Re: Mysterious Paper Under Carm's Butt, Her Non-Death

FlyOnMelfisWall wrote: And that brings me to the whole Pie-O-My thing. Just as Tony's unconscious had used ducks as a proxy for his family in the expression of his deepest fears, Pie-O-My seemed to represent some idealized object of love to Tony, which Melfi instinctively knew and tried to penetrate in one of the therapy sessions. Pie came into his life at a time when his relationship with Carmela was beginning to fall apart, and I could write paragraphs on the poetry of seeing Tony go to that stall after another fight with Carm and hold a vigil when the horse was sick, tenderly petting and soothing her and smiling when the comparatively mutt-looking companion goat entered the stall to join them.

When Tony introduced Carm to the horse, she marveled how Pie went straight to him, and there was a strikingly long, pensive stare between Carm and horse after Tony moved away.

Also in that scene, Tony instructed Carm that "she likes it when you rub her muzzle." Artie used those exact same words in Test Dream as he was coaching Tony on how to bang Charmaine. Though it's a whole other tangent to cogently argue this, I think it's clear that Charmaine was a proxy for Carmela in the dream, an idealized "wife" figure, and Tony's "good" father figure/alter ego (Artie) is trying to impress upon him the unique rewards of sex with a wife as opposed to with a whore/goomar (something Tony himself alluded to in his first therapy session with Melfi after Marco Polo). The causative event for this dream image was likely Artie having been present and extremely close, if asleep, when Tony and Carm made love in the pool a few episodes before.
I never seize to be amazed at your analysis of "The Test Dream" especially in relation to Charmaine and Artie. You have discussed this before and I think you are right on. It's extremely perceptive. I still just don't see most of those examples as foreshadowing of Carm's death. Even the freeze frame you cite I think was just to highlight that Carmela, at that moment, knew she was going to go back to Tony.

Then there was the sudden cut to black on Carm's face at the end of Test Dream, just as it's very obvious that the sun is RISING and that light is gradually filling her bedroom and just as Tony asks her "is it light where you are." Since you place so much weight on the cut to black in MIA, I'm surprised you don't accord it more weight here.
I think there conceptually, contextually, and thematically different. The cut to black in MIA is merely an edit to suggest instant death. I don't see it as anything more beyond that.
I think this is a reasonable interpretation in hindsight to try to make a full circle connection, but I don't think this was anywhere on the radar when Chase wrote those early episodes, and so it's not a very compelling bit of foreshadowing to me. It's ad hoc foreshadowing, at best, if you'll pardon the contradiction in terms.:icon_biggrin:
I agree with the first part. I don't think Chase knew the ending that early on. I don' t think he even knew it when he did "Test Dream" (although notice that the dead Carmine says "he is lonely on the other side"). That being said, a huge part of what makes the show special is that the later stuff deepens and enriches the earlier stuff. That is a clearly intentional motive by Chase.
The clear impression left with me from Tony's anxieties and from the imagery of that seminal dream he narrates in the pilot is that he feared experiencing a devastating loss, he feared feeling what he felt when those ducks flew out of his pool. He feared that unscrewing his bellybutton would lead to his penis falling off and being carried away by a water bird. I read: he feared that untangling himself from the umbilical cord that ties him to his unfortunate parentage and to all its consequent psychic injuries and bad life choices would lead to, or could only happen as the result of, profound personal loss. He would have to suffer that loss to truly change, an idea advanced fairly clearly, IMO, in Calling All Cars that promptly frightens him into quitting therapy. It also recurs in a few subtle ways in season 5 (the remark about not being able to do anything about the bear until it hurts someone . . . or, as Tony put it, "when somebody's leg is gone", an evocation of Svetlana, who, not coincidentally, figures in the Calling All Cars dream.)

Obviously none of those fears bears any relationship to Tony "not even hearing it coming" and having his consciousness and life completely obliterated in a tiny fraction of a second. In your scenario, he felt nothing, appreciated nothing, experienced nothing, and had not even a nanosecond of recognition of the fact that he was "losing" his family. That's not my idea of a proper tieback to the anxieties he expressed in the beginning of the series. But I guess I like things a little more pristine than Chase does.:icon_wink:
Well, we disagree. It's all subjective but I think it does tieback. I think what you're expressing about Tony losing Carmela in relation to the ducks is very provocative and perhaps may have made more of an elegant ending. Yet, Chase wouldn't do it because it would be too melodramatic and probably just unrealistic (I'm assuming you think Carmela's death would be a result of Tony's other family). I think Tony dying in an instant may not be a cognizant realization of losing your family but I do think it represents the separation he feared and ties into his anxieties. The ducks were about both families. His subconscious fear that that his mafia world woud threaten his real family. Consciously, he believed he could keep those worlds apart but subconsciously knew they weren't compatible. Dying means never experiencing any more good times with your family (which we're reminded of when AJ repeats Tony's words from the Season 1 finale in the final scene.) What gives it meaning is the tragedy that Tony had a second chance to appreciate life but squandered it after the NDE. Losing his life and "the little moments...that were good" with his family has profound meaning even if Tony isn't consciously aware of his own death.

I also thinks it ties into Chase's own sensibilities and his views of death. Tony's death is the "big nothing" that Livia talked about. The final shot of black as Tony's POV is truly the reminder that "we all die alone" as Livia said.

Re: Mysterious Paper Under Carm's Butt, Her Non-Death

badabellisima wrote:This may be true, but Kiwifan (also known as Turangawaewae) got banned twice for inappropriate behavior he was deliberately goaded into by posters who posess those exact attributes you describe above. Still baffles me that HE was banned and not the provokers! The first time it was conkom, next time it was dsweeney. Again- i am not defending the mistakes Kiwi/Turanga made. But by allowing the other type of poster to remain and continue this behavior, others paid the price.
bada, you left out some crucial elements in your recitation of events regarding kiwifan. That poster was banned not only because he initiated unabashed personal insults towards another poster but because he continued to level them even after he was warned to stop or face banning. He even threatened that there was nothing the management of this site could do to keep him away, that he would simply keep re-registering under new names, which he in fact tried to do a couple of times.

In any case, after time passed -- as a personal favor to you and for the first and only time -- I reversed a decision to ban someone who had, by any standard that had EVER existed at this board, deserved permanent banning. I let him back in under a new name with the opportunity to start fresh with at least every other poster on the board.

And with that second chance, over time, he again crept ever closer to personal insults and condescension. He had been warned weeks ago that his leash was extremely short, and he continued the other day with sly, insinuated insults about the intellect of certain people and outright hostility and condescension. So I banned him, permanently. Had his second tenure been his first, that extreme measure would not have come into play so quickly, but there's the rub.

Frankly, I don't think my decision should require any defense to someone as fair-minded as you, but I'm offering this one anyway. I understand the annoyance that you shared with kiwifan at the bulldogged, single-minded obsession richieaprile, conkom, and others have about the "Tony died" issue. But I will not permit myself the luxury of judging a poster's fitness to participate here based on what issues he's passionate about or the degree of certainty he maintains about his views and convictions. The only rule that has ever been used to exclude posters here is the golden rule, the requirement that posters remain civil and courteous to other posters and treat them the way they would like to be treated. When self assurance runs afoul of that rule, then we have a problem.

That said, I like to think I'm pretty sensitive to the subtlety of language and the myriad ways folks can provoke or convey arrogance or intemperance towards others. When I perceive that that has happened, I will respond in a proportionate manner, as I've tried to do with both conkom and dsweeney in the recent past. But it's not always easy to judge bad faith when it involves distinguishing outright arrogance and deliberate provocation from passionate belief and a desire to engage on a complex subject from a variety of angles. I will continue to do my best to moderate issues here in a way that I feel is fair to all posters and can only hope that the sincerity of the effort is appreciated even when the outcome is not.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Mysterious Paper Under Carm's Butt, Her Non-Death

Most definitely the sincerity of your effort is appreciated.

Seems like there were factors going on that i was not aware of, maybe private communications and warnings. And not being aware of them, his banning seemed more out of the blue, so i'll just have to let it go. Still not sure why you don't recognize the (sometimes subtle) provocation by the other posters, but ultimately, it is none of my business. i'll just try to be sure and not let them get to me when they most likely return to their previous behavior.

That's it for me on this subject. i plan to try to get back to "normal" posting as long as i am able from here on out...:icon_neutral:

Re: Mysterious Paper Under Carm's Butt, Her Non-Death

badabellisima wrote:Sooo, in the spirit of sticking to the thread-- back to this interesting primary topic of flying birds/ducks. Since i am a total opera-holic, i never ignore any of Chase's opera choices or consider them chosen just for the sake of their musical qualities alone. Fly, your reference to this aria is timely and spot-on, and captures an important aspect to the complex Tony-Carmela dynamic, which i hope you are willing to discuss further, along the original lines of your thread:
Bada, that's such an informative post. Thanks for that background info.

I love most (Italian) opera as well, although I have never been able to get into the stories. As a musician, it's the music that always impresses me first, last, and always.

I knew that "rondine" translated meant a bird of some kind, which I think is either one heck of a coincidence or was definitely a factor in why Chase chose that aria for that incredible pilot scene when the ducks fly out of the pool. But I never thought about the text beyond that because the music is so freakin' poignant and beautiful, so perfect emotionally for what the scene was trying to convey. The aria is forever linked in my mind now with that image. When I hear it, that's what I see and feel.

I listened to the versions you linked and liked them, especially the Angela Gheorghui version. I made my own soundtrack for the series right after season 5, culled mostly from Rhapsody downloads of music used on the show that I like or feel is particularly important in setting tone. I used two versions of that aria, one early in the soundtrack chronology to represent the ducks flying away and one in the season 5 part to represent the scene at Vesuvio's in Irregular Around the Margins. I used Kiri TeKanawa's lovely version for one and Leontyne Price's studio recording for the other (Price is my all time favorite operatic soprano). Variety is the spice of life, and all.: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: Mysterious Paper Under Carm's Butt, Her Non-Death

Some people have difficulty with the notion that Carm and AJ get it as well and that's understandable. Whacking family members is normally not allowed. But I would point out that " innocents" do sometimes get caught in the crossfire. Take Phil's goomar for instance. In the botched hit on Phil she gets killed just for being a witness. So the idea that Carm and AJ wouldn't get hit doesn't automatically follow. And the eating of the onion rings is SO symbolic of the communion in the Catholic mass, it has the feeling of it being their " last rites". They way all three of them pop them whole into their mouths has a very definite feel about it, very ominous, at least to me anyway.

AJ's brushes with death

Fly dismisses the idea that AJ had even one brush with death, never mind two. This is simply incorrect. Whether or not AJ unconsciously knew the rope was too long is irrelevant. The fact is, if Tony hadn't stopped home when he did, AJ would almost certainly have drowned. For once he would have got something right for a change.

The second brush with death was when he parked his SUV in leaves and it exploded to the sound of "Mama I'm only bleeding" by Dylan.Like Tony, AJ has two near death experiences. "Three strikes and you're out right "? Right.

Re: AJ's brushes with death

dsweeney, why make this a new topic since it was being argued as part of the season 5 thread you revived? It's clearly a rebuttal but left with no context at all when lopped off from the thread that gave birth to it. Please make a better effort to locate posts where they logically should go.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Mysterious Paper Under Carm's Butt, Her Non-Death

FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:...
I knew that "rondine" translated meant a bird of some kind, which I think is either one heck of a coincidence or was definitely a factor in why Chase chose that aria for that incredible pilot scene when the ducks fly out of the pool. But I never thought about the text beyond that because the music is so freakin' poignant and beautiful, so perfect emotionally for what the scene was trying to convey. The aria is forever linked in my mind now with that image. When I hear it, that's what I see and feel.

You have succinctly described the great sublime mystery of the power of opera. You hear, you see, you feel. It brings you to that moment, transported here and now, yet something else, something from the past; now in the present. All the arts are together- Acting, drama/theatre, sometimes dance, music, Live singing/vocal, live symphony, stagecraft, painted scenes, etc. etcetera...Its so profound to me i really cannot even discuss it. The closest experience to it for me, sometimes but not always, is receiving communion. Accepting Jesus, accepting God: into my soul, my self, my life.

Sometimes when i "attend the opera", i want to cry from the depths of my soul, right there in the theater. And this is how i feel about the Sopranos sometimes: just awestruck by the masterful orchestration of all the arts in one moment of almost well, bliss. Transcendant, it parallels the eternal. Beyond genius, sublime.

imho, if you ever go see La Rondine performed live, you will be thinking of the Sopranos moment you referred to. You will always be thinking of that profound scene when the ducks fly away (from or to?) home, maybe to return. You will be able to experience Rondine in a way you never, if ever, did before. When you watch/hear the first act, which introduces the aria we are discussing and the heroine, and then later watch/hear the last act, when she flies off like the swallow (yet returning like the swallow to somewhere, someone else), the opera will inform your experience of the Sopranos, as will your Sopranos experience influence your perception of La Rondine.

Another theme here: like Jesus leaving ('dying'), we have, or learn to have, faith He will return: thats the story of the Swallow. Most people think of the Swallow as the bird that returns. But for it to return, it has to have left. We can have faith it will return. And it does.

Knowing all this, imo, it can't help but inform your interpretation of watching the first scene of The Sopranos and then the last scene. Remember how Chase said that the last scene will tie up something from the first scene? By the last episode, Tony no longer experiences ducks flying off as fearful: he seems to have gained faith, imo. Notice his demeanor when he is raking leaves before he goes to see Junior and then Holsten's. The ducks are heard above. Tony is at peace in his home. He has his family and is not in a state of fear that he will lose them. Perhaps he has, or operates from, faith now. Hearing the ducks didn't transport him to a fearful state. Maybe it even comforted him. Hearing is believing. Hear, if you have ears to believe.

The story being told in the opera is just almost an excuse to communicate the music and vice versa. Yet they are intertwined forever, complimenting one another. Separately, the music stands alone beautifully (like most soprano arias); but together with the story... indescribable. I am thinking of Chase's original vison and hope that each episode could stand alone on it's own: like an individual soprano singing their individual aria. Yet taken all together over time, they formed a true opera of combined sopranos voices. A masterpiece. The opera music and the story and the lyrics can be a collaberation among different artists, or spring from one brillant mind; or a combination-- like Chase and The Sopranos. :smile:

Re: Mysterious Paper Under Carm's Butt, Her Non-Death

Wow, bada, you ARE an opera aficionado, aren't you?:icon_biggrin:

I know you're in California, but it sounds like you must live in or near a major city that features a lot of live opera (San Francisco, perhaps?)

I don't have that option. Sometimes opera companies from bigger cities (not major companies like the Met) tour here, but the one such performance I attended years ago used canned instrumental recordings instead of a live orchestra, so that cured me of ever going again.:icon_eek:

As I say, I'm a fan of the music, or, more accurately, of the great set pieces in some of the great Italian operas. I'm not big on Mozart or even Wagnerian opera, save orchestrated versions of the "Ride of the Valkyries" and things like that. Like oratorio, there's a lot recitative stuff in opera that I don't care for at all, but it's all worth it when you get to a thrilling aria or chorus.

Generally speaking, I really don't like the acting/dramatic aspects of opera (a little too . . . operatic for my taste:icon_biggrin:) and prefer to experience them as audio only recordings for that reason. I've owned a few VHS tapes/DVDs of major live opera performances (Price in La Forza Del Destino, Pavarotti in La Boheme), but I never watched them more than once. I'm more likely to pop in a CD of a studio recording. Weird, I know, and obviously quite the opposite of how you experience it.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"
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