Thursday, June 14, 2007

Though arrogantly produced, The Sopranos will dearly be missed

Although I have only seen the odd episode from Series 5 and 6, I have tried to keep up with The Sopranos as best I could while living here in Britain. Fortunately, the show has enjoyed considerable success in this country—we even have those American Airlines commercials that feature James Gandolfini! I also have the complete Series 1, 3 and 4 on DVD and the first half of Season 2 on video. Needless to say, this show has been one of my favorites for years and I am very sad to see it go.
When The Sopranos debuted in 1999, I steadfastly refused to watch it. "Do we really need yet another story about the Mafia?" I grumbled. "Why the hell would I want to watch a load of goombahs strutting about?" I held that position for about six months until one day when I was over my friend John's house. He was watching an episode of The Sopranos and I decided to give it a chance and watch it with him. My skepticism and cynicism about this "yet another Mafia story" ended that night. I couldn't believe any program, any one episode of one program, could be as good as the one I watched.
(It's worth mentioning here that I also made fun of Friends and refused to watch it during its first four seasons. Sometime during Series 5, I happened upon an episode my sister was watching and had never laughed so hard at a sitcom. It seems I have a history of bad-mouthing shows I haven't even watched only to end up loving them!)
I regularly watched The Sopranos on HBO with my parents—by this time, Series 3 had started—until I moved back out to England for good in late 2000. And, as aforementioned, I tried to watch or tape it whenever they broadcasted it on TV here. Squirrel began to really enjoy the program too and we would often watch it together.
However, for the past couple of years—knowing the show would eventually have to come to a close—I couldn't help but wonder what fate would befall Tony. I have not seen this infamous last episode, but I have heard about it. And I can't blame fans, who invested eight years of religiously watching The Sopranos, for being enraged with how it ended. Creator David Chase had teased us before—by not following up with Dr. Melfi's rape case, by not letting us know whatever happened to Valery, etc.—but this was obviously the biggest blow of all. Maybe Chase meant us to draw our own conclusions about what eventually happens to Tony, I don't know. But despite Chase's denial that he didn't set out to disappoint his fan base, he is going to have to accept the fact that he did.
I don't think I've ever come across a show that toyed with its audience more than The Sopranos did. Still, having said that, I am very much going to miss it.


kristen said...

Never watched sopranos, but Friends on other of my all time faves. I have seasons 1-6, and have in fact gotten them out to watch this summer. That's a show I can see over and over and over.....and still laugh. (Glad you were converted)

Tusk said...

Bah! Can't stand Friends. Or canned laughter. I can watch series 1 of it, but it's unbearable after that.

You liked the Sopranos? Try Deadwood or Carnivale, I haven't heard anyone say a bad word about those two series.

Nightdragon said...

I really appreciated the humor in Friends. I found it appealed to my dry sense of humor, which is strange since most American comedy is anything but dry.

Pam said...

Oh, me too, me too. And I haven't seen the last 3 or 4 episodes. I think I'm kind of of holding back on watching them, so they won't be over for me. I did the same thing with Deadwood (I agree with the other commenter who said to give this one a shot too if you haven't!). Anyway ... great new home! I'm still keeping my locked diary over at d-land for my more private scribbles, but also moved on to Blogspot a while back - I'm at I've linked yours so I'll be able to keep up without the D-land red buddy reminder : ).

Anonymous said...

My favourite thing about Sopranos is the comedy aspect. Great humour!
Tusk, Friends was filmed before a live audience so the laughter isn't canned.

Tusk said...

Was it? It certainly felt canned. But you can probably understand why I thought that- I didn't really understand half of the things being laughed at were "jokes", so it seemed strange to have real laughter at those moments.
And then there's the Same Laugh you can hear throughout certain series....But I guess they probably either shoot several episodes at a time, or invite some of the audience to come back?

Nightdragon said...

Pam! Hey, hey, I've missed you. I'm glad we share the same blogspace again ... I'll put you down in my friends list pronto!