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

#51
Pope Corky the IX wrote:VanDerWerff himself denies the "Tony is dead" theory and even sometimes seems smug about it. Sometimes the comment section will devolve into people hurling personal insults at each other over it.


That's something that has happened everywhere I've looked, much as I tried to keep it from happening here. Conkom will recall this, and I've certainly had to caution him about the way he couches his opinions on the matter. Unfortunately, many people here and especially elsewhere seemed to use how one interprets that scene/sequence as a litmus test for one's intelligence, discernment/sensitivity to nuance, and general engagement with the subtleties in the storytelling on the Sopranos.

I still am quite convinced that, while Tony's demise was certainly suggested and may have even occurred that night, it was deliberately left open-ended and in a sense unresolved in the particulars because that question (when and how Tony died) was not of real interest to Chase. If you read what Chase said on such questions of factual resolution, both well before and specifically in reference to MIA, his near-disdain for that kind of question is palpable.

I've always felt the much more important point was in the contrast between the immediate cut to black at the end of MIA and the slow fade to white that happened at the Inn at the Oaks when Tony flatlined and briefly "died" in his coma. They were diametrically opposite experiences of "death", and I think the effort was to say something about what the nature of Tony's ultimate choices -- especially those made after he was given a "second chance" to reform his life and failed to do so -- meant for his "afterlife", whenever and however it came to him.
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

#53
Aww, see that? We're all friends here.

And you're right Fly. Too often I've seen statements about the final scene start with, "Look, you're a fucking IDIOT if you don't see that Tony lived/Tony died". It manages to derail discussions even about the first season, because inevitably, someone will offer something innocuous like, "And this scene here could serve as foreshadowing for one interpretation of the ending of the show." They'll immediately get a reply along the lines of, "What interpretation? The one only stupid people believe?" It's ridiculous.

Though I do have to agree that the "audience got whacked" idea is pretty bad.
What violin?!

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

#54
It's even a more fascinating ending after a few years of contemplation. Although I was never in the "Tony is dead" camp, my insight into it has changed enough where I think he could be. The open-endedness of it works on so many levels.

One of my favorite thoughts on the ending came from the DVD commentary of the final episode. I believe it was the actor who played Carlo who was recalling the events of the final table read-through. After everyone read the last scene, people sat in silence for a few minutes.

Finally, David Chase said, "I didn't want to show crime pays. And I didn't want to show crime doesn't pay".

I always thought that was cool.

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

#55
When I first saw the finale, I was on the "Tony lives/he's paranoid for the rest of his life" team. After numerous rewatchings and discussions with plenty of other people, as well as reading the occasional essay, I have to say I'm firmly in the "Tony is dead" camp.

*HOWEVER*

Being that the ending is so open-ended, I will never rip someone else apart for their interpretation. I will explain mine, give examples, but never engage in personal attacks simply because someone doesn't share the same theory of a television show that I do.

Now the Russian, on the other hand? Don't you start with me...
What violin?!

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

#56
Pope Corky the IX you're bringing this forum back to life with your contributions. Perhaps a Sainthood is in store for you.

The discussions following the finale were very spirited, so to speak.

It did seem the predominant mood was angry. Cut to black, nothing happened??!!

I was in Greece at the time the show screened and a caught an article about it in the International Tribune but trying to avoid spoilers. There was a cartoon showing a disgruntled viewer shooting his TV - a comment I think about the apparent lack of resolution.

When I got back home I asked my brother what he thought, and was hoping that there might have been an indication of a sequel or movie. His reply was to just watch it and decide for myself.

So I sat and watched it. My first reaction was - Tony lives on. Sequel on the way.

I then invited my neighbour to watch it with me (another Soprano fanatic who was aware of the controversy about the ending). His reaction was the same as mine was.

But watching it a second time made me more aware of the way the scene was constructed. What I didn't pay much attention at first was the mysterious fellow in the member's only jacket. He now reminded me of the actor who was chasing Al Pacino in the climatic scene in Carlito's Way in revenge for his father's death (that actor was none other than the fellow who played Johnny Soprano).

Apparently the MOG was a local amateur who owned a Pizza parlour in NJ.

His presence seemed more menacing rather than incidental.

I have mentioned it but it hasn't generated much response - The Twilight Zone features ocassionally throughout the series where it's in the background screened on a TV.

I don't think Chase ever left anything to chance. I don't think that the Twilight Zone references were incidental either.

There was always a twist at the end of that show. And of course it was always unexpected.

The Holsten's scene is mundane - family getting together for dinner - it's almost touching. Tony has come to an understanding with Carmella. AJ has got his act together. Meadow is getting married to a handsome and succesful lawyer and she herself also has future prospects. It also appears that Tony has dealt with the threat from New York. And will Meadow finally park that damn SUV so she can join this happy ocassion??

It really is the greatest finale in the history of television. Ostensibly ambiguous but with the most powerful twist. Sudden cut to black. Silence.

Story has ended. The show is over.

Brilliant!

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

#57
Wow, the Twilight Zone is all over the place for me lately.

I recently found out that my wife had never seen an episode and I was flabbergasted. She'd been on the ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida and knew the story of "All the Time in the World" but that was it. Luckily, Netflix streaming just added every episode of the original series, and now she loves it.

Anyway, my point is, you're right. The Twilight Zone was mentioned several times through out the series. And there's one episode in particular that was mentioned a few times.

In "Chasing It", Tony, Bobby and Carlo go to Hesh's to make a payment and intimidate him (asking if he wants to go on the boat...I'm sure Hesh had an inkling of what happened to Pussy) and they're in the car on the way home when the following conversation takes place:

Tony: Did you see that pissy attitude? Come all the way out here to pick him up...not to mention, give him his fuckin' vig in person. I mean, you believe this fuckin' guy?

Bobby: You should tell him to go fuck himself and his 200k. And what's he gonna do about it?

Tony: And not pay my debts? Head of the Family? How's that gonna look?

Carlo: Who's gonna know? It's like Eddie Valentine.

Tony: The guy from Philly? With the polio leg and the built-up shoe?

Carlo: Nah, from the fuckin' Twilight Zone. You musta seen that one. He's a small-time hood, he gets shot-

Tony: Maybe you should start sucking cock instead of watching TV Land, 'cause Vito brought in three times what you do in construction! Yeah! And I didn't have this fuckin' problem!

Now, Carlo never got to mention the name of the episode, but it's "A Nice Place to Visit". Watch the episode...then watch "Kennedy and Heidi", specifically once Tony shows up in Vegas. I don't want to give too much away, but like you said, there's a reason for everything being in the show.
What violin?!

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

#59
Interestingly, "A Nice Place To Visit" was the afterlife for Henry "Rocky" Valentine. Paradise was actually hell.

Tony's fate might be (as Fly mentioned) the black void of non-existence.

Or it could be the constant looking over his shoulder for that imminent threat.

I personally think that he was looking the wrong way if that was the case. He was warned about 3 o'clock - his immediate right.

But like I said before, hell might be listening to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" in an interminable loop.

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