Monday, June 11, 2007


I was pissed off at first too. Thought the satellite connection had been lost. Even changed channels to make sure.

When the credits came on I was even more angry.

That’s it?


Later, I realized how caught up in that final scene I was.

I’m one of the few I know who wasn’t entirely into THE SOPRANOS since the beginning, and only checked it out now and then to see what the fuss was about, until this “final” season when I got into watching every episode to see story lines resolved, or not.

I’ve always loved the opening credits (and song) because I grew up in that part of Jersey (and am back living there now) and know some of those locations well, even knew guys like those in the show, had them for neighbors and classmates and friends, and a few times, when very young, as bullies I had to somehow avoid or take on.

My father had to deal with the grownup versions of them, for all the years he was part of “the Essex County Democratic machine,” as it was called in the papers back then.

The cops in the family had to deal with the petty versions of them, and sometimes more serious elements.

So sometimes I just didn’t want to be reminded of all that, or see it misinterpreted, or glorified.

But this last season was pretty compelling, kept my interest for the most part, and as always with this show, demonstrated some great writing and acting, (though from my perspective, not consistently).

But in that last scene—coming after the rhythm of the entire last episode, counterpoint to the frenetic energy of the show before it, the penultimate one (where, as a friend from Hollywood pointed out, Chase had put most of his energy, or pizzazz etc., in previous shows, i.e. in the next to last show)—that last scene had me caught up in it, wound so tight with the tensions, that I realized, after I got over being pissed about the abrupt cut off ending (that many on the Jersey Transit train to Manhattan this morning were arguing indicated Tony had been capped—by the dude who had gone into the Men’s Room, and come out with a gun in their version—as Tony was watching Meadow come through the door) that where it had left me was smack in the middle of what it is like to be living Tony Soprano’s life.

I finally identified with him—completely, and it ended.


And risky—original—well executed—etc. etc.

Bravo David Chase!

And James Gandolfini, and Edie Falco, who were nothing short of perfect.

(And Jamie-Lynn Sigler—who plays Meadow, who I was never that impressed by— kicked ass in that last trouble-parking bit, raising the tension (thanks also to great editing and directing) and carried that tension through the ending (in her eyes and expression as she came through the door) perfectly.

Robert Iler, who plays the son, was okay, coming across in the scene as more or less clueless, maybe directed that way. He has been maybe excusably inconsistent, being so out-performed by the older pros on the show.)

Anyway, it’s a classic now.

Speaking of acting (and directing, the writing is a little weaker) I look forward to BIG LOVE, which, if I were teaching acting, I would make my students watch every episode of.


RJ Eskow said...

I don't know, man. I'm more in the shcool of thought that says it was a "fuck you" to the audience. I think that AJ was speaking for Chase in his funeral banquet speech about losers who sublimate by watching television instead of fighting for what they believe in.

It read like a hostile act. If it was intended as an artistic statement, then it was interesting but it's been done before.

Still, definitely interesting. I could go with the theory that says it was a hit on the audience, and that the hard fade was the death of the viewer.

I knew what was coming when Chase opened the sequence with "You Keep Me Hangin' On," and even more so when the song became a recurrent theme. In support of my theory that it was hostile act, remember the lyric (which could be Chase, sick and tired of putting on the show): "Get out of my life, and let me make a new start/you don't really love me."

Well, the bastard has us talking about it. That's one for him.

Lally said...

Yeah, I read you post on nightlight, thought as usual your point was smart and well articulated, and I dug the connection with the failure of will of the Democrats in Congress (though i would argue more political realism, given their lack of a clear majority etc. etc.) and I hear you about Tony's son being the voice of Chase in a way, or at least of "reason" in the face of "reality" etc. BUT, still, or yet and still as my old friends would say, if, as you say, we've seen this before, I'd like to know where. I don't remember being led into feeling that embedded in a scene I have much less of a fondness for or attachment to than Soprano fans, any other show or flick or song or work of art I was viewing from a slightly jaundiced eye, if it ended up sucking me into its center that strongly, I admitted defeat, I surrendered to the achievement of the artist, even when I didn't agree with their techniques or goals, etc. But as you said, certainly stimulated some thought. What'd you think of Mich's new show?

RJ Eskow said...

Didn't see it. I was exhausted by the Sopranos. I'm guessing a lot of people felt the same way.

What did YOU think?

Anonymous said...

I liked the portrayed "pulling the plug" on the show..we all thought we had lost our cable!
As far as John from Cinnc...I don't think I have time to learn who all the characters are. However, Deadwood was a bit of work at the beginning and I ended up liking it. But I gotta tell you, BIG LOVE is great...looking forward to that.

Lally said...

Yeah, I was too wiped out after the Sopranos to catch John, buth will on demand later this week.