Please post all grades, reviews, and general or abbreviated comments about the episode in this thread. Use individual threads for longer or more substantive thoughts/discussion points.
garthman00 wrote:6 - This is one of those episodes I remember enjoying alot more in the past then I enjoyed it watching recently. It is hard for me to point out anything I disliked per se. Richie Aprile is a great foil for Tony. A much more obvious antagonist then we have seen before on the show. I hesitate to say he is the best antagonist, but he is one of the more memorable that Tony faces. However, I think that actually plays against the episode. I know the scenes with Richie attacking Beansie are certainly memorable. They are some of the first scenes which pop into my head when I think about Season 2. However, Richie just comes on too strong. We know within 5 minutes of meeting this character that he is a heartless prick. In Soprano Land (not a reference to the old web site) a character like this is pretty flat and one-dimensional. He does not bode well with the 3-dimensional characters which inhabite the rest of the Soprano world. Even horribly shallow characters such as Chris and Paulie, it takes the viewer a while to realize who they REALLY are. This demonstrates complicated characters (in Chris and Paulie's case) and extremely shallow one(in Richie's case). The intriguing thing, is it is entertaining to watch, but when taking a step back as a viewer and looking at Richie in conjunction with the rest of the characters, he just doesn't vibe. This isn't to say David Proval doesn't do a fantastic job acting the character. The writing just forces the character to come on TOO strong TOO fast and TOO "old-school".
I love the idea of Janice trying to instruct Tony and Carm on parenting after her own child runs away from her. Even more then that, I love Tony and Carm's flawed parenting techniques. But they really don't match up well for this mob-heavy storyline.
I don't know, this one just didn't click the way it did on past viewings. The second season has always been my favorite season, but the way I am seeing these episodes (and rating them) I am starting to wonder why this season was my favorite. I think much of the complexity that was found in the first season with Junior and Livia's double-speak and backstabbing is gone and the mob-heavy stories have replaced that. Neither one are bad choices, mind you. Both seasons are incredibly well done, it is just an issue of preference. And I think my preferences have shifted slightly since my last viewing.
AJColossal wrote:You have a very similar take on season 2 that I do. I think season 2 holds up in a strange way because of the lack of complexity you mentioned when compared to the other seasons. Season 2 didn't have nearly the insane amount of plotlines and tertiary characters that would begin to seep into season 3 and onwards. It was much more of a simple and direct season that was primarily about Tony, Janice and Richie, but for me, the simpicity provided more of a direct emotional punch that the other seasons never matched.
Garthman, interesting take on Richie's character as coming on too strong and being too one-dimensional. I thought his introductory scene was purposefully a little heavy-handed to juxtapose the weakness Tony is displaying when he and Carmella are tying to discipline Meadow for throwing the out-of-control party. Here you have this menacing lunatic coming out of jail and stepping on Tony's turf, while Tony looks powerless over his twerpy teenage daughter. I thought it worked, and was a neat synopsis of the power struggle to come.
This is a "10" episode for me. It's just one great scene after the other. The afforementioned contrast between Tony and Richie, the "I'm your's Junior" scene between Richie and Janice, the hilarious exchange between Livia and Richie, Melfi's "Wizard of Oz" dream, and the final exchange between Tony and Richie where Tony subtly reminds him who's "the motherfucking fucking one who calls the shots."
I think this is where the season slowly began building up steam, which is somewhat lost again because of the trip to Italy.
garthman00 wrote:All good points AJ. I am just surprised I never really noticed the shallowness of Richie's character until recently. He probably WAS created intentionally like you said. And he IS a great foil for Tony, as well as an awesome contrast to Tony's nemesis from last season (Junior & Livia). But just because he was intentionally created that way doesn't mean it works. In initial viewings, I think the character does wonders. The audience loves to hate him. The show was still growing at that point and many of the Mafia-watchers loved it. As the show progressively turned more psychological, it is easier to see how one-sided Richie is. Again, not completely a bad thing, just easier to notice these things in hindsight. Richie certainly served his purpose, and perhaps I was a bit too rough on this episode. I don't know if it deserves a 6. But I was a bit shocked at noticing some of the things I mentioned.
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