Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

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Cappy
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Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

Post by Cappy »

Do posters here have any interesting thoughts or theories on the Sopranos?

I've been a (sort of) fan of the the show since its original run, but tbh Season 6 always bugged and bored me. I did a re-watch of the whole series over the course of last year though, and I realized that S6 maybe has some interesting stuff going on, at least more so than I initially gave it credit for.

Before I start unloading a bunch of fan theories and speculation about symbolism, I want to open the floor up for others to share their own hot takes and general impressions of the Sopranos. And we don't have to focus on speculation about the ending (spoiler:
Spoiler:
Tony probably dies
), but that will probably come up in any healthy discussion about the show.
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ringbearer
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Re: Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

Post by ringbearer »

I love S6!
I can certainly see how a lot of people may enjoy it less than the rest of the series; as Tony is 'beyond' redemption. His new perspective on life that happened in 6A clearly never had a chance, and he is now fully committed to his spiral into utter hopelessness - taking his family's emotional growth and wellbeing with him. I think his last real chance as a person was the Vito situation (what a storyline!) After that, i really don't think he thought outside of his five senses, or 1 hour into the future for the remainder of the show.
As far as theories go, I think my main one is that the entire show is actually about Christopher. The real tragedy of the story being that an artist was born into that world, who learned how to fit in while growing up. He learned what to do to appear 'worthy' or how to 'succeed' in his environment; all the while afraid of being found out as being different. As a result, whenever he finally tries to express himself at around 30, his creative attempts are sophomoric at best; having never been able to nurture his thoughts and feelings, or live authentically. This was really the root of Christopher's heroin addiction.
In many ways, Vito was like a rehearsal for Christopher in relation to Tony. Both were very valuable underlings. Both caused hassle to Tony from trying to be themselves. Tony's inaction did no favours for Vito, whereas with Christopher.....you know how that went.

I think that S6 is also the most cinematic of all the seasons.
My other favourite season is S2

P.S. you need to delete the middle word in your spoiler! :wink:
"I like to remember things my own way." Fred Madison
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Cappy
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Re: Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

Post by Cappy »

ringbearer wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:46 am I love S6!
I can certainly see how a lot of people may enjoy it less than the rest of the series; as Tony is 'beyond' redemption. His new perspective on life that happened in 6A clearly never had a chance, and he is now fully committed to his spiral into utter hopelessness - taking his family's emotional growth and wellbeing with him. I think his last real chance as a person was the Vito situation (what a storyline!) After that, i really don't think he thought outside of his five senses, or 1 hour into the future for the remainder of the show.
As far as theories go, I think my main one is that the entire show is actually about Christopher. The real tragedy of the story being that an artist was born into that world, who learned how to fit in while growing up. He learned what to do to appear 'worthy' or how to 'succeed' in his environment; all the while afraid of being found out as being different. As a result, whenever he finally tries to express himself at around 30, his creative attempts are sophomoric at best; having never been able to nurture his thoughts and feelings, or live authentically. This was really the root of Christopher's heroin addiction.
In many ways, Vito was like a rehearsal for Christopher in relation to Tony. Both were very valuable underlings. Both caused hassle to Tony from trying to be themselves. Tony's inaction did no favours for Vito, whereas with Christopher.....you know how that went.

I think that S6 is also the most cinematic of all the seasons.

P.S. you need to delete the middle word in your spoiler! :wink:
That's interesting you bring up Christopher, because it was my decade old unsettled feelings about the uh, culmination of his storyline, that really compelled me to re-engage with the series on a deeper level.

In a lot of ways, Tony seems to have something of an anti-redemption arc -- most seasons feature him going through an arc of gradually coming to the decision to whack someone, and all the emotional angst that entails. Whereas with Christopher, he just does it nonchalantly in the 1st 5 minutes of the episode, then spends the next 40 minutes of screen time barely repressing his sense of relief and joy, before going to Vegas to celebrate with some random college student.

Possibly that validates the criticism that Melfi's own therapist relays to her, that talk therapy only helps sociopaths become better sociopaths, and that all she's really done for Tony is help him be a more successful (and more ruthless) mob boss.

Getting back to Christopher though, he might be the most awful character in the whole show. Sure, characters like Ralphie or Phil Leotardo commit cold blooded acts of violence (albeit for different reasons), but Chris starts off as this wide eyed kid with potential. He has dreams, ideas, he longs for other things... but slowly over the course of the series he just becomes more bitter (and the writers begin writing him as being dumber as well) and entitled. I almost feel betrayed by him during certain moments in S4 and up, because I honestly thought he'd be a better person than he ended up being.

And I think on some level it goes back to the ducks in the pilot episode, and the anxiety and panic attacks that they trigger for Tony. Maybe not overtly, but if Chris was Tony's heir apparent, and Tony can just... do that to him, then maybe Tony is no longer afraid of the baby ducklings leaving the nest. There is a quiet moment near the end of the final episode, where Tony is raking some leaves in his backyard, and he looks up into the trees. Maybe he's not thinking about where those ducks are now, but maybe he's aware of the fact that he's not thinking about them anymore.

I do appreciate S6 a lot more after my final re-watch.
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Re: Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

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And I think S2 was my favorite for the longest time, but maybe S3 surpassed it during the past year.
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Re: Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

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I don't have some big overarching theory, but it is fun to draw connections between seemingly unrelated things in The Sopranos, specifically the final scene and relatively minor character Eugene Pontecorvo (and of course Eugene's Pontecorvo's Members Only jacket).
Spoiler:
A lot of other people have kicked around ideas like this, but it does feel like Eugene's character is somehow more relevant to Tony's fate than the narrative suggests. I really don't want this post to devolve into just a dry list of coincidences and similarities, but Eugene hangs himself and dies basically at the same moment Ton gets shot by Junior in the episode "Members Only". Earlier in this episode, Eugene was chided by a fellow mobster for wearing a Members Only jacket, which is also what Tony's suspected assassin wore in the series final scene.

Backtracking a bit, in the episode "Members Only", Eugene, a low ranking soldier in Tony's crime family, inherits a huge sum of money from a deceased aunt, and makes plans to move to Florida with his family. Later in the season, when Carmela is shown researching Tampa real estate on her laptop, it feels like a callback or mirror of the scenes where Eugene and his wife look up Florida homes on the internet.

Tony is non-commital to Eugene's wishes to leave Jersey. And under the pretenses of currying favor with Tony, Eugene carries out a murder at Christopher's request. Chris orders Eugene to go up to Boston and kill a delinquent debtor. Eugene carries out this hit, shooting one Teddy Spiridakos in the head while he's sitting down in a restaurant. Of course, this parallels with Tony's presumed fate in the finale, right down to the initials of the victims ("TS"), although maybe that's a reach as Tony's actual initials are "AS".

And this might be a tiny detail, but in "Members Only", right after Tony's boat ride gets interrupted by a phone call summoning him to Uncle Junior's house (where he is shot), Eugene's hand gently massages a sea shell, right before he hangs himself (there might be a scene or two between Tony on the boat and Eugene's suicide).

And just before that, when Silvio breaks the news to Eugene that Tony doesn't want him moving to Florida right now, Sil just casually makes it known that Tony is out on his boat right now. When Sil leaves the room, Vito Spatafore tries to console Eugene by telling him that Tony's diet is so bad, that he's likely to drop dead anytime now.

I've historically never been a huge fan of Season 6 of The Sopranos, but re-viewing Season 6 as some Jacob's Ladder type scenario where Tony is shot and killed by Eugene Pontecorvo in the season premiere has made it a more engaging experience. Tony dies via unspectacular means, then spends the rest of the season trying to make sense of his existence and achieve a degree of closure before shuffling off the mortal coil (or the onion rings at Holstens). Without this sort of framing of S6, the stuff with Phil Leotardo and the NY mob feels too redundant, and the stuff with Christopher making a movie about Tony feels too over the top.
And... just posting this here because Twin Peaks fandom feels especially predisposed to intricate theorizing, so maybe someone will have some thoughts or something to add.
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Cappy
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Re: Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

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Two other random things that strike me in the episode "Members Only":
Spoiler:

- in keeping with the insinuation that Tony gets whacked while on his boat, there is a random scene in this episode where he is sitting at a Japanese restaurant, and seems to have trouble swallowing a piece of sushi. Shades of sleeping with the fishes?

- when Tony is on the boat and gets the phone call to go to Uncle Junior's (and ultimately shot), the reason his younger sister gives is interesting. Apparently she can't be with Junior due to the fact that there was an accident at her husband's work. I don't remember his specific job, but he's involved with theater/drama. Tony's sister says that the accident involved a fog or mist machine. I'm not really into meta theories, but I can't help but wonder if there is some link between the talk of an abrupt end to a stage production and the end of Tony's life (which by extension, means a kind of end to the tv show).

And now that I think about the accident with the fog machine, I'm reminded of the fact the Tony was boiling water for pasta when he got shot, but maybe that one doesn't mean anything.
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Re: Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

Post by Stavrogyn »

My whole post is a spoiler.

What happened to Christopher was one of the more unexpected and disturbing events in any film or series I have ever seen. I am not a person easily disturbed, especially not by film or TV, but The Sopranos had a few scenes that really shocked me and stuck with me, because they involved deaths of important characters that either happened so randomly or were caused by people the characters considered close to them that it made them feel so utterly sociopathic (like what happened to Adriana La Cerva, or even Ralph Cifaretto, who was a horrible person, but his death still disturbed me quite a bit).

At the beginning, Christopher was someone to root for, but, as others have already noted, he became more and more horrible as the series progressed. (Especially after what he did to Adriana and J. T. Dolan, there was no redemption for him anymore.) But still, to die so helplessly by the hands of someone he admired and looked up to so much his whole life... that will haunt me for a long time.
All those years living the life of someone I didn't even know. - Knight of Cups (2015)
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Cappy
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Re: Sopranos thoughts (spoilers)

Post by Cappy »

Stavrogyn wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 11:08 am My whole post is a spoiler.

What happened to Christopher was one of the more unexpected and disturbing events in any film or series I have ever seen. I am not a person easily disturbed, especially not by film or TV, but The Sopranos had a few scenes that really shocked me and stuck with me, because they involved deaths of important characters that either happened so randomly or were caused by people the characters considered close to them that it made them feel so utterly sociopathic (like what happened to Adriana La Cerva, or even Ralph Cifaretto, who was a horrible person, but his death still disturbed me quite a bit).

At the beginning, Christopher was someone to root for, but, as others have already noted, he became more and more horrible as the series progressed. (Especially after what he did to Adriana and J. T. Dolan, there was no redemption for him anymore.) But still, to die so helplessly by the hands of someone he admired and looked up to so much his whole life... that will haunt me for a long time.
Re-watching "Kennedy and Heidi" (the ep where Chris gets killed), I was really struck by how it almost felt like a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Tony does something awful but enjoys it, and then feels socially awkward that he can't express this joy.

It's obviously very different, but I can't help but think this was David Chase's version of the "Shaq" ep. of Curb, where Larry accidentally trips and injures Shaq at a Lakers game and becomes a(n even bigger) pariah as a result, but is delighted that he's now free of all unwanted social obligations.
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