Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Television Tuesday

I've got a lot to say today, so no time for the pleasantries. Here's the latest on the best television has to offer:

“The Sopranos”

This week’s episode, like so many others this season, left us with more questions than answers. For example, who is this chick that Christopher just married? I mean, we’ve never so much as seen her before, and now she is married to one of the most important characters on the show? Bizarre to say the least. Even more bizarre is why a woman that is supposedly pregnant is swigging wine at the Soprano Sunday dinner. I’m certainly no expert on these types of things, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to booze it up when you are pregnant! So, is she really pregnant, or did she lie to Christopher to get him to marry her? Christopher certainly isn’t what most people would call…well…smart, but even he’s not dumb enough to take her word for it. Is he? Well, he is the same guy that thought it would be a good idea to slug an 80 year old woman two weeks ago, so I guess anything is possible.

As for some other questions arising from this week’s episode, we’re also left wondering if Mr. Walnuts, in addition to being the bastard child of a nun (how funny does that sound when you say it out loud?), has prostate cancer? Is Carmella about to figure out that Adrianna didn’t just run away? Stop and think about this for a minute. How absurd is it that the writers expect us to believe that these people that live their lives surrounded by people that eventually get whacked simply took it at face value that a woman that was their friend, their family, and a part of their inner circle, just disappeared with no warning or explanation? We are supposed to believe that nobody found this the least bit suspicious? Nobody found it somewhat strange that she just fell off the face of the Earth? Again, further proof that even the greatest television shows require us to take a leave from our sense of reality from time to time. So be it. It’s a small price to pay.

Well, enough of the questions resulting from this week’s episode. As I watched last night’s episode, it occurred to me that everything that happened to Christopher this week represented a microcosm of what makes “The Sopranos” such a special show. Bear with me for a second as I break this down:

In a 57 minute span last night, we saw Christopher happily embrace the prospect of being a father and marry a woman we’ve never seen before. Then, we saw him ecstatic after he shot a man in the chest. Next, we saw him profess his love for Tony after recalling the memory of Tony commissioning the murder of his fiancé’. The look in his eye when he told Tony he loved him was the look of a pained and desperate man. Truly one of the most powerful moments in the history of the show. The exchange between Tony and Christopher seemed to clearly show that Christopher views Tony as a father, and he desperately seeks his love and approval. In fact, it can be argued that his entire life is dedicated to seeking Tony’s approval. Okay, that’s a little deep….I’ll move on while I still have my man card. Any way, the next thing we see is Christopher buying his dream house in the suburbs where he hopes to raise his family. Next, we see Christopher relapsing into his old junkie habits and ending the night stroking a stray dog as the Feast closes around him. Finally, we see Christopher in Tony’s basement in a clear attempt to confess his transgression and seek support from Tony. However, their exchange was awkward, and a painful illustration of just how little they have in common.

As should be obvious, this week’s episode was a roller coaster ride for Christopher. It, however, may have been even more of a roller coaster ride for us. In one episode, we saw his complete lack of morality on the one hand, and his capacity to take responsibility for his actions on the other. We saw a man that is weak enough to get strung out on heroin, but desperately wants to raise and provide for a family. And, we saw a man that wants nothing more than the approval of the man he views as his father figure…a man that is willing to do anything to gain that approval. Most of all, we saw a man that, despite all his faults (i.e. theft, murder, drug addiction), we root for. We want Christopher to succeed. We want him to stay off drugs, have a son, live in a nice house, have a happy marriage, and be appreciated and loved by Tony. And, therein lies the secret to “The Sopranos”: For some reason, no matter how vile these characters are, no matter whom they kill, who they steal from, who they lie to, how self indulgent and irresponsible they are, we are willing to forgive them. We want nothing more than for the series to end with Christopher, Tony, Carmella, Silvio, Paulie, A.J., Meadow, and the rest of the crew to somehow live happily ever after. Why? Well, at the end of the day, the answer is easy: Over the 7 years and six seasons we’ve been religiously watching the show, we’ve become part of the family, and nothing is more important than family. If nothing else, that is the one thing you should take away from “The Sopranos”. It’s so obvious that it almost seems cliché’, but if you have a problem with it you can take it up with the head of the family. Good luck with that.

“24”

Fasten your seat belts kids, we’ve got four hours to go, and a President to bring down. No time to waste, let’s get right to it:

Wow, we start off with a bang…shock of all shocks, Secretary Heller is alive. Remember what I said yesterday about maxing out the credit cards to bet on the Pistons? Well, suffice it to say, Secretary Heller still breathing ranks right up there in the hierarchy of mortal locks. So, aside from this less than startling revelation, here are the pressing questions that still need to be answered:

1) How am I ever supposed to get on another airplane? Seriously, are you kidding me? As if I wasn’t already a wreck on airplanes, now I have will be thinking of this scene every time I hit turbulence. Awesome!

2) How could Karen possibly think it was a good idea to trust Miles? Just to put this in perspective, I’m writing this sentence as I’m watching her tell Miles about the recording. I know it’s a catastrophically stupid mistake. You know it. But, of course, Karen doesn’t seem to know it. Why didn’t she just have him locked up until the situation was taken care of? And, of course, this comes back to haunt Karen and everybody else. Is it just me or are something like 80% of all people employed by CTU absolute dirt bags?

3) Raise your hand if you thought transferring Bierko in the midst of all this madness was a good idea? C’MON. Aren’t the folks at CTU supposed to be the smartest people in the world?

4) Who the hell is this little guy that is pulling Logan’s strings? I mean, who the hell is so powerful that he basically gives the President of the United States the order to kill himself. I’m honestly asking this question. Have I missed something? Am I supposed to know who this guy is?

5) What are the odds that somebody is going to hold Kim Bauer hostage in the next three hours? I put them at 100%. Anything less would just be silly.


“David Blaine”

Yes, I admit that I sat fixated on the couch staring at the television as this guy tried to hold his breath under water for 9 minutes while trying to free himself from whips, chains, and a gimp mask. Sure, I made up the stuff about whips and a gimp mask, but you get the picture. I don’t have a lot to say about his valiant attempt to do something that should never be done, but I do want to say this: Stu Scott’s commentary made this must see t.v. I mean, Stu’s effort to try to mix his usual antics with “serious” and “concerned” commentary was legendarily funny. The term unintentional comedy doesn’t even begin to describe it. I saved it on DVR just so I can watch it when I have a tough day and need a good laugh. God bless Stu Scott.