So “The Sopranos” came to a close. I will miss it. Even their worst episodes were better than most TV ever aspires to.
However, the great debate seems to be whether Tony was killed or not. Some are theorizing that, since the show is (primarily) told from Tony’s point of view, when his point of view ended (gun shot to the back of the head), the show ended – the last thing he saw being his daughter walking through the diner door.
Problem with that theory is that the last shot wasn’t Tony’s POV. The last shot was of Tony himself – no gun creeping into his coverage (a’la Phil at his SUV window). Were it meant to be his POV, and we’re meant to think he’s been capped, the last image before the hard cut to black would be of Meadow – maybe even Meadow reacting to something we can’t see… because [i]that[/i] would be the last thing Tony saw. So, for me, Tony’s still alive. The show simply ended. Granted, there’s room for interpretation; that’s just mine.
Some folks have raved about and raged against the ambiguity with which such an engrossing piece of televised art closed. Look, I’m all for ambiguity, but it feels like they did exactly what everyone was expecting: to not go out with a bang. At all. And I respect that. But let’s be honest: layering in all those inserts of people at the diner (suspicious or otherwise) was kind of like heavy petting that ends abruptly: you think you’re gonna get to nut hard, and suddenly, her parents walk in; or worse, she loses interest. I’m not looking for absolute disclosure to their closure, but call me traditional: if you’re not gonna do something dramatic (like kill off Tony) it just would’ve been nice to, I don’t know… let Meadow sit down and do a pull back on the family (not the Family).
Still, I have always, and will always, love that show. And I’m not bitching about the ending (though, if I had any hardcore complaint it was that there was no shout-out to the ducks that kicked off this nearly decade-long love affair) because they provided one really beautiful moment that I feel summed up the entire series quite nicely: Tony visiting Uncle Junior.
“You and my Dad,” Tony said. “You two ran North Jersey.”
“Hm.” Beat. “That’s nice.”
I thought that brief exchange really captured the futility of not just This Thing of Ours, but ambition and accomplisment in general: you struggle and toil and put shit together from scratch, and it all seems so epic and important in the moment, and you make sacrifices, and there are casualties along the way… and ultimately, if you’re lucky, you wind up in a wheelchair, unable to remember most of what you’ve done.
Fuck the haters: that show’s still the best thing to come out of Jersey since Bruce and Jon Bon.
Also, it wouldn’t be Monday unless there was a new SModcast…
SModcast 15: The Pretty-Good Worker
In which things go back to normal and our heroes discuss the passing of a bear-like legend, ruminate on the emotional and physical perils of pet ownership, confess to being cat people, fret over Weiners hunting weiners, become the Jolie of dog adoption, and incur the wrath of all right-thinking and decent people by spending nearly an hour trying to figure out whether Helen Keller was truly impaired or just party to an elaborate ruse.
Stop reading this and download that shit right now, then come back and let me know what you think.
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Pulled this nice story out of the SModcast email-bag…
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 5:33 AM
Subject: International SModcast Appreciation
Dear Mr. Smith and Mr. Mosier
My name is Chase Cunitz and I am a student from Detroit, Michigan. I’m
currently studying in London for the summer and have been here for about 5 weeks now. I’ve loved every second of my time here in London but this weekend, I had an experience that I would label as the “best” thing that’s happened to me out here.
First, I love SModcast and think you guys are ridiculously entertaining in a weird, quirky, unconventional way.
Second, I assume that the only people who have heard of SModcast are people I’ve never met or never will meet. I have a few close friends that listen to SModcast and we get together (when we’re in the same general vicinity) after each new episode and chat merrily about it for a couple hours. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since SModcast is usually only an hour’s worth of material to talk about, but we somehow make it work.
Not sure why I was counting before this, but my email basically culminates with this: This weekend, I went to Dublin with some American friends over here. A few of which have been introduced to SModcast by myself. We were in a pub called the Green Dog….this pub was not on the beaten path by any stretch of the imagination…and we really didn’t know how we found our way there. While slowly immersing ourselves into the pub with some of the locals, one of my friends asked me when he thought the next SModcast would be out and whether or not Scott would be returning. At the mention of the word “SModcast”, half the bar froze. These brawny Irish drinkers immediately broke down and became giddy little kids…asking about Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier and how long we’ve listened to SModcast etc.
The conversation for the rest of the night was centered around Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob, Mallrats, An Evening With…, Chasing Amy, Ben Affleck, Dogma, and of course, SModcast. We must have spent at least 4 hours in this run-down little pub talking with everyone about “the finest film-makers that the world has ever produced” (the Irish-folks words, not mine…but I do agree completely). There were a few questions revolving around whether or not any of us had ever met either of you (being from America and all). Unfortunately, we couldn’t say we’d had that pleasure.
It was unbelievable and my heard is still turning from it today (this
peculiar event occurred Saturday evening).
Thanks to one of my friends making a random comment, SModcast and your fine films and body of works, we made an amazing bunch of Irish pals in the middle of nowhere in Dublin. These guys were so cool and I can’t help but wonder if all of Ireland is entirely comprised of SModcast fans?? Unfortunately, we left the next day, so I didn’t get to test that question out.
I just thought I’d let you both know about your fan base in the country of
Guinness and Leprechauns. You guys make amazing stuff and my friends and I (as well as a bunch of drunken Irishmen) all enjoy it and thank you for everything you’ve done….whether or not you guys made any of it for thanks or not (which you probably didn’t).
Scott, sorry to hear about Wolfy (or Wolfie?).
Glad to have you both back together and fighting the weekly doldrums of the conventional.