The Beast in Me

#1
Been reading the forum for a long time. First time registering and posting. As this "Thing of Ours" is about to die, I felt it was time for my own swan song.

I've been a loyal (and repeated) viewer of every episode since the one where Brenden Fallone got it back in the first season, which was the first episode I saw. That one hooked me. The episode with Tony and Meadow doing college hunting made me fall in love. Through the bad and good times, I've followed the series.

And ultimately, I think the joke will be on us. The viewer like me, who stayed through this series and paid for HBO throughout, not unlike the guys who spent months camping out for tickets for "The Phantom Menace."

The show began to unravel halfway through season 3. HBO demanded more episodes, too much money was being thrown around, and hey, who's to say we wouldn't have done the same thing David Chase did with the series. He stretched the series out, and the dissenters like me could argue day and night for when it actually jumped the shark, but bottom line, The Sopranos jumped, and it jumped long ago.
  • Dedicating a major bulk of screen time to a minor character to appease the gaysville Showtime audience?
  • Tony's 1 and 1/2 episode gambling problem despite the very powerful flashback we all once saw with his dad warning him to "never gamble..."
  • Suddenly a cousin we'd heard nothing about before and were supposed to accept as series canon? Why not bring in Corin Nemec as the live-in cousin to the brand new house with the secret passages? (Viewers of "Webster" will remember that reference to the cousin who suddenly appears out of nowhere in the show's penultimate season)

Season 1 and season 2 (especially 2) were remarkable. Awesome television, honest to the viewer. Even the bulk of season 3 was great.

But things fall apart, as "the genius" David Chase quotes in episode The Second Coming.

I've hated the character of Tony for a long time now. I think David Chase became revolted with the popularity and mindless drooling over Tony Soprano that he degraded the character into a totally unsympathetic eating and killing machine... basically a virus. And he just wanted to see how many of us would watch the show until the very end.

I'll be there, for sure, just like those geeks waiting for the Star Wars prequel.

I'd like the show to end with Tony's own guys (led by Paulie, and let us not forget Bill "Gonorrhea" Guarnere from Band of Brothers who just suddenly magically shows up like he's been there for years) beating him to death with two-by-fours and hammers in a sordid room. Like how Joe Pesci went out in "Casino." Very graphic, violent, drawn-out. It would give me (and I think a lot of you too) a great deal of satisfaction to see the show end this way.

However, the ending's going to be a cop-out. Just like every season finale since Big Pussy was dropped into the Atlantic. Anticlimactic, dropping plot lines, existential, and frankly... sloppy. That's just how it's going to be.

But I'll be there watching it... largely cause I hope I'm wrong.

Re: The Beast in Me

#2
I'm amazed by the variety of opinions different people have of "The Sopranos" run.

Did the series last longer than it should have? I'd personally go with 'no', on that one. I feel that it's ending at the right time, though, and am glad it isn't continuing on any longer. The series may have lost a little of its luster over time, but perhaps that's more due to my attutude as I became more accustomed to the show, rather than an actual dip in quality. To each his own, though ...

Might I ask, lordroad, what you thought of "The Blue Comet"?

Re: The Beast in Me

#3
The Blue Comet. I loved it. Finally, after two seasons, we got something very substantial with the Melfi character. Her final session with Tony was some of my favorite writing in the entire series. I loved how she answered for him before he had a chance as she's heard his shit for so many years. Very well done scene.

The scathing indictment on psychology (Tony "Just think how many people like me you've helped!"), the dinner with her disgusting colleagues (reminded me of one of Barefoot Contessa's yuppie parties in the Hamptons) revealed to me why I keep watching... moments like these. My wife was once treated by a therapist very similar to the quackjob Melfi referred Meadow to at the beginning of season 4 so I've always appreciated the therapy aspects of the Sopranos.

This is also a reason why I'm so hard on the series now... since the end of season 3, they haven't done anything with Melfi plotwise, save for Tony advancing on her at the beginning of season 5, but that was wrapped up in a single episode. In season 1 she became tony's outlet, in season 2 she was in hiding but came back and ultimately picked up Tony again, and in season 3 there was the rape and her decision not to seek justice through Tony.

Anyway, I did like Blue Comet. I hated Kennedy and Heidi, as well as the two episodes before it... I loved the opening "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" episode of 6B, and then "Stage 5" was one of my favorite episodes they've ever done with all of its allusions to Godfather 1, then things started to slide down hill for a while.

I pretty much thought season 5 was wholesale crap (except aspects of the Test Dream), and most of season 4 too. The show picked up again with 6A and tony getting shot, I'm one of the people who absolutely loved the Kevin Finnerty stuff, then we derail yet again into the biggest travesties of the show... fat gay Vito... with three or four episodes devoted almost solely to him!

I am eagerly awaiting the finale, even though I'm prepared for a letdown.
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