Monday, June 11, 2007

Sopranos talk

I don't think there's any way David Chase could have ended the show that would have satisfied everyone. The way he did end it certainly has a lot of detractors. Get Off My Lawn is amongst them, and I left a long-winded comment over there with some of my thoughts on the ending. Here are some other random thoughts on the last episode:

1. I've read some reviews in the major newspapers, and most of them refer to The Sopranos as the "best television series in history" or some variant. I think I probably have to agree with this. Out of 86 episodes, there were some I didn't like, but as a whole, there's nothing that beats it in terms of innovation, depth, complexity, unpredictability, and unconventionalism. These are things that should be highly prized in entertainment.

2. I don't know that I have a whole lot of evidence or argument for this, but I think the stray cat is Christoper reincarnated. This thought just struck me, and I couldn't get it out of my head.

3. Robert Iler (A.J.) is really a good actor. His character frequently annoys, but it is supposed to.

4. It really made me nervous how Tony walked around like he didn't have a care in the world during the "going to the mattresses" phase. I mean, at one point he is sitting on Janice's balcony, out in the open, with his back turned to the railing.

5. I had a prior obligation last night, so I tivoed the show. It was kind of late before I had free time, and I almost went to bed without watching it. So glad I didn't, because there is no possible way I would have made it through the day without hearing someone talk about what happened.

6. Was most if not all of A.J.'s whole depression/suicide thing a calculated effort to get a cushy entertainment industry job and a spanking new BMW M3? I love how they showed him afterward, in his familiar couch potato lounging position, laughing at Karl Rove and George Bush. After all of his venom and hand-wringing about the deplorable state of America and all the suffering in the world, give the guy and M3 and a hot model girlfriend, and he reverts right back to being a spoiled, self-centered layabout.

7. Tony, too, hasn't changed a bit since the first episode. Witness his left turn during the talk with A.J.'s therapist, where he goes right back to complaining about how his mother never loved him. After all that's happened, after all the change going on around him, for Tony, it's still, really, all about Tony.

8. I've got to remember to check iTunes tomorrow to see whether "Don't Stop Believing" has once again rocketed up the most-downloaded list, as it did in the infamous incident where Kristin and Talon sang along to it in an episode of Laguna Beach.

9. Is The Sopranos greater than The Godfather trilogy? The Godfather has some elements lacking in The Sopranos, but I think overall the answer -- nostalgia aside -- has to be yes. If the ending hadn't been so unbelievably great, I might be waffling more on the question.

10. But the ending was so unbelievably great. The "cut to black" was way more shocking (and far more satisfying) than anything else Chase could have realistically done. Would it have been more shocking for all 4 of them to get de-mapped in a bloody hail of gunfire? I don't think so. Would it have been more satisfying if Tony had decided to quit the mob, disavow goo-mahs, melt down all of his firearms, and retire to raise ducks in his backyard, so that he could be a better father and husband? I don't fucking think so.

11. In the minutes leading up to the final scene, I kept getting to places where I expected a fade-out, you know, like "ok, this is the ending, right here." For example, when Tony is out back, staring at the trees and the sun. Or when Carmella came out to tell him about the dinner plans, I thought the last image would be Tony with his arm around her, there, in the backyard. Blessedly, no.

12. When I was sitting there, mouth agape, staring at the soundless credits, I kept thinking it must be a trick. At the end of the credits, there'll be more footage. Something else will happen. But then it just rolled into a promo for the next show, and that was that. Amazing.


Gleemonex said...

I would've appreciated it stopping as Tony walked away from Uncle June, having realized all that sound and fury does indeed signify nothing -- we wouldn't even have needed to see whether he made it out of the parking lot alive, or where (in the meta sense, not the immediate practical sense) he's going next ...

I'm trying, I'm really trying, to see it your way -- and again, you do a great job of articulating it -- but I still just feel so ... taken. :-(

bgirl said...

Yeah, I kept calling the cat Chrissy, too. I liked that.