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The Sopranos: Made In America (series finale)

by Tom Biro, posted Jun 10th 2007 8:04PM
Tony Soprano Paulie Walnuts Finale
(S06E21) It's finally here, folks. The week that we've all been waiting for. Well, perhaps not that anxiously awaiting, as we know that something we've all been into for so many years is going away. That said, it's still something that has the potential of being very, very cool culturally and will definitely dominate the watercooler talk for the next few days or so.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we're going to have a chatroom live for all of you to join in on as the show goes on and share your theories, reactions, and opinions in real-time. Shortly after the finale, you'll be able to read our review of the show here. The review is after the jump. And, our chatroom is still open for any of you to share your thoughts and comments on how The Sopranos went down.

Click here to enter the chatroom.

Okay, okay, okay. Since this is the first time I've ever written up a series finale before, it seems it has to be handled a little differently. I went into tonight with a completely open mind, because I knew that a) David Chase always has something to amuse us all and b) this show has been such a monstrous success that I would have never expected to see any sort of letdown.

Based on the immediate reaction I had when the show ended, I imagine that when the executives at HBO screened the finale, did they all excuse Mr. Chase from the room and then begin throwing crudites around, all while holding their heads and screaming "why, why?" After sitting on it almost half an hour now, I think there's something to be said about the ending, if only that there are so many possibilities of how this series could have finished off, or how fans would have liked it to be finished, that the lack of all things could be viewed as the "perfect" ending, as has been stated and suggested.

The most obvious ending to the show is that it was, as a number of commenters here have suggested - and makes perfect sense - is that it's simply "lights out" for Tony, maybe from the direction of the restroom, or the table across the floor, or the guys who just walked in. There's no need to preface everyone's death. In fact, think about what had just happened a few minutes earlier in the show Phil got popped by a gun behind him, and never saw it coming. For Tony to die the same death would have made perfect sense. The simplest explanation is usually always the best one, no? More intriguingly, to be honest, is whether Meadow saw it all happen as she ran into the shop.

That said, and while I've already seen dozens of people talking about how this was just what they'd have expected out of Chase & Co., and that there was some quality and value there. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the masses of people who watch this show are going to be as interested in this type of "ending" as others with different opinions on flim and storytelling might, for instance. What can be said, on top of it all, is that St. Elsewhere's finale, Dallas's "Who Shot J.R.?" and a number of other finales and random occurrences in television history have pretty much been wiped out of the top spot.

So, should we all be impressed or saddened that things ended this way? I mean, we were all speculating, sitting on the edges of our chairs over the last few weeks just waiting for what would come next. It's obviously what HBO, David Chase, and the cast and crew of the show wanted - the "perfect ending." Personally, I feel a bit hurt because while this show is (or should be) completely fresh in my mind from tonight, I'm really having a hard time stepping away from the last few moments and into what was the beginning of the end.

It's funny, because if you start to look at every other point that happened during this particular episode, and those prior, the fact that they're being pushed away so hard in our minds might be the real root of what we were supposed to be thinking about. Seriously, though. Phil being taken out wickedly, in public (by a guy named Walden, no doubt) was something we'd be discussing for weeks, if not longer, especially after the SUV squashed his head, making that kid toss his cookies in the parking lot. Speaking of SUVs, did you notice the bashing of the SUV throughout this week, too? A.J. had nothing good to say about them, especially after he and Rhiannon almost died in his, Phil had his little run-in, and I mean, who wants to be so dependent on foreign oil?

But, back to perspective, however. Our own Jay Black passed along a theory that was given to him, that the ending was completely a metaphor for how Tony had been living his life. You know, how no matter what, that someone was always out to get him. He's gotta check the front door of an ice cream place every time the bell rings not because he's expecting his family, but because you never know what someone's coming to take your life. As abrupt as that ending was (I still prefer the "lights out" explanation), this is totally plausible and at the very least, gave us the Tony Soprano point of view for a little while, making us realize what it's like to be him, something we've seen from the "outside" all along. It also lends a lot of creedence to the "think up your own ending" commentary that a lot of people are discussing online tonight.

Love or hate the ending, I think we can't overlook the fact that the idea that Tony was popped and that he, along with the show, died a quick death that came out of nowhere. It doesn't mean that since 1999, we haven't gotten to see one of the most well-written, well-casted, and well-filmed shows ever to hit the small screen. From Tony's real family to his "other" family, there have been some amazing ups and downs that have always made us stop and think for a moment. Why can't the show end with that same exact thing, just magnified a few thousand times? I'm not saying I agree with the decision or not, but it's a big leap to condemn what this show has been all about for the last 7 years.

I'm giving tonight's finale a 5 on the TV Squad scale. I really got into how things went with Phil and the runaround that was had with the New York crew. Heck, the realization that Little Italy had been pushed into a small area in New York City even made us realize how thought out this show was. All that said, though, it might go down as one of the more off-putting series finales we've ever seen as television viewers, but you can't say for one moment that HBO and David Chase aren't going to have us screaming their names (even in vain) over the next few days, weeks, and months. And hell, we'll all remember the statement that got cut off at series' end, "Don't Stop..."

What did you think happened when the screen went blank?
Tony was shot (lights out)1667 (26.0%)
The place was blown up100 (1.6%)
My cable went out1278 (19.9%)
A plane crashed into Bloomfield, New Jersey26 (0.4%)
The feds rushed in and took A.J. as a terror suspect18 (0.3%)
Uncle Junior wheeled in and exclaimed 'I remember where the money is!'55 (0.9%)
Nothing. The Sopranos ate their onion rings and went home.2990 (46.6%)
Tony wakes up284 (4.4%)

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cryptoplex

Here's a detailed analysis of Made In America:

http://www.mikecole.org/writing/made-in-america/

June 02 2008 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
darianlizotte

Bart:

Go watch the new fall season premiere week on abc if you want cookie cutter, mindless b.s.

If David Chase wasted his time worrying about "fans" that didn't want to think for themselves, the show would've been terrible all the way through.

September 24 2007 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BART

TO SUM IT ALL UP IT WAS LIKE WORKING ON A PUZZLE FOR MANY YEARS AND WHEN U FINALLY GOT TO THE END YOU LOST THE LAST PIECE. WHAT A WASTE OF TIME. IF ANYBODY THINKS THIS WAS A GOOD ENDING THEY NEED THEIR HEAD EXAMINED. IT WAS LIKE READING A BOOK AND AT THE END OF THE BOOK THE LAST PAGE WAS MISSING. THIS WAS A BIG LET DOWN TO ME AND MY WIFE WHO LOOK FORWARD IN WATCHING IT ON A SUNDAY NIGHT. NEVER MISSED A SHOW. BART
I THINK THIS IS THE WORST EPISODE EVER OF THE SOPRANOS SERIES. YEAR AFTER YEAR I HAVE BEEN WATCHING ALL OF THE EPISODES TIME AND TIME AGAIN. IT WAS THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT I COULD IMAGINE THE WAY THIS ENDED. I BOUGHT ALL OF THE SERIES DVD'S AND I WILL NOT BUY THE LAST ONE. I AM ALSO CANCELLING HBO SINCE MY REASON FOR HAVING IT WAS SOLEY TO WATCH THE SOPRANOS. I ALSO THINK HBO OWES EVERYBODY A REFUND OF THEIR MONEY THEY WASTED FOR ALLOWING THEIR SERIES TO AIR WITH SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT TO THE FANS. HBO DEFINITELY GETS 2 THUMBS DOWN. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN DO THIS IS BY CANCELLING. THANK YOU, BART

September 16 2007 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BART

TO SUM IT ALL UP IT WAS LIKE WORKING ON A PUZZLE FOR MANY YEARS AND WHEN U FINALLY GOT TO THE END YOU LOST THE LAST PIECE. WHAT A WASTE OF TIME. IF ANYBODY THINKS THIS WAS A GOOD ENDING THEY NEED THEIR HEAD EXAMINED. IT WAS LIKE READING A BOOK AND AT THE END OF THE BOOK THE LAST PAGE WAS MISSING. THIS WAS A BIG LET DOWN TO ME AND MY WIFE WHO LOOK FORWARD IN WATCHING IT ON A SUNDAY NIGHT. NEVER MISSED A SHOW. BART
I THINK THIS IS THE WORST EPISODE EVER OF THE SOPRANOS SERIES. YEAR AFTER YEAR I HAVE BEEN WATCHING ALL OF THE EPISODES TIME AND TIME AGAIN. IT WAS THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT I COULD IMAGINE THE WAY THIS ENDED. I BOUGHT ALL OF THE SERIES DVD'S AND I WILL NOT BUY THE LAST ONE. I AM ALSO CANCELLING HBO SINCE MY REASON FOR HAVING IT WAS SOLEY TO WATCH THE SOPRANOS. I ALSO THINK HBO OWES EVERYBODY A REFUND OF THEIR MONEY THEY WASTED FOR ALLOWING THEIR SERIES TO AIR WITH SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT TO THE FANS. HBO DEFINITELY GETS 2 THUMBS DOWN. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN DO THIS IS BY CANCELLING. THANK YOU, BART

September 16 2007 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BART

TO SUM IT ALL UP IT WAS LIKE WORKING ON A PUZZLE FOR MANY YEARS AND WHEN U FINALLY GOT TO THE END YOU LOST THE LAST PIECE. WHAT A WASTE OF TIME. IF ANYBODY THINKS THIS WAS A GOOD ENDING THEY NEED THEIR HEAD EXAMINED. IT WAS LIKE READING A BOOK AND AT THE END OF THE BOOK THE LAST PAGE WAS MISSING. THIS WAS A BIG LET DOWN TO ME AND MY WIFE WHO LOOK FORWARD IN WATCHING IT ON A SUNDAY NIGHT. NEVER MISSED A SHOW. BART
I THINK THIS IS THE WORST EPISODE EVER OF THE SOPRANOS SERIES. YEAR AFTER YEAR I HAVE BEEN WATCHING ALL OF THE EPISODES TIME AND TIME AGAIN. IT WAS THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT I COULD IMAGINE THE WAY THIS ENDED. I BOUGHT ALL OF THE SERIES DVD'S AND I WILL NOT BUY THE LAST ONE. I AM ALSO CANCELLING HBO SINCE MY REASON FOR HAVING IT WAS SOLEY TO WATCH THE SOPRANOS. I ALSO THINK HBO OWES EVERYBODY A REFUND OF THEIR MONEY THEY WASTED FOR ALLOWING THEIR SERIES TO AIR WITH SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT TO THE FANS. HBO DEFINITELY GETS 2 THUMBS DOWN. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN DO THIS IS BY CANCELLING. THANK YOU, BART

September 16 2007 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
darian

The ending was absolute genius... The show was absolute genius.

I don't understand what is wrong with people. Do you really need to be spoonfed EVERY goddamn thing?

What if the show ended with Tony looking out the back window, and the ducks from the beginning of the series returned to the pool... Or if Tony just sat back with his bowl of ice cream and watched a History Channel show about a heroic leader... Do you really need a CW/Lifetime movie ending?

What if Tony DID get shot, and then it faded to black? How would that've been better?

The series will possess eternal life because so much was left to YOU to theorize about in the end. Just THINK ABOUT IT!

You'd think that loyal Sopranos viewers would be SMART enough to understand what Chase was going for. And smart enough to WANT to draw their own conclusion!

The end couldn't possible have been any better. No one would've ever guessed it would've ended this way. JUST LIKE REAL FUCKING LIFE!

COME ON PEOPLE!!!! Think for yourselves once in a while!

Who cares what "really" happens?

For folks who say "complete garbage" or "Mr. Chase, I wasted years of my life to have it end like this"... I think David Chase should turn his head, and realize that it would've been a waste for HIM to worry about appeasing those types of viewers.

Go watch reality television, and buy the new Fergie record. Those are in vogue.

September 10 2007 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diane

...and then everything went quiet. Nobody moved for another minute in
front of the television set. That's what it is all about. Feelings
from disbelief, disavowal and finally acceptance of the inevitable.
Great ending of great television. This is the END, cut.

August 27 2007 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diane

...and then everything went quiet. Nobody moved for another minute in front of the television set. That's what it is all about. Feelings from disbelief, disavowal and finally acceptance of the inevitable. Great ending of great television. This is the END, cut.

August 27 2007 at 4:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eoin

i will admit I was a little taken aback when I first saw the final episode but once I watched again and thought about it I realised that this was a great way to go out. it's the kind of ending that sizzles in your brain long after you ve finished watching it; as AverageJoe
said "deliciously tantalizing " .
Anyone who its being a crybaby about the ending should at least got back and watch it again or else read this great blog about the final episode.

http://thoughtsonstuff.blogspot.com/2007/06/sopranos-made-in-america-6x21.html

if you still thinks it's a poor ending after watching it again or even after reading this guys blog then go and have yourself a good cry to the end of godfather 3!!!

July 23 2007 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A

I agree what a waste of time!

July 17 2007 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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