One of my favorite scenes in all the Sopranos episodes -- plus, nobody dies.
There is a terrific article about the enduring appeal of the Sopranos’ series, in this Sunday’s magazine section of The New York Times, already online.
The writer Willy Staley, an editor of the NYT magazine, claims the series is extremely popular with younger people who were too young to watch it during its heyday.
Why? The Sopranos are trying to hold on to their thuggish edge in an apocalyptic world where all the rules are gone, even for gangsters.
Until I read this article, I had never seen the broader picture – I had laughed at the funny lines even when my stomach was churning, knowing what was going to happen to characters like Big Pussy or Adriana, in over her head. Who knew this was actually about America?
But then the magazine article popped up online, describing Tony’s world of expensive suburbs, with everybody emulating gangster architecture, until the palaces met in the middle.
No taste, no privacy, even for a gang lord.
Then on the very day of the magazine article, I was watching the televised Congressional budget death dance, and there was Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, ostensibly a Democrat, jutting out his jaw in a narrow corridor, being pestered by a reporter.
The pesty reporter, Ari Natter of Bloomberg News, asked Manchin if his view on protecting the dying coal industry was colored by the fact that his son ran a coal company and Manchin received profits from it.
“I’ve been in a blind trust for 20 years,” Manchin said, hard-faced. “I have no idea what they’re doing.”
“You’re still getting dividends,” the reporter persisted.
“You got a problem?” Manchin asked.
When the reporter asked another question, Manchin snapped: "You'd do best to change the subject."
(Published reports say Manchin has made $500,000 in coal dividends. The family is busy. Daughter Heather Bresch once presided over a drug company, Mylan, when the price of EpiPens soared to $600 a shot. And Gayle Conelly Manchin, wife of the senator, is now the federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, no doubt taking care of the poor folks in the hollers. That's the way it works in Appalachia.)
Seeing Joe Manchin in action, I thought immediately of how Tony Soprano’s face would darken as he menaced somebody.
I thought of how Furio, Tony’s muscle man, nudged the uncooperative doctor into the golf-course water hole, up to his ankles.
* * *
I know there is a prequel about the Sopranos coming out, but I think I’ll skip it. For me, that world, that series, ended – quite appropriately – with no resolution about what happened to Tony and his family.
I usually postulate that the evening in the restaurant ended prosaically, and Tony and Carmela found a way to get out of the business, changed their fingerprints and moved to Boca Raton. (I bet Tony even plays golf.)
Maybe, in their new lives, Tony and Carmela watch TV as Joe Manchin struts down a Congressional corridor, pretty much saying he doesn’t care what happens to all those people. He’s got his.
Tony: “That used to be me.”
* * *
Read the great NYT magazine article for yourself:
10/1/2021 11:59:43 am
Your vivid ending brings to mind the churlish comment of an autograph seeker after a game, scoffing at an aging coach walking by: "Who did you used to be?" Keep the trenchant thoughts coming, George, and stay positive and test negative.
10/1/2021 01:54:12 pm
Manchin and others, sadly, including too many progressives, are blocking the infrastructure and larger aid bill, a form of suicide for their party. Sinema from Arizona, a Manchin clone.
10/2/2021 09:59:00 pm
Lee: Thanks for the nice words!
10/1/2021 03:54:26 pm
One of the few positives about the congressional Republicans is that they know how to stick together on their agenda.
10/2/2021 10:45:29 am
10/2/2021 11:15:29 am
When the Sopranos first came out, I mentioned to an Italian friend with some knowledge of the Mafia that it was a great series, but might give the Italian community as a whole a bad image. He laughed and said, "It is what it is."
10/2/2021 10:05:00 pm
Alan: I see no evidence that Manchin cares about his state.
10/2/2021 11:39:41 am
When you see Manchin's face you think of Tony Soprano. When I see his face I think of Joe Theismann. Remarkable resemblance.
10/2/2021 03:57:05 pm
Roy, you are right on target.
10/2/2021 10:09:11 pm
Roy, nice to see your name. I covered coal mining in the early 70s and it was still a vital industry. The retort from coal operators and workers was "We heat New York City" But now it is clear that coal is done...even the miners know it. Chris Hayes went to WVA a few years ago and the miners were telling him, "We're done..." But the McConnells and Manchins, who allegedy represent Appalachia states, don't care.
10/2/2021 10:17:18 pm
Roy, I had not thought about resemblances, but I can see the facial similarities btween Manchin and Theismann.
Edwin W Martin Jr
10/4/2021 04:04:14 pm
George, “Nobody asked me but….”
Comments are closed.
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.