Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#51
I have to say, I read the beginning of this thread and found myself in almost complete disagreement with nearly everyone who posted -- but the back-end has been right in line with my thoughts, especially the contributions of FOMW and EdaMaria.

AJ IS -- I repeat -- IS good, if you consider goodness to be innocence and capacity to love. Sure he does some seemingly mean stuff as a kid like locking little bacala in the garage and playing with the ouija board, but my cousins did the exact same thing to me when we were that age. AJ may do a line of coke in the bathroom, or be drinking under-age, but notice also that we never see him incapacitated either via drugs or alcohol. He's not drunk or excessively high at any point.

He has never really shown a capacity for truly "bad" acts, until the moment when he came so close to killing Junior. People seem to forget that although his plan would have led to him getting caught as a matter of course, the size of that knife and Junior's condition would have certainly made it possibly and even likely that if AJ had actually made a killing stroke on Junior, it would have succeeded.

As I have said earlier, AJ has never had pride in himself, partly because he constantly seeks Tony's approval -- but it sometimes has appeared that the only way AJ can get Tony's attention to begin with is to screw up. As I think back, I think the only time I can remember Tony expressing pride in AJ was after the football game when AJ got in and made a play. Tony offered to take him to get ice cream, an offer which I believe AJ rejected.

At any rate, AJ has given up trying to secure Tony's pride and approval through methods like school work, gainful employment, and really, what else is there for a 19 year old to gather pride from his father in?

Some of the points made about Tony wanting to shuttle the blame onto Carm for problems on the home front strike particularly true for me. Tony has never encouraged AJ (with the one possible exception of football, but AJ is not built to be a football player, and never will be). So, given this lack of attention from his father, a lack of a sense of self-worth on his own part (witness his loser friends who only use him for his money or his father), AJ tried to get his father's approval by acting out his father's favorite part in the Godfather.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I have seen such a lack of sympathy for AJ, without the commensurate evaluation of Tony's actions which have made AJ the "man" that he is, that I feel I need to make the case that AJ is not flawed, it is rather Tony's flaws reflected in AJ that make AJ who he is.

Keep in mind how Tony never does a favor for nothing -- AJ agrees to help his "friend" out with the landlord problem, then gets stuck with the bill. AJ doesn't have power, self-assurance, confidence, or pride in himself. Admittedly he hasn't done much that would help him acquire any of these things, but lets not dismiss him as useless due to his own choices -- some of that behavior has been transferred onto him by Tony.

And last, for those who think that the AJ material is purely filler, I could not disagree more. Who is in a better position to force change on Tony's life than his only son, who he genuinely LOVES and CARES ABOUT. I would argue that scenes involving Tony, Carmella, Meadow, AJ (and I would have argued Christopher in the past, but I'm not so sure now) are the PUREST scenes in the entire show, and the ones that ought to have every viewer on the edge of their seat soaking in every word spoken. This show is about Tony's life, and I don't see Chase taking the easy way out and effecting change on Tony's life via incarceration by the Feds. I think its all going to come from the core nucleus of his immediate family.

In other words, don't be so hard on AJ, he's his father's son, and the more Tony begins to realize that, the harder its going to be for him to look in the mirror. Recall that the Tony we have seen in flashbacks to his teenage years was a rather sullen, intimidated, rebellious (robbing a mafia card game for god's sake), and father-dominated wimp of an individual. And look how Tony turned out.

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Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

#52
<blockquote>Quote:<hr>So he tried to do it on his own - to prove himself. And it ended in (for AJ) the worst result possible.<hr></blockquote>

Well, maybe not the worst possible result, but I agree with what you are saying.

AJ is a snivelling, cowardly, little kid. Junior is a senile old man, with health problems. But Junior has, at least, been in life or death struggles before. I wouldn't have been totally shocked to see Junior get the knife from him and stab him.





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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#54
Let's not forget that Tony's favorite scene
in The Godfather, which he watched with A.J.,
was when Michael avenges the hit on his father
and winds up going to Sicily after shooting the
'perpetraitors' in the restaurant.

Tony has to explain to A.J. after the failed
attempt to knife-kill Uncle Junior that "It's
only a movie," not realizing as a parent, that
young kids take things quite literally.

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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#55
I have to respectfully disagree with the AJ is good theory. Yes, he is sometimes amusingly, sometimes heartbreakingly without guile. What you see is what you get with AJ. But I think Chase might want us to believe that being "Good"--even for AJ--involves more than naivete and a basic good-nature.

It is true that AJ is Tony's son, and god knows he would have fared better in the Best and Brightest category had his dad have NOT chosen 'Waste Management' as a career. Granted, he hasn't shot anyone ala Jackie Jr, or sold E. That's in his favor. What he has done, includes awakening still somewhat high, glued to a floor and eyebrowless...he's destroyed and urinated on a goodly portion of his high school, and walked away nonchalantly (without even a courtesty blink or "gee") when told that members of his high school class were killed.

When I think of "good, innocent" characters on this show, I think of (so far) Bobby Baccala.... whom I think has a good heart despite his Nostradamus/Notre Dame moments. I don't think of AJ.

AJ will not grow up to be Tony Sr., or Bobby in my (Very very fallible) opinion. I think the sins of the father affect the son, but the apple falling from the tree doesn't guarantee a ditto. Similarities, yes, as Melfi, DarnGood, Eda, and FOMW have noted--but in the case of JM, she's going to reference something that Tony gets, and deep down he knows his own nature.

Anyhoo...In a best case scenario, if AJ does manage to survive to adulthood, I think he will be a Paulie Walnuts.
Maybe this will be a good thing....narrow and dense though Paulie is, he really did love his ma....at least til this season.

Just thinking out loud. He is young. But gosh, like Tony says, he's not a kid anymore. I know, I know, kids grow up differently nowadays. But sheesh.

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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#57
<blockquote>Quote:<hr>at this point i could definitely see AJ killing himself because he doesnt feel like he has anywhere to run. but maybe more in that cry for help way that accidently works...<hr></blockquote>
AJ is too narcissistic and cowardly to do anything like that. He might run away, or go live with some "friends," but I don't think he ever would off himself...

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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#58
I'm glad there is some sympathy out there for AJ. For me, the AJ and Tony relationship is about as important as Tony/Meadow, but more than Tony/Carmella...

Actually, it may be on par with Tony/Junior, and my reasoning is that Tony dealing with AJ is also a way he can deal with himself.

With AJ, he is going to right his past wrongs, and give him the chance Tony never took. Just check out the dialogue between AJ and Tony, Tony is on the verge of crying himself(the exasperated plea "Stop crying!"), his pleading that AJ is a "good guy" read to me that Tony himself was a good guy too, and that killing is not in AJ's nature is more like his plea to himself back then. I guess Tony does regret his life, and wants to be the football coach or stone cutter.

But I was disturbed he put AJ down for failing at the Junior killing (how does one read that anyways?).

Anyway, Tony dealing with AJ is also like him dealing with himself, and I would rather Tony die saving AJ than AJ die saving Tony...

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Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

#59
<hr />It finally occurred to me that one way to read Tony's berating AJ by telling him he had done nothing is to consider it as follows:

See? I'm telling you that you are just not right for this sort of thing. See what happened when you tried? So listen to me and be a good guy and stay out of this life.

It's just my guess. Does it make sense to you?

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