Monday, June 11, 2007

The end is near... no, wait, it's here

I don't subscribe to HBO (despite being the TV reporter, I pay my own way, cable-wise), so I didn't see "The Sopranos" finale.

But I'm not a patient man. When I was a kid, I used to take an exacto knife and carefully cut open my Christmas presents, peek and then tape them back up. So naturally, last night at 7:59 p.m., I started searching for an episode recap of the finale.

And what I found was a lot of unhappy people. A lot. David Chase's open-to-interpretation non-ending ending did not satisfy the restless Sopranos fan base. Is Tony dead? Is he enjoying onion rings with Carm and the kids? Did the feds nab him? The answer lies in your imagination, 'cause it sure wasn't on the screen.
There were a truly hilarious number of people who thought their cable had glitched right at the crucial moment.

It's not surprising -- not after the last two seasons -- that Chase chose to use the finale to poke fans in the eye once more. Not surprising, but disappointing.

If the finale arrives on DVD sometime soon, I'll certainly still watch it, though. I still played with my Christmas presents, too.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, there are also a bunch of people out there who LOVED the ending. Because David Chase is a genius and all. Some of these people say that fans who didn't like the ending just didn't get it -- because Tony was shot and never saw it coming, so fini -- while others say that fans who didn't like the ending just didn't get it -- because Tony wasn't shot and life goes on and this is the entire message of the series.
Whatever -- a lot of these people seem to be pretentious jerks.
Like the ending if you want, because it gave you a jolt, or it was daring, or you can't conceive of David Chase striking out (despite the abundant evidence of last season), but don't hate on people who hated it. See Petey's comments in this thread for numerous examples of what I'm talking about.
Read the comments on the Time blog -- somebody drops a Choose Your Own Adventure riff that's hilarious.
UPDATED UPDATE: I keep seeing people compare this to the "Seinfeld" finale. That kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it? Ouch.
I'm trying to think of final episodes now. MASH was well-done, but self-indulgent. "Friends" was maudlin. "Seinfeld" was a trainwreck. "Cheers" was pretty good, but didn't aim too high. "St. Elsewhere" was the all-time screw-with-the-audience finale. Hmmm. Most of the other big finales were for shows I'd stopped watching years before.



At 9:08 AM, June 11, 2007, Anonymous Warren Epstein said...

I had a dream last night that I met the cast of "The Sopranos." They were as disappointed by the ending as I was.

There are many punctuation marks you can use to end a series: an exclaimation point, a question mark, an ellipsis ...

But it was like the series ended mid-sentence, with Chase saying, "You want an ending? &%#@ You! How's that?!"

At 11:10 AM, June 11, 2007, Anonymous camphenn said...

I have to say, that although I believe the series itself to be sheer genius, and I understand (or think I do) how Chase ended his series with "life in mid-stream" as always (the show was always about family -- both families, right?), I was still disappointed.

There are many films and plays that I have enjoyed that don't have neat resolutions, but I guess I did want something a bit more definite from The Sopranos.

As far as guessing games go, I imagine that life goes on, the NYC mob gets a new boss (the little guy with the wandering eye? Really??), Meadow gets married, AJ finally feels important and stays on track, and Tony ends up on trial for racketeering -- and gets convicted. The most common ending for all mobsters, and who really wants to see that?

At 1:40 PM, June 11, 2007, Blogger AndyW said...

I'm in total agreement with you, camphenn, except "Who wants to see that?" Heck, I want to see that! Sounds like quality drama to me.

At 2:04 PM, June 11, 2007, Blogger Christopher Short said...

The Onion recently did a roundup of season finales with this gem...

"The King of Queens: The series ends on a down-note when the cast comes out for a final bow and no one claps."

At 11:24 AM, June 12, 2007, Anonymous camphenn said...

All I meant by the "Who wants to see that" comment, is that I'm not sure that most fans of The Sopranos would want to go through the long racketeering trial of Tony, only to watch him go to jail. As realistic as the series always was, some things --especially those in which the ending (jail) is known in advance -- aren't as interesting to see. Besides, we, the audience, have already been through one trial with Junior. And we have 72 hours of prime time already devoted to court rooms...enough is enough, don't you think?


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