Jeralyn Merritt is a smart lawyer, television commentator, and blogger, at TalkLeft. Her post on the Sopranos is hilarious, though she didn’t mean it to be: she was obviously like a lot of us, a real fan, but her story illustrates how really overboard we can go, and how our expectations prevented us from appreciating the ending, for a few seconds, a few hours, and in some cases, a few days or more. By the very fact that she wrote this whole thing, I expect that she will “get it,” eventually.
Usually I watch the Sopranos alone. Last night that was not the case. I spent the weekend at Hunter Thompson’s Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colorado, outside of Aspen, as a guest of his wife [sic] Anita.
The occasion was a NORML legal seminar, where mostly veteran criminal defense lawyers lecture to mostly younger criminal defense lawyers on various topics related to defending drug cases.
For the second year since Hunter’s death, Anita opened up Owl Farm to us for a Sunday afternoon party, with live music by Jimmy Ibbotson (formerly of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a Woody Creek neighbor) and other musicians and a massive spread of fresh food, barbecue and libations. As you might imagine, no one mentioned the Sopranos. Except me.
Anita had invited me to spend the weekend at Owl Farm as opposed to the Gant where the seminar was being held and the other attendees were staying. As soon as could possibly be considered polite after my arrival on Friday evening, I asked her if she had HBO and told her I was conflicted because I couldn’t miss the Sopranos and there was no way I could both spend the afternoon at the party and make it back to Denver in time for the finale at 7:00 pm.
Ever the gracious hostess and even though she doesn’t watch the show, Anita called her cable provider and ordered HBO so I could see the show.
By 6:45, I was planted on the couch in front of the humongous television in the famous Hunter kitchen, shoo-ing everyone out and shush-ing up those who remained. At 7:00 the show started. I was like a jail warden. No one was allowed to speak. The finale of all finales was about to begin.
I started worrying about having made such a big deal about the show after A.J. didn’t get blown up in either the SUV or the BMW. I realized then nothing was going to happen. Every scene seemed like a filler to me — Tony and Janice, Janice and Junior, Tony and Junior, Tony and Carmela with the prospective in-laws, even Tony and Paulie. The only satisfying scenes were Phil getting whacked and the FBI agent having an affair with a fellow agent and giving Tony secret information obtained by wiretap.
When the screen went blank at the end, like everyone else watching, I thought the cable system had failed. But, by then, I honestly didn’t care. I didn’t try changing the channels to test the system, I just didn’t care any more.
When the credits rolled up after the 11 second black-out, everyone was silent. I broke the silence with “Oh, my G-d. They just totally f-ked us over. I am so embarrassed and so sorry I made such a big deal out of this. I made you get HBO, I shooed everyone out of the room, I shushed up those who stayed to watch and it was the biggest nothing ever. I’m so sorry.”
She still hasn’t figured it out. But she will.