Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#31
Reading your interesting post from the ledger made me think a little more Bada, especially the following line:

"People complained to me about it," says writer/producer Terence Winter, "and I said, "The opening shot of this series is a guy in a psychiatrist's office. You think maybe the show is going to deal with dreams and psychology?'

Then in investigating teeth dreams I discovered the following:

In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud named it (Dreams about teeth) as one of the four "typical dreams," along with "falling from a height, ... flying, and embarrassment because one is naked or scantily clad."

Then in the ledger article, Winter or Chase says:

The episode's title refers to one of the classic anxiety dreams, in which you show up to school naked or otherwise unprepared to take a test or do some other task you're afraid to face.

So we have two of Freuds four typical dreams covered.

Probably meaningless, but at least mildly interesting I thought.

Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#33
btw, does anyone know what the name of Tony's high school was? SOmewhere it was said that it was the same as where Meadow and AJ went (Verbum Dei High School), but i never found it listed for sure. If so, interesting in terms of the meaning of father figure Coach Molinari's recurring voice and appearance in dreams: Verbum Dei translates to "The word of God" in latin.

Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#34
Watching this episode again has been most illuminating. Thanks for the heads up Sil!

In this dream Tony is in the backseat of a car driven by his father Johnny Boy Soprano. Riding with him are Pussy, Ralph and Mikey Palmice each of whom he had killed. Artie also appears momentarily. Johnny Boy asks Tony if he wants to sit in the front but Tony declines. Pussy then says "Kid gets carsick in the backseat." At some point Tony asks where they are going and Ralphie says, "We're driving you to the job." They end up outside Tony's house.

This is an interpretation but it does suggest something about the father figure being an influential force in "driving" Tony. His anxiety is apparent but it might also suggest Tony is also responsible for his family's fate.

It does make the final Holsten's scene even more omenous especially as the the man in Member's Only jacket resembles Tony's father.

Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#35
There is definately the father son theme through the show, but I don't buy the tenuous link to the final scene, because MO guy looks like Johnny Boy (Does he really look that similar??). I've read various other postings where the two black guys resembled the two guys that tried to whack Tony, there was a woman who was supposed to resemble Janice, and wasn't MO guy supposed to have resembled Eugene as well? In fact, one theory was that he was Eugene's brother!!

I believe you could just as tenuously argue that because Chase has already stated that Meadow and AJ grow up to be "normal" people, and an improvment on their parents, we know that:
a) They didn't get shot in Holstens
b)It is unlikely that Tony was shot in front of them

For me, the Holstens scene actually resembled a normal father son relationship, which gave hope for the future. Remember the small improvment theme, Johnny Boy was a thug, Tony was aware of his shortcomings, he wasn't like Johnny Boy.

Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#36
I can accept that Meadow doesn't get shot. She is delayed because of her parking. The rest of the family were literally sitting ducks.

I think Chase implied that AJ would probably be no more than a "low grade" producer. He would NOT HAVE followed his father's footsteps like Tony followed his father. I don't think that also means that he definitely survived that night.

But the apparently happy family gathering and the sudden cut to black does strongly suggest a tragic twist not unlike the Twilight Zone.

Tony was still a thug. A conflicted thug perhaps, but we never saw anything through Johnny Soprano's eyes. For all we know he might have been just as conflicted too. (You would be if you were married to Livia!)

On another note but somewhat related, has anyone seen "Carlito's Way"? The actor who played Johnny Boy Soprano - Joseph Siravo also played a gangster who chases Carlito (Al Pacino) to revenge his father's murder.

He looks almost identical to man in Member's Only jacket.

Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#37
I believe we are made aware of a huge difference between Johnny Boy and Tony. The key one being that Johnny Boy ordered Tony to do his first killing!!!! Tony insisted AJ not be part of the mob. Thats a no-brainer right there!!!! Tony wanted a strong son, but not one in the mafia.

Relating it back to the thread title, as far as I remember, not once did Tony dream of AJ. I don't believe Tony felt there was a conflicted relationship between himself and AJ like he did with Johnny Boy, through test dream. I actually feel he was quite comfortable with his relationship. (Sure, he would have wanted AJ to be stronger, but that was the fault of Carmella's genes!!).

He also tried to keep Jackie Junior out of the mob, a fact which irked Christopher.

Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#38
CamMan wrote:That's some great insight. What troubles me about your interpretation is that Tony's murder of Chris could be seen as a somewhat noble act or some sort of progress for Tony.


I certainly didn't mean to convey that Tony killing Chris was in any way noble or that Chase intended it to be remotely regarded as such. On the contrary, it has to facially represent Tony at his most despicable and psychopathic when you factor in his relationship to Chris and Tony's complete lack of any remorse afterward. But, as always, when you dig below the surface to attempt a deep understanding of behavior, that understanding can often be confused with a pardon.

Tony had palpable moral qualms after shooting Matt Bevalaqua. He displayed a frangible voice and red, grief-swollen face after killing Tony B. He even had a modicum of remorse after killing the (justifiably) hated Ralph, as evidenced by the Calling All Cars dream, his remarks to Melfi in therapy, and his visit to Justin in the hospital afterward. That he could not muster one ounce of remorse or sorrow for murdering a guy he professed (and seemed) to love like a son is a terrible breach of character, one that effectively disconnected me from Tony emotionally in a way that was never really repaired.

Now this pronounced departure from character is a major writing flaw, IMO, unless it is considered in view of what we are led to believe were the subconscious motivations at work: a lifetime of repressed, unacknowledged rage at his father and men like him, unleashed in a single, spontaneous act of depraved violence (and is there any word more appropriate than "depraved" to describe the look on Tony's face as he suffocated Chris?)

The suggestions of such motivations are prevalent throughout season 6b, right down to the character in Chris' movie who violently attacks and kills his father figure with hands made of cleavers. The cleaver symbolism in and of itself is as strong or stronger than any symbolism ever employed in the history of the series. The instrument that evokes Tony's complete loss of childhood innocence at the hands of his father was prominently displayed on the cap Chris wore as Tony suffocated him, in Chris' bloody pile of clothing that Tony viewed from his stretcher afterward in the hospital, and on the coffee mug Tony used and then destroyed the next morning.

And further consideration of The Second Coming poem is due with its talk of "twenty years of stony sleep" being "vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle" in birth of some "rough beast" and the unleashing of a "blood-dimmed tide" when the "center can no longer hold", when "the worst are full of passionate intensity". This is a perfect description of the violent release of a lifetime of pent-up rage, echoed as well in Melfi's ominous warning that Tony would inevitably "totally decompensate" in reaction to Junior shooting him.

Every one of the first five episodes of season 6b deals on some level with sons harboring grudges against or lashing out at father figures. That can't be mere coincidence and must, IMO, be inextricably linked to the climactic moment of the season's 6th episode (and perhaps of the whole series) when Tony pinches Chris' nose. Tony's conscious mind was telling him to kill Chris because Chris was an ingrate, a drug-addict who was a high risk to flip and who was a danger to his daughter. But his unconscious mind fueled his conviction to carry it out and sustained his perverse feeling of righteousness afterward because he fundamentally identified with the child in that empty carseat: an innocent victimized by a bad father.

Tony's murder of Chris was an evil act. Chris was the "son" Tony was supposed to protect and didn't (closer to Livia's "infanticide").
This is a good place to observe that Tony wound up suffocating or "smothering" Christopher in a manner similar to Livia's threat to smother her own children to "protect" them from the hardship of moving to Nevada, LMAO. It's also reminiscent of the way Tony intended to smother Livia and echoes Tony's revelation to Melfi that he would rather his loved ones "smother him with a pillow" than sustain him through an old-age fraught with the indignities of dementia and complete physical handicap. In Tony's world, suffocation is the preferred method of euthanasia. Just an interesting side note.
I do disagree with "Heidi" referring to the cut off football broadcast. I think "Kennedy and Heidi" refers to the widow (Jackie Kennedy) and the orphan (the famous orphan Heidi). I don't see Chase cutting off the end of [I]Made in America for such a superflous wink to the audience about a long ago football game. Besides, the football broadcast was interrupted for another program. The final scene is interrupted for 10 seconds or so of nothing. I don't see them as analogous.
Fair enough. It's certainly not a compelling connection but one I feel reasonably comfortable making nevertheless.

The thing about Soprano titles is that they almost always have at least two and sometimes even more meanings. And the obvious meaning is most often the least important of the multiple meanings. I think this is one of those cases.

You start with what I think is the entirely reasonable notion that the names for the girls in the car were not chosen randomly but to subtextually relate to some bigger aspect of the episode. Indeed, it was borderline unrealistic to even learn the names of those girls in the manner that we learned them since a brief, panicked, spontaneous, and adrenaline-fueled exchange like that is unlikely to conveniently include friends calling each other by name. That aside, many agree, including me, that Kennedy was chosen for one name to evoke "widow", made unquestionably clear when Tony himself noted Kelly's resemblance to a grieving Jackie Kennedy at JFK's funeral. Heidi in a similar way can be said to evoke "orphan" Kaitlin, whose empty carseat was a key visual in the episode and whom Tony later saw nursing from her now husbandless mother.

But not to be overlooked, IMO, was the significance of Tony's pensive, almost puzzled expression as he noted out loud Kelly's Jackie Kennedy appearance. That's because the episode first dealing with Tony's ultimately unsuccessful effort to confront the repressed anger he harbored towards his father and the false mythology he'd erected around him was an episode borrowing its title from the famed "Camelot" reference to the equally false JFK mythology/mystique (to which Tony also subscribed). This was an episode featuring a former mistress of both JFK and Johnnyboy where parallels between the two men were explicitly drawn. So the evocation of Jackie Kennedy at Chris' funeral, particularly given the way Tony made the parallel, was not just for the sake of the obvious widow connection (and you have to admit that Kelly's widowhood is pretty unimportant in the scheme of the series) but for the much more subtle and important connection to the man whose death MADE Jackie Kennedy a widow, JFK, the proxy for a demythologized Johnnyboy. In effect, the symbology math goes like "If Kelly = Jackie, Chris = JFK = Johnnyboy = Junior (avowed JFK admirer).

"Heidi" is an interesting choice. I have argued, and still believe, that "Annie" was a much better choice to evoke "orphan" if that were the sole aim because of the overwhelming familiarity of the phrase "little orphan Annie" and the musical and movie about orphan Annie, which are both pretty well-known in this country. In contrast, I knew "Heidi" was a movie but only because of its famed role in the prematurely-ended Jets game. I had no idea until the discussions after this episode that Heidi was a story about an orphan.

Paulie starts talking about Joe Namath at the end of Remember When, the episode most explicit in dealing with sons releasing repressed rage against fathers, and recall that Namath was the quarterback of the Jets during that "Heidi" game. That alone would be a very weak basis for making a "Heidi" connection if it weren't for the fact that Chase and company apparently went a little out of their way to secure Jets' coach Eric Mangini's cameo in Blue Comet. Reports were that they rearranged their shooting schedule to accommodate him, and all so he could simply be seen on camera for a few seconds while Artie and Tony shake his hand, reminding that these two men once played football together for another coach, coach Molinaro, who represents a composite father figure that Tony tries to kill in his Test Dream. Add that to the abrupt cut to black at the end of MIA, which, though not a perfect parallel to the Heidi cut, shares the key features of a sudden, unexpected termination of intense televised action at a seemingly penultimate moment, causing something of an uproar among those watching.

Yes, in looking back after the season's conclusion, I think we are meant to appreciate the coincidence of one name evoking both "orphan" and "football coach" and "father figure Tony unconsciously desires to kill" and "abrupt ending". And if the connection wasn't intended or even seen by Chase, or if it seems too perfect for one little name to do all those things, then I think that's just a gift of circumstance or fate for a series that was far closer to perfection than any other has ever come.:icon_wink:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Test Dream as Blueprint for Rest of Season

#40
Well, if the Sopranos finale cut-to-black is a parallel with the Heidi Bowl cut-to-black, then to be consistent, we need to acknowledge that the football game did indeed continue playing on and on after the cut to black in 1968. The fans would have had to excercise a lot of faith to keep believing in their team's survival in the game since they (on the east coast) couldn't see what was happening after the cut. There would be no point in Chase using the Heidi Bowl analogy if he intended for the cut to black to imply that "Tony's game just ended" when the screen went black. Can't have it both ways, or the analogy fails. Life went on after both cut-to-blacks. :smile:

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