Flashback: The Sopranos, Season 1

I’ll most likely go into greater detail about the episodes in later posts, but I thought I’d get some of my first impressions out there in the meantime.

  • Of all things, I forgot how funny this show is, that at times, it seems to be a comedy first, and a brutal crime drama second, without ever sinking into true satire.
  • I’ve now caught up to the Sopranos episode, “College,”  that is generally considered the turning point at which viewers and critics alike sat up and said “Holy crap, this show is really good.” So much happens over the course of the next six seasons, but this is the show at its best, with Tony’s two families edging dangerously close to one another. We see him attempt to give his (horribly obnoxious) daughter the candid relationship she wants (or says she wants), all the while knowing he can’t be truly honest–no matter how much bravado Meadow shows, she could never handle the bare truth of who her father is. We watch as Tony stalks a former mobster-turned-rat and then brutally strangles him. The amount of effort Tony has to physically expend to kill the man, even a man of his stature, is what reminds the audience that while the show may be funny more often than not, and while we find our selves rooting for the “sad clown” mafioso, Tony is someone who does horrible, violent things without a moment’s hesitation. Which is probably why he’s the one who ends up alive at the episode.

Other things I’ve caught  up on in the last week or so:

  • All of Mad Men, seasons 1 and 2–and good lord, why did it take me so long to join the club? I’m completely infatuated with everything about this show, how much care and detail they put into the writing and design of each episode, the complexity of the characters, particularly its anti-hero Don/Dick (no surprise, given that show creator Matthew Weiner was a writer for the Sopranos). I CANNOT WAIT till August for this show to start up again. In the meantime, Sally, make me an old-fashioned.
  • The True Blood season 2 premiere. The credits are still the coolest thing about this show, sadly, but for whatever reason I’ll probably keep watching. Such is the allure of good trash.

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