Monday, June 11, 2007

A Singer in a Smoky Room, Smell of Wine and Cheap Perfume, For a Smile they Can Share the Night, It Goes On and On and On and Butt

I have intentionally not read anything about the Sopranos finale and have only heard one headline that Katie told me, something from MSNBC that wasn’t very revealing. So I wanted to go on record before I did such reading as saying just a couple quick things.

1) I imagine the episode is going to get panned. Lots of TV critics, lots of fanbois, want resolution. They want to know what happens to Tony, where his family goes, if Sil ever comes out, etc. I don’t at all mean to degrade these responses, I had them as well. We expect resolution, especially at the end of long running TV shows, in a way that we do not always even demand it from movies. My brief psychological guess is that investment in a 2 hour film does not equal investment in a seven year show. When that resolution is inadequate (Seinfeld) people get mad, whereas the “best” finales tend to bring things to a point where the situation cannot continue and then show you the barren set as a sort of “remember me” (Cheers, MASH).

2) I loved it. I thought it was not only fitting for the show, but an incredibly brave and brilliant thing to do. When you go into a show with the primary question of “are they gonna kill Tony,” there is an inevitable sense of tension, of panic almost. The final episode of the show was able to convey a sense of tension without resolution, to wind you up and wind you up and wind you up, without any release, in a way that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen before. I thought that was all very well connected with the whole question of the season which revolved around Tony’s legacy. Besides Meadow’s line about being a boring suburban doctor, I think the last words of the show (“Don’t stop…”) were practically perfect. Admittedly, I do not write television, precisely because I cannot come up with good creative endings, but I have been thinking about this episode pretty much every moment since it ended, and I cannot come up with anything that would have been better.

Just wanted that registered before I find out if I am right. I will be back with my thoughts about the reviews at some point. Hippo agrees with me, btw.




Anonymous said...

Cross-posted this comment from Facebook

The more I think about the Sopranos ending, the more I like it. It reminds me, in a way, of the "Angel" series finale. I think that the show had its climax, and then its deneoument. The deneoument looked a little like a lack of resolution to the climax, but it was still there. You just had to see it.

Today Wilbon and Kornheiser were debating the ending, and I think that Wilbon's copout argument is a copout itself. He wants to be told what to think by David Chase. I agree with Tony Kornheiser that it was a fabulous existential ending that fits the entire show.

That's my take anyway. ♥Pete

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