Nov 15, 2013

They Call Me Mr Pitiful

Alright.  Here comes Mr Crab.  Here comes Mr Pitiful.  Here comes Mr No Fun.  I have just about finished watching The Sopranos with the Wife, and after watching over fifty or sixty hours of this legendary cable series, the series that ushered in the glorious new Golden Age of Scripted Television, I can report that I do not like it.  I do not like it one whit.  I really can not see what all the fuss is about.  I understand that it was the first.  That it was the (god)father of all the great television shows that came after it (although I disagree with some critics who insist that The Wire does not happen without The Sopranos.  I disagree because David Simon had already produced a groundbreaking television show on commercial teevee, Homicide:  Life on the Street), and that for that alone it deserves some serious respect.  But, to this reviewer, not respect enough to call The Sopranos a rich or rewarding or enjoyable or profound television experience.

Let us get down and dirty, here is why:

  • None of these characters are likeable.  Okay, maybe Meadow.  Or, Ginny Sac.  But that is it.
  • These asshole mope hoods are really just a bunch of screaming baby spoiled New Jersey Housewives, "He didn't invite me to the barbecue, I'm gonna blow his head off!"
  • This show also inspired a whole crappy media blitz subculture of New Jersey shows about crappy spoiled New Jersey people.  Basta! I have had it up to here with New Jersey! Go away!
  • My goodness, there is so much violence towards women on this show.  It seems that every other episode one of these spoiled baby hoods is beating the crap out of his goomar or wife.
  • The heavy handed dream sequences and heavy handed metaphors about animals.  You know, the stuff with the bear and the coma dream.
  • Honestly, The Sopranos has not aged well.  Not in a way that The Wire has, which seems as fresh upon rewatching as anything on television now.  Watch the first few seasons again of The Sopranos, and see if I am not right.
  • Dr Melfi is an awful therapist.  Her character is totally a stretch for me to believe.  And, what is Bogdonavich doing in there? How annoying.
  • That The Sopranos (and Mad Men, for that matter) owe as much to Twin Peaks as they do to the other obvious influences they have.  Twin Peaks is another insanely overrated program that was art for art's sake and ultimately a waste of everybody's time.  Heck, Chase, worked on The Rockford Files and Northern Exposure.  Why did he not take more from those programs?
  • (By the way, Chase and I share a name.  Chase is the anglicized version of his real Italian name, DeCesare.  My ancestor peeps from Abruzzo in Italy were named DiCesare, which got pronounced in Oklahoma as DUH-sair.)
  • That there was one brief stretch of programs in the sixth season where Vito was outed and we followed his arc for three episodes or such, where the show was so good.  Everything clicked.  The writing was great, the setups were gorgeous and thoughtfully composed, and it really appeared as if the show had finally found a voice, and spoke about issues that I cared about.  Then Vito gets whacked and the show went back to its crappy ways.  Live Free or Die from season six is the only episode of The Sopranos that I can say I would ever like to watch again.  The show's finest hour as far as I am concerned.  
  • That Chase (and Matthew Weiner, too) oftentimes seem to have contempt for their audience.
  • That the show is so depressing.  Everyone has cancer.  Everyone ends up in the hospital or the old folks home.  So much death.  Ugh.
  • And, finally, that what it boils down to is, I do not like mafia stories.  I see no great nobility here.  I am a bit disgusted in the glorification of these murdering thieving philandering wife beating criminals.  Man, I am always cheering for the DA when I am watching these mafia tales.

So.  There you have it.  Had to get that off my chest.  Mr No Fun is done.  You can go back to your normally scheduled program.


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