Monday, April 9, 2007

Memories Are Made Of This


(When my brother gifted me this blog I hoped it would be a decent forum for some spirited dialogue about the In's and Out's of pop culture, (aside from affording me a platform to assuage my ever expanding ego, translate my know-it-allness to the masses, and spread the gospel about all things popcultural), yet there really hasn't been much give-and-take action after the initial flurry of call and response stuff. C'mon, I know for certain that my pallie, buds, and galfriends, are ever opinionated and mostly whip-smart when it comes to the hurly burly swirl of culturevulturism.(That's a blatant ego massage directed at you, dear readership.) Speak up, join in, get up on the debate thang, let me a hear the sound of two fingers typing, and either blog it up yerselves or at least weigh in occasionally with yet another all-knowing or downright pithy comment.)

A knock on the door and Carmela's Godot-like response, "Is this it?" The Sopranos couldn't have opened this, the final nine week run, on a more prescient note. For those who really watch the groundbreaking series is been obvious from the initial season on, that despite the whackings, the brutality, the wonderful array of characters, the many soul-wrenching moments and those that have achieved a piquant sense of black hilarity, that this so-called gangster drama has always been a cross between a blue collar Macbeth and a kitchen sink King Lear, a multi-layered and full scale mediation on the very values and issues us everyday folk have to bear--the tug and pull of family, the secretly terrifying process of aging, the juggling of responsibility and pleasure, the tightrope balancing act of simply doing the right thing. The first episode took place primarily in the odd but bucolic setting of the great outdoors, and a restful county getaway was the setting for what we come to expect from Tony and the gang--simmering resentments, unfulfilled promises, middle-age craziness, In my mind, it was a perfectly crafted and sublimely moderated (with a grunting wrestling match and a quick snuff-out thrown in for those not-so-patient Soprano-watchers), an overt declaration that this endgame will be a slow boil, that creator David Chase is going to pour on the existentialism, trot out the ducks, and bring this once-in-a-lifetime television experience all the way home. Like most of you, I quiver with both anticipation and dread--Eight to go, my friends.

5 comments:

john k said...

I've been watching the early ones on A&E. The acting is great-but as always its the writing. AJ caught smoking dope in the garage while his confirmation party is going on in the house. 'Get in that houseand act like a God Damned good Catholic for 15 minutes'. That's a great line. I'm sure that thru the grapevine that I'll know how things end b4 I'm ready.
Been reading Savage Beauty, a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Its amazing that a small town 19 year old virgin from Maine could have such talent and then fall so neatly into the Bohemian life of Greenwich Village with nary a ripple. True genius is not achieved or earned. It just is.
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mdoggie said...

Okay, I'll step up. Watched Tony lumber away in his pj's with some glee as I didn't expect them to play the Tony goes to prison card so early in the final season.
The drunken brawl with Tony and brother-in-law Bobby seems unlikely then inevitable as the drunken Monopoly progresses. Again, finding this brutality in the banal.Siblings Janice and Tony both bring out a viciousness in each other that only they seem to enjoy. Part of the genius in the writing and staging is this squirmy "...no,no,no..." that comes before the limbic brain explosion. Nasty but true. The whole weekend as depicted was a paean to male adolescence - the guns, the speedboat, and finally the grunting and flailing and punching. Tony is all grown up now, right? Age 40.

skylolo99 said...

Watching Tony and Bobby brawling reminded me of the bear's brutal fight in Grizzly Man, winded, battered, bloody, gnarled and twisted.
The monopoly piece stuck to Tony's face was a great touch.
But it WAS a sucker punch from Bobby. (after Tony's psychic sucker punch...Under the Boardwalk...)
Carmella -"Tony isn't vindictive."
Tony isn't vindictive!!??

mikeyt said...

Scott, of course, already knows this, but for all you posters and blog-readers out there, if you want a taste of the early, emerging genius of David Chase, there's no better time than now. The third season of "The Rockford Files," probably my personal favorite TV series, has just been released on dvd. Season three of Rockford added Chase as a new writer/producer, and the shows he touched all bear traces of the sophistication, plot twist-ology and character depth charging that make the Sopranos one of today's best.

lambgiuse said...

Like a great book, concert or meal, I found myself thinking about the episode all Monday. It wouldn’t leave me. I liked when Anthony junior’s girlfriend said, “They let him out already?” and he was compelled to explain the “where we live” angle only to be enjoying the comforts of his parents’ lavish spread a few scenes later. Irony rules.

Bobby is a great character, the big loveable mobster who had never “broke his cherry” as Tony puts it. The guy even follows the rules, both Cosa Nostra and Parker Brothers.

And in a way, the fight to me had an element of initiation too. Janice wants her man to rise to the top, and at this point in the game she’s actually killed somebody (Ritchie Aprille) and probably has more of the real stuff. She treats the fight like a housewife telling her husband to appease and make nice with the boss (“That’s good, you let him win at golf.”). Bobby in a way is a grownup AJ. As Tony tells his son last year (after attempting to avenge his father by killing his uncle)…”Your too nice a guy”. I think up to the point that Bobby beat him, Tony felt the same way about Bobby. But then he assigns him what turns out to be a brutal cold blooded hit on an innocent civilian…talk about breaking the rules!

Best line from Bobby? “You Sopranos go too far”. I think he’s about to really find out.