Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

I haven't bothered reading the reviews as they come across as long-winded streams of consciousness rather than an interesting analysis of each episode.

I've read better reviews here.

Is "Christopher" really considered the worst episode?

It comes down to personal taste but I thought it was excellent.

For me what was revealing was the sensitivities between cultural groups in America.

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

Yeah, "Christopher" is considered the worst of the series. Others people consider "bad" episodes are "A Hit is a Hit", "D-Girl" and anything involving Vito.

I mentioned this on the AV Club and somehow didn't get a response. I'm curious as to how many people would bitch about the Vito storyline in season 6A if it was a female comare he ran off with. Notice how people can't simply describe it as "the Vito storyline" it's always "the gay Vito thing" or some other reference to how disgusting they found it.

Oddly enough, Vito and Johnnycakes had perhaps the most romantic relationship in the entire series. Who else took a motorcycle trip through the New England countryside and then made love in a beautiful field near a waterfall?

And before I get completely off topic...yes, as I said before, VanDerWerff's ratio of "shit going on in my head" to "shit going on in the episode" can be ridiculously lopsided at times, but the discussions in the comments are usually very good.
What violin?!

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

I think I have maybe 3-4 episodes in the series that I felt might have been a notch below the rest and Christopher is definitely one of them. I've watched it a couple of times since it aired, and while it's not "bad" (none of them were), and you knew what they were trying to do, the execution was just awkward and out of character.

I agree also that the hatred of the Vito storyline was overrated. I think the two reasons people didn't like it was the subject was uncomfortable for some, and with the show winding down, people wanted the show to be about something other than what it was, which pretty much sums up most of the criticism of the series.

For that reason, I grew tired of Sopranos message boards & fan comments. Except here of course.

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

I agree wholeheartedly. I had to avoid most Sopranos discussion boards while the show aired because they were full of people that just paid attention when someone was taking off their clothes, catching a beating or getting shot. In fact, just today in the AV Club comments for "Christopher", someone left this gem:

"Wait, people actually defend the last season of the Sopranos?
After 6A I just refused to watch the rest of it. WHy did Tony decide to have Bobby and Sil killed in the last episdode? I saw those htis on youtube."

It's so sad that 50% of the Sopranos viewing audience was like that. And I'd also like to know what fucking show they were watching all along with the expectations these people had.

"In the last episode Furio will come back, shoot Tony to death, take Carmela back to Italy with him, and Meadow will take over the family!"

Believe it or not, that was the most common ending thrown around. The fact that so many people thought it was a great idea shows they never understood the Sopranos in the first place.
What violin?!

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

And don't forget the reaction to the final scene.

The biggest complaint was that nothing happened!

Even some of the better TV reviewers asserted that Chase denied the loyal fans of the show a proper closure.

Chase, who probably foresaw the negativity, but he clearly had the whole scenario planned for a long time.

It seems the average viewer who watched the Sopranos regularly was mainly interested in the violence. They had at least expected a climatic gangland war and would have accepted Tony as either the victor or victim as long as there was a lot of bloodshed.

Instead they got a brilliantly crafted and subtle scene if when looked at closely was full of signs that more than hinted at Tony's fate. And there were plenty of clues throughout the series to point to this as well.

I don't know if A.V. Club gets it either.

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

My biggest problem with the Vito storyline is that I didn't think the actor was quite up to the depth and complexity of that part. If that same storyline had been given to Joe Pantoliano's Ralph (and there was a lot more history to suggest Ralph as gay), the result, I think, would have been much more affecting, even for those averse to gay male love/sex scenes. As a concept, I thought it was a great way to pit Tony's emerging (if short lived) efforts to re-prioritize his life and values after his NDE against the prevailing mores of his mob cronies and to show how he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of actually changing his life unless and until he could confront his need to leave the mob.

Johnny Cakes remains a beloved episode to me, not for the Vito parts but for the Tony/AJ parts and the way they were designed to echo an event from Tony's childhood (seeing Johnny chop off Satriale's finger and the way his father spoke to him about mob business later that night). It's the contrast between how Tony spoke to AJ and how Johnny spoke to Tony (the REAL reason for the title "Johnny Cakes", I believe) that gives Tony probably his greatest moral triumph of the series.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Sopranos re-visited at A.V. Club

Even in the immoral world of organised crime there might be some instances of “moral triumphs”. But I think Tony had more than an inkling that AJ was not up to being part of this world.

And I think that was where Tony’s ultimate weakness lay. He himself might not have been “up to it” either. He wasn’t by nature a psychotic but was born into the mobster culture. I suppose this was why he was always conflicted and needed therapy.

To be a mob leader one needs to be absolutely ruthless. Anything less than that makes anyone easy prey for the jackals - outside and inside the pack.

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