Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hating on the Sopranos

Sal Paolantonio is not amused by the Sopranos. I'm sympathetic to his argument, especially his conclusion:

And unlike many groups who claim to speak for Italian-Americans, I've never thought that "The Sopranos" should be pulled off the air. And unlike many Italian-American critics of the show, I'm not going to rattle off a bunch of numbers trying to convince you that the mob is a minuscule percentage of the Italian-American community. To justify our objection to the show, it doesn't matter how many of us are doctors and lawyers and judges and teachers and sportscasters.

But just remember this when you tune in on Sunday nights: "The Sopranos" is not who we are.
Fair enough.

Let me stress that my greatest objection to the Sopranos is not that it gives a ridiculous impression of Italian Americans. My greatest objection is that it is wildly overrated as a good television show. Don't get me wrong, it's a good show overall, and I still watch it, but it has long stretches where nothing happens and we have to stare at James Gandolfini in a wife beater. It has one of the worst written characters on tv in A.J., played by one of the worst actors on tv in Robert Iler. It spends significant time on plot lines that have no point--remember the wire tapping episode, the rape episode, and chasing the Russian through the woods?

We tune in for the moments of brilliance--Chris' intervention was one of the greatest tv moments ever--but those moments are too few and far between. I'll watch the rest of the episodes, but I certainly won't weep when the Sopranos is done.

1 comment:

montana urban legend said...

Chasing the Russian guy through the woods?... I'm sure I wasn't the only one who got a kick out of the reference to "16 Czechoslovakians!" - sic. Sure, it's low-brow, but interspersing comedic and even comically mundane moments throughout helps maintain the pacing that's kept it going for so long compared to other HBO series. Chase probably knows he can keep the sensationalized franchise from burning out through not constantly appealing to literary brilliance - as dozens of other "critically acclaimed" HBO series that have long since been cancelled can illustrate.