My Thoughts on What Happened Last Night
I think there are two kinds of Sopranos fans, and I think their reactions to last night's series finale split right along their respective party lines. There are those who believe The Sopranos was a really good mob show. They're bloodthirsty, voyeuristic, and they like standing around the water cooler on Mondays yammering about who got "whacked." They're pissed off about how the show ended. Then there are the folks who are David Chase fans as much as they're Sopranos fans, people who enjoy The Sopranos as a mob show about mob shows, a metatext crammed to bursting with henchmen who only act like henchmen because they like the way henchman on TV act like henchmen on TV, visual puns galore, inside jokes and, honestly, a lot of thumbs in the eye to that first kind of viewer.
There aren't a whole lot of that second kind of viewer, but all of the ones I have communicated with are pleased as punch with last night's finale, which kindly told America to go fuck itself and its bloodthirsty expectations. You've seen The Godfather, right? Then you should know what it means when the camera follows a random guy in a "USA" hat to the bathroom in an Italian restaurant. Or when two guys in ballcaps enter and half-heartedly look at the jukebox while stealing sidelong glances at Tony, or when Meadow struggles to parallel park, delaying her arrival to this fated last supper. You know they're going to die, right? You've been here before, haven't you?
But no. Black screen. No payoff. No blood. Maybe there was blood, but it wasn't for us to see. Maybe there was just spaghetti, and the best onion rings in the country. And a family full of fuck-ups - fuck-up real estate agents, fuck-up mobsters, fuck-up liberal idealists, fuck-up med school drop-outs...having dinner in a fuck-up country.
I loved the series finale. To me, this series started out rebellious and went through a few seasons of malaise, weighed down by its own negative space, crippled by its need to play by genre rules while simultaneously impaling the genre. To me, the series just simply bled to death, and I find it incredibly appropriate that - instead of some wank-off shoot out or coda, we just got a series quietly drawing a breath and suddenly going under, being gone.
There is a lot more to say about the finale, but I'm pressed for time, and there's a beautiful lady on my couch. Peace.