Monday, June 11, 2007

Fade to Friggin' Black

Joe Tucci here.

The skipper asked me to to the post about the final episode of that great American documentary, The Sopranos. He tells me that our old pal the Nihilist in Golf Pants predicted that one of us KARnies would write something about it, and the boss thought it'd be nice for the Nihilist to feel what it's like to actually predict something correctly for a change. But being that the Nihilist is a second-rate cafone, he delegated the task to myself.

Now I've been noticing a lot of bitching about last night's finale around the blogospheres. Seems that folks didn't like the ending. See, the producer or director or writer or whatever of the series, David Chase reportedly filmed three different endings for the episode. The thing that's got everybody up in arms is that he didn't use any of 'em. Instead -

LEARNEDFOOT INTERRUPTS: ***SPOILER ALERT***

Ay! Getthefrigouttahere! I don't play to the Tivo crowd. You didn't see it and don't want to know how it ends? Tell your Goomah to keep her panties on and wait until 9.

Anyway, the episode ended with the Soprano family - the real family not the euphemistic one -meeting at some dive for dinner. Then the screen goes black, causing me to swear a lot and hit my TV. Then the credits roll, and I'm all like "Oh, they meant to do that".

So then everybody goes all ballistic saying that there was no "closure" and that this Chase guy is stickin' it to his audience.

Strunz.

Sil ended the series breathing, Ton' salvaged his operation, stayed out of jail and lived. And that greasy-lipped fuck Phil Leotardo got his head squished. What the hell else do you want? Adriana to come back from the dead and start doing some hot girl on girl action with AJ's girlfriend?

Actually, now that I think of it....

Never mind.

Really, how did you want it to end? Because to provide the closure that all these armchair critics require would be to set off a nuke in downtown Newark and kill everybody off. Would sending Ton' into stir for life have been an appropriate ending? How about his death?

Ton' was a guy that survived a contract put out by his own mother, and a gunshot wound to the gut. He was a survivor. Killing him to end the series would have been a non sequitur.

What Chase did here was not to "give his audience the finger" as I have heard it put, but a gift. Here you had a legendary TV show that was appointment viewing for millions. Most of us Italian-American documentary connoisseurs didn't want it to end. Indeed, I'd venture to guess that most Sopranos fans didn't want it to end. And guess what?

That somewhat ambiguous ending has everybody asking "what the hell happened next?" some 18 hours after their TV screens went prematurely dark. And they'll probably be offering up theories about what happened right after the screen went blank for weeks, maybe years. It's not over. And it won't ever be over as long as people keep talking about it.

Chase ended the Sopranos by not ending it. And you're bitching?

LEARNEDFOOT CONCURS: Those who would criticize the finale as a copout would be well advised to remember the First Rule of Show Biz.

JOE TUCCI BEGS CLARIFICATION: Never sign on to a project based on a story by L. Ron Hubbard?

LEARNEDFOOT CLARIFIES: Sorry. Let me rephrase:

Those who would criticize the finale as a copout would be well advised to remember the SECOND Rule of Show Biz:

Always leave the audience wanting more.

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