chaseisgod wrote:P.S. I've always loved this quote from a 2002 Slate article: "What this season depicts so compellingly is how we humans can come face to face with and even grasp the nature of our own self-defeating mechanisms and follies—whether in psychotherapy or out—and yet all too often, we cannot loosen their grip."
Which is sort of a more eloquent way of saying, "Everytime I try to get out, they reel me back in."
I think we're about to discover whether David Chase thinks people really can change. Given that he personally was able to be assisted with therapy, I'm hopeful.
That is a great quote and so very true. Thanks for sharing it.
Don't you get the feeling that that would really be THE ending to "shock"? I've read many articles and posts accurately pointing out that the inability of a person to fundamentally change is a consistent, perhaps even overriding theme of this series. The better part of seasons 5 and 6 were spent ramming the point home with everyone from Christopher to Carmela to Tony S. to Tony B. to Janice to Vito. Leopards don't change their spots. And very few people expect Tony to. Jayduck and a few other posters from last year even felt vindicated by the time Kaisha
came that Tony had done a complete reversion to his pre-shooting self and that he had not ever REALLY changed.
Yet clearly Chase believes it can happen because, as you stated, he has implied that it happened to him, albeit with the very imporant caveat that he was never a sociopath, LOL. Of course I've never thought Tony was one either, even though he's obviously very close to it on the personality continuum.
I know I'm repeating myself from the last couple of years, but what better way to examine the difficulty inherent in profound behavioral change, the extreme unlikeliness of it, than to show how many people fail in their attempts achieve it? How better to surprise an audience then by building year upon year the expectation of personality stasis, the expectation that people "are who they are", only to pull the rug out from under them at the very end?
Chase said something in an NPR interview after season 2 that I heard online and found very interesting (as all his interviews are, even while always being very vague about show direction). Though his comment is over 6 years old and was typically cryptic, some with strong aversions to spoilers may want to skip over the rest of my post so as not to hear how I relate it to the possible outcome of the series. And those who reply to this post are cautioned not to specifically reference his quote or inferences that may or may not be drawn from it without adequate warning.
They played the clip from House Arrest
where Melfi explains that antisocial personalities have to find distractions to keep them from "thinking about the abhorrent things they do"and how what they do "affects other people". When not distracted they have to face "feelings of self-loathing haunting them since childhood".
In House Arrest
, recall that Tony developed a rash from constantly abrading his arm, a physical manifestation of his need to distract himself from the torture of introspection that inactivity tends to induce. In The Ride
, a similar theme played out, the need of a constant high and how, when you go too long without it, the "gift" of life becomes a pair of socks . . . or worse.
Chase said that the House Arrest
therapy scene made him want to cry because, underneath everything, Tony was this guy that basically hated and found no value in himself. He alluded to some ambivalence when scripting the latter part of the second season, which he said he finally resolved by saying (paraphrasing), "Look, Tony Soprano is a gangster, and that's enough to say about his personal growth or lack thereof for now
." The bolded portion always held some portent for me that there would come a time in the series where being a gangster would not sum up Tony's personality or capacity for personal growth.
We'll see if in fact all these years of therapy and NDEs and skirting around the issue actually bear that out. Certainly Cleaver
(with Carmela and Roe's interpretive assistance -- proof that the ladies' movie nights were worthwhile afterall!) enlightened Tony to the fact that he is hated more than he is loved by his surrogate "son". Piled on top of an uncle/surrogate father that tried to kill him twice and a mother that tried once, he may be on the verge of the "crash" that Melfi talked about in House Arrest
and later seemed to echo with talk of decompensation in Johnny Cakes