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The Sopranos Finale: A Big Finger to Viewers?



It's not something that's wise for a TV critic to admit.Sopranos

But, these days, I don't get The Sopranos.

Take the show's disjointed, anticlimatic finale Sunday. To me, it felt like an hourlong f-you from a guy who has seen fan devotion for The Sopranos transform him from a little-known but well respected TV producer into one of the most legendary TV auteurs in history.

Sopranoes0603_468x557 As I expected, we didn't see Tony get whacked -- although Chase did all he could with the show's final scene to leave us wondering whether some goombah was going to come out of the bathroom blasting the whole family to pieces. And why exactly were they eating dinner in such a low rent joint? Didn't seem like a place Carmela would be caught dead in, normally.

Chase's finale also seemed to leave a lot of the show's trademark humor by the wayside as well. Wry as it was to see Tony trying to turn son A.J. 's leggy, taciturn therapist into another Dr. Melfi, it didn't quite match the heights of previous seasons. Even the bitter angst of Tony and Carmela's marriage seems to have settled into an easy tedium -- punctuated only by their frenzied attempts to deal with floundering son A.JSopranos_wideweb__470x3500.

What I did like: the FBI guy rooting for Tony and hooking him up with Leotardo's location (he's been charmed by the sociopath just like all the rest of us); Paulie Walnut's cellphone ringtone is Paul Simon's "Cecilia" (that guy's quirks never cease to amaze); Tony forced to tool around town in brewery truck until the war with New York calms down.

Among the avalanche of response from folks to my negative review of the finale in today's paper came the notion that the FBI guy had become a smaller, law enforcement version of Tony  -- taking crap from his wife, cheating on her with someone who also has issues with him, and passing on info from her which gets someone else killed.

Soprano Still, as I pointed out in a review for today's newspaper, Sunday's episode seemed morel ike a passive-aggressive shot by Chase at all the fans dumb enough to soak uyp every detail of the last nine episodes.

But maybe I'm just being too sensitive. Let me know what you thought about Sunday's finale; if you're persuasive enough, maybe I'll put a hold on my order of "David Chase Sux" t-shirts...but you'd better be awfully convincing.

UPDATE: Other professional reviewers share my pain. See Nikki Finke, who urges HBO subscribers to cancel their subscriptions in protest;Variety was more evenhanded, calling it a  "finale without finality";  my pal robert Bianco at USA Today was also a little coy about whether this was a slap to fans or a cheeky twist.


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:39pm]


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