Monday, April 03, 2006

Don't go changin'

Hey, hey, it's "The Sopranos" week four. Here's the start of my review:

PEOPLE don't change.

If there is one simple, persistent message of "The Sopranos," it's that you can get a new haircut, switch jobs, find another lover, embrace some new self-help philosophy, but no matter how much you talk about it, at heart you're going to be the same person you've always been. (And if you're a character on this show, chances are that person is pretty rotten.)

Here's Tony, slowly recovering from an incident that by all rights should have killed him. He's talking a good game, chatting up the visiting evangelicals and the friendly scientist down the hall, telling a nurse he doesn't feel like his old self. And yet he's sneaking out of the hospital for stogie breaks, getting chesty with Phil Leotardo and basically ruining the life of the Barone family so he can protect his own interests.

And here's Paulie, who receives the kind of information that should fundamentally alter his sense of self, and how does he respond? With the same woe-is-me, the-world-owes-me-some-ice-cream-cake attitude he displays under even the best of circumstances, blaming his own mother for the crime of taking him in and raising him, blaming Jason Barone for the bigger sin of having a biological mother who loves him more than she loves life itself. (You'll note the $4,000 a month shakedown is the exact cost of keeping Nucci in Green Grove.)

And in case we doubted the depressing moral of the story, there's Tony sitting at the curb outside the hospital, declaring, "From now on, every day is a gift," as Janice -- the show's poster girl for staying the same deep down, no matter how often you repaint the facade -- rolls her eyes at him.

To read the rest, click here, then come on back for some discussion in comments.


Anonymous said...

For the first time in a while (maybe not the first but...) Grey's Anatomy is starting to really bug. It's so cutesy, so wacky, and then so manipulatively melodramatic -- can you say Ally McBeal? The characters are starting to become like smug little children. Much more of Meredith Grey breaking plaster because her dad abandoned her, and I will abandon her too. Is this show just a little too in love with itself now???

UCF Journalism Student said...


I loved this episode because it sets up the possible pressure points Tony will have to deal with over the last 16 episodes.

Vito abandoning him during his walk [and the resentment on Vito's face at having to walk with the boss],

Paulie's self-absorbed, woe-is-me attitudinal dysfunction leading to the beating on the Barone kid - which Tony expressly promised the widow Barone would not happen.

Carmela's foray into the other family's affairs, warning Tony of Vito's skimping on the tributary.

And AJ's new job - how quickly will he tire of fetching copies of the Godfather from the back before he realizes he could be living out the movie?

If Tony is a new man - which as you point out is doubtful - how it will affect his job and his family? Remember, Carm's attracted to the mobster more than the man.