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Last Two Sopranos Episodes

May 16, 2006

I finally saw the last two episodes of The Sopranos last night, and I was hoping to write about them but I couldn’t. Today I realized why. I’ve become numb to the show’s ridiculousness.

Christopher spontaneously marrying a pregnant girlfriend we’ve never seen before? Sure. Vito telling a Harley-riding firefighter, “I love you, Jonnycakes.” Why not? Christopher back on smack and spending a night hanging out with a stray dog? Whatever.

A lot of people have been hating on this season since it premiered, but I actually loved it—through the first four episodes, at least. The pathetic portrait of Eugene in the first episode, ending with his brutal hanging… Tony getting shot by a demented Junior… Tony’s profound and moving dream sequences in the hospital… the machinations of his crew members when Tony was incapacitated… the nearly incomparably brilliant fourth episode, where Tony awakes from a coma and changes his view of the world. All this stuff was as good, I think, as anything The Sopranos has ever done.

But since then, it’s been one narrative-grinding subplot after another: Artie’s beef with Bennie, Christopher’s escapade to Hollywood, Vito’s outing, the list goes on an on. Some of these plots, like Vito’s outing and the revelation that Paulie’s aunt was really his mother, are interesting, and say something about the characters and the world they live in. But a bunch of them are just minor tangents that seasoned Sopranos-watchers know won’t ever end up in anything.

I feel kind of like Tony said he did in the most recent episode – “Every day’s a gift. Just why does it have to socks?” Now that the Boss has mellowed, the writers seem bored, too, and, like Tony with his confrontation with the bikers, are looking for ways to get their rocks off. Their solution? For the most part, comical, often repetitive, frequently ridiculous subplots.

The show is starting to feel like long-term therapy. It just keeps rehashing the same traumas, exploring the same character flaws. Yes, Christopher puts the “drug addict” in “recovering drug addict.” Yes, Janice is the second coming of Livia. Yes, Paulie is a hypochondriac. So? Even Dr. Melfi appears bored going over the same issues with Tony over and over again.

If I were a therapist and The Sopranos were my patient, I would suggest shock therapy. Not a lobotomy, but something to shoot an electrical spark through the show. Kill Christopher. Start a coup against Tony. Throw A.J. in jail. Have Paulie leave the crew. Anything to get The Sopranos’ juices flowing again. Just like Tony, this show needs a new doctor.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Brad Glaser permalink
    May 17, 2006 6:35 am

    As much as I hat acknowledging that you’re right, I agree with you completely on this one. It’s really a shame the way this season is meandering after what I agree was a great start. I just watched this week’s episode tonight and was tempted to fast forward through parts. The Sacramone plot is interesting but, even though it gets substantial screen time, it seems lost in so much tripe.

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