Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sopranos: The 6th Season


OK. I just finished grading my logic midterms and posting the grades. Now we can get down to serious business.

First of all, there should not be a sixth season of the Sopranos because the 5 seasons represent a perfect aesthetic unity and, in themselves, constitute the Great American Novel. The whacking of Adrianna was the perfect climax and the loose ends which anyone could pick up represented the perfect ending.

Here is now the system works. Adrianna, the epitome of virtue within the system had to be whacked because the idea of virtue-within-the-system is inconsistent. Meadow gets out. This is the Seventh Seal theme, the dance of death: Meadow and Finn are the young couple who will survive. As for the others there is no exit. They settle for their destiny. Carmella had a shot but there's no realistic chance: her only option is business as usual. Consider the reconcelliation scene: Tony promises to be more discrete about his indiscretions and gets her an Hermes scarf; then they go into the woods, where he dumps his bodies and plan a new house. And that is it: men provide money and protection; women put up with business as usual. It beats typing.

Now as to the new season. AJ will get whacked at some point though not initially I think. He can't get into college but he's too dumb to make it in the mob (as Tony confesses to Malfi on one occasion). There's nowhere for this character to go. This has been a theme since the beginning. This kid is initially nice but dumb. Carmella pushes him beyond his academic capabilities because college is the only way out of the family business--and both Carmella and Tony want their kids to escape. But pushing only makes AJ resentful and undermines any possibility of his getting into some legitimate career. Here is tragegy: the very efforts the Sopranos make to keep AJ from getting into the Mafia make it inevitable that he will get in--and get killed. I'm certain about this scenario. It's the only literary possibility for this character.

Junior. Probably the first episode will be Uncle Junior's funeral. Death by natural causes: Junior cheats the hangman. This isn't really inevitable, but there isn't much further to go with this character.

Nothing else is really motivated at this point. What I'm most interested in is the Bobby=Janice menage. Apart from the deceased Adrianna, Bobby is the only truly good person in the bunch. Like Tony he's a border crosser (on the model of Hermes, Persephone, and Heracles who can go to the Underworld and come back). In the Pine Barrens episode tough guys Pauli and Chrissy end up as desperate children, completely incompetent in South Jersey. They can't make it in the real world. Bobby, who's been through normal experiences like hunting with his Dad saves them.

Bobby's never even really done anything bad. His main job has been being Junior's caregiver. He never does violence: when we see him at work all he does is bully a guy at a bar into installing the mob's preferred candidate in a union position. Small potatoes.

The trouble is that no one in the mob can get out so to get Babby out the family has to collapse. Bobby is good so can't turn states evidence. As with Adrianna, being good in the mob is an impossible position: loyalty demands badness but disloyalty is itself bad. Ultimately Tony will get killed (or possibly sent to jail)--he can't get out. Then I think Bobby, who's small potatoes and not worth going after, will train to be a geriatric nurse. And he and Janice, incredibly, will survive. Janice is, after all, a surviver.

I think the last episode will be Tony's funeral and then, back at the Soprano's household, Carmella weeping in the kitchen while chopping vegetables, Meadow standing at her side mixing the dip tells her, shyly, that he's pregnant for a bitter-sweet ending. That, in any case, is the way it should be played.

I'm rushing to get this in before the first episode of the Sixth Season airs tomorrow. Remember--you heard it here first!

2 comments:

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