Sunday, June 11, 2006

Chased Away

The Sopranos, created by David Chase, is one of the best dramas on TV. But sometimes I wonder if Chase isn't trying to be too different.

What viewers like is lots of whacking. Chase realizes he can't kill a regular every week, but he sometimes seems to intentionally stymie audience expectation.

In this season's finale, shown last Sunday, he set up a lot of things and nothing paid off--not the way people like, anyway. New York planned to kill someone from New Jersey, and Tony was even tipped off, but nothing happened. Tony got a chance to put the screws to Phil in the hospital, but had kind words instead. Christopher was sleeping with Tony's girl but when Tony found out he didn't do anything. AJ looked ready to take on some street toughs but bribed his way out. Carmela wanted to search for Adrianna (whom she doesn't know was murdered) but dropped it.

It's still great writing but Chase better watch out. If you keep doing the same thing, your anti-formula becomes just another formula.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ship has sailed. He's been doing this for many seasons now and the anti-formula is pretty much cemented to the show. Chase would probably say that real life doesn't have set ups and pay offs, but I would consider that kind of a cop out since real life happens all at once and isn't told to viewers through one lens at a time.

8:32 AM, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We still have the last 8 episodes to go so I'm not sure I would write it off yet (though it probably has gone one season too long). My complaint this year was the Vito story- while an interesting hook-took up too much time and got kind of movie-of-the-weeky at one point & Vito's ultimate whacking was sort of anticlimactic (he was on a clear downhill run & had to die--one instance on The Sopranos where the set up predicted the payoff according to formula).

Don't care though- despite past hisory, I'm still expecting the Russian to emerge from the Pine Barrens

2:35 PM, June 11, 2006  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I think Hitchcock said art is life with the boring parts cut out. I'm not saying Chase is trying to put them back in--he always has a reason for his scenes, even simple ones when two characters sit and talk. But he sure likes to deny the audience what they expect; this is denying convention, which can be good, but Chase should also remember there's a reason for those conventions in the first place.

We've yet to see how he ties everything up (assuming he does--I hope he doesn't leave too much hanging in anticipation of a movie). I agree, however, they the payoff to the Vito situation wasn't much considering the set-up (though it has led to more trouble between New Jersey and New York). I thought the worst thing, by the way, was the final phone call Vito made to his lover, Johnnycakes. He told Vito what we had seen in previous episodes: that he likes being a big shot and can't take regular life--talk about on the nose.

5:20 PM, June 11, 2006  

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