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So There's This Show Called...The Sopranos!

If you haven't noticed yet, we here at The Blogulator like to come up with ideas for new features. Now I've been weary about adding yet one more recurring column to the mix, especially with Qualler's introduction to another great new feature yesterday, but I've been stockpiling a lot of the same kind of post for a while now, so whether you like it or not, here's the latest one. So There's This Show Called... will serve as a venue where I dissect an old TV show that I'm just now catching up on. My basic requirement is that I must view at least the first two seasons of said show before offering my critique. In essence, I'm a DVD-aholic and I need a place to organize my thoughts on the shows I'm just now obsessing over, just often many years too late. So all I ask is that if you're a fan of the show in question and are caught up with it, please don't spoiler anything for me in the comments. That said, I will be spoiling a lot of the first two-ish seasons of these shows, so beware. But please feel free to offer up your own nostalgia based on my observations and/or things that I miss from the first two-ish seasons!

So there's this show called The Sopranos.

Reason For Johnny-Come-Lateliness: Two wretched films by the names of Analyze This and Analyze That. Luckily they make direct mention and dismissal of said films in season 2, which was brilliant. Also, I had friends that watched it when it was on but I only caught an episode here and there, thus causing my 20-year-old self to seizure with "what's going on?" impatience.

Commitment Level: I've watched seasons 1 & 2 over the past three months. Another way to look at that is that I watched the first two episodes over Christmas break and then watched the rest of season 1 and season 2 between the middle of February and last weekend.

The Episode That Got Me Addicted: The one where Tony takes Meadow to visit colleges. He recognizes a snitch that the Soprano mafia family has been looking for forever, but Tony only sees him at this point by pure coincidence, as he has morphed his identity with the help of the Witness Protection Program. The way creator David Chase and co. are able to visualize the inner turmoil Tony experiences, trying to balance his genuine love for his daughter and his inability to control his desire for revenge, with little to no obliquely related dialogue and just one final monstrous act at the episode's climax is phenomenally impressive. It's a horrifying episode that makes you love and hate Tony simultaneously. The character was allegedly the first bonafide TV drama anti-hero, and this episode alone offers some solid evidence why he'll always be remembered.

The Moment That Broke My Heart: Every good TV show has a moment that breaks your heart. Even the best sitcoms find a way to reel you in with its characters just to snap your central artery in two at a precisely timed moment to make you realize how much you care for them. The season 2 penultimate episode did this to me in spades. The moment is when, after cleaning up Richie's (see below) body, Tony returns to his sister Janice's house (which is also their mother's house once again as she moved back in once Janice decides to move in) to pick her up. As he walks in the door, we are smothered with a overly long medium-wide shot of Tony on the left, Janice on the right, and their elderly mother Olivia descending the staircase in the center (via a motorized chair that glides along a track on the wall no less). It's the first time Tony's seen his mother since he almost went through with suffocating her to death for maybe sorta kinda putting a hit out on him. It was, I feel, the heaviest singular moment, full of tension, despair, and anger, of the first two seasons, and it makes me super anxious to start the third.

Favorite Character(s): Anyone who's anyone should admit that Christopher Molanti is the most interesting and entertaining supporting character to watch, at least in the show's first two seasons. Not only is he a firecracker whose explosions you can never predict, but he is also a believable firecracker. Unlike your stock mob character with rage issues, every exaggerated reaction that actor Michael Imperioli has is meticulously crafted so that every Christopher scene that leads up to said reaction builds another layer of self-loathing, frustration, or fierce loyalty within the man, so that when the act finally goes down, it's still surprising due to sheer shock value, but is also heart-breakingly apt, because if this guy was real, I'd just want to give him a big ol' bear hug. But of course I wouldn't for fear of him shooting me in the foot (just like Imperioli got shot as a younger mob kid in GoodFellas, he did the opposite once a verifiable badass on The Sopranos). Also, a smaller guest role that I adored was Robert Patrick (aka T-1000) as a desperate gambling sports store owner father, who both idolizes Tony and gets used by him. His descent is admirably and atypically portrayed by a guy who I always thought was only good at playing stoic villains. Lastly, I really like old man Hesh, the former record label mogul, who Tony attempts for a bit to make his by proxy psychiatrist, but the two end up just yammering on about their problems to themselves while in the same room together.

Questions I Can't Wait To Be Answered: Will Tony ever make amends with his mother? Will Carmella ever cheat on Tony/will anyone dare ever sleep with Mrs. Soprano? Because what a tease with the wallpaper guy, Chase! How will the writers keep Meadow a part of the show's plot with her away at college? When will Tony start realizing he needs to start teaching Anthony Jr. tricks of his trade? Why won't Paulie and Silvio ever fully cross over into actual characters instead of remaining mere caricature capos, like Qualler has told me they do? Will the murder of Pussy come back to haunt Tony without absurd amounts of dream sequences like the ones that led up to him realizing the guy was a snitch? Will Edgar from 24 continue to play the dopey FBI guy and remind me of his awesome death scene from his more notable role? Will I finally like Junior as a character in season 3, as hinted by the end of season 2, which contained an awesome scene where his assistant literally stood with mouth agape after Junior talked to himself for a bit and then upon asking what he was staring at, said "I'm just in awe"? Where the hell else is there to go with the Dr. Melfi plot now that she's been exiled, come back, refused to treat him, started treating him again, and is now a drunk because she can't cure him nor can she convince herself it's okay to end her professional relationship with him?

Only time will tell. I can't wait to get season 3 in my grubby little hands and keep watching.

Future installments of So There's This Show Called... will include (tentatively) Damages, Veronica Mars, The West Wing, Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files, and more!

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  1. Blogger qualler | 9:55 AM |  

    Haha LOVE the new feature! I really wanna answer ALL of those questions that you have -- it's very tantalizing to live through the series again after having watched the whole thing through twice (once by myself, once with Brigitte).

    I will say, though, that Paulie will become slightly more than a caricature throughout the series, and Silvio isn't without his nice moments, either. I also wanna give Christopher (said in the Adrianna "Chris-tuh-phuhhh!" accent) a big bear hug.

  2. Blogger DoktorPeace | 5:16 PM |  

    Waiting for your take on The Honeymooners...

  3. Blogger TG | 1:15 PM |  

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