Sunday, May 07, 2006

Days of whine and teacups

"The Sopranos," episode nine. The opener to this week's review:
St. Elzear was a French nobleman who died at 38 and who chose to honor his wife's lifelong vow of chastity.

In other words, Tony, Paulie, Chris and the guys spent a good chunk of last night paying tribute to a man whose life they would do anything to avoid.

Not that theirs are much better, frankly. As Tony and Melfi discussed in therapy, people go on scary amusement park rides because they're bored, and the gangster lifestyle is essentially one long trip to Great Adventure. You wait on line for an hour, scream your head off for 90 seconds, then get at the back of another line.

Why do Tony and Chris try to hijack a hijacking? Because it's something to do, something to punctuate the tedium and hassles of a life that's a lot less glamorous than they had imagined. The two get drunk on the stolen wine and the retelling of the story ("We're with the Vipers!") for a while, but as time passes, the booze and the memories both lose some of their, you know, pop. And then it's back to another card game at Satriale's, another collection headache, another day of waiting for the next adventure.

As Tony put it to Melfi in describing his post-coma attitude, "Every day is a gift. It's just, does it have to be a pair of socks?"

At least Old Tony could count on some excitement from his mistresses (before they went nutso on him). New Tony doesn't even have that outlet; while he stands helpless on terra firma, his failed conquest Julianna is too busy laughing her head off on her ride to even notice him.

Over the years, people have complained that this show glamorizes the mob. Whether you buy that or not, David Chase and company are making sure to clean up any mess on the way out the door. These guys have always been pathetic, selfish losers, a fact being hammered home more than ever.
To read the rest, click here. Then come back here to comment.

12 comments:

Chrissy said...

Alan,
I've counted more than two Katrina references. For instance, Ray Curto is watching Katrina footage on the television while he's using the treadmill in "Members Only." I want to say most--if not all--of the episodes have had a Katrina reference, if only by showing tv footage. Besides indicating how angry the writers are, how do you think this fits in with themes of The Sopranos this season?

Alan Sepinwall said...

The commander-in-chief (Dubya/Tony) is getting lax, is trusting his cronies (Brownie/Paulie) too much to do jobs they're not qualified for, and things are falling apart as a result. But I could just be spitballing.

Anonymous said...

My favorite line of the evening - "let it go, Janice!" and the look he gave her.
My husband didn't catch the brownie comment - I had to rewind the DVR to prove that it was there.

chrissy said...

Thanks, Alan--I see the parallels.
It's all about Family business, isn't it?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Janice really is Livia's daughter, isn't she? If the old bat had been born 20 years later, she would have been queen of the frivolous lawsuit.

Ted said...

I thought Bacala was only acting out at Janice's behest -- she even came along for the ride with the neck brace. All along, Bacala has only been violent or more than a gofer when Janice prompts him to.

Note also the crying infant wanting to get back on the ride as a metaphor for Tony.

Note also Chris fencing $9,000 worth of wine for $300.

Sandi Karchmer said...

We also noticed that Christopher got way too little for that wine. Why didn't Tony comment on that?

Sars said...

I agree with you on Chris's Tarantino bender. But I wish we hadn't seen the scene where he tells Tony about Ade; I knew that had gotten cut, and I thought it was the best choice although Chase mentioned that the actors weren't happy about it. I was happier having it left to my imagination.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Cutting that scene from "Long-Term Parking" was the right call, as it left Adriana's fate slightly up in the air until Silvio pulled into that forest. But I liked the scene itself, and I think we needed to see it to put an exclamation point on how badly that decision is, to paraphrase Rebel Without a Cause, tearing him apart.

As for the wine, I think Tony is just as ignorant on the subject as Chris. How much do you want to bet that the buyer was the newly rededicated Artie Bucco, who knew exactly what kind of deal he was getting?

NancyKay Shapiro said...

I keep chuckling, days later, over the wiseguys trying to extort Starbucks, and then realizing that the days of their way of "doing business" are over now that most of the businesses in the nabe are big anonymous corporations. The idea of selling protection to Starbucks is as hilarious as that old Monty Python skit where the mob tries to sell protection to Graham Chapman's uptight major for his army base. "What if one of your tanks was to be blown up?" I wonder if the writer for The Sopranos ep had that in mind?

Anonymous said...

BTW, would you consider adding an RSS feed to this blog? PLEASE?

dez said...

So, is Chris going to overdose or get whacked? Because that ep seemed like they were setting up his death. I was waiting the whole time for Chrissy to die, but instead, I get Paulie making up with Nucci.

Loved the look on Carmela's face at the family dinner as she contemplated Chris as Ade's potential killer--as if Chrissy has never killed anyone else, ever. Carmela's quite good at compartmentalizing, almost better than Tony, I think.

Also, does Janice actually love her kid now? Before, it seemed like she didn't really care about her, but now, it's different. She was almost...tender with her. It was kinda freaky.

Finally, I loved the juxtaposition of Tony hoisting up his niece in the sun and playing with her versus the hangdog way Paulie went back to Nucci, and only because he thought he was going to die from a cancer he doesn't even know for sure he has. Every day is a gift, Tone, and sometimes, it's not just a pair of socks.