Dazzling Knowledge

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tpotdomescandal's Top 10 TV Shows

#3 The Sopranos

I actually became a fan of the Sopranos late in the game. Despite all I heard about HBO’s groundbreaking series, I was reluctant to watch. I am no fan of the mobster genre, and am normally turned off by the glamorization of the lifestyle that occurs in works of fiction such as The Godfather. Then I finally watched the first episode and was blown away. To me the show wasn’t just about the Mob, but used the drama of a Mob kingpin’s family to examine the trials and tribulations of modern suburban living in America. I was hooked right away, and The Sopranos became must-see TV.
The Sopranos certainly did not glamorize the Mafia lifestyle. While we certainly rooted for Tony as the protagonist in sometimes complex ways, it was hard to view him as heroic in any way. Contrast him with Michael Corleone: “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.” Tony is never presented as a noble figure who is cast in the role of Mob boss through a series of unavoidable circumstances. Instead, you watch how every breath of his miserable life is consumed with petty sin and violence. He steals from everybody. He is capable of violence for any reason at any time. He lies and prevaricates and rationalizes constantly. His sex scenes were always ugly, and never titillating. Of course, he was still a good protagonist because he seemed like the best of a bad lot. All of the other characters were pathetic, psycho, proud, unstable, or a combination of the above.
Of course, I have to talk about the final episode. My first reaction was ambivalent. I didn’t think it was great, I didn’t hate it, and I didn’t feel too strongly about it. In the next few days, I realized what a genius move David Chase had done. While indulging my bad habit of listening to sports talk radio, I notice that the idiots who call sports talk radio almost all hated the ending. It occurred to me that anything that pisses off idiots this much had to have something going for it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if you disliked the final episode that you are an idiot, I’m just saying that if you are an idiot, the final episode apparently made you apoplectic. There’s just something to be said for that. Plus I like how nobody gets off the hook. We enjoyed watching the contemptible antics of Tony Soprano for eight years. We were not allowed to purify our souls by enjoying watching him get his final comeuppance.


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