Monday, June 11, 2007

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

Sopranos finale, folks. I can’t even talk about the stuff I thought was great (e.g. A.J.’s insane glee when he recounts the SUV fire to his shrink — it was as hilarious as Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes talking about burning down Andre Rison’s house, man). I’m too pissed off about this colossal bullshit.

Since 1999, we’ve been getting our chains yanked every which way by these people, but in the best way — never simple, never easy, never the usual or the expected. They had us rooting for a bunch of murderous thugs — really no better than the other murderous thugs — even when they showed all the collateral damage “this thing of ours” causes (both human and property-wise) — like when you unconsciously root for the car holding the murdered woman to sink all the way into the bog in Psycho, you know what I mean?

And last night, they just — fucking left our cheese in the wind. I didn’t need every end tied up with a sparkly pink bow, but jesus, I feel like I’ve been taken in a really spectacularly well-done long con. There’s going to be all kinds of talk about how “brilliant” and “genius” it was to leave us hanging like that, as if making me wonder for a solid totally enraged minute whether it was the satellite feed or the TiVo that had cut out at this crucial juncture and which bitch I should cut first was just the very tops in narrative construction. Listen, sophomore, the fact that you ran out of time writing this shit before class and had to hit “print” on what you’d done so far? DOESN’T MAKE IT GOOD.

And this a-hole Chase has done it before — I bet you ten dollars cash American that someone, somewhere on the Internets (a series of tubes) has already photoshopped Tony Soprano walking out of the Pine Barrens into Manhattan.

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Anonymous Zordak said...

I haven't seen it yet, but what I heard about the ending annoys me. A friend claims to have figured out an explanation that saves our cheese from the wind (WARNING, SPOILERS A'PLENTY):

"If you remember back to the first episode of the season, Bobby and Tony were in a boat having a nice talk. Bobby was talking about being hit, and said something like "You'd never see it coming".
When they were in the restaurant, Tony looks up at Meadow coming through the door and the screen goes black. All that tension built, all those suspicious people at Holsten's...the show was from Tony's perspective. All those people were there to kill him. Someone reached into his coat to draw a gun. Tony was hit. Never knew what hit him, his world just went black. No sequels. Tony's dead."

Whaddaya think? Plausible or a stretch? I just need to know whether to praise or mock.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Plausible ... but so CHEAP on the creators' & writers' part. ugh!

12:07 PM  
Blogger HHL said...

Gleemonex, as you well know, normally I am completely on board with your denunciations, but in this particular case I have to disagree. While I do see your point, as a longtime Sopranos enthusiast, I felt the opposite of "let down" by the finale. I thought it really delivered, big time.

First, as you rightly point out, the show has always been detached and amoral (nothing tidy at all). Part of its appeal is also that it has been unconventional, to the extreme in some cases. Therefore I think the ending was fitting.

I applaud the ambiguity. In my way of thinking, the two most valid ways of interpreting the ending are as follows:

1. As Zordak points out, the conclusion can be drawn that the "cut to black" occurred the instant Tony was whacked. As Tony and Bobby discussed, you can get whacked without ever seeing it coming (or knowing who did it, how they did it, etc). And, since the show has (primarily) been presented from Tony's perspective, there is no aftermath to his death, just oblivion.

2. An equally interesting interpretation is the "life goes on" theory. Under this scenario, The Sopranos was whacked by David Chase. BOOM! It just ended, killed by the hand of its creator, with a simple click of his mouse in the video-editing GUI. The curtain comes down, but behind it you can imagine all the characters simply continuing their various brutal, violent, profane, self-serving lives into eternity -- only now without the viewers. (like the song says, “the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on”) Viewers are left the “remember the times that were good”. After all, the show's characters never really grew or changed in any fundamental way. They would zig and zag, this way and that, but they never truly "became" anything other than what they were to start with. That being the case, why would we expect any of them to undergo some kind of definitive metamorphosis at the very end? One small example is the A.J. story arc that took place in the last couple of episodes. He was always a spoiled whiny brat, and through his various trials and tribulations there were many chances for redemption (or total destruction), but he comes through it all just the way he started. And one can also see Chase's whacking of the show as a different kind of whack at the viewers. Recall A.J.'s rant where he calls out his dining companions for placing importance on American Idol and the Oscars while so much suffering goes on in the world around them. He refers to their obsession with this "jack-off fantasy on TV".

On a more visceral level, I thought the last 5 minutes were simply amazing for the way the suspense and tension were built up. I was so completely sucked in, I didn't move a muscle and barely took a breath the whole time. You may say, yeah, but there was no pay off! I disagree. I think the cut to black was a huge payoff. BAM! It's over. I sat there and watched the black screen with my mouth open. Then I tivoed it back and watched it three more times.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Respek knuckles, HHL -- well said, and as close as I'll probably ever come to forgiving Chase, et. al., on this one. ;-)

2:19 PM  
Blogger bgirl said...

Yeah, I'm with HHL on this one. It took a while, but as I tossed and turned Sunday night, I realized that I actually loved the epidsode. I remember when Six Feet ended and how pissed I was that they tied EVERYTHING up too well. I like the control that Chase has given us. And I loved that he didn't make Tony a hero or a devil. In the end, he was just what he'd always been - all of them were.

7:39 AM  
Blogger mzchief said...

To gleemonex...
You and I seemingly watch MUCH of the SAME trash TV so I will at some point take your advice and disappear from humanity for a couple of weekends and watch The Sopranos.

Your reference to the Internets being "a series of tubes" made me think of THIS little gem. Suffer through it and listen till the end. The OLD DOLT comes totally unhinged.

6:54 AM  

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