Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Sopranos - 8 More and Counting

I’ll get right to it. I finally had a chance to watch the season finale of “The Sopranos”, and I’ve got a lot to say. So, as Tony would probably say, sit down, shut the f*ck up, and listen to me god da*nit! I’m going to tell you what I think! (Admittedly, typing that was probably more fun than it should have been. I think I’m going to start using the “f” word more. I usually try to avoid it, but I think I’ll let loose with it for now on…and yes, I am ducking underneath the desk to avoid the lightning bolts).

First of all, I’m clearly looking to meet women at the wrong places. All these years I’ve been looking in bars when I should have just been going to AA meetings! Who would have thunk it? The absurdity of Christopher’s decision making (not only did he decide to meet his mistress in AA, he decided to get with a woman that Tony had been with!), was far overshadowed by some of the hilarious mis-uses of the English language. For example, Tony saying that he “commiserates” with Aid’s mom when he clearly meant to say that he “sympathizes” with her was only trumped by little Carmine saying that he called the meeting because some “incidents have expired” instead of “transpired.” Just great stuff.

All kidding aside, I’ve got to admit that I’m starting to get a little disturbed by where Christopher’s life is going. As I wrote in great detail a few weeks ago, Chris is one of the most reprehensible yet likeable characters on television. I mean, one minute he’s telling his cracked out mistress that he doesn’t want to have a family with his pregnant wife, and I just want to punch him. The next minute, he’s coming clean with Tony about sleeping with the real estate agent, and I’m just hoping that Tony doesn’t kill him. I mean, why shouldn’t I want Tony to kill him? It makes no sense at all. The same, of course, can be said for all the characters:

Take A.J. for example. At no point in the history of the show has he ever done anything to cause me to like him. He’s been the teenage boy equivalent of Dr. Yang for over half a decade. Now, in one episode, he’s fallen in love with a single mom and seems to love her three year old son. So, all of the sudden, I find myself hoping that Carmella and Tony can get over the fact that she’s ten years older than him, has a kid, and is Puerto Rican! Again, why do I like these people so much?

Then there is Phil Leotardo. Two episodes ago, Phil sat on the bed and watched his goons beat Vito to death. Earlier in this episode, he was essentially plotting to kill someone close to Tony. But, after Tony comes to see him in the hospital, and he starts crying on what could be his death bed, I start to feel sorry for him. How does that make any sense?

Next, there’s Tony. The episode starts with him getting dressed after sleeping with what is probably a prostitute while his wife was probably lying in bed alone. But, somehow, I find myself pitying him when he realizes that Christopher is sleeping with the real estate agent. And when he explains to Dr. Melfi how he feels victimized because he didn’t sleep with the real estate agent out of appreciation for how Carmella cared for him while he was in a coma, it somehow makes sense. Not to mention the fact that you would be lying if you said that you aren’t still rooting for him to get his chance with Dr. Melfi. Hell, even FBI agent Harris felt compelled to give him a heads up about Phil’s impending hit on someone close to him. Unbelievable. No matter what, people are drawn to the big guy.

And finally, there’s Carmella. Through all the years, she’s the only one that has never killed anybody, never been strung out on smack, and never had an affair (well, with the exception of A.J.’s guidance counselor when she and Tony were separated and that whole mental affair with Furio, but other than that…nothing). All she’s ever really done is be a devoted wife and mother that always had dinner on the table and clean clothes in the closet for everybody. Yet, somehow, among all these characters, she’s the only one I find myself not pulling for. I mean, when she just tossed away that investigators business card and gave up on the idea of finding Adriana just because she now has something better to do, all I could think was, “you bitch!” So, of all these characters, she’s the only one that really pisses me off. (except for Janice)

So, this begs the question: What is wrong with me? I’d like to think that everybody sees things the way I do, but at the end of the day, maybe I’m just a little screwed up. Maybe?

Well, in addition to the psychoanalysis, I do have some predictions for the final 8 episodes coming in January:

1) There are two storylines that have been buried for a while that are certain to resurface. The first is Dr. Melfi’s rape. This was just too important when it happened to simply never be mentioned again. In a strange way, Melfi might actually be the only woman Tony has ever really loved and respected. So, when he finds out (and, he will), it’s going to be intense. The second is the aforementioned affair Carmella had with the guidance counselor. Again, it was just way too big at the time to just fade away. I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but it will!

2) The movie “Cleaver” is never getting made. Okay, so that’s not really going out on a limb, but I thought it needed to be said.

3) Christopher is going to die. Over the entirety of the show, his whole existence has been nothing short of tragic, so this just seems necessary. It seems like the only way to bring his character full circle. I don’t know how it will go down. It could be murder, suicide, overdose. You name it, and he’s a solid candidate.

4) A.J. is going to join the family business. This new woman and her child are going to finally be the catalyst for him to grow up. As a result of his new maturity, he will bond with Tony. Even though Tony would never admit it, this is what he’s always wanted. What father doesn’t want his son to follow in his footsteps?

5) Meadow is not going to marry Fin. It just won’t happen. There’s an outside chance that she could be the Soprano child to join the family business. Keep an eye on this one. Regardless, I love her, and I will always be there for her. Sorry, that whole line between reality and t.v. just got blurred again. Moving on…

6) Tony is not going to die, nor is he going to jail. These are the two most popular theories regarding the conclusion of the series, and that is exactly why neither will happen. There is no way its going to end in a predictable fashion. Just like the two greatest movies of all time, “The Godfather” and “The Godfather II”, “The Sopranos” is going to leave you begging for more!

Finally, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make some kind of bold declaratory statement, so here goes: “The Sopranos” is the greatest television show of all time, and James Gandolfini is the greatest television actor of all time. I don’t know what these last eight episodes have in store, but I do know that I’m going to be really pissed when they are over. I doubt we will ever see a show again where you don’t crave the action or the comedy. No, if you get those on “The Sopranos” it’s just icing on the cake. All that really matters is that you get to spend one hour a week watching these people live their lives, regardless of what they are doing. Not to mention that any show that can make North Jersey look like anything less than the landfill of the United States is remarkable. Trust me, that is nothing short of a miracle in its own right.

So, that’s it. Six seasons in the book, and eight more episodes to go. All we know for certain is that it’s been amazing so far, and it’s going to be one hell of a ride to the finish. Till January…