Tag Archives: sopranos

Now Would Have Been a Great Time for a New Sopranos Season

James Gandolfini passed way, way too soon and among the many, many reasons why this was tragic is that with the roll out of HBO MAX, now would have been a good time for a new season of The Sopranos, one to wrap all the lingering questions that were never fully answered.

Like most 2000s era people, I was glued to this show back in the day. Lately, I’ve been watching it over on HBO MAX and I have to say, it’s a strange experience, comparing how I felt when I watched it when I was young and now that I am old. In other words, when I first watched it, I was around the age of Tony’s kids and now I’m watching it again around the same age as Tony himself. Wow, time moves fast.

So many questions were left unresolved by that series finale which left most of America wacking their TV sets, thinking they’d gone on the fritz when a potential hit on the Soprano clan (or maybe it was just a guy going to the bathroom) was set up only for the screen to go straight to black.

In David Chase’s defense, I’m not sure there was a finale that could have ever made everyone happy. The weird thing about the show is that on one level, nearly every character was either a degenerate scumbag, or a friend or family member suffering due to their loved one’s scumbaggery. On another level, it was about family and yet on another level, it was about strategic planning.

Ergo, there was a lot strange water cooler talk in the 2000s. “Hey, I think Tony should wack Johnny Sack.” and “Really? I think that would just start a war with New York.” Kind of how like the water talk of the 2010s was about dragons and fantasy worlds and crap thanks to Game of Thrones.

Right about now, Tony would be an older man about 60. His kids would be (wow) roughly middle-aged or about there. Some questions that could be answered:

#1 – As the show progressed, Carmella moved from dutiful mob wife to a strong woman who yearned for independence. For years, she blamed Tony and wished he would end his philandering, crooked ways. Then, she eventually wised up and realized in this world, people treat you with the level of respect that you accept. She stuck around through the philandering, so Tony didn’t stop philandering. She looked the other way on the mob debauchery because the proceeds allowed her to live in a nice house and have nice things. Ultimately, she sought to get away from all of this. She got her real estate broker’s license. Began making her own income. Kicked Tony out. I think they got back together but I dpn’t remember for sure how it went down, if Tony mended at least his pervy ways or not. At any rate, it would have been interesting to see if Carmella ever achieved her dream of supporting herself through legit means while having a man who loved her and felt she was enough and wouldn’t cheat and so on.

#2 – Same thing with the kids. The older they got, the more they wised up. Their dad was a crook and all the fancy stuff they got was from the proceeds of mafia crookery. If they wanted legit lives, they’d have to distance themselves from their old man. Meadow was motivated and looked like she was on the way to becoming a lawyer. Maybe in a new season, she’d end up as a Congresswoman or something, dogged by her dad’s evil doings and needing to put distance between herself and him. Meanwhile, AJ was left in the lurch. There was good in him and he had the capacity to succeed but he was also kind of a lazy little prick, too comfortable living off his dad’s money and there was a danger he might eventually either become a wiseguy himself (unlikely as he lacked the toughness) or maybe he’d just become like, a jerk who sat around all day.

#3 – I could go on and on. I always felt like the last season was rushed. Christopher and Adriana going on the run would have been more interesting than the way they resolved the whole situation with Adriana turning state’s witness. Maybe their deaths could turn out to be dreams and it turns out they moved to Vermont to start a bed and breakfast. Christopher finally beat his substance addiction. Then again, it’s hard to watch these episodes where Christopher beats Adriana senseless and it makes me wonder why she doesn’t leave him except I guess money is so hard to come by that sometimes spouses and/or significant others talk themselves into putting up with a lot of shit as long as they are provided for financially.

Anyway, I started watching all the old episodes because of the news of “The Many Saints of Newark” movie, due later this year, a prequel starring Gandolfini’s son about how a young Tony Soprano got into organized crime.

I’m no mind reader, but this new movie makes me wonder if Chase wouldn’t have been open to the idea of a wrap up season to help boost HBO MAX. Does Tony end up on trial? In jail? Does he beat everyone? Does he get killed? Who knows?

As I watch the old shows, I notice Tony has a fear of ending up old and alone like his Uncle Junior, or busted and he notes elderly 80 something NYC crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi reigned till an old age because he gave orders through his son, i.e. his blood and so Tony was grooming Christopher to be his mouthpiece so that it would be Christopher who got pinched instead of him.

Anyway, I could talk Sopranos all day and my last observation is that it really did usher in a new golden age of television. I read that Chase first pitched the idea to network television and I’m glad they turned it down because there’s no way the show could have had the impact it did if it weren’t on paid cable. Here, you saw the mob life in all its gritty horror – people being murdered as a business decision, people being chopped up, men pretending to be good husbands and fathers while grabbing any side pieces they could. Funny, I remember back then their were concerns that the show glorified the mob life but if you watch it, then if anything you realize this isn’t any kind of a life at all. These guys are nuts, paranoid, constantly looking over their shoulder, never enjoying a minute of relaxation or security, always wondering when the hit will be called on them. Money is truly the root of all evil and you get the impression that if Tony could do it all over again, he’d probably become a used car salesman or something.

I do wonder though if the show could make it in today’s woke age. The characters said and did horrible things….constantly…and back then context was understood i.e. the shows creators weren’t endorsing what the Sopranos and co. did or said but rather, where putting the mob life on full display, with all of the dirty, disgusting warts and all.

Tagged , , , ,

Top Ten Worst TV Show Endings/Series Finales Ever – #10 – The Sopranos

1378294009-800pxIt’s not over until the fat lady sings but more often than not, TV writers have a tendency to make the fat lady shrug her shoulders, go, “Meh” and walk unceremoniously off stage.

We the viewers invest a lot of time in our favorite television shows. Is it too much to ask for the people in charge of these shows to return the favor?

From BQB HQ in Fabulous East Randomtown, here are the Top Ten Worst TV Series Finales Ever:

(NOTE: SPOILERS are revealed, so if you want to be disappointed on your own without me telling you how you’ll be disappointed, read no further.)

10.  The Sopranos – Every series sets forth a number of big questions and the unspoken deal between writer and viewer is that if viewers spend enough time with a show, the questions will be answered.

The question dangling over Tony Soprano’s head? What was going to happen to the New Jersey mob boss?

Was he going to end up in jail? Killed by one of his enemies? Betrayed by one of his friends (or hell, even his family)?

Or would he just come out on top, one step ahead of everyone who wanted to see him behind bars or six feet under?

The answer we got? “Meh.”

The show ends with Tony and family about to order dinner at a restaurant. In an homage to The Godfather, a man in a Member’s Only jacket ominously enters the bathroom. Fans of gangster flicks immediately recall how Michael Corleone once came out of a restaurant bathroom with a gun blazing.

Daughter Meadow arrives on the scene late and has difficulty parallel parking her car outside, suggesting that she may very well luck out into narrowly escaping a blood bath.

Like so many viewers, I too started slapping my cable box when the screen went black.

The last season tied up a seasonal arc. There was a whole beef between Tony and the New York mob and Tony came out on top. Fine, but that didn’t really answer what his overall fate would be.

As the viewers of the groundbreaking show, we really deserved to know how Tony’s life story ends.

And we just got a make up your own ending.  You were free to think that Tony, Carmella and AJ were massacred.  Or, if you prefer, Meadow joined them, they had a nice dinner, and then Tony continued to be a mobster anyway.

The sad part? Tony had so much anxiety about the uncertainty of his life. He often lamented how he’d been drafted into the “family business” by default.  He sought stability and suffered from panic attacks that made him pass out when he didn’t get it.

Take away all the evil mobsters, murders, drugs, debauchery and death and the average viewer with a family, a mortgage, a tough job, struggling to make ends meet and wondering what tough breaks life was going to hurl at him next likely found Tony’s anxious plight to be relatable.

Ironically, all we got was anxiety over our unanswered questions in the end.

Worse, producer David Chase, years later in an interview, noted that the ending meant Tony lived.

Sigh.  We don’t even get the do-it-yourself ending anymore.

Major props to this show though because it really was one of the first to draw big audiences to cable TV, proving that there was a desire among the public for darker storylines and well…the kind of gratuitous sex and violence that only pay television can provide.

We wouldn’t be oggling fantasy maiden boobs today on Game of Thrones had The Sopranos not paved the way with the ladies of the Bada Bing.

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Pop Culture Mysteries – Open Contracts

By: Jake Dashing, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Investigator

shutterstock_224427610

Pop culture.  It’s a world that keeps Bookshelf Q. Battler up late at night, his spacious brain filling up with one question after another about movies, music, television, books, and more.

I’m not sure I can relate. When I lose sleep, its because I’m too busy picturing all the Nazis my country demanded that I punch to death with my bare hands. I suppose each generation has its priorities.

Battler’s got info I want and he’s not forking it over until I solve a whole mess of mysteries for him.  But this whack job thinks of questions faster than I can answer them, so here are the mysteries currently up for grabs.

Being a private dick is a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but if you want to try your luck at the sleuthing game, feel free to let Battler know you want to snatch one of these up:

MOVIES

In Star Wars, if the Death Star is supposed to be the size of an actual star, why is everyone able to walk around it and fly around it so quickly?

In Pulp Fiction, Harvey Keitel’s character, “the Wolf” is billed as a highly skilled fixer, one whose knowledge regarding the art of the cover up is so valuable that he simply erase all evidence of a crime, making it as if nothing ever happened….but then all he does is show up and tell Vince and Jules to spray the car down with Windex.  (Seriously, watch the movie.)  Was the Wolf that special?

TELEVISION

Did Tony Soprano live or die at the end of The Sopranos?  Was this a good or bad ending?

Why did the ending of Dexter both suck and blow at the same time?  Or did it?

On Gilligan’s Island, Gilligan and the gang go on, as the theme song says, “a three hour tour.”  How then, was it possible for everyone to become so irretrievably lost when they only strayed a mere three hours away from charted land?

On Married with Children, the running joke was that Al Bundy was disgusted by the idea of getting it on with his wife, Peggy.  Peggy wasn’t that bad looking though, even with her wacky beehive and leopard print attire.  What gives?

On Sons of Anarchy,  Jax Teller embraces a life of crime that provides very little return on investment.  Why is it that a scruffy bum who was lucky enough to win the heart of super hot doctor Tara didn’t just sit back and say, “Well, I’m going to sponge off my hot surgeon wife now, who no doubt makes a high salary because she’s a damn surgeon.  Hell, maybe I’ll even put my focus on turning the auto repair garage my father left into a profitable business.”  But instead, he just keeps making lousy criminal deals and then bumbles his way through them, often losing money on them and inviting a world of hurt.  Seriously, WTF?

MUSIC

Who put the bomp in the bomp sha bomp sha bomp and will this individual strike again?

Who let the dogs out?

What is a “hollaback girl” and why does Gwen Stefani go to great lengths to make sure you know she isn’t one?

To be sure, Sir Mix-a-Lot likes big butts and is unable to lie about this particular subject.  Why then, do the other brothers deny this truth?

VIDEO GAMES

What’s up with the hard sell?  Whenever you buy one they try to make you buy insurance, upgrades, and basically treat you like you’re trying to buy a fully loaded 2016 Toyota Tundra instead of a $60 fantasy experience.  What gives?

COME UP WITH YOUR OWN

That’s all Battler’s got for now but rest assured that loser will keep ’em coming.  That nerd has way too much time on his hands.  And if you’re a nerd with too much time on your hands, feel free to come up with a pop culture mystery of your own and raise it up the flag pole to see if Battler salutes.

For those of you who can’t translate hardboiled noir talk, that means tell him about it in the comments.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,