Posts filed under 'The Sopranos'

My two cents on the Golden Globes

You guys had your shot, now it’s my turn to play God with the Golden Globes. I’m starting off with the comedies because most of those are shows that I’ve actually seen. I’m only one man — I can’t be expected to watch all those damn cable dramas.

Sadly, there won’t be a real awards show to look forward to, but Kathy Griffin and Matt Lauer will be co-hosting some sort of Dateline pre-show. That should be good, right?

Best Comedy: 30 Rock

Let’s start off with a bang — the biggest award of the night, as far as I’m concerned. I think that even if justice had been served and The Office pushed off nominees like Entourage, 30 Rock would still be deserving of the award. There’s no other show that combines silly and smart the way 30 Rock does. It has more memorable moments per episode and more jokes per minute than any other show on TV. Hot on its heels is Pushing Daisies — 2007’s best new series. There’s nothing wrong with the show to put in second place, I just think that 30 Rock is a tough act to follow.

Best Actor in a Comedy: Alec Baldwin

I’m not going to offer an explanation for this choice except to say that this scene should earn Alec Baldwin a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a place in all of our hearts.
Best Actress in a Comedy: Mary Louise Parker

I realize that a lot of people, myself included, would almost always defer to Tina Fey in every poll. We all love her so much and want to be her when we grow up. But I found myself constantly amazed and Mary Louise Parker’s performance this season on Weeds. Her character, Nancy Botwin, is such a lovable psycho — she’s a complete mess, but still manages to remain a resilient mother lion in the face of ridiculous adversity. Parker has this glassy-eyed innocence that makes you root for Nancy, all the while maintaining this detached, badass facade. It’s really amazing. If you haven’t already, pick up the first season of Weeds on DVD, invite some friends over and have a little marathon with a theme drink.

As far as Tina goes, the reason I didn’t choose her was because I feel like the material really sells itself. It’s not a dig on her, but it’s a credit to the writing staff. She had some great moments (her Jerry Seinfeld crying voice, etc.), but Parker’s role was much more challenging.

Best Drama: Big Love

I’m not going to lie — this choice was largely arbitrary. I’ve seen a few episodes of Big Love and, even though I didn’t really know what was going on 100% because I had just started watching, I could tell that the performances were great and the writing was effective. It’s everything we love about HBO dramas. On the other hand, I’ve just never seen Damages, Mad Men, or the Tudors. Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t deserve award show love, as far as I’m concerned, and I stopped watching House a while ago because I don’t really see what everyone sees in House’s one-note character, the show’s dull supporting cast and formulaic episodes. That sounded kind of harsh.

Best Actor in a Drama: Michael C. Hall

There are two reasons why Michael C. Hall deserves this award: Dexter Morgan and David Fisher. Hall’s complex, restrained performance as Dexter would be reason enough to give him the award. But I still think it’s an injustice that Six Feet Under never got its due in term of awards, including Hall’s performance as David. Hall is one of those actors that just slips into a character’s skin perfectly. It’s a credit to him that I never think of Six Feet Under when I’m watching Dexter — he has embodied the character so fully that it makes me forget my all-time favorite show.

Best Actress in a Drama: Edie Falco

Again, the only two shows I watched in this category were The Sopranos and Medium. Well, I saw the first season of Medium and I know that Patricia Arquette is the worst actress on any screen, big or little. By default, I’d choose Falco, but I gladly do it. Between her unbalanced character of Carmella and her appearances on 30 Rock, there’s a lot to like about her.

2 comments January 11th, 2008

2007: The dead walk among us

2007 is officially over. Kaput. Done. Smell ya later.

You know what is also dead? All sorts of folks on TV. Thusly, we’ve made a provocative, scintillating top five and bottom five list of dead folks from this calendar year. Among the year’s deaths, we have a drowning, two gunshot victims, massive head trauma and even an explosion or two.

Point of information: the “top five” and “bottom five” are determined by a number of factors — the satisfying nature of the demise, how well it worked to advance the plot/character arc or, quite simply, whether we liked it or not.

For the record, proceed with caution if you are sensitive on getting spoiled by any shows. These shows include Weeds, Dexter and Battlestar Galactica.

Top 5

5. U-Turn – Weeds

The thing I really liked about U-Turn’s demise on the third season of Weeds wasn’t the satisfaction in having a repulsive character get axed. It was the perverse injustice of it all. U-Turn was such an intimidating character, breathing through a clenched jaw and flared nostrils in every scene and using terror to get his way. And then he gets killed by the fat, simple, ne’er-do-well Marvin — whose biggest accomplishment of the season was getting shot in the ass by the Mexicans. It was an understandable, but out-of-nowhere act and I love the idea of such a ridiculous, incompetent figure taking out a prime villain by surprise.

4. Symbolic spot reserved for Pushing Daisies

pushdead.jpgIt seems like it wouldn’t be fair for such a death-centric show to get left out on this list. Perish the thought that any of the lead characters actually die (even Emerson — the show’s dynamics would be ruined without him). But in honor of the exploding secretaries, trampled jockeys and torn-in-half wish-givers, we raise a glass of bubbly to the supporting cast of corpses on Pushing Daisies.

3. Sgt. Doakes – Dexter

Toward the end of season two, it really looked like the creators had written themselves in a corner. There were so many complications that it didn’t seem like the season could end cleanly. I feel like it was pretty obvious that Doakes was going to get blamed for the Bay Harbor Butcher’s crimes, but after Doakes caught him in the act, I didn’t see how Dexter could pin the blame on him without killing him — a violation of the Code of Harry. Enter crazy-pants Lila. Lila’s craziness was what saved Dexter in the end. Furthermore, it was pretty satisfying to see Doakes — crazy and unhinged himself — finally out of the picture.

2. Starbuck – Battlestar Galactica

Maggie writes: Starbuck is (was?), arguably, the best character in a sea of wonderful characters from Battlestar Galactica — the frakked up risk-taking pilot with Mommy issues who makes bad decisions in the sack. Not only is (was?) she a fan favorite, she keeps the rest of the characters on their toes — sleeping with them, hurting them, telling them the ugly truth that she can’t face herself. So when her Viper blew up, it seemed impossible that they, the geniuses at the helm of BSG, would actually kill her. But they seemed very serious about it, making us suffer through four Kara-Thrace-less episodes before the last ten seconds of the last episode of this season. Not that those seconds resolved anything, of course. What does it all mean???

1. Charlie – Lost/Phil Leotardo – The Sopranos

charliedead.jpgThis is cheating, but that’s okay because it’s a blog and not real life. I have two number one deaths and they’re both for different reasons. Charlie’s death earned its spot just because it was shocking (in a way), emotionally charged and completed his character’s redemption arc. Plus, the Lost folks redeemed themselves a little bit for killing a real character, not just introducing a bunch of tailies to just pick off one by one.

Phil Leotardo’s death was awesome for sheer bloodlust purposes. Such an awful man, responsible for so much death. To finally see him get whacked was really rewarding for long-time viewers. Furthermore, he didn’t just get whacked. An SUV ran over his head! I mean, what more could you ask for? It was like murder Christmas.

Honorable mention: To Nikki and Paolo from Lost. For real. In the big picture, they were totally useless, but that episode was awesome.

Bottom 5

5. Sheriff Lamb – Veronica Mars

I realize we might get some flack for putting Veronica Mars on the bottom of any list, but I have to admit that Sheriff Lamb’s untimely demise was a bit anticlimactic. No one really cared for him, so on face value this would have been a no-brainer for the top five. But the way it all went down was really unsatisfying. If I’m like most VM fans, I would’ve wanted Lamb to go out in a redeeming blaze of glory — so we can look at his tombstone and reflect that he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. However, that didn’t happen. He got bonked on the head by Richard Greico. Richard Greico, guys. I mean, come on.

4. Bradford Meade – Ugly Betty

Maggie writes: Recipe for instant melodrama: Pick the most boring character on your show. Kill him. Presto! No one liked Bradford, and none of his story lines were particularly convincing. Did anyone really believe he was in to Wilhelmina? Did anyone actually buy him as an evil genius? Then he up and dies, just in time to ruin Wili’s wedding and teach the Meade kids a little something about life. On the other hand, Santos — that one was at least a little teary.

3. President Palmer II – 24

Maggie writes: The sixth season of 24 seems awfully long ago, especially if you’re like me and you didn’t bother watching the last four episodes. But back in the beginning of the season, there was another President Palmer, the brother of the first (who was the victim of a great TV death — shot in the neck!). Prez Palmer II got himself blown up, and then he pumped himself up on uppers to lead the country, and then I think he died. He did die, didn’t he? He isn’t like Ex-Prez Logan in the ambulance, never to be heard from again? It’s a mark of the show’s decline that I can’t even remember.

dldead.jpg2. D.L. – Heroes

He got shot by some random dude in a bar? Booooooooooooooooooo!

1. Tony Soprano – The Sopranos

My disdain for the way things went down on the series finale of The Sopranos is no secret. But, even though David Chase thinks I should just worry my pretty little head in an adorably quaint liberal arts classroom, I’m going to operate under the assumption that Tony Soprano got it in the end. All signs point to yes, as many people seem to think (including Jeopardy champ Bob Harris, who seems to have come up with the most comprehensive analysis. Although, now he seems to be wanting to distance himself from it as much as possible. Sigh. Whatever.). But I’m putting Tony’s death at the bottom of the heap — not because it didn’t make sense that it would happen, not because it wouldn’t have been just, but because of that damned fade to black and the “I’m smarter than you” ambiguity.

Honorable mention: For the dream of Studio 60. Emmy-award winning writer, cast of luminaries, the best set money can buy — what could go wrong? Everything, of course.

8 comments January 2nd, 2008

The More You Know: Holiday-themed sweater edition

Where can you even buy one of those?

December 14th, 2007

I’m Sick of Your Shit: David Chase

tonyandcarm.jpg

Listen, David Chase. I don’t know who you think you are.

A few months ago we all stopped thinking about The Sopranos. Or at least I did. I thought the ending was a bust, an anti-climax and a huge “eff you” to everyone who had waited on pins and needles (for months and years!) for the finale and for some resolution to the six-season saga.

The famous blackout was a bad idea. A really bad one. But, the one thing that I could say to David Chase as a compliment would be that he stuck to his guns. This is what he said right after the finale aired:

“I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there. No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God. We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people’s minds, or thinking, ‘Wow, this’ll (tick) them off.’ People get the impression that you’re trying to (mess) with them and it’s not true. You’re trying to entertain them.” He added: “Anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there.”

And now he’s got a book to hawk, so he’s talking about it again — giving an interview where he acts so exasperated and disappointed at the viewing public. Click that link up there and read the whole AP article — it’s pretty maddening. I want to find things to quote that would best synthesize what irks me so much, but I want to quote the whole thing.

Here’s a starter:

Breaking his silence months after the HBO mob drama ended its run, he is offering a belated explanation for that blackout at the restaurant. He strongly suggests that, no, Tony Soprano didn’t get whacked moments later as he munched onion rings with his family at Holsten’s. And mostly Chase wonders why so many viewers got so worked up over the series’ non-finish.
“There WAS a war going on that week, and attempted terror attacks in London,” says Chase. “But these people were talking about onion rings.”

First of all, if David Chase is so concerned about the war, what is he doing making TV mob shows?

Second of all, as far as the Tony revelation goes, I wish he would have at least kept his silence. Permanent cliffhangers can go one of two ways — you can keep your silence forever about what actually happened or do the “everyone’s individual interpretation is valid” thing. But Chase chose the former and couldn’t keep up his end of the deal.

The worst part of the interview is here:

“There are no esoteric clues in there. No `Da Vinci Code,'” he declares.
He says it’s “just great” if fans tried to find a deeper meaning, but “most of them, most of us, should have done this kind of thing in high school English class and didn’t.”

I don’t know who he’s trying to impress by condescending to everyone who devoted more time to analyzing the finale than, apparently, anyone ever should have. I guess if all that stuff is best left in English class, what’s the point of watching The Sopranos from anything other than an entertainment perspective. I can’t imagine that’s what the makers wanted. Second of all, what about “anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there”? Was that an invitation for a wild metaphorical/symbolic/literary/cultural goose chase?

Here’s more:

He defends the bleak, seemingly inconclusive ending as appropriate — and even a little hopeful.
A.J. will “probably be a low-level movie producer. But he’s not going to be a killer like his father, is he? Meadow may not become a pediatrician or even a lawyer … but she’ll learn to operate in the world in ways that Carmela never did.
“It’s not ideal. It’s not what the parents dreamed of. But it’s better than it was,” Chase says.

If that’s the case, then why Mr. Members Only who may or may not have a gun? Why the parallel parking drama? Why the very deliberate staging and pacing of that final scene? If it was supposed to end on a such mundane note then why not let it end on a mundane note?

I’m pretty sure he’s trying to fuck with us.

In the end, this whole thing just reeks of a gross attempt to drum up book sales. To that, I urge the TiFaux readership to heed the following: if you liked The Sopranos, buy the DVD — but don’t buy his book.

4 comments October 24th, 2007

The More You Know: Portugal edition

I’m going to Portugal in November!

1 comment September 18th, 2007

The More You Know: Friendster edition

Remember Friendster? Me neither. (ps — TiFaux MySpace)

3 comments September 5th, 2007

The More You Know: Train edition

The train takes a long time, but it’s better than driving.

2 comments August 19th, 2007

The More You Know: New pants edition

They’re my size, but they feel kind of tight and I feel like everyone is staring at me.

1 comment June 29th, 2007

The More You Know: Red eye edition

I swear, no picture has ever been taken of me where my eyes aren’t glowing like some hell-sprung demon.

2 comments June 27th, 2007

The More You Know: Pompadour edition

If you’ve never met me, I hope your mental image involves a pompadour.

June 26th, 2007

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