Monday, June 11, 2007

A Sopranos Ending You Should Have Expected

We're sorry to see The Sopranos go.

Today, everyone is standing around the figurative water cooler discussing the "surprising" end to the show, where, basically, nothing happens.

Anyone familiar with Sopranos creator David Chase, and intimately familiar with the show from its roots, should've expected pretty much exactly what happened. (Not that we did, mind you.)

One of the reasons Sopranos has been so successful is its defiance of convention. It was never a mob drama. In a mob drama, the mobsters don't have families, at least not real families with mundane problems such as sewer back-ups, homework, getting into good schools and finding a decent therapist.

And David Chase has certainly never been one to go for the trite Hollywood ending--the big shoot-out; the dramatic series-ending assassination of Tony Soprano; or Tony's triumph over the New York mob families.

No, the series ended like it began, with Tony balancing the demands of his family life with the demands of his somewhat unusual business life. Chase played a nice practical joke on us all, building the tension at the end to the point it was hard to watch. Why was Meadow Soprano having trouble parking her car--would it give her the extra moment to survive an ambush of the rest of the family? What about that fellow going into the men's room--would he be the assassin?

While nothing happened, it mirrored the tension in Tony Soprano's life. No matter how serene the scene, he could never be sure, never quite feel safe. And no matter how high he made it in the mob, he could never get away from the mundane, the ordinary, the everyday things in life that drive us all mad.

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