES, eh????/
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 2:10 am
 
who the fuck are the sopranos, some kind of singing group?
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 2:27 am
 
Never have watched the show, so I don't know what the hell everybody is talking about
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 3:12 pm
 
Arrivederci Tony - and Good &%$@ing Riddance!
By Tony Hendra
Created Jun 13 2007 - 8:35am

Finally! It's OVER. The pandering, pretentious, overblown, over-wrought, over-interpreted, over-rated series about a loathsome subculture of brutal cowards who feed off the poor, the weak and one another, who despise anyone not of their race and express their displeasure with baseball bats (provided the odds are solidly in their favor)and manifest their manliness or loyalty or code or some such drivel by bravely shooting, stabbing or garroting their (preferably unarmed) victims from the rear.

No I'm not talking about the Republican Presidential debates. I'm talking about The Sopranos.

My loathing for the Sopranos hasn't made me particularly popular over the last few years at dinner parties, but now that the much beloved stream of conscience-less-ness has finally breathed its banal who-cares last, it's time to slink around the Escalade and put a moon-roof in its head.

For nine long seasons I've listened slack-jawed to friends of whom I'm otherwise fond, raving on about how 'The Sopranos speak to our times' or 'The Sopranos are us' or encapsulate the decline of the nation. I doubt if any series has ever had so much groveling or self-aggrandizing intellectual hot air blown up its butt in all of television history. About the artistry of its creator David Chase and his endless inventiveness, superlatives about the brilliance of locations, casting, 'message' the Sopranos' Shakespearian sweep and grandeur, its raw and flawless realism, and above all about Tony's 'conflicted' life, his essential 'sweetness'

Gandolfini sweet? Gandolfini couldn't play sweet if you waterboarded him in molasses.

I never did understood the mass delusion that seemed to grip otherwise intelligent well-informed and even sensitive people about the Sopranos, but I understand that such monumental shared delusions can happen. At Fatima in 1917 for example, tens of thousands believed the sun stood still in the sky. In the weeks immediately following 9/11 vast numbers of people persuaded themselves that George Bush wasn't a worthless moral homunculus. But perhaps we can all rub our eyes now, blink away our delusions and start examining what on earth it was that cast its demon spell on us all these years.

I honestly tried many times over the years to get into what seemed to be so unanimous a national experience, but every time, however skilled the supporting cast (in particular Edie Falco or my one-time colleague Nancy Marchand) I just couldn't get past Gandolfini. Unless in a blind rage he was so flabby, so tedious, so inexpressive, so lumbering, so creatively inert; the nicest thing you could say of him was that he was talent-challenged. Since he was in the vast majority of scenes, I tended to give up till the next season.

Perhaps it was that I was expecting him to be funny. According to NY television writer scuttlebutt, David Chase had originally sold HBO a comedy series about a capo who had a shrink. (All us aspiring TV writers had a mob-comedy treatment back in the late 90s: after the lame Casino (1995) and plodding Donnie Brasco (1997) the mob genre had been squeezed bone-dry. Plus in the real world the massive busts and betrayals of the 90s, left the actual Mafia totally on the skids. Ergo: time to tap the rich vein of Mob-on-the-skids comedies.

Unfortunately for us all, especially David Chase, Harold Ramis got there first in Aug 1999, a couple months before Sopranos was to debut, with his hilarious mobster hit Analyze This, which centered around a mob capo - and his shrink. Chase supposedly had to do some very fast-footed rewriting. What he chose to do was cool the comedy and play the shrink situation straight, along with most everything else. (I stress this is all writers' hearsay but it's a good story).

The trouble with that choice was that it led right back into a squeezed-bone-dry genre. And other than the sweaty hirsute Gando, that's what I always had against the Sopranos. Yes it ripped off Scorsese-style graphic brutality and various species of quasi-rape ('sex and violence' is too dignified a term) and brought them to TV. But original? Ground-breaking? Epochal? Daring? The finest television ever made? Why?

Every plot set-up, every twist, whether to do with The Families or the families; their countless schemes and scams and quarrels and plots against each other; the double agents or undercover cops or made men being turned or sit-downs or hits in restaurants or hits-to-be banging from inside the car-trunk - it had all been done dozens of times before and far better in the Godfather or Goodfellas or in other mob and mob-related films from the 70s to the 90s.

If there was a Sopranos formula it seemed to be: let's put Tony and his tedious dysfunctional brood in some banal and unexceptional soap-opera wringer, grind them through the predictable conflicts and then liven things up by cutting to someone getting whacked in the most gruesome and graphic way possible. And because everyone on screen always had to conform to the morose, monotonic rhythms of its star even the soap-ish aspects of the series never came close to the zing of previous super-soaps, (which were also built around larger-than-life villains), like Dallas and Falconcrest.

Gandolfini was never larger-than-life. He was just large.

As for the running characters, despite Chase's claims about the richness of his Italian heritage, they felt derivative. (Which is not to say the cast was of the same mean caliber as their capo. In fact The Sopranos displayed what might be called the Seinfeld Syndrome: a talent-challenged eponymous star surrounded and sustained by an exceptional cast). Still there wasn't a character in the series, however picturesque, who wasn't a distant reflection of some character you'd encountered in the work of Coppola or Scorcese or Sergio Leone or even further back (eg Billy Wilder, whose Some Like it Hot is the best mob comedy of all time) or even the hardcore gangster films of the 30s and 40s like the Roaring 20s, Little Caesar, the original Scarface.

In this respect - and because it didn't reflect reality (the utter disarray of the actual mob in the tri-state area) but rather drew on the themes and material of prior movies, The Sopranos far from being ground-breaking was in fact backward-looking. It was more like a Broadway revival than a new gritty quasi-documentary on the rawness of life in the 21st century Garden State. The Sopranos was at best a long tribute to its superior and more authentic forebears.

Disclosure: it's not prejudice that made me dislike the Sopranos. I'm married to an Italian-American (whose vast extended family I adore), I've lived in New Jersey for 40 years and I've encountered actual Mafiosi, in Calabria, Sicily, New Jersey, Little Italy, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and as Editor of Spy back in the mid 90s where I was lucky enough to work with a superb reporter named John Connolly, an ex-NYPD detective who knew the NY-area mob inside out.

And here's a little secret: no-one is more rightwing than your made man. Back in the 60s in Southern Italy I never met a Mafioso who didn't have a poster of Il Duce somewhere in the back of the cafe, right next to the holy picture of Santa Rosalia or San Gennaro. Mafiosi are fascists to the core. Lethal force at the drop of hat, blind loyalty to the 'family', total obedience to the capo - or death. They subscribe to Nietzsche's axiom (purloined by the Nazis) that 'evil is whatever springs from weakness'. This unpleasant little tendency on the part of the Cosa Nostra was somewhat, let's say, fudged over in The Sopranos.

But that brings me to my real beef. The Sopranos could only have come to media prominence at a time when a brutish and criminal and above all unaccountable administration was in the White House. The Sopranos was supremely a Bush-era phenom and I mean that in the worst way.

People have been talking about the cultural effect of popular television since its birth and The Sopranos always got it in spades. But actual cultural effect never makes much sense. Did Will and Grace really lose the 2004 elections for the Dems? Nah. If SNL was so revolutionary why did its first five golden years culminate in the election of Reagan? Do popular series ever express the 'decline of the nation' as the Sopranos (along with All in the Family and SNL and Will and Grace) was supposed to have done? Forgeddaboutit.

Rather, popular TV series succeed by exploiting widespread fears or trends - often but not always negative ones - thus ratifying and amplifying them. 24 Hours panders to the public's terror of terrorists and in dramatizing 'extra-legal' methods for dealing with them both amplifies public terror and legitimizes torture. Law and Order works on a similar if less reprehensible model.

The Sopranos succeeded in catching the brutal retributive mood of the nation in the first years of the century, a mood fanned and pandered to by the mobsters in the White House and their made men in an all-Republican Congress. DC in those days was a one Family town. I doubt The Sopranos would have gone anywhere much if it hadn't been for 9/11. Gandolfini had to do very little acting to convey the unapologetic thuggishness that was in the air and people of all political stripes responded. The left had to find some intellectual ointment to ease their vestigial non-violent organs, but it wasn't too hard. Everybody wanted to whack somebody. And the reason they loved Tony so much, wooden and grim and inexpressive as he was, was that he - no less than those infatuated by his unreflective brutishness - was NOT TO BLAME. Not in these very special times.

So one of the most loathsome characters in the history of American television played by one of the least appetizing actors ever to occupy the screen was the beneficiary of all kinds of grateful hot air about his conflicted-ness and his deep-seated needs and rotten childhood and his 'essential sweetness' That way when he went out to do bestial things to his enemies, just as they longed to, they needed to feel no guilt.

And that's why Tony never paid the price. Not
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 3:16 pm
 
Not even in the final episode. He was unaccountable. Just like the gang in the White House.

Bad-a-bing.
_______
Besth
About author Tony Hendra, author of the international best-seller Father Joe, attended Cambridge University where he performed with Pythons-to-be John Cleese and Graham Chapman. He was an original editor of The National Lampoon and editor-in-Chief of Spy. He also played Ian Faith in This is Spinal Tap. His current book The Messiah of Morris Avenue, a novel, is available online and in all bookstores. You can check it out at http://www.henryholt.com/messiahofmorrisavenue/.
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 3:42 pm
 
24 Hours ????

uh, hey genius (and or editors), try24.

SPY sucked, too. Go raise a family. Oops, according to Wikipedia:
Hendra's daughter, Jessica Hendra (wife of Kurt Fuller), has written a book (How to Cook Your Daughter) in which she describes being sexually abused by Hendra when she was a young girl. Hendra has denied those allegations.


ouch.

also slightly informative, also from Wikipedia:

Tony Hendra (born 1941) is an English satirist and writer, who has worked mostly in the United States.
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 4:33 pm
 
For nine long seasons I've listened slack-jawed to friends

Um, The Sopranos was six seasons. Seven, if you count 6.1 and 6.2 as separate.

Anyway, what did y'all think of JOHN FROM CINCINNATI? I think it's kick ass so far.

"I just took a dump a man can be proud of!"
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 4:35 pm
 
Seems like this is already the final season of big love. i was kinda bored with the first episode, but i was watching it drunk. it's not much a of a good drunk show.
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 5:27 pm
 
Tony Hendra... He also played Ian Faith in This is Spinal Tap.

"I really think you're just making much too big a thing out of it."
Posted: Jun 13, 2007 10:58 pm
 
i just watched that episode last night (thank you bruce!) and my comment - well, john lennon said it best... why is everyone so upset about the beatles breaking up? it was just a rock n roll band.
Posted: Jun 14, 2007 1:29 am
 
Gandolfini couldn't play sweet if you waterboarded him in molasses.



Ha!
Posted: Jun 14, 2007 3:40 pm
 
Can we talk about how much Heroes sucked now...

Now that's 23 hours of my life I wish I had back....
Posted: Jun 14, 2007 4:31 pm
 
I'm satisfied with the ending. That cat is Christopher reincarnated.
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 2:46 pm
 
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 3:49 pm
 
That cat is Christopher reincarnated.
I'm thinking it's Adriana ,not Christuhfuh. Paulie and the cat was the best thing about the last episode. Also the best alternate ending I've read was the guy who went into the bathroom cut a 20 megaton onion ring fart that was ignited by a spark from the electric bell when Meadow opened the door of the diner and blew the whole place to smithereens. Thus fade to black.
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 3:55 pm
 
Now I can't get that shitty Journey song out of my head.
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 4:57 pm
 
June 12, 2007 -- Journey has parted ways with their recently named lead singer Jeff Scott Soto. Jeff's first appearance with Journey was July 7, 2006 in Bristow, VA. He had been filling in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the tour shortly after it began on June 23 due to illness. Jeff's last performance was May 12, 2007 in Leesburg, VA.

According to guitarist Neal Schon, "We appreciate all of Jeff's hard work and we can't thank him enough for stepping in when Steve Augeri got sick last year. He did a tremendous job for us and we wish him the best. We've just decided to go our separate ways, no pun intended. We're plotting our next move now."
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 5:07 pm
 
Paulie and the cat was the best thing about the last episode
Didn't Tony mention something about the cat catching a rat at the safehouse? Paulie hated the cat, Paulie ratted out Tony.
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 5:21 pm
 
We're plotting our next move now."


suicide?
Posted: Jun 15, 2007 8:09 pm
 
Jeff from Journey is also more than welcome to post his resume here with Mister Stands as I really DO need another Pepe folks! I know, crazy right???!!! Who will be the lucky servant? Ohhhhh! This could be a reality show! Pepe! Get me Fox on the phone! NOW PEPE! Christ I'm great! I am Christ!


Buy my perfume!
Posted: Jun 25, 2007 3:22 pm
 
Posted: Jun 30, 2007 7:59 pm
 
Tony Soprano didn't just get whacked; he practically got a funeral

http://www.bobharris.com/content/view/1406/1/
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