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Old 07-11-2019, 04:29 PM
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Thoughts on re-watching "The Sopranos"


Long story short, I came late to The Sopranos, having watched the pilot and not connecting with it. But once I got on board between seasons 2 and 3 (thanks to a then-new concept called "binge watching"), I was completely enthralled.

Mrs. ToKnow had seen some of the show, but not the whole thing, so we've been celebrating the 20th anniversary by watching it. Most of these episodes I haven't seen in 10 years or so (since I re-bought the DVDs*), and it's been a pretty wild ride. Watching Tony in a coma was particularly hard given James Gandolfini's much too early death.

We're coming up on the hiatus between season 6 parts 1 and 2, and I have to say, I feel like I'm seeing the weaker writing that I heard about but didn't see when it was aired. Season 6 part 1 feels like a composite of every B-story idea they had considered and rejected. I was looking through the remaining episodes and honestly thought to myself, "Okay, let's just get this over with."

Although, I did catch a spectacular little joke I had never noticed before in season 5. One of the first things anyone says about Phil Leotardo is "He's a pimple." Given how his story plays out, that may have replaced Tony's line that Italians are "Jews with better food" as my favorite line of the series.


*The only thing I really felt like the ex-Mrs. ToKnow did out of spite when we split up was to decide the original DVDs were staying with her.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:56 PM
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The only thing I really felt like the ex-Mrs. ToKnow did out of spite when we split up was to decide the original DVDs were staying with her.
That's the kind of thing people get whacked for.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:13 PM
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I haven't re-watched it end to end, but I've seen scattered episodes here and there. Something that struck me is during my first viewing, there'd be points where I'd have have certain characters categorized as good or bad (well, not exactly good, but better than "bad.") The second time through after seeing the complete arc of every character, you can't indulge in the fantasy that any of them will be good.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:04 PM
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We re-watched the series recently and found that it held up very well. We spent the week talking like Jersey mobsters. Yeah, the writing got weak toward the end. I could have done without Tony's dreamscape nonsense when he was in a coma. But I usually hate dream sequences in anything.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:08 PM
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Someone should put out a DVD of all the episodes David Chase wrote for The Rockford Files.

You can see foreshadowing of The Sopranos throughout. His RF episodes could be fairly classified as "Coping with Difficult People" stories---no one else was writing those stories for that show, or at least not as well.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:15 PM
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NSFW language!

Last edited by Chronos; 07-11-2019 at 11:44 PM. Reason: Added spoiler tags
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:25 PM
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If you want some more to watch after you're done, I saw I, Claudius just a few years before season 1 of Sopranos came out and, I would say, if S1 of Sopranos isn't an homage to I, Claudius, it's a spiritual descendant at least.

You might consider throwing it in after the end. It will be like the pumped up but lower-production value version of everything you just watched.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:45 PM
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River Hippie, links to NSFW material should follow the two-click rule. The easiest way to do that is to put the link in spoiler tags, like I've done there.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:11 AM
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We're coming up on the hiatus between season 6 parts 1 and 2, and I have to say, I feel like I'm seeing the weaker writing that I heard about but didn't see when it was aired.
Weak writing in a final season is all to common. I've always assumed that the writers, knowing they're writing the final season, have found other work, are looking for other work or have otherwise checked out. At this point, they're just trying to get the rest of the episodes knocked out as quickly as they can.
In some shows, it goes downhill so quickly and seems so different I've wondered if the original writers are gone and they have other people doing it for them.

No matter what the case, it's disappointing when you have such a good show and it it turns in to such a mess at the end.
We all know how common it is to suggest that someone skips the first season of a show (usually a sitcom) because they haven't quite found their legs yet. I hate having to tell someone not to bother with the last one or two seasons because the writing got so bad.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:04 AM
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[Moderating]

River Hippie, links to NSFW material should follow the two-click rule. The easiest way to do that is to put the link in spoiler tags, like I've done there.
Sorry, wasn’t thinking. Thanks.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:21 AM
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I personally felt that once Carmela took Tony back, the show basically just spun in place from that point on. Carmela could no longer really develop as a character, which meant that her relationship with Tony couldn't go anywhere new, and that constant blather about her spec house drove me up a wall.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:38 AM
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is there any popular show that fans don't bitch and moan about the last few seasons?
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:48 AM
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is there any popular show that fans don't bitch and moan about the last few seasons?
I don't know if fans were bitching and moaning, but Breaking Bad's final season had some of its strongest episodes (Dead Freight, Say My Name, Ozymandias).
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:28 PM
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I personally felt that once Carmela took Tony back, the show basically just spun in place from that point on. Carmela could no longer really develop as a character, which meant that her relationship with Tony couldn't go anywhere new, and that constant blather about her spec house drove me up a wall.
American TV is pretty bad at courageousness. Sopranos set that precedent, I suppose.

I remember with Mad Men, going into Season 2, the first season was all about showing the secret lives of people - principally, Don Draper - and reveling in the false exteriors that people create in order to survive during that time, with the cultural expectations. But...they'd largely revealed everything there was to know about Draper. Would they go all the way? Would they move on to Peggy or some other character and walk through their life in the same way? Nope. They were too scared to move away from John Hamm, but also didn't have anything new to add about him. The show switched to just being, "The daily happenings of an ad company in the 60s".

I've argued before and I continue to insist, shows should have a set length in advance. You need to know how much content you're going to produce if you want to be able to make a good product that spreads the butter out at the right thickness.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:42 PM
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is there any popular show that fans don't bitch and moan about the last few seasons?
Oh, hell yes. Not only Breaking Bad, but The Wire, Rome, Southland, Six Feet Under, Justified and Deadwood, to name a few. I'll admit that they're in the minority, though.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:01 PM
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I was hoping in GOT a guy with a members only jacket would show up in the final scene and then it cuts to black.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:36 PM
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I was hoping in GOT a guy with a members only jacket would show up in the final scene and then it cuts to black.
That probably would have been less controversial than the way it actually did end.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:18 PM
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I personally felt that once Carmela took Tony back, the show basically just spun in place from that point on. Carmela could no longer really develop as a character, which meant that her relationship with Tony couldn't go anywhere new, and that constant blather about her spec house drove me up a wall.
On the other hand, does Carmela ever really change as a character from the first season to the last? Or Tony even? I think part of the long term commentary the show makes is that people for the most part don't change. Dr. Krakower laid out Carmela's choices in black and white and she rejected it for more of the same. She used Mr. Wegler like she uses Tony. Tony tries to change after the shooting, but is soon back to "every day is a gift but does it have to be a pair of socks" territory, not to mention the fact that his therapy with Melfi is a complete jerk off to him (if anything, he uses it to validate all the shitty things he does).

Off the top of my head, I think Artie is pretty much the biggest character to have a genuine arc.

Last edited by zbuzz; 07-12-2019 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Oof, madon'!
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:49 AM
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I agree Tony and Carmela seemed to be the same all through the show . Same is true for pretty much everyone else. Chris had the very short time where he was going to go into the witness protection program but that was less than a day and he quickly decided to just get Adriana whacked instead.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:03 AM
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I've argued before and I continue to insist, shows should have a set length in advance. You need to know how much content you're going to produce if you want to be able to make a good product that spreads the butter out at the right thickness.
I used to think it sad that TV shows like "The many loves of Toby Gillis" had a limited run because the actors grew up. Then I watched "The Simpsons", where they had solved that problem, and realized that it didn't actually solve the real problem at all.

Last edited by Melbourne; 07-14-2019 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 03:07 PM
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I used to think it sad that TV shows like "The many loves of Toby Gillis" had a limited run because the actors grew up. Then I watched "The Simpsons", where they had solved that problem, and realized that it didn't actually solve the real problem at all.
Dobie Gillis.

Last edited by carrps; 07-14-2019 at 03:12 PM. Reason: corrected spelling
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