11 June 2007

Don't Stop Believin'

Thud. It was neither bloodbath nor blaze of glory: Tony Soprano went out with an onion ring nosh and a Journey song. I can only imagine the collective profanity when David Chase abruptly pulled the plug mid-scene and millions of people thought their cable had just gone out. The entire family is alive and well, Tony is not under arrest or heading into the witness protection program. Phil’s dead. Carry on. This series has never tied up storylines up in a neat bow but I admit it: I wanted more. In the final scene, it is the Tony we’ve always seen – the guy who shoots someone in the face, then goes for an eggplant parm sub. He is a monster but on many levels is just this goombah from Jersey working hard to get his fill.

Such is life:

“Some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues.
The movie never ends, it goes on and on and on.”

You know Chase was totally was fucking with us there.

So the Sopranos are going on with their lives as they always have but we won’t be able to watch them anymore. Until the movie version,for which this ending has clearly left open the door.


BAGS said...

This leaves the door open for The Sopranos movie in 2 years.

Anonymous said...

A disappointment. But go back to the first episode of the season where Tony and Bobby are talking and Bobby says something to the effect of -When you get shot you don't even feel it. Everything goes black.-Maybe Tony does get whacked. But I agree they probably wanted to keep it vague for the sake of the movie.

KJ said...

There's an article on Salon today that mentions that scene, but the author points out that if "going black" meant Tony got shot, it would mean we were suddenly watching the show from Tony's point-of-view..something that has never happened. But if that were the case, we also should have been able to see who killed him.

KJ said...

Bags--more like 2012.

Anonymous said...

Man, I loved it. Lost for words, actually.

KJ said...

I hated it the first time but watched it two more times and saw how they're trying to show how Tony's life WILL ALWAYS BE. He'll always be looking over his shoulder, forever dogged. In that sense, I liked it. But I still wanted more answers. They built up so much anticipation and then went black. I was unfulfilled.

jal said...

Right on KJ, Tony is dogged by so much. Personally and professionally.

Anonymous said...

I think it was trying to show what it always WAS. We took for granted that they couldn't, at least contractually Mr. Gandolfini, whack him. But, there were always those morning walks, replete with furtive looks for unmarked FBI vans, rivals, etc.; the man took meetings in his basement and ran the dryer. It was amusing for us. These last episodes presented obstacles, he overcame them as he always did, but now with no obligation to keep him alive, we squirmed for him for the first time with all we had. No, he didn't seem anymore nervous in Holstein's than he usually was driving (one eye glued to the rearview)...but,we, the audience were a lot more conscious.

KJ said...

That is so. very. true.

Weren't you the least bit frustrated, though? C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Sure. I want the big bang as much as the next guy.

But I'm not sure any ending was going to bring full closure.

While I loved the ending-"sorry, we're closed"-The "Cheers" finale felt like the last stage of the tour de france, where Lance Armstrong (in several of his wins) with a wide enough gap, sipped champagne and wave to the crowd, riding without effort.

Drama at its best is a guiltless voyeurism; the things we are privvy to! And we had the shades pulled on us, not him.( How much easier it would be to go on with him not going on!)

Brecht wrote: "There is nothing more interesting than a man tying his shoelaces."

I will miss Tony sifting though his plate of baked ziti as much as any hit, one-liner or goomah.

Multis Annos, Antonio. Buona Fortuna!

KJ said...

I didn't want a "big bang" so to speak so much as minor resolution (regardless of how obscure). Every moment seemed to foreshadow disaster: the family gathering -- all together -- at the restaurant. Meadow taking forever to parallel park, etc. Again, maybe this has been the case all along and we were just more conscious of it because it was the end of the series...Not sure, though. I think they were all red herrings meant to make us hyper-vigilant, give us heart palpitations. For no reason. That's why the black screen was such a let down.

I know one thing: I couldn't have written that damn finale so I'm one to talk. And I agree..I can't imagine any ending that would've satisfied. ooooh...This doesn't bode well for Lost in 2010.

I agree..Tony, Baked Ziti, the whole she-bang. Salut!

Anonymous said...

KJ, I feel the same as you..blue balled.

Alex said...


KJ said...

Blue balled. I feel that way and I don't even have 'em. It was definitely a cold shower instead of a cigarette.

Again, I don't think I'd have felt satisfied with ANY finale. I can't fathom one. The thrill here, like other great TV shows, was the ride. I still fear for Lost though. I can't even go there.

Alex-I know you are hurting most of all. Sorry, brother!

KJ said...

POP UP VIDEO: I skated to "Don't Stop Believin'" when I was 11 years old in a figure skating show called "Hit Parade on Ice."

Anonymous said...

The Cheers' finale was up there but you're right, no pressure. Thought the Seinfeld finale was just okay. Finales disappoint, it would seem.

For the Sopranos, I don't think any ending would have sufficed. I'll miss the show. When does entourage start?

Figure skating? You can't be serious. Can't picture it, KJ.

KJ said...

I wouldn't call the finale disappointing so much as anticlimatic. I don't know. Maybe after 12 viewings, my feelings will change. I know I'm going to obsess.

Figure skating. Yup. You have no idea.

Bob said...

I never saw one episode. It's on too late for me.

It's worse than crack for BJ, however, who never missed one.
Her take:Women are OK with the ending, because it's all about the buildup, whereas all the guys are looking for the climax, so they are the ones who are bitching.

I do like Journey, though!

KJ said...

Bob-tell BJ that we are so there.
Right on.

sb said...

KJ - I agree with you in that I think any finale would be disappointing to one person or another. You could have a bloodbath and that may please crowd A, but not crowd B who were anticipating a diff't outcome.

I watched the episode again last night, and I'm building a better and more understanding appreciation for the outcome. It’s difficult to craft a crowd pleaser in this situation.

And, I will add that when I watched it again last night, my heart still charged up in those last 5 minutes. Damn Meadow parking that car, people filing into the restaurant 1 at a time with Tony sizing up each of them. When you watch it again, there’s no mystery to any of these events. But we, knowing this is the final 5 minutes of 8 years of Sopranos, anticipated all of our questions would be answered and as a result created our own suspense and anxiety.

KJ said...

BG-Right on. I watched it again too. The more I watch it, the more it soaks in, the more appreciative I become of the way it ended. I think a lot of people will feel that way upon multiple viewings. Granted, the seris finale shouldn't have been executed in such a way that it takes multiple viewings to "Get" it, but I'm over it. I'll miss the show.

Anonymous said...

Well-put, SB.

KJ, have you read Freud's theory on writer's block? He theorized that it wasn't writers went blank, rather: they were hit with a confluence of possibilities at one moment. Like X-Mas eve, last day of school, first date, halloween all at once. The stimulus can be uncomfortable, so the subconscious gives the feeling of "shutting off" thoughts. (When you think of it, was it that you were stumped of what to say or you could have written 50 different perspectives on the same subject?)

Similarly, It wasn't that "nothing happened" in the finale, it's that the possibilities are too great; The members only guy could have come out of restroom guns ablazing; The guy in hunting garb could be a FED; the young African- Americans may start firing. And they all happened, in our subconscious, all at once.

Yes, we are appalled that O.J. killed, but we are probably more psychically disturbed that he never answered are prurient questions.

KJ said...

I'm not familiar with the Freud theory but it makes perfect sense not only in the case of the Sopranos but also in my daily disorganized thinking.

Some "dwell in possibility." I am overwhelmed by it. Daily.

"prurient" -- awesome word for a Tues. AM.

Bob said...

Not to be confused with
Function: adjective
: of, relating to, or marked by itching

Medical terms wedge their way into my consciousness all the time.

It's a curse.

lpd said...

I'd like to go back and watch the finale again, just to view the songs Tony considered before selecting Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" on the jukebox. Perhaps the titles tell a part of the story.

Was anybody else hoping that A.J. would get whacked?

Anonymous said...

A couple of the songs were:

" No where to hide" and "I got to be me".

Also, "working to get my fill..." line from "Dont' stop believin'" Fill=Phil. Notice: the canoodling young couple laugh at that line.