Monday, June 05, 2006

So That's It, Is It?

So we now know why HBO and David Chase added 8 more episodes to the life of The Sopranos (due to air next January?).

If last night's episode was ever considered to be the last of the series, we can easily see why that idea was quickly nixed.

There would have been a riot.

When you think about it, Sopranos fans kind of have to put up with a lot in order to enjoy the show. To start with, of course, you have to pay for it. Worth every penny of course, but worth mentioning.

More importantly, we've had to put up with the spotty scheduling and the extended hiatuses (hiati?) between short (13 episode, or even 12 episode) seasons. In all, it's taken about 7 years to air 77 episodes.

Both problems are worth it, as the result has generally been a high-quality page-turner of a show.

This season, though, has been a bit more problematic. The story of Vito, the wide-guy/wise-guy turned Johnnycake-lovin' antiquer, was a source of endless mirth -- at least until his brutal death.

Likewise, the continuing tale of "just how big of a jag is A.J.?" provided some classic moments. The look on Tony's face when A.J. described the angst of clubbing with a two-bottle-of-Cristal-minimum hanging over your head was utterly beautiful.

But the focus of the season was on the "what is this crazy life all about" stories of Tony, Carmela and Chris-ta-fa.

Tony getting plugged by a crazed Uncle Junior was probably the most startling moment of the series, but little else in the "search for meaning" storylines was all that interesting. Tony-as-Kevin-Finnerty drove out to the beacon and was nearly coaxed by Steve Buscemi into joining the family reunion that never ends.

Meadow managed to lure him back into the land of the living, complete with a new outlook on life.

Well, sort of.

By the end of the season, he's gloating over Phil Leotardo's heart attack.

Carmela gets yanked around like a mindless puppet. Her relentless pursuit of Adriana's fate quickly short-circuited by the dangling bauble of a shoddily-built spec house.

And Chris-ta-fa makes a spur-of-the-moment jump into marriage, immediately followed by a spur-of-the-moment descent back into smack -- this time with Nurse Carol Hathaway. But it's OK, cuz they don't do each other when they're doing H -- and they don't use needles!

All of which means not a whole lot was resolved in last night's sixth-season-finale.

But my money's on a rally next winter, and we'll get our closure.


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