Sunday, March 19, 2006

David Chase Channeling Quentin Tarantino (Sopranos Spoilers)

I AM POSTING THE above warning for those folks who have the season opener of The Sopranos taped, reserved for future HBO grazing, or the like. Granted it's been a week, and most of the folks who read this blog live in and around the environs where the film (the mighty Felix and I lived within a long walk's distance to the real Bada Bing, in fact). I ruined a plot point when, after sliding through last Monday free and clear of spoilers in anticipation of yoinking the ep off of my parents' TiVo, I opened the New York Daily News to have it staring up at me from page 3. So consider yourself warned.

It has been observed on the newsgroup, and possibly elsewhere, that the debut episode of Season 6 might not be the first chronological chapter. This may in fact have been an ep from the middle or near the end of the season, and the remainder of 6, and the stunted mini-season now planned as the end of the series, might see the resolution of the shooting. What we see from now until the "catch-up" episode may be retrospective fill-in.

Evidence to support this:
  • Characters mention it having been at least a year since the events of last season
  • Janice's baby is said to be more than a year old
  • Considering the use of The Godfather as an ongoing master text, Tony's being shot mid-plot reminds me of Vito Corleone's bullet-induced incapacitation, and the use of an extended flashback (or even an interlaced past–present scene technique) calls to mind the way the second film was arranged.
  • Although other characters have gotten less screen time due to shootings (Christopher) or real-life needs of the actor (when Tony Sirico had minor surgery, his scenes as Paulie were quickies shot from simple sets — this was the stretch when he was in jail), they know Tony Soprano is too much of a draw to keep him off camera or in a coma. He is, to echo the words of a newsgroup denizen, "too good an earner."
Above and beyond this speculation, I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was to hear the words of my favorite Beat, William S. Burroughs, used as a voiceover in the ep. I owe that beautiful junky a full post on his own, but to hear his familiar croak over the opening montage gave me hope that David Chase and Co. won't dumb the series down to the lowest common denominator. This series has seen Tony gain wisdom from dreams and fever-hallucinations . . . not something I'd expect from the shit they shovel over the traditional networks. Maybe the brains behind The Sopranos will be bold enough to try something like a chronological cut-up in the Tarantino mode, and remind me why this is one of the very few TV series I bother to follow anymore.

We shall be smarter tonight, I suppose.

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