June 20, 2007

The Sopranos finale

(Tony, Silvio, and Paulie)

I finally got to watch the controversial finale of The Sopranos. I have always been a Sopranos addict since Tony Soprano (played by the super-brilliant James Gandolfini), struggling New Jersey mob boss, first stepped into the office of psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi (return-of-the-comeback Lorraine Bracco). Anoh ito? A depressed Mafioso?

I was always so frustrated that our local HBO didn't carry the series. I don't know how true this is but our local HBO is a feed from Singapore daw, which supposedly has strict rules on blood and gore on TV. Merese! The Sopranos is more dark comedy than anything else. Truly funny...it's like Analyze This on downers. Who would've thought that mob bosses and their employees have lives we can relate to outside of the senseless violence they always perpetrate. Sometimes tuloy, you end up cheering some of the whack jobs.

(Hala kayo, gutom na si Bobby!)

Much of the acting was understated but very effective. Each actor managed to make his or her character, no matter if they had just committed bloody murder, very sympathetic. It's quite difficult to pinpoint who my favorite characters or actors were. Of course, Tony Soprano is definitely one of them, the alzheimerish Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese, a veteran of a number of mob films), Silvio Dante (a really different Steven Van Zandt! Who knew Bruce Springsteen's lead guitarist-aka Little Steven- could act?!), Bobby Bacala (truly nakakaawa being married to Tony's sister, crazy Janice. Underacting week after week by Steven Schirippa. I just love him! He's so zany on all the talk shows!).

Too bad the oh-so-gorgeous Federico Castellucio's character, Furio (Tony's import from Italy), disappeared after only a few episodes. Kasi naman he was falling in love with Tony's wife Carmela (Edie Falco...beyoootch!). But those were cool episodes, too. And of course, who could forget the superb late actress Nancy Marchand who portrayed Tony's loon of a demanding and whining mother Livia?! Like everyone else, a lot of Tony's problems stemmed from his impossible relationship with his mother. Sa inis ni Livia, she had plotted to have her son killed! can you imagine?!

(Yummy Furio!)

Anyway, thank God for Limewire and Bittorrent! I was able to watch the entire series just by downloading each episode. (Dang! I had to pray every night that my hard drive wouldn't give out!)

About the finale, it became controversial because it seemed like it was a hanging ending...as Tony looks up from the table in the diner where he and his family are eating, everything fades to black. The series' creator David Chase was heavily criticized for what appeared an unresolved conclusion (doncha just love indefinite endings?). Some felt they were shortchanged and Chase had set everybody up in preparation for a Sopranos movie. But after the initial..."What the....?", I thought it was an outstanding ending as well. It's a finale everyone will continue to talk about and have his own take on what actually happened. Gee, and I thought only we Pinoys wanted our endings to be really final and spelled out. Let your imagination work naman, noh!

(Livia and Uncle Junior out for a drive)

Personally, I think Tony was whacked. Like all mob bosses, how else could he go (unless he turned FBI witness), di ba? Sad pero, that's how it should be. Sure it's unfortunate the series ended. It had a great run and I don't think any other series after this will be able to match the excellent acting, well-written characters, and TV-defining episodes of The Sopranos. But as Tony always says, "Look at the bright side!" May the series live on in worldwide syndication and pirated DVDs forever.

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