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A Perfect Ending for The Sopranos

Posted by: David Kiley on June 12, 2007

The New York Post headline today: Sopranos Fans Out For Blood. It seems a lot of Sopranos fans are irked by the final episode of the landmark TV series. Producer/Creator David Chase chose to wrap up the series by, well, not wrapping up the series. The last episode was a perfect reflection of the series and of Chase’s creative prowess.

As the episode was winding up, and it got to be about 40 minutes in, my wife said, “Nothing is going to happen. It’s going to finish and nothing is going to happen.”

As we who watched it know, the episode ended in a Bloomfield, NJ diner. The Sopranos were having a typical family dinner. Sure, Sil was laying in the hospital in a coma. Bobby was dead. Junior was rotting in a state nursing home. Paulie was turning into his Mother. But the Sopranos family was in tact. AJ was a mess, but he was there for dinner—family time. Meadow was as shallow as ever, being wooed to a high paying job at a law firm, but so incompetent she couldn’t parallel park her Lexus.

Everything else, including the Sopranos mob family, could fall apart. But Tony was going to make sure his family marched on. The last scene was a delicious homage and tease of The Godfather. There was the suspicious looking Italian fellow going to the bathroom. Was there a handgun taped up behind the toilet flusher as it was for Michael Corleone before he came out and killed his father’s would-be killer? Was the guy a member of the New York family?

Final episiodes rarely satisfy fans. We all have our own ideas how a series should end. And when none of our ideas plays out on screen, we get irked. M*A*S*H’s final episode was lame. Seinfeld’s was terrible. At least that’s what we all felt.

Chase created over 90 episodes of perhaps the greatest TV ever produced. And yet he had the decency, in an age of viewer participation and consumer input to advertising and TV programming, to let each one of us write what happened next on our own personal laptop screen and continue talking about it for some time. A perfect ending for a perfect show.

Reader Comments

Kevin Dugan

June 12, 2007 11:05 AM

Amen! Everyone seems to want Sopranos to end like every. other. mob. movie. Why become a cliche after 7 years of top notch programming?


June 12, 2007 11:52 AM

I didn't mind the ending at all. Anyone who expected a John Woo style shoot-em-up or something grand apparently missed the first hundred or so episodes of the show. It wasn't that kind of show. If fans want to complain about something, make it the boring storylines of the past few seasons and the ridiculously long breaks between seasons that are sometimes only 8 episodes long.

And by the way, I thought they wrapped up Seinfeld decently as well. They gave the fans all the odd little qutes and quirky characters, then ended with the same conversation that started the series about the placement of the second button on a man's shirt. But since the Sopranos finale everybody's been bashing that finale too. The real question in either case is what exactly would have made the viewers happy?


June 15, 2007 5:09 PM

Kiley got it right... perfect take on the last episode of a television show that pushed the bounds of the medium. My version is available here:

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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