Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sopranos' End? Start Here...

Among the pleasures of “The Sopranos” has been the feeling you get when the world discovers someone or something you’ve appreciated for a long time.

David Chase’s writing has been giving me pleasure since the 1970s when he did the scripts for and later produced more than a score of episodes for “The Rockford Files” with James Garner.

Many of the attitudes and themes of “The Sopranos” are there inchoately--fascination with the Mafia, insecurities and ineptness behind the bravado, dicey family relationships. But the furor over the series’ finale keeps bringing back echoes of one Rockford script that had nothing to do with the Mob.

It was called “Irving the Explainer,” with an over-the-top plot about Hollywood history, Nazis, a missing painting, French police, unsolved murders and so much more that Rockford has to hire a logician to try to untangle it all.

At the end, when he finally thinks he has it nailed, along comes one of the characters with yet another dying confession to bollix up all his theories.

All the deep thinking about last Sunday’s final chapter of “The Sopranos” keeps reminding me of Chase’s playfulness about rational explanations for everything and of something else he said some time ago:

"Network television is all talk. I think there should be visuals on a show, some sense of mystery to it, connections that don't add up. I think there should be dreams and music and dead air and stuff that goes nowhere. There should be, God forgive me, a little bit of poetry."

Chase has given us all that and more--no forgiveness needed.


Lynne said...

I must be the only person in the world that hasn't seen the Sopranos and has no interest in seeing it.

OutOfContext said...

You are not the only person, Lynne. However, I do love The Rockford Files and there seems to be a lot of that going around lately. I wonder why.

Kevin Wolf said...

I've not seen enough of The Sopranos to nail down the overlapping themes, but as a Rockford fan I was aware of Chase's work on the earlier show. He did some great stuff there.

OutOfC: I think the Rockford revival is due to the recent series of DVD releases.