Okay, let's all get it out of our systems now, so we can move on:To read the rest, including talk of AJ's panic attacks, Tony's craving for smoked turkey and the Don Fanucci homage, click here, then come back to comment.
"What is this, Brokeback Gangsters?"
You probably said or thought some variation on that joke as you saw Vito and Jim the cook/biker/fireman having their idyllic roll in the tall grass. (Either that, or, like me, you saw it as a gay package tour ad.)
The Vito storyline has been a rewarding digression, but the latest chapter started to push the outer edge of the "Sopranos" envelope -- not because of the smooching, but because of the scenes leading up to it.
Dartford already seemed too good to be true -- if Costa Mesa was Purgatory, this is Gay Heaven -- and now it seems even better than that. First there was Jim's fetishized entrance on motorcycle at the house fire and the glamour shot of him with the rescued child. Then there was dialogue so corny you could butter it: "I'm glad you decided to write your book in our little town" and "Sometimes, you tell a lie so long, you don't know when to stop. You don't know when it's safe."
Now, nothing on this show is random. Right before Vito went out for the leather bar adventure that led to his exile, we saw his wife watching Douglas Sirk's 1950s melodrama "Imitation of Life." The movie's story about a black girl passing for white -- plus the Technicolor images and purple dialogue -- made it a gay cinema staple.
Either last night's Dartford scenes were a deliberate homage to Sirk or writers Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider went overboard trying to illustrate how different Vito's new world is from the one he abandoned. There were times where it didn't just feel like a different world, but a different show.
But those occasional missteps didn't take much away from another fascinating episode, one that continued to push this season's themes of identity and change.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
"The Sopranos," episode eight. From today's review: