just reading the indictment makes me wanna take a shower. I’m sure he’s innocent until proven guilty. And he has that nice George Romney kind of Republican hair.
Category Archives: The Sopranos
quaoar at dKos uses the expressing “disrespecting the Bing” in a diary today, using it to mean something like “pleading (informally) to a much lesser “crime.” The origin of the expression was in episode 34 of The Sopranos, and was noted by Timothy Noah.
The expression never really seemed to catch on, except, predictably, in New Jersey. I think the proposed usage is overly nuanced; I mean, it would take a five minute discourse just to explain. Better just to use it to mean, sarcastically or not (after all, the Bing was a strip joint and mob headquarters), as noting criticism or lack or proper reverence of whatever important place might be under discussion.
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.
There is no end. The Family unites, and goes on living its life, with the various threads working, but it is the viewer who gets whacked.
Those who have speculated that the blackout signified the “whacking” of Tony or the entire Soprano family are wrong. That sort of first person experience has really not been a significant narrative method in the series. Had Chase meant to convey that, he would have shown the last scene through Tony’s eyes. Instead, Tony puts his hand on the juke box, which is playing Journey “…don’t stop…” (it actually looked like he was gonna play “I’ve Gotta Be Me.”)
The family goes on as before, clearly all ensconced in mob activities forever. The oldest generation is now gone, Uncle Junior, and the new generation (Meadow and AJ) is on track, though a few years from active participation. Tony seems to be at higher risk for arrest, but his strategy will obviously be, as always, to whack the rat Carlo. In a sense, the camera has been a rat also, witnessing and recording Tony’s crimes; so the camera gets whacked.
Janis and Tony are on the same page they always have been, it’s all about Janis’ schemes for making money, and Tony’s resentment of her for it. Tony remains fixated on his mother.
The viewer is taken out of the picture, that’s all that changes.
It is really a clever ending. The only issue I would take with it is that it was impossible to appreciate at the moment it happened. Whether there was any way to circumvent that, I don’t know.
Quip of the week: “The state can crush the individual,” says Meadow, justifying her decision to become a criminal lawyer; but the mob is about to crush Phil, literally. Of course, the FBI chimed with “Phil Leotardo got popped.” Literally.
“The industry is preoccupied with quality and talent,” says the TeeVee at Tony’s gangs’ safe house. Chase certainly provided it, in the Sopranos.
There have been some on the internet who have suggested that The Sopranos is an analogy to George Bush’s America. Let’s take a short look.
If this is true, certainly Tony is W himself. You can figure out for yourself if you think it works, a sociopath, enriches himself by the illegal deeds of his associates, tries to stay above the fray and the reach of the law, secretive, combative, suspicious, does a little coke, cheats on his wife, has a gay man on his staff, feigns being a “good guy”, doesn’t read books, and has “compassion for babies, ” has no respect for “talk therapy.” Throws away money that is earned by others, sends his own money overseas, and the household is about to go broke. I think the episode in the desert represents the fact that Tony/Bush have lost their passion for the office. The episode of Tony sending the weird kid off to far away lands to a semimilitary camp is pretty clearly related to our kids going to Iraq.
By this way of thinking, Uncle Junior, the rightful heir to the throne, would be Jeb Bush. Uncle Junior shooting Tony Bush in the stomach could represent the Terri Shiavo mess that Jeb Soprano got George into, and maybe the Katrina thing as well. Uncle Junior is now being shunted off to pasture, like Jeb.
Paulie Walnuts is obviously Dick Cheney, and Carmella is certainly Laura Bush.
Patsy is Rove; fair physical resemblance. He “ran away” and left Sil (Scooter Libby) to face the hitmen/Dems. Sil (Scooter) isn’t dead but it’s doubtful he’ll regain consciousness (politically).
I think AJ is the American people. Depressed by the routine shit, and by Tony (Bush), he tries torture and the waterboarding (his suicide attempt) and discovers it’s not so great, either to give or to receive. He starts to update himself on what is really going on in the world, and forge new relationships outside the family. Maybe his new friend Blondie with the stems is H. Clinton or Nancy Pelosi. ha.
Meadow is a little bit of the Bush kids, as is AJ, but mostly she is another part of the American public, which has lost its idealism and decides that we better start studying the Constitution. Tony Bush says that’s “criminal law.” ha. Meadow Bush is still heavy into the mob, though, her boyfriend is Patsy’s/ Rove’s son. We don’t now whether Meadow Bush will use her power for good or evil. That’s life.
The Democrats may be Phil Leotardo’s bunch; Out of power (in prison) for a long time, from NY, have attacked Tony Bush, resulting in the loss of several of Tony Bush’s lieutenants, and decreasing his income. All in all, they don’t seem much better than Tony Bush, who in turn has sent his goons to smear/kill the Leotardo Democrats from NY, but so far that hasn’t worked.
The pile of asbestos represents the big smoking mess that Phil/dems have inherited from Tony/Bush. Nobody wants it. This is pretty much like Iraq, with all the other stuff like global warming mixed in. Chrissie (who represents somebody like Condi Rice, who is trying to distance himself from the worst vices of Bushco) suggests negotiations with the new power, but George/Tony is ambivalent, and of course paranoid. So he kills Chrissie/Condi.
Bobby is not an easy one to fit in here. Is he Andrew Card or Scott McClellan? that would be too obscure…. a not-so-obvious Rumsfeld?….I think that he most likely represents the American man. A soldier, loyal, takes care of those who need help, ready to follow the leader, but finds out it really isn’t much fun killing people, and he begins to wonder, too late, if this whole mess might be bad for his wife and especially his daughter.
Big Pussy was probably kind of a Colin Powell. Disloyal=outtahere.
The Russian “paramilitary” from the “Interior Department” who killed 16 Chechnians (drove the Russians out of Afghanistan), and was chased in the Pine Barrens by Cheney (paulie) and Rice (Chris), and got away, is Osama Bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda. Tony Bush made it very clear that Osama bin Russian getting away is Paulie Cheney’s responsibility in the future.
With all this, what can we predict: If I am Chase, I carve out an ending where mostly the forces for good triumph: Firstly, I think it is likely that Osama bin Russian comes back and whacks Paulie Cheney, and is then killed by the feds or the Democrats/Leotardos. Tony Bush goes to jail, Laurarmella goes to live with her parents and sells real estate, AJ joins a peace rally, Meadow Bush walks out on her boyfriend, and Pelosi Leotardo holds sway, though Tony Bush is gonna try to get the Feds to arrest as many of the NY Democrats as possible. As a last touch, Patsy Rove turns state’s evidence on Tony Bush, and escapes punishment completely. Like always.
I must say, this season of the Sopranos has been one disappointment after another. Virtually every show has seemed contrived, disconnected, and highly improbable. Tony’s huge gambling problem: where did that come from? his desert “tripping”…Meadow does an about face on her life plan; The dinner party discussion of Tony’s psychotherapy; Dr. Melfi booting Tony; AJ’s bizarre suicide attempt…the botched attempt on Phil Leotardo seemed just weird….I could go on and on.
What will be the “final” chapter? Chase has several “been there, done that” endings to chose from. Will he keep Tony alive, in prison, for a sequel/movie? that would risk real criticism, but so will any other choice….will he chose something that smacks too much of Goodfellas, a Godfather film, Scarface, or one of the other famous mob films?
or will he pull it out with something creative?
The remaining interesting issues are all related to whether any of the family can escape Tony’s toxic touch. Will Meadow become a mob lawyer? Will AJ make it into the restaurant business? Can Carmella make it as a real estate agent? I don’t think we care to see Tony get shot down. It may happen, but not on camera.
I think that some kind of “ten years down the road” scene would be a creative ending. The family (minus Tony) gets together….
It’s tempting to hope that Chase comes up with something that ties together a whole bunch of the loose ends: the asbestos, the Russian in the forest, the feds, the Middle Eastern “terrorists,” and so on….but based on what we have seen so far, I am not optimistic. I do think that Chase will show the family’s financial collapse, which has been pretty heavily foreshadowed. But that isn’t enough.
I didn’t particularly like the last episode of Seinfeld, because it wasn’t very funny…but at least it provided some kind of closure.
Incidentally, speaking of Seinfeld and the progressively fatter George Costanza, several Sopranos characters really chunked up this year. Sil? geez…Of course, that seems compatible with their lifestyle, but Dr. Melfi? she must have put on 15 pounds. The notable exception is Carmella.