Sunday, June 10, 2007

i could be so good for you

So the final Sopranos is tonight. No please, don’t tell me….will I be able to avoid it? What with the USA being the only place on the planet that actually matters, will the American media be able to extract itself from the most important news story of the decade (Paris Hilton…it took a full twenty five minutes of the Fox “only news that matters” bulletin that was playing in the Gym yesterday…with the promise of further indepth analysis to come) and consciously avoid telling the other 95% of the planet who have yet to see it, what happens in the final of the greatest TV series ever. Since Minder that is….

I love The Sopranos, I love the fact that the lesser made guys are such comical thugs. Take Silvio….he is such a calm measured consigliore who just happens to be a mouth clenched cold as fuck thug driving Adrianna to her death muttering “cunt” as he pulls the trigger. Or Paulie, a comical moron, who seems perfect for an episode of Green Acres until he smothers the old lady whilst robbing her house. Or Bobby….a bumbling incompetent grossly overweight schmuk of a father and husband to the grossly overweight breast tattooed strip maller Janice with stupid grossly overweight children…who happens to take pleasure and sees no wrong in killing people for business. The genius of David Chase made these scumbags loveable, at least for a moment, and lets one forget their real business…….and that’s the wonderful thing about The Sopranos. Tony is as much Arthur Daley as he’s Michael Corleone.

And of course he’s the main act, Tony Soprano. It sounds wrong but Tony is my hero. I love Tony Soprano. So much so that he almost makes up for fifty years of almost unrelenting appallingly bad American television. There is a charming cheese factor about some American TV shows, and every now and then you find a Simpsons or a decent NY based crime show but, when you consider the vast volumes produced, mostly they don’t do it very well. When Alf was the highpoint of American TV in the eighties…….

I like Tony because he’s a hard man and I miss hard men. The British have always done it so well and James Gandolfini fits happily into the great, and missed tradition of Bob Hoskins and, when he’s not in one of his countless shockingly bad straight to videos, the great Michael Caine. There was something about Get Carter that nobody in Hollywood was able to quite grasp, let alone remake. But it seems a lost art, even the British, witness Layer Cake, seem unable to avoid turning the role into anything more than a vague caricature anymore. Perhaps after Minder that was inevitable. As I miss classic hardmen, I miss the British film industry too…..I liked Helen Mirren in both Elizabeth and The Queen, but when that is all the BAFTAs have to crow about, something is amiss.

Perhaps that’s part of the attraction of The Sopranos. Set in Jersey it may be but it’s so damned British….it’s humour is layered, twisted, wry and subtle, something very un-American and it’s lineage is so very, for want of a better word, BBC. The genealogy of The Sopranos does very much not include Miami Vice, NYC Blue or LA Law.

So do I pull a sheet over my head and wait for the DVDs to arrive…I’ve pre-ordered them..because the Indonesian censor will only leave about 20% in. The pirated DVDs of Season 6 Part One were around within weeks of it airing which may allow me to come up for air before the proper things turn up, or do I just assume that no amount of post analysis or spoilers on an America-centric global media will take away the thrill of watching the last episodes of the greatest TV ever made.

Or of course I could simply start The Sopranos backlash…it wasn’t all that……

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