Ziti For Thought

by Bryan

“I believe in America” — first line of The Godfather

“Don’t Stop Believing” — series-ending song for The Sopranos; episode title was “Made In America,” fellow diner had “Made in USA” hat, A.J. wants to join the Army, etc. I just watched the last scene and I forgot that the music kicks in right when Carmela comes through the door, then they exchange some small talk. She says Meadow is switching birth control just as the music gets tense. There’s plenty more after that. I love it.

I must say, I am fascinated by the “readings” of popular TV shows. I am so fascinated that I can usually follow them without watching the show. I did see last night’s episode of The Sopranos, and it was great for what it was: a paean to the America that created and nurtured Tony Soprano. I think last week’s episode was better overall: it was one of those hours that was so good, I felt privileged just to watch. The larger point is I love super-critical discussions of anything, and literature lends itself to debate more than most television programs or films. The Sopranos is a wonderful exception. The reason I have the friends that I do is that we have the types of discussions everyone America is having about The Sopranos about everything, every day. “If an ending works better the more you think about it, that’s another way of saying that it worked on ‘an intellectual level,'” writes James Poniewozik in a positive Time.com blog entry, “which is not the level people generally want to watch TV on.”

Here are some others:

• The Times’ take. They read the ending differently and call it “perfectly imperfect.” Sounds like something I would say.

• A popular theory that Tony is dead.

Roush Dispatch. A noncritical recap.

Deadspin. Very well-thought out response from a disappointed fan.

Rod Barajas. I expand on the America stuff.