“Cunnilingus and psychiatry…

June 10, 2007 at 9:16 pm (The Easy Chair, Waxing Nostalgic)

…have brought us to this.”

When I told a co-worker I had a dinner date a week or so ago, he said, “Good for you! It’s about time you got around to moving on, finding something else to do with your time.”

Huh? This co-worker wasn’t the sensitive, touchy-feely sort.

“Yeah. Now that The Sopranos are over, you’ll need something else to occupy your time with.”

Last episode spoilers ahead! I can’t be held responsible if you look before you watch…

A decade ago, I got hooked on a silly-sounding show about gangsters. The opening quote is from the first season, with Tony and Carmela in bed, having one of those conversations that’s fun being a fly on the wall for.

The Sopranos? In the post-Goodfellas, Scarface and Casino era, a gangster show with an operatic, high-pitched, ‘my underwear is too tight’ ring to it? I mean, come ON…

I saw the second episode before the first. When Paulie Walnuts and Big Pussy steal an espresso maker from a Starbucks, I thought, hmm, not a lot of Pavarotti here. These mooks were funny. (“What do you mean, funny? Funny ha ha? I make you laugh???” Bang! Ouch! My foot…) Then, when I saw Tony give a doctor a compound fracture, (‘Physician, heal thyself, and come up with the vig’…) I kept checking back.

There were familial reminders. I was called Junior as a kid, and hated it. Now I was signing work documents as Uncle Junior. While everyone has family turmoil, the Soprano family (both sets) took it up a notch when responding to such strife. Offering to finish the bris on an Orthodox Jew, Tony sends a henchman to his trunk for some bolt-cutters. He got what he wanted. Those were the glory days.

The Soprano crew has since imploded. Those who are left are second-stringers, with a few notable exceptions. Paulie is still around, and I hope he makes it. Hell, I hope they all make it. I’ve grown fond of these homicidal maniacs.

Bummer about Silvio. He’s in a coma as I write this. I found him to be the most normal of the bunch, as he had a day job and a stable, loving marriage. He was also proficient with a garrotte or a 9 mm. He took both jobs seriously, and enjoyed his work. Something we all aspire to.

Sister Janice reminds me of my older sister. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Aah, Uncle Junior. he reminds me of my dearly departed brother-in-law, who died the day of the Simpson-Goldman murders. His funeral was the same day as the infamous white Bronco chase, OJ Simpson’s breakout role. Bro-in-law was an old-school dog, a greaser-type from the 50s who wore Levis and a white tee shirt, and always had a Pall Mall straight hanging off his lip. He was a mentor in many ways. Raised with so much religious dogma, it was nice to have a salty old bastard to tell me how things really were. I miss him. And I’m going to miss Uncle June, who filled the same role in Tony’s life. As Tony did for Christophuh. And so it goes. (RIP Kurt V.)

Now, let’s talk about the 500 pound elephant in the room. (My favorite line this season.)

It’s over. And I’m betting people are pissed! Wha-wha what? No heads in bowling bags? (Well, there was that incident at the filling station…) Life doesn’t tie tiny little bows around itself. It’s been a rough few weeks for the New York-New Jersey denizens, and the dust is settling.

Silvio is in the hospital, and it looks like he’ll recover. AJ wants to join the army? Meadow is being Meadow, Carmela is still building cheap houses. Paulie wants less responsibility, and is showing wisdom by declining the crew chief position that has led to the demise of so many colorful characters; Richie, Ralphie, etc… This has Tony ‘biffled’. (Almost my favorite line of the season.) Obviously Paulie doesn’t know everything, but it did seem like a cursed gig.

Uncle Junior? He doesn’t seem to remember a damned thing. Bummer. He lived a colorful life, and I hope rumors of a prequel, set during the Johnny Soprano era when Tony is an up-and coming teenager, come to fruition. The flashback episodes were among my favorites.

At least it didn’t end in an “It was all a dream” sequence. I’m satisfied. It’s up to the viewer to decide Tony’s fate.

What will come of Tony? His lawyer said 80-90% chance of indictments coming down, with a pending firearms arrest, as well as interstate fraud charges. Someone inside flipped; my friend thinks it’s Paulie. I’m not so sure. That’s the good news.

Everyone in that cafe? They looked like potential hitmen. Every time someone goes into his coat, Tony will have to brace for the possibility it could the ‘the time’. He also knows that when he starts not noticing, then he’s vulnerable. He will always be looking over his shoulder. If not from the feds, then from his ‘family’. Always on edge.

My theory? I always expected Georgie, the bouncer/doorman from the Bing in the early seasons would exact revenge. Tony was always beating on him for no good reason, and the last time it caused Georgie to go deaf in one ear. I’m a mellow guy, but I’d want a pound of flesh in a situation like that.

Who knows? Maybe Georgie saw him and shot him coming out of the bathroom. Maybe one of those other guys capped him. Or maybe, just maybe, life goes on. Criminal empires like that weren’t built in a day, and it will take years to legally wrap things up. James Gandolfini is still under contract with HBO. Maybe there’ll be a movie about the trial, then after Tony is convicted they can resurrect the series ‘Oz’.

I’m glad it’s up to me to decide. Enjoy life’s little pleasures…

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