‘Live Free or Die’ Is About Coming Out of the Closet.

#1
While on the surface it appears this episode was largely comprised of Vito’s manifestation as a homosexual, Sunday’s episode revealed a larger portion of the Sopranos clan coming out of the closet, metaphorically, specifically, Tony.

One can ask what it means to come out of the closet. In large part, it is the revelation of a secret prominently displayed for all to see. We all know the phrase’s derivatives like “skeletons in the closet” or “cleaning out the closet” but the ideas remains the same; secrets are revealed for all to learn, interpret, and hopefully, accept.

Everyone’s secrets came out in this episode. Everyone’s facades dismantled before our eyes. If their posturing was a building, it would be a dilapidated slum in East Englewood. The title of this episode is a warning to the audience of the attitudes, while not necessarily changing, being placed on display for everyone, not just us, and especially for those who refuse to subscribe to the apothegm.

Tony is revealing himself as a homosexual apologist. For someone who has always been conservative in his public political views, Tony is showing himself to be quite the Elton John, pillow biting type, sympathizer. While sitting in Melphi’s office has always given him the autonomy necessary to explore the self, his real views are still carefully presented around the crew for fear they will see him as weak. Tony tried to maintain his façade in Melphi’s office, but he buckled and grew honest about Vito: honesty that will root his downfall. I find it ironic Tony felt it necessary to pick a fight with his bodyguard to reestablish his role of patriarch, but it is really his soft views on homosexuality that will undo his feeble attempt at gaining control of the crew. Sil’s advice was necessary. Tony knew Sil was right.

It is obvious from this episode Tony will be brought down by his own crew. Tony’s new outlook on life will make his weaknesses manifest. Unfortunately for him, his crew will not be so endearing of the new Tony. If the choice is to live free or die, it’s too bad the choice is not either/or for Tony; for him, it is “live free and die.”


</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge.showUserPublicProfile?gid=detectivehunt>Detective Hunt</A> at: 4/20/06 4:08 pm

Re: ‘Live Free or Die’ Is About Coming Out of the Closet.

#2
Great points, though I don't think Tony's downfall will be his defense of a homosexual man.

It's just another brick in the wall that he's building around the guys. Note that he rarely hangs out with them anymore (the first few seasons were full of big lunches and dinners, complete with laughter, impersonations and good times), and his moral objections with the behaviors of his cronies, added to his new life-view, as a result of his coma experience, are really cementing the fact that Tony is almost nothing like his mafia bretheren.

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Re: ‘Live Free or Die’ Is About Coming Out of the Closet.

#4
Duke,

I don't mean to pick a fight, but I have to take a couple of exceptions here.

First of all, the phrase "skeletons in the closet" is not a derivative of "coming out of the closet." And they don't mean the same thing. You have it right about "coming out" being secrets revealed. But "skeletons in the closet" refers to secrets that have not been revealed; and the phrase has been part of the idiom for decades, if not centuries. Maybe "coming out of the closet" is derived from "skeletons in the closet", but certainly not the other way around.

More to the point, I don't understand what you mean by "Everyone’s secrets came out in this episode." What secret other than Vito's are you talking about?

Tony isn't a homosexual apologist, he is just trying to bring their thing into the 21st century when the whole world knows that there are homosexual people in every walk of life. The reason he wants to give Vito a pass has been plainly stated several times in the story, namely greed! Vito is his top earner. In fact, he recognizes that now, if Vito came back, he could be an even better earner than before. Tony wants that money and he doesn't care where it comes from.

It is greed that will bring down the house. Tony and Chris are ignoring the risk of dealing with middle easterners in the middle of a war on terror. Why? Greed. Tony is willing to deal with a revolt by accepting Vito back. Why? Greed. Pauly ignored Tony's promise not to hurt Baby Barone and broke his leg anyway. Why? Greed. Philly is ready to throw Johnny under a bus after his daughter's wedding. Why? Greed. Money, money, money, M-O-N-E-Y.

Finally, Tony's push to keep Vito in the family isn't a sign of weakness. It takes real strength to face down the cannon in spite of the rage of the clan, forcing his will on his underlings. He is flexing his Boss muscles. He has developed the ability to stay calm in crisis. Even when he beat the crap out of Perry, he was dead calm. Tony now, compared to his youth--like Vito Corleone and Sonny. Who was stronger?

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Re: ‘Live Free or Die’ Is About Coming Out of the Closet.

#5
I don't think Vito is an indispensable earner. He may be "good," but he can be replaced.

I think Tony's light hand on the subject has more to do with him feeling, on some level, that he is as much of an outsider these days as Vito is.

Let's face facts: Tony sees a shrink! This was almost reason for him to be killed during Season 1. Tony is VERY unlike other mobsters, and now Vito is, too.

In some sense, Tony must identify more with Vito now than ever, and certainly more than anyone else in his little group.

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Re: ‘Live Free or Die’ Is About Coming Out of the Closet.

#6
<blockquote>Quote:<hr> don't understand what you mean by "Everyone’s secrets came out in this episode." What secret other than Vito's are you talking about?<hr></blockquote>

I] Angie putting money on street [hiding from Carmela]
II] Tony revealing himself as soft [trust me, Paulie and others are talking]
III] Meadow revealing her secret to her mother about Vito and Finn
IV] Finn had to reveal his secret about Vito
V] Tony revealing to Carmela his attempt to be a boy a mother couldn't hate


This was definitely a secret divulging episode.

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Re: ‘Live Free or Die’ Is About Coming Out of the Closet.

#7
ok, well I guess we have to agree to disagree.

I don't think Tony is revealing himself as being soft. Instead he is showing strength by trying to change the old ways. Anytime the topic is brought up, he responds with strength. If he were to cave in to pressure from the crew, now THAT would be a sign of weakness. Instead he is reserving the right to make that decision on his own in spite of the pressure. That is strength, not weakness.

Angie's putting money on the street wasn't a secret. She just hadn't told Carmela. By telling Ro she knew Carmela would find out. I don't see any "coming out" theme here.

Meadow and Finn weren't keeping secrets about themselves. True they were keeping a secret about Vito out of fear of reprisal, but that doesn't fit with the idea of "coming out of the closet" which is where this thread began.

Tony has often confided in Carmela about his inner feelings. In this episode he confided why Melfi thinks he has stood by Junior after the first move. She is is wife after all. I don't see a "coming out" theme here either. Coming out would mean he revealed a secret to the world at large, not just to his wife.

As far as Paulie and others talking, well they are forever testing those waters and for now, Tony has them all firmly back in the boat.

As far as Vito's earning, Tony clearly stated that Vito was his >top< earner. Indespensible? Nobody is indespensible. The graveyard is full of indespensible men. It will take time to replace the revenue stream that Vito created.

Oh, and by the way, Vito did not come out of the closet, he was dragged out. As far as I can see, nobody has come out of any closets here.

Peace .

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Re: ‘Live Free or Die’ Is About Coming Out of the Closet.

#8
<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Tony has often confided in Carmela about his inner feelings. In this episode he confided why Melfi thinks he has stood by Junior after the first move. She is is wife after all. <hr></blockquote>

I guess everything is rosy in Sopranoland for you. I don't have to remind you Tony didn't talk to Carmela about Uncle Junior because Carmela told him she didn't want to talk about him and Tony always respected it. As far as how he responded to his children about Uncle Junior, Tony always responded with some diatribe about taking care of family and family comes first.


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