June 11, 2007

The 5 stages of mourning the end of "The Sopranos."

1. Denial. What the hell? The cable cuts out now? Now of all times?!

2. Anger. I watched 6 seasons for this? Damn you David Chase! I'm canceling my HBO!

3. Bargaining. Can we have a "Sopranos" movie now?

4. Depression. We have to watch "John From Cincinnati." This is terrible.

5. Acceptance. All right. I watched the repeat play on Monday night. Shorn of all the tension and expectation, I can see that this is what had to be. The family, together, on and on. The cat of guilt and memory, sprawled on the sidewalk in front of Satriale's forever. "Life goes on," Paulie said after the funeral. "In the midst of death we are in life... or is it the other way around?" It was never about the big, sudden blood baths. It was the little things, and they're all there, to keep going back to. Did you notice the first time around that when Meadow, announcing her plan to go to law school, said, "The state can crush the individual," Tony said "New Jersey?"? Come on. There are a million little things things like that strewn across the 6 seasons. We're just getting started. Here, now, put Season 1, episode 1 in the DVD player.

19 comments:

joe said...

It ended the way it began, the boys sitting around Satriale's, Tony raking leaves in his yard. No geese now. The diner with its seemingly innocent family scene but also the undercurrent of menace, Tony's eyes alert every time the doorbell sounded.

Curtiss said...

"It was never about the big, sudden blood baths. It was the little things, and they're all there, to keep going back to."

Quite right. Each time I've watched the end, I've liked it more.

It was just a show about the Sopranos.

Alan said...

Who cares?...Big Love's second season is beginning. :)

vnjagvet said...

And the banalities of their lives were just as well scripted last night as they always have been.

Paulie's vision of the Virgin Mary at the Bing. AJ's trips into deep thought, going to war and his happy return to Beemerdom. Meadow's movement from saving the world into the law. Tony's trip to the State Hospital to verify Unc. Jr's descent into now total Alzheimer's non compos mentis.

All equisitely filmed, cut and dropped into the story line.

It is the accurate portrayal of ordinary life that made this show different from the usual crime show.

Mark Daniels said...

I feel that I'm part of a tiny minority today. Every personality I heard on the radio and many bloggers I read day were talking about the last episode of 'The Sopranos.' Even Chris Matthews devoted some time to it during 'Hardball.'

But my wife and I got rid of HBO a few years back. We never watched it because none of the programming appealed to us. So, we had the cable people whack it.

Mark Daniels

Tim said...

Hmm, after too many hours wasted in front of the flat screen, sometimes a television show is, you know, just a television show.

Now, the NFL is something to get excited about. Two and a half months until training camps open!

Can't wait. In HD too - it's gonna be fun.

Unless you're a Packer/Raider/Browns fan. Ugh.

Seven Machos said...

I want to say again that the allusion to Heidi was simply brilliant.

I wish the camera would have faded gently out of the room as all that stuff was happening, but it would have lowered the suspense level.

Best piece of art I'll ever see produced in my lifetime...

PatCA said...

"I wish the camera would have faded gently out of the room." Or at least cut to the music so we don't all think our cable went out. That's the part that annoyed me.

It was great. Like Godfather II, it was about characters, time and place, all richly drawn. In a while I'll start in on the DVD, Season 1.

Cabbage said...

So I just finished watching a recording off the in-cable tivoish thing.

First of all, as a self-respecting Cubs fan, I cannot abide any of that "Don't stop believing" nonsense.

Other then that, curtiss is exactly right: it was a show about the Sopranos. Secretly, I had hoped that Meadow would go all Michael Corleone (something about attractive italian lawyer girls, and the weapons they love), but I'm cool with the end. In fact, the first thing the writers probably thought was, "Whatever we write, it CANNOT be the 'baptism' scene".

Alan said...

Nah, it was, "whatever we write, the fans will fill in its meaning...duck soup."

blake said...

Never watched "The Sopranos".

And liked "John" or at least found it compelling enough to watch.

Mark, everyone is part of a tiny minority today.

Aplomb said...

I loved the finale. It wasn't about Tony's mob family, it was about his real family. The final message was, his family bought into Tony's criminality.

All through the series, Carm and the kids were at some distance from the source of their wealth, and could pretend they were just normal privileged suburbanites despite what they knew or learned Tony did for a living.

Carmela was the earliest and most conflicted by Tony's serial sexual betrayal and the inherent violence of his job. But in the end despite the infidelity and basic understanding of his crimes, she reconciled with him, built that sub-code spec house with the help of Tony's corruption, and sold it to her own cousin. In the end she is planning the renovation of the beach house hideout she suspects is toxic to its bones. There is no doubt she will go for it and claim a profit, with whatever help she needs from Tony. She is corrupt.

Meadow was supposed to be the idealistic one who escapes the corruption, with both parents' blessing. They wanted her to remain pure from the corruption and be a pediatrician. Instead, she starts out idealistically representing poor and oppressed minority indigents as a legal intern, but warps that into accepting a job at a firm paying $170,000 that specializes in such things as defending a corrupt Italian politician. She seems poised to get the job at the firm where her boyfriend, the son of Tony's mobbed up subordinate, works, which isn't a coincidence no matter how much they all pretend it is. Meadow may not be legally corrupt, but she has corrupted her earlier values in marrying the scion of a mob family and earning big bucks representing corrupt politicians.

A.J. is all over the map, as useless as always, until he finally expresses a desire to serve in the military for idealistic if confused reasons. Both parents shut that down, for different reasons, and suggest a career path that ensures A.J. will end up corrupt and involved in the mob. He's offered a job working for porn and hack movie (and total idiot) producer Little Carmine, given a BMW, and basically given enough makework to keep him from depressive thoughts and awareness of current events.

At the end, we have a family shaped by Tony. His wife is remodeling houses, dependent on Tony to grease the skids when she needs to go off code to cut corners. His daughter has compromised her idealism to make a fortune defending officials who are caught up in the type of corruption Tony engenders. His son is making connections being the lackey of Little Carmine, the producer of porn and mob financed crappy movies.

It doesn't really matter if any of them die when the screen went black. Tony's corruption prevailed and took over his whole family, I think was the point.

LutherM said...

Damn you, David Chase.
" You was my brother, ..... You shoulda looked out for me a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum. Which is what I am. Let's face it."

If Chase had wanted to be true to the story line, Tony Soprano is whacked in the presence of his family. The problem with that scene is that it was done before, and better, in Godfather I. So Chase ends with a blank screen, and people say how wonderful it was. As for the commentary praising the ending, I remember some lines from Hemingway; "Oh, Jake," Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together." Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me. "Yes," I said. "Isn't it pretty to think so?"

Tyler said...

I totally bought the ending from the get-go. Most of the season finales ended with the family eating dinner, right? There was the one when Tony got kicked out of the house. That was awful. Maybe I'm being hokey, but I want that family to hold together. The referred to the Godfather with the scary dude who goes to the bathroom and to the scene when Uncle June and Olivia tried to have Tony killed with the two kids at the counter. I ate it up. The mob stuff needed to be taken care of so we could get to the family stuff. That's why it's the sopranos and not, like, Scarface.

Tyler said...

It ended the way it began, the boys sitting around Satriale's, Tony raking leaves in his yard. No geese now. The diner with its seemingly innocent family scene but also the undercurrent of menace, Tony's eyes alert every time the doorbell sounded.

I thought he relaxed when the kids were there and okay, though. He didn't seem to notice the scary dude in the bathroom or the rough-looking kids.

John Stodder said...

It doesn't really matter if any of them die when the screen went black. Tony's corruption prevailed and took over his whole family, I think was the point.

Aha! That was the meaning of the black screen. Not Tony's consciousness ceasing to function, as many suggest. But the blackness of his corruption enveloping everything.

Good work!

And Ann's right too. This show's genius was in the little things. And it was in these little ways that the corruption showed through, along with the humanity and humor.

Super-Electro-Magnetic Midget Launcher said...

If you care that much about TV, you need a new remote.

rsb said...

That was Elvis's remote, I prefer a nice heavy brick.

Galvanized said...

Pahahaa! I liked this post! Judging from everyone's reactions to the last episode, I think a lot of people identify with it. I've never watched it but guess I'll have to catch it on DVD someday. Sounds kind of like it was the nation's Extended-Release Godfather fix. LOL