Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#1
Detective Hunt said (in general comments):

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>since when did Charmaine think it was OK to hang out with the Sopranos? It seemed to me she really has a strong dislike of Tony, and has distanced herself from Carm ever since the fund raiser incident from season one. I found that to be very strange.<hr></blockquote>

I have wondered about this one ever since Artie casually dropped to Carm and friends that Charmaine and he were getting back together. I don't know if its a major point or not, but it seems like such an unusual change with her character that I wanted to address it.

In previous seasons, we have seen Charmaine shrink away from all involvement with Tony. Despite her relationship with Tony when they were much younger and Tony and Carm were on a break, Charmaine had nothing but contempt for Tony's mob activities. She consistently harped on Artie about getting involved with Tony, forcing him to turn down cruise tickets, constantly pressuring Artie to confront Tony about his tab, etc.

It made all the sense in the world, when Artie was all over Adrianna and then the French girl that introduced him to Jean Claude and the french liquor fiasco that Charmaine would leave him. Artie got that ridiculous earring, tried to play into the mob world, and Charmaine promptly ditched him.

Suddenly then, it was a shock to me, and I remember noting with surprise, that the writers just dropped the little fact that Artie and Charmaine were getting back together. I believe I asked "what in the world does she see in him that is different from when she left him?"

In this episode Charmaine sees Artie picking on Martina, and given their history she would have absolutely suspected him of acting that way because he had been rejected by her after making advances.

So why is Charmaine suddenly so understanding and caring about Artie? I don't think it was ever explained to us.

There are parallels to be drawn with Tony and Carm, but Tony has shown real signs of change and fidelity to Carm. I haven't seen corollary improvements in Artie's behavior, attitude, or stability. Of course, the previews for next week seem to cast some doubt on Tony's newfound fidelity, but I'm still left wondering what the hell happened with Charmaine, and why is she no longer the strong character she used to be?



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Re: Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#2
I agree. It's right up there with other transformations/plot developments that I've found completely incongruous -- Furio's emergence as complex soulful sensitive Italian guy from two-bit two-dimensional thug; Phil's ongoing oscillation between psychotic impulsiveness and poker-faced, business-savvy calm; and Bobby and Janice, the show's sweetest and most shallow characters, respectively, tying the knot. There are acceptable justifications for all, but they still strain belief.

Really though, the primary purpose Charmaine served in this episode was to chastize Artie, which is all she ever did anyway, so I guess they just figured they'd put them together again to have some semblance of a voice of reason in his life to keep him from murdering his entire staff.

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Re: Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#4
De Novo said:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Really though, the primary purpose Charmaine served in this episode was to chastize Artie<hr></blockquote>

You think? I didn't see her doing much chastizing, especially not with the razor sharp tongue she always has possessed. Instead she seemed relatively supportive, and even when she was critical she was constructively critical.

As for your other contentions, let me briefly point out why Charmaine's change bothers me so much more than those others --

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Furio's emergence as complex soulful sensitive Italian guy from two-bit two-dimensional thug<hr></blockquote>

This one seemed to me as a natural progression of getting to know the character better. How many times do you get an impression of someone that ends up being completely off the more you get to know them? This one was fine in my book, it seemed like a natural progression in terms of a guarded character slowly letting people in.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Phil's ongoing oscillation between psychotic impulsiveness and poker-faced, business-savvy calm<hr></blockquote>

Again, Phil tries hard to be old school and remain poker-faced, but he's got a quick temper, and last night's episode made sure to reference his outburst as at least partially drunken. Again, this doesn't seem unusual, its just his personality.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Bobby and Janice, the show's sweetest and most shallow characters, respectively, tying the knot.<hr></blockquote>

Janice, sweet? Man, we have very different tastes in women! This didn't bother me either. Bobby was essentially the village idiot babysitter to Uncle Junior. He's never been particularly competent, and his "sweetness" I really take for some fundamental weaknesses in his character. Meanwhile, Janice is absolutely manipulative, and found in Bobby a way to remain "in the life" through her SO while also getting to wear the pants in the relationship, not common in mafia marriages.

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Angie's sudden emergence as alpha female businesswoman from meek, ostracized mob rat widow.<hr></blockquote>

I think the show mentioned that she spent a lot of time and effort learning how the body shop worked in order to run it herself. Again, learning to run a small business is believable, and since she's got no one to depend on but herself, she really stepped up.



Contrast all those realistic character developments with Charmaine taking back an utterly worthless Artie Bucco, who has shown not an ounce of ability or appreciable moral qualities in the past 4 seasons, reigning in her sharp tongue, supporting Artie, and becoming accepting of Tony and his lifestyle, to the point of defending Benny's interest in Martina. Something definitely doesn't add up.

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Re: Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#6
I meant Janice was shallow and Bobby was sweet -- no sweetness in Jance at all! I just found it unbelievable that she would go from Richie to Ralph to Bobby, and the fact that the latter transition happened so quickly was hard to swallow from a character standpoint, even though I believe she did it through manipulation and for utterly selfish reasons.

I think your reasoning behind all of those changes was probably what the writers had in mind, but in all cases it still stretched my personal belief. Especially re. Furio, though I guess my problem with that was equally a problem with the dead-end puppy love sub-plot it turned out to be.

I agree that Charmaine was supportive, but she also did her standard chastizing; I'm willing to accept the fact that she loved Artie all along, so while her support for him was somewhat jarring, I don't find it any less believable than the ways those other characters exhibited different sides to the viewer. That said, to me ALL of those changes strained credibility to some extent.

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Re: Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#7
You're right, I should have read what you wrote a little more carefully.

Without digging back into the others that you pointed out, and I see your perspective, this sudden change in Charmaine just strikes me as significantly more surprising to the point of being almost incomprehensible to me. Is anyone else feeling that?

Artie really hasn't shown much, if anything, in the way of positive qualities in a long, long time.

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Re: Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#8
I personally don't see it as out of character for her to have gotten back together with Artie...Remember when Carmela is over Tony's bed delivering her tremendous monologue in "Join the Club"? She references Artie and Charmaine and says something about them breaking up and it being "one of many"...This tells me that they are a couple who loves eachother but over the years they have split up and come back and split up and come back and on and on...I know plenty of couples like that

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Re: Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#9
I don't know that I see her manner towards Artie as unrealistic. As others have suggested, they most likely have had a contentious relationship their whole lives with one another, and when she told Artie she was leaving him way back, she was truly hurt that it felt to her that Artie was choosing Tony over her.

Which brings me back to my initial curiosity - since when did Charmaine show any desire to spend time with Tony and Carmela as friends since we have seen this show? Yes, they cater their dinner parties and such - but for honest money. Charmaine has always been forceful towards Artie about NOT getting close to Tony because Tony's money is not honest.

There has been no suggestion whatsoever that she has changed on that or if so, why. In fact, she never even showed up in the hospital as far as we know - only Artie did. So why would the two couples be out boating together? That struck me as completely out of character.

And I will agree that the Furio change has always bugged me too. To go from extreme tough guy to some loving caring man that Tony could not be (at least in Carm's mind) never worked for me. But that's a topic for another thread.

Back to the lovely Charmaine...so what gives?

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Re: Charmaine Bucco's tremendous character change

#10
i think artie is lacking some power atm, he wasted his powers when he had to build up the new vesuvio after the old one blew up, thats quite some work one should not underestimate....so he is now lacking power to keep up with the new restaurant.
the new restaurant is taking the best customers and charmaine wishes now she had some money, otherwise it might look very dark for the buccos, even more after benny has ruined american express for them.i wonder if we will see more of this, maybe artie throwing a molotov cocktail into the new restaurant or if vesuvio will just end up being a smaller, more familiar place with more pizza maybe on the card.

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