Mid series checkin – Sopranos

A while back, I posted about (finally) watching The Sopranos, and how I became hooked. I am now about halfway through season 4, and completely addicted. From the catchy opening credit music, to the music that indicates the outro, I just can’t put these down.

It is good that so many of the actors/actresses from Goodfellas found work. Including Spider (Michael Imperioli) whom Joe Pesci shot in the card game scene.

But, like Mad Men before it, the characters that you get into, that draw you into the episodes are so utterly horrible, so unsympathetic, that you can’t stop. Like the womanizing Don Draper, Tony Soprano is unfaithful, a louse, a fairly poor manager of his “crew”, with members of said crew testing their boundaries that contribute to chaos.

All while running a variety of criminal activities. How trite, the “waste management” underpinnings of the org, but stretched to all of the vice in their territory.

And the cast. Oy vey, how you want some of these louses to get theirs. Paulie, who during a trip to Italy really showed himself to be the classic “Ugly American” showing disgust for the seafood delicacies of Naples (I still recall the wonderful food we had there), who as “Capo” is really a douchebag, who plays the NY families against Tony.

Or Chris (played by Michael Imperioli – AKA Spider from Goodfellas) who is a young punk that you keep wondering when he is going to be whacked.

And then there is Ralph Cifaretto. Hoo boy, what a dickhead he is. I first saw him as Cypher in The Matrix, where he was the betrayer. Here, he is the out of control, loose canon, who with his off hand comments, and “fuck it” attitude seems to piss everyone off. From when he beats the hooker to death for daring to hit him, to his really odd sexual proclivities that seem to involve a dildo, drugs, and a lot of lubricant, he is someone who you as an audience member is pulling for to get his just comeuppance. Yet he lives on.

Then, there is the nearly every episode visit to their topless club “Bada Bing’s” where they show the topless dancers in a nearly empty club. Not sure what this brings to the show, except to make certain that it will never be shown on broadcast TV.

A bright point is the role of Lorraine Bracco, as Tony Soprano’s therapist, she shows a great deal of depth, and character that you glimpsed from her role in Goodfellas.

Of course, I know how the series ends, and a little more than halfway through, we begin to see the unravelling of the crew.

I still have three seasons to watch, and I will stay glued to the TV until the very end.

Last comment: This is exclusively on Amazon Prime streaming. Compared to Netflix, their “app”, um, how to delicately put this, SUCKS. Pain in the ass to navigate, scrolling back to rewatch a segment that you missed something is is painful, and the interface is just sluggish. I am glad that it comes free with my Prime membership, but I would never ever in a million years choose to pay to use it. For free, I can’t complain, but Netflix is a vastly superior user experience.

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