Sopranos, the sequel

Kudos to Alan Sepinwall at the Star-Ledger, the official newspapers of The Sopranos, for getting the only interview with David Chase.

“I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there,” he says of the final scene.

“No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God,” he adds. “We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people’s minds or thinking, ‘Wow, this’ll (tick) them off.’

“People get the impression that you’re trying to (mess) with them, and it’s not true. You’re trying to entertain them.”

In that final scene, mob boss Tony Soprano waited at a Bloomfield ice cream parlor for his family to arrive, one by one. What was a seemingly benign family outing was shot and cut as the preamble to a tragedy, with Tony suspiciously eyeing one patron after another, the camera dwelling a little too long on Meadow’s parallel parking and a walk by a man in a Members Only jacket to the men’s room. Just as the tension ratcheted up to unbearable levels, the series cut to black in mid-scene (and mid-song), with no resolution.

“Anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there,” says Chase, 61, who based the series in general (and Tony’s relationship with mother Livia specifically) on his North Caldwell childhood.

Sepinwall also debunks the email and comment-thread that burst into forums and blogs like Phil Leotardo’s brains under the SUV tire. There was a lot of excitement about the idea that all the people in the final scene in the restaurant were assassins or ghosts — take your choice — from earlier shows but Sepinwall says it’s just not true. The speculation almost got me to believe that Tony was dead: he saw himself in the restaurant as he came in and this was his life passing before his eyes as he died. But that did seem too neat and the appeal of the Sopranos is that it’s not neat. Cue Sartre.

  • http://oldgrouch.mee.nu Old Grouch

    “No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God,” he adds. “We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people’s minds or thinking, ‘Wow, this’ll (tick) them off.’

    “People get the impression that you’re trying to (mess) with them, and it’s not true. You’re trying to entertain them.”

    Yeah, sure, whatever…

  • Guido

    Perfect setup for “Sopranos: The Movie”.

    Otherwise, it was a garbage ending. Chase should get whacked himself for this crappy ending …

  • http://billkosloskymd.typepad.com/wirelessdoc/ Bill K.

    Regarding “the appeal of the Sopranos,” that’s a really scary thought given that it’s black humor using over-the-top violence to parody the American dream. I think those who prefer the sentimental view, that this ending should’ve provided “closure,” are trying to identify too closely with Tony and his overbearing, neurotic personality.

    Chase chose a merciful ending for this character and series to eschew sentimentality. He demythologized Tony, although he does live on in photos and paintings in the shopping mall kiosks.

  • http://samgoldberg.blogspot.com/ Sam

    I disagree with the merciful ending idea. I think the tension the audience felt with all the suspicious characters and the sense that Tony and his family are about to get whacked is exactly how Tony is going to feel for the rest of his life.

  • William S. Hulsy

    The perspective of the Sopranos is not Tony’s view. That is why we see the FBI guy with a girl friend. Tony does not know about it. Therefore, the fact that the screen goes blank at the end does not mean that Tony is dead. It merely means that an ending could have been shot twenty different ways depending on whom they could not get under contract for the movie, which will be coming. For example, Tony must have had a guard, since he just whacked Phil, and Phil’s people may been attempting to retaliate–so the Hitchcock suspense. But if there was a shoot out, they probably had one take with Meadow getting blown away and the standard funeral scene, which will be the opening of the movie if they can’t get Jamie Lynn Seigler under contract. The same would be true of others in the scene. Death happens–ask Livia or Silvio.

  • John N. Kennedy

    I am surprised no one has commented on the similarities between the final scene in the final episode of the Sopranos with the final scene in ‘The Prairie Home Companion’ movie.

    The result of the visit by the angel of death to the Prairie Home Companion performers gathered at a diner is easily surmised from prior scenes. The parallels are interesting to contemplate. Perhaps David Chase was inspired by the scene.