Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

You're all overthinking this.

What the fuck is happening to this neighborhood?

In a word, greed. Tony, even though he is quite wealthy, wanted that 415k. He knows it will hurt his other "family", but he cares more about himself, and what he could do with that money.

Yes, the old woman walking by influenced the decision, but not by much. I think the driving factors here are greed and a lack of "old school" loyalty.


Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>at the same time aj had a panic attack, tonys panic attack didnt come with an unconsciousness but with an absolutely failure.after having spewed that indian note around and slapping people for losing their focus he has lost it totally.<hr></blockquote>

got the feeling this was more about David Chase's life saga and how all people come towards the end of their lives carrying the realization that things around them are changing and they recognize in themselves the same things they used to criticise old people for.

Good points, everywhere.
Also,I felt something symbolic with the shot of Tony shouting at Carm: Remember the episode when T gets the soccer coach evetually arrested instead of whacked? He gets home drunk, and we see Meadow looking down at her father after great change. Now this time, the decision is wrong. I am just don't exactly think T wouldn't try to reinvest it in the family business somehow, even though he is the top of the pyramid...

Maybe AJ's action will keep Tony focused on his family more.


Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

I'm not sure it's a matter of "what's happening to the neighborhood" so much as it is a matter of Tony not helping Patsy preserve a couple of hundred a week. The neighborhood extortion racket may be getting squeezed, but we've seen Tony making mucho bucks from the Esplanade project, the HUD scam, and the still-to-come construction project that Vito set up, so the money from the poultry store meant more to Patsy than to Tony. More important, as far as I can see, is that another couple of elements in the crew have become dissatisfied (Bobby will become dissatisfied again this week). When the acting NY boss is unhappy, and the guys in your own crew are growing ever more unhappy, you've got a shitstorm brewing. Next time a guy yells, "He's gotta go," he might not mean Vito.


Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>To me a theme of this episode is about the how the mob is having difficulties in adopting those to those changes or that it cannot and will die.<hr></blockquote>
That's how I see it.

When Julianna first approaches Tony with the offer to sell the poultry, he doesn't want to do it. He wants to hold on to the past. However, knowing that he's passing up big bucks in order to remain loyal to the old neighborhood, he then raises the rent.

When Julianna approaches him a second time (at the Bada Bing), he again resists, saying that he doesn't like how everything is looking the same in neighborhoods.

Then comes the incident with AJ. It's right after that, when he brooding outside of Satriale's, that Julianna calls him again and makes another offer. He accepts it. He has seen how his lifestyle and business have been poisoning AJ, and he knows that he must let go and move forward.


Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

We all knew David Chase was a genius. Seeing this season so far this notion has been affirmed for me.

He wants this season to hurt. Its painful for us, the real Soprano afficionados, to see Tony turn to his softer side and hereby slowly but surely outgrow the mob and eventually effectuate his own end as a mob boss. We love him as a mob boss not as a patio furniture salesman. It's also painful for us to see a gay mobster have something like a love affair. He knew that we love those mobsters because they are not politically correct, because they are not feminized or emancipated, because they are openly prejudiced and opinionated. And now watch one of them have a gay affair? We cant bear it. "He's gotta go" is what we think. But he is still there, having Johnny Cakes and making out with James Hetfield.

Then AJ so unendurably weak, there is a Fredo but there is no Michael. Chris embarking on pointless and laughable endeavors instead of stepping up to the game.

All big disappointments.

Why all of this?

Because what DC wants to tell us is that, actually since episode 2 of the series: the heyday of the mob is over and it wont come back.

There is no gun behind the toilet. Just a copy of the Valachi papers.

From here on it can only go downwards.

Big coporations based in Seattle are making the big buck now, merchandising Italian heritage and with their computerised methods, with no possibility for old fashioned people like Patsie to eat with them.

We are witnessing the decline not only of a family, but of a whole subculture.


Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

Overall I enjoyed this episode. I wanted to see it more than once before posting my thoughts and comments. Some of what I have to say may have already been posted by others, so I beg forgiveness for repetition of thoughts previously expressed.

        What’s Happening to this Neighborhood?: The crux of this episode is succinctly summed up by Patsi Parisi’s question: “What’s happening to this neighborhood?” The answer: materialism, greed, consumerism and corporatization: continuing themes flawlessly woven through this entire season and which are harbingers of demise for Tony, his way of life as a gangster, and for his family.

        The “old neighborhood” is being co-opted; traditional “mom and pop” stores are, in the name of progress and profit, being displaced by big businesses, chain stores and franchises. Old neighborhood factory buildings, formerly the economic centers providing living wages for local working class families, are being converted to upscale lofts in a process of “gentrification”: wealthy upwardly mobile people with no previous connection to the old neighborhood are now opportunistically displacing the indigenous Newark populace. All signaling a loss of culture, tradition, community and most importantly, identity (another ubiquitous season theme).

        The “destruction” of the old neighborhood, its traditions and customs brings with it a “destruction” of the mob’s ability to do business in “old ways”. Patsi, as the head of the “businessman’s protective association” is unable to shake down the franchise store of a large out-of-state corporation, unlike the old days when a small local business was actually owned by the persons working there. The small local “mom and pop” stores could not economically afford to ignore the mob’s demand for “protection” money; Failure to pay would spell complete loss of a livelihood and it was a cost of doing business. The increasing concentration of capital in the form of corporate structures allows these new arrivals to the neighborhood to laughingly shrug off the antiquated threats of violence and property damage at the hands of those offering the so-called protection.

        The influx of the new bland “pre-fab” face of “corporate America” into the neighborhood also replaces tradition, culture and identity. Tony laments that every place in America looks the same. He is proud that his neighborhood still clings to its roots and traditions. He boasts about the fact that the eggs and poultry at Caputo’s local “mom and pop” store are far better than similar products offered at large supermarkets. Tony is even prouder that he (at first) resists the temptation to sell his building for large profits to assist in maintaining these valuable marks of culture and identity, feeling he is doing his part to check the encroachment of the ever-creeping “sameness”.

        But the powerful temptation of money eventually proves to be an irresistible force; nothing, not even deeply held love for one’s culture, tradition and identity can withstand the driving force of greed. The vast amounts of money that the cultureless corporate interests can devote to the subversion of ethnic heritage is an unstoppable force to dissolve even the strongest will; eventually even the strongest supporter of tradition and cultural identity must succumb.

        For Tony, the lure of money is coupled with the ultimately fatal lure of a potential extra-marital sexual encounter. Tony is tempted by both money and sex in one incredibly gorgeous package: Julianna Skiff. And ultimately, Tony’s insertion of a sexual pursuit into a negotiation that should have been purely about a business matter insures that he must “sell-out” his valued traditions. Greed and sex advance once again in the war of faceless corporate encroachment and eradication of proud culture and heritage.

        The subtlety of negotiation between Tony and Julianna is awesomely accomplished by the writers of this episode. Tony resists Julianna’s initial simple monetary offer, but the ever-escalating price, and the pursuit of sex, dissolve his will.

        After he refuses the first offer as being too low, he makes his pitch instead for her body. Julianna declines Tony’s sexual advance. Tony has exercised self-control on the temptation of money; Julianna has exercised self-control on the sex.

        Julianna returns with a higher monetary offer. The money is now becoming tempting, but Tony again refuses, this time asserting that he does not want to be an accessory to erasing the cultural tradition of the neighborhood. His sexual advance becomes more insistent. But again she begs-off.

        Julianna returns with a monetary offer Tony can’t refuse, but he implicitly makes his acceptance of the offer conditional on her agreement to fuck him. Even though Tony has agreed that the money is satisfactory, Julianna knows that if she refuses to have sex with Tony he may not actually consummate the sale transaction: she has to agree or lose the sale. Both have negotiated for what they wanted.

        At the critical moment, Tony signs the sale papers but stops himself from, once again, cheating on Carmella. As a result, he has betrayed the neighborhood and its proud cultural heritage and traditions, and all he has obtained in return is money.

        It is this realization that he has become a “Judas” to his “people” and his loudly professed lip-service pride in those hallmarks of the neighborhood that, in my opinion, lead him to his late night outburst about the lack of smoked turkey in the house. Despite his desire to be vigilant in maintaining the integrity of the neighborhood, he has fallen prey to greed and libido. And, he has also become an accomplice to the continuing disempowerment of his own “family”: another “old-world” mob profit center for protection money (Caputo’s) is to be replaced by another corporate franchise not susceptible to extortion (Jamba Juice).

        The Morale(s) of this Episode: Greed conquers all resistance, with a little help from pleasures of the flesh if necessary; large corporations can provide both in abundance. Here, the corporate subverter is not the ugly “robber-baron” of the late 19th century, but instead, personified by the “sex-pot” temptress with unlimited cash at her disposal; these assets, alone or in combination are too powerful for even the most strong-willed to resist. In that regard, large corporations have become the new “mafia”; they will always get what they want because they can afford any price to acquire what they desire; in essence, they can make offers that no one can refuse. They don’t have to rely on muscle or intimidation to accomplish their objectives; money (and sex if necessary) are all that they need to subvert principles. Once again Chase and company highlight that greed and the pervasive desire to make a fast buck is an influence capable of corrupting anything, even men’s souls, traditions and yes, the neighborhood. And, in the process of reshaping America into a land that eschews the virtues of ethnic cultures for anonymous uniformity, the minimalization of the power of, and the need for, the “old-world” mafia continues.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... ac72261</A>
at: 5/2/06 10:12 pm

Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

Don't forget too that now other ethnic/social groups are involved in organized crime. The street gangs in many cities (like Crips and Bloods), Black, Russian, Columbian, Mexican and Central American based ethnic gangs are the 'new' mob today. Often with their criminal side based in the drug trade, they also do a wide variety of other crimes like that of the classic Italian Mafia/LCN. Even in the Godfather films, we saw how they were moving into 'legit' businesses, moving up in the social ladder, yet while keeping a foot in their classic criminal lifestyle. We are seeing the continuing demise of the Italian Mafia. Perhaps 'The Soprano's' is David Chase's way to condem the Mafia stereotype of Italian-Americans (don't forget Chase is Italian) by showing the dark side of their life.


Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

<hr />VincentVegaLondon, I feel kind of silly about gushing over your post, but it is one of the best I've seen.

I'm hoping to start a new thread in response to your post that will flow from your points:

"Tony ... eventually effectuate his own end as a mob boss."

"Because what DC wants to tell us is that, actually since episode 2 of the series: the heyday of the mob is over and it wont come back."

"We are witnessing the decline not only of a family, but of a whole subculture."

I'm not sure how or if this will come to pass, but I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your post. It's a beauty.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... plishak</A> at: 5/3/06 12:35 am

Re: What the ___ is happening to this neighborhood?

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Julianna returns with a monetary offer Tony can’t refuse, but he implicitly makes his acceptance of the offer conditional on her agreement to fuck him.<hr></blockquote>
I don't quite see it that way.

Right after the big scene with AJ, we see Tony sitting sullenly, probably thinking about AJ and what went wrong -- then Julianna calls with her third offer. Tony accepts. I see him as starting to severe his ties with the old neighborhood, the old life, the life that is threatening to ruin his only son. Yes, Tony still wants to have sex with Julianna ("No one could blame a guy for seeking an extracurricular outlet in a situation like this," the this being the troubles with AJ), but I don't think Tony was using sex as a bartering tool with her.

Tony is always glad to make some money, but I think the motivation for the sale was more to leave the old life behind than to make a quick buck.

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