June 12 2007

Back To The Sopranos

I’m going to cut this for those who haven’t watched it yet.

Quit your whining! Yes, it cut to black in the middle of a scene, but think about it for two seconds!

If David Chase had killed Tony, people would have screamed.

If David Chase had let Tony live, people would have asked how the evil man lived.

If David Chase had sent Tony to prison, people would have cried about their anti-hero losing.

And so on, and so forth. There was NO WINNING for Chase… none!

So, keeping with what people know of Sopranos, Chase broke some of the rules of storytelling, something he has done a million other times. He left you with an ending that let you choose how it happened.

Did the guy come of the bathroom shooting? Did the guy in the corner pop him? Did the two young kids come to shoot him? Did Meadow come in, and they had a nice family dinner? We’ll never know, and I, for one, call it “genius”. He was in a no-win situation, there was no way for him to write an ending to satisfy the masses, so we all got the ending we personally wanted, it was just in our heads.

And you know what? As someone who writes, as someone who hates Hollywood for their lackluster stories, as someone who cries for smarter, more original fare… now I know why we don’t get it. Everyone wants a tidy, neat little package, you didn’t get it, you whine. Even television critics, people paid to expect more from the medium, are saying they don’t get it! What is there not to get?!?

For two days this has been going on, it’s dominating every conversation I have, it’s on every website I go to… ENOUGH ALREADY! USE YOUR FLIPPIN’ IMAGINATIONS! This was a work of balls and genius, and I applaud him for it. Is it what I expected? No.

And that’s what makes it so amazing to me.

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  • I don’t watch the Sopranos and don’t really care what the outcome was but one could argue that a work of balls would be to make a decision about the outcome and write the story and say to hell with the audience reaction rather than leave it as a toss up for the audience to imagine. Also, the writer is the one getting paid to use his imagination, not the audience.

    The whole leaving the audience hanging about the ending by offering up an ambiguous ending is actually becoming commonplace enough not to be such an original way to end things.

    I’m one of those people who thought the ending to the Dark Tower was brilliant and don’t require a nice, tidy ending all the time but I think that the ending should suit the genre, story type and style. Sometimes that means a tidy, happy ending and sometimes that means something dark and ugly but I think writers these days are mismatching the endings to the types of stories in an attempt to appear creative or adventurous. It’s not about knowing your audience’s expectations but rather about knowing your own characters and stories and how to best wrap them up.

  • But this is also a show that has spent 8 years doing the unexpected, that’s what kept us coming back, in addition to excellent writing. Like I said, people confused this show’s meaning in that they only looked at the surface and saw a mafia show. It was so much more than that.

    Does life always have a tidy, definitive ending? Nope. So, to me, it fit perfectly.