In what was the most widely and eagerly anticipated television finale since Seinfeld’s last episode (and likely the most watched show in the history of cable television), the Sopranos brought its television run to a conclusion though hardly providing any closure in terms of its storyline.There was so much excitement about the finale that people around the country were holding “Superbowl-like” viewing parties. The not so good people at HBO, cognizant of this, made a point of milking it like a cow whose teats were bursting at the seams to use the thirty minutes before the episode to air promos for “original series” that I have no intention of ever watching. OK, I’ll watch the John Adams thing.
Like almost every one of the later episodes, viewers are subjected to subtle leftist political indoctrination in which hidden messages about the evilness of SUV’s (apparently it’s common knowledge to everyone but myself and AJ Soprano that they can cause forest fires), rants about the “phony war on terror” and needless inclusion of unflattering television footage of President Bush standing next to African tribesmen and “MC Rove” from the recent White House correspondents dinner.
My heart was actually racing as my eyes spied the clock’s digital numbers exceeding the 9:00 PM mark…if something was going to happen, it was going to happen any second. The Godfatheresque hints were all over the episode: Tony eating an orange (the dark omen of violence and/or death in the famed triloogy), the street tough that had eyed Tony in the diner being shown hitting the restroom (Louie’s in the Bronx from GF1 where Michael makes his bones on the Turk and McCloskey), etc.
The inclusion of Meadow Soprano’s inability to parallel park did not help matters, mixing anticipation of her possibly ending up like Mary Corleone (GF3) with the same feeling you have when your lane of traffic is blocked by some clown who spends five minutes trying to land a spot they lack the driving ability to secure.
Instead, the show finished with the same potency and climactic power as a 90 year old man on his honeymoon in which the audience was teased in the last scene in which nothing happened.
Tony doesn’t get whacked though New York rival Phil Leotardo gets fatally shot and then crushed by an SUV in one of the few moments of that episode that represented what made the program so popular.
By leaving so much unresolved, the show can make their biggest trip to the bank yet when it gets to the big screen, since the finale was more like an extended theater teaser.
Oh don’t believe James Gandolfini’s bellyaching about the show. Just like how William Shatner is stuck doing sci-fi, Gandolfini is married to mob-tough guy roles. There are worse fates than collecting big checks for the stuff his once invisible acting career is now permanently melded to, since type-cast is just a euphemism for “steady work”. Perhaps in a few years he too can branch off to do advertisements for travel websites.
Maybe he can put a hit out on the Travelocity gnome?
I always suspected David Chase, the producer of the series, resented his product and the people who made it so successful, that being his fans. I get the vibe that Chase has the mentality that he is some great artist performing before the mass of swine that could not possibly appreciate anything more than the vulgarities, nudity and violence of the program and are truly ignorant of the deep and meaningful transcendentalism of his work.
Sunday evening’s episode confirms that suspicion.
Too bad the Naked Gun 33 1/3 had already used the line “The Final Insult” in its title, since it would have been fitting for the Sopranos finale.
Mike Bayham is a political consultant in south Louisiana and can be reached at MikeBayham@yahoo.com.