Monday, June 11, 2007
Was your living room like mine last night as The Soprano’s closed out its scintillating eight year, six season run? A fist or two slammed in anger, a few simultaneous “wha?”’s , and perhaps a contented smile or two . No grand guignol string of casualties, no operatically staged finale, no hair raising betrayals, no big questions answered (not even a comic reveal about the Russian from the Pine Barrens episode), no melodramatic cross-cutting while a baby gets baptized, no excessive suffering, no hand-of-fate meted out, no tangible or precise answers, no (oh gawd do I hate the word) closure. Sure some of what transpired smoldered with significance, like A.J.’s discovery of Bob Dylan/auto meltdown, Phil’s blackly comic death, Paulie’s superstitions revved up by the presence of that feral cat, the lawyers blocked-up ketchup bottle, or the Godot-like talk with Uncle Junior. The show began with a fakeout (Tony meeting with the FBI guy not for a witness protection discussion but simply to fish Phil out) and may have ended with one also (Meadow’s dripping-with-import parking maneuvers). The series began with Tony Soprano bemoaning the loss of the “old days”, and everything that went with them, i.e. the perception, at least, that families (both crime and real) were once tighter, more loving, more loyal, more adherent to societal codes, a perception his own background belied. So it went, Tony and the whole nuclear family gathered around a paper container of onion rings in a quaint and seemingly pedestrian diner, a jukebox filled with oldies (heavy on the 70’s), surrounded by figures from a Rockwell painting gone a little peculiar—young lovers, boy scouts, a blue collar guy with a USA cap, hip-hoppers with droopy drawers, and that grimfaced guy in a Members Only jacket— a possible assassin or possibly just a mirror image of Tony- a dog-tired and lonely Italian-American seeking solace in fried food, maybe without family, maybe without Tony’s high and lows, just another New Jersey working stiff, riding out the mundanities of existence a stool or two away from Tony, who as creator David Chase reminded us continually over the years, was always, inevitably sentenced to the same basically bleak continuance as that guy at the counter and all of the rest of us.