Monday, June 11, 2007

how i'm gonna cut to black at the end of this post

nothing has caused as much uproar today than the finale of "the sopranos". hell, even paris hilton admired the hoopla.

anyways, as always, people are complaining about it. and it figures, because the people who complain about it are the people who have no frigging idea what the series was about.

after 86 episodes, most people still think it's somewhere between "donnie brasco" and "goodfellas", jean claude van damme and freddie kreuger, quentin tarantino and tobe hooper. they think it's blood and guts and pepperoni. of course, it's never ever ever been anything close to that. it's just what people want it to be. it's everything they've already seen before, over and over and over again.

simply, they want "the sopranos" to be "cleaver".

but that's entirely not what the best dramatic series ever made was created to be. it's about mob boss tony soprano, and the unsettling dichotomies of his life: his family at home and his family at work, trying to do right while continuing to do wrong, dealing with his mommy issues while being the head of a crime family. he just happened to be in the mafia. he could've been a corporate executive, but a mob boss was just so much more interesting. but no matter what his profession was, it's about how life doesn't always resolve itself, how life might be unrewarding, how life is always left unsettled.

this last season wasn't about new york against new jersey in a bloody battle for mafia supremacy. no, it was about tony dealing with all these issues in his life, right after almost losing his own. going through each episode this season, he dealt with his mortality, his perceptions, his paranoia, his vices, his fatherhood, his relief, his anger and his fear. after all, the premise was about a mobster going to therapy to deal with what's going on, right? the ducks made him feel sad. he wanted to talk about it. he went to therapy. and from there, we began to see how unsettled his life really was.

and, in the finale, he settled everything.

he gave paulie his just due.
he realized that meadow's choice of career was perfect.
he was finally able to put a.j. in the right path (for now).
he made his peace with silvio.
he made an allegiance with agent harris.
he said his peace with his sister.
he and carmela were not perfect, but about as tight as they can possibly get.
he realized that uncle junior was suffering a fate far worse than a bullet can give.
he told off a therapist.
he got his revenge on phil leotardo.

hell, the people who are complaining about how open-ended the finale just don't get it. who's the head of the new york crime family? who cares. what's gonna happen to A.J? doesn't matter. what about the indictments? irrelevant.

it's all about how tony deals with stuff. and, in the finale, he dealt with them all.

always was about that. never changed. and it stayed true.

like i said, it's the only show in the history of television that people avidly follow and have absolutely no idea what they're watching.

it's amazing, really.

and that last scene, oh that last scene. well, david chase is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, isn't he? i mean, if he kills tony, then the people who want him alive will bitch about it. and if he doesn't kill him, then vice versa. and the people who are complaining for some sort of definite answer just really wanted to see brains spilling out of ears, whether they were tony's or a.j.'s or who else's.

but, instead, in the most dramatic scene ever written, acted, edited and directed, we are made to feel tony's life, how everyone could be a killer, how even a nice simple dinner at a diner could be something rich in horror and complexity, and how no matter tony wants to look at his life, there's nothing but death or prison to look forward to.

and when we suddenly cut to black, we don't know whether it was just meadow coming through the front door or cold hard murder. so...if you want him dead, so be it. if you want him alive, it's all you.

you know, it's a dichotomy.

in the past three weeks, we've seen chrissy dead from a bloody car accident, tony curbing a guy on the base of a toilet, bobby bacala killed in the best filmed murder scene ever, silvio comatose from a bullet-ridden attack and phil leotardo's helmet blasted and crushed, and people wanted more? seriously?

so as the fans of "cleaver" sit back and gripe about how nothing was resolved though bloodshed and decapitation, i'm just gonna sit back and soak in how awesomely they settled just about everything, a perfect ending for a series about how the dichotomies of life can make you unsettled.

and for the record, i think he's dead. after all, tony told bobby bacala all about it while fishing that “when it all ends, you never see it coming, it goes to black and silence...”

cut to black.


Anonymous said...

well done steveo. i couldnt have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

Steve, well written piece. This analysis should have been broadcast years ago giving the audience a true perspective into the meaning and objective of the show. But then again, blood and guts always wins out over insightful entertainment.