Monday, June 11, 2007

Sopranos Finale: Horrible or Brilliant? [J. Mark English]

Imagine if in Super Bowl XXV, when Scott Norwood was lined up to kick a possible game winning field goal against the New York Giants, that suddenly the screen on the TV went blank. The coverage ends before the kick is made. No resolution. Only speculation as to what happened. Did he make the kick? Did it sail wide right? Did the Bills win? Did the Giants win? What the hell?

That is how the Sopranos ended. Everything seemed to culminate with a final scene inside an ice cream parlor. The family all in one place, and a whole lot of questions. Will Tony be killed? Will Meadow get whacked? Will the FBI storm in and arrest Tony? What the hell is going on here? And meanwhile our ears were treated to "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. But to our disbelief, the unbelievable occurred. The screen went blank.

I was watching the show in a separate room in the house from my parents. The TV that I was watching the show on was on a bit of a delay due to the combo of TIVO and pausing. My Mom hurried in during the final minutes saying she wanted to watch the end with me because the cable had gone out on my Dad's set.

Moments later the same thing happened to mine. Just as I was about to sue Cablevision, credits began to role for the final installment of the Sopranos.

A friend called in a nanosecond to suggest that the whole nation must have yelled a collective "what the F*%# just happened?"

Another friend suggested that the end was both "brilliant and horrible" at the same time.

So many people thought they knew (including myself) how the show would end. All of us were wrong.

Maybe that is what makes the ending work. They set up so many different expectations, that they decided to pull any answers away from us. They gave you no ending. Nothing.

People will have theories as to what might have happened. None of us will be wrong, none of us will be right. But we'll be talking about it for years to come. The show ended with the ultimate bang. A silent bang.

The ending may have been horrible, and you may have felt cheated. They did that to you purposefully. But isn't that what makes it so brilliant?

I'm off to eat my final cannoli before bed. So long Tony and the gang. You will be missed.

Della bounanotte!

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