99.99% of the reviews on this series have been overwhelmingly positive: “a true family drama”, “one of the best – if not the best television series ever created”, etc., etc… I have recently finished watching the entire series (6 seasons) which – I must say – by the end of the 4th I was getting already bored with it but I said “what the heck, watching it until now… I must as well end the goddam series.” – which I did. And I’m glad I did. –
I will not dwell into an in-depth analysis of the plot but rather stick to what impressed/annoyed me with David Chase’s depiction of life within a certain American-Italian subculture (right, the Mafia). Actually debating upon the ‘annoying’ aspect would only take me one minute: at some point I found the series lingering too much and bringing uninteresting plots into action. Should it had ended with the 5th season, it would have satisfied my appetite for Mob-related entertainment. But even so, with 6 series and 86 episodes (HD, baby!) my review is positive.
I must say – at some point I became frustrated with the sheer amount of hypocrisy portrayed by the series; at the end of the day we’re supposed to sympathize with at least one of the characters from a play/a movie, whatsoever, but in The Sopranos you cannot help from getting aggravated when witnessing Tony beating the crap out of a character/killing him and then talking about morality, family values and honor with his shrink. “I mean, what is it that we do here? It’s all about bringing money home and putting food on the plate.”, Tony dixi. Simple and straight-forward attitude, isn’t it?
The show features numerous funny and entertaining parts too (and I’m not talking here only about the dances from Bada Bing – the strip club). The one character who definitely stands out from the cast is – “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, the guy with the ‘white hair thingies‘. A fountain of punchlines, a highly paranoid man and somehow with a belief for the supernatural, as witnessed in the following short video I’ve cut from an episode.
Apart from these funny moments, the overall script was based around the aforementioned theme (i.e. hypocrisy) and the drama generated by a mob-related life-style. The reality of the show strikes in key moments when you actually want to smack one of the characters for being so cocky (“cunty” would have been more closely-related to the script’s verbiage). So, eventually one cannot help asking himself ‘what was it that I found so appealing about this show’? Do I enjoy watching a long-nailed, lip-tapered housewife who’s only concern is to cook varieties of pasta for her family and treat herself with opulence? How can I stand seeing a young girl growing up and steadily becoming an advocate for immigrant’s rights after witnessing her boss-father of Italian heritage being arrested several times by the feds, hence enraging her in the fight against the ‘oppressed’ and enrolling for the law-school? Should we sympathize with a ‘waste-management consultant’ disposing of human ‘garbage’ in order to live in a clean courtyard? Am I being too serious here? 🙂
This is the immediate response after watching any of the 86 episodes – and by sticking to this point one could easily dismiss the whole action. After all, it was not just about killing, beating, cursing and so forth, but about characters. A show in which the acting prevailed, a show in which everyone involved was an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind figure, a show with intense action (and the next-to-last episode when the two families go to war is a piece of art in this direction), unpredictable moments and memorable quotes. To say that I highly recommend this would be an understatement. Hat’s off!