Doodad Kind of Town


A WTF Moment with David Chase
October 24, 2007, 9:48 pm
Filed under: The Sopranos

“Why would we entertain people for eight years only to give them the finger?” –David Chase, in response to the accusation that he “pranked” audiences into believing their cable had gone out by ending “The Sopranos” with a black screen.

Oh, please!

The final moment of that series is nothing but a defiantly raised middle finger at the audience that made it a hit for 8 years.

Chase’s remarks are included in a new volume “The Sopranos: The Complete Book ” which was published this week. Excerpts from the interview that popped on up CNN today have the whiny, petulant tone of a man who fancies himself to be not only an underappreciated genius, but one who operates on a far higher moral plane than the people who loved his series.

For example, here’s Chase on why “Sopranos” fans are schmucks for getting so worked up over the final show: “There WAS a war going on that week, and attempted terror attacks in London. But these people were talking about onion rings.”

Frankly, that sounds like something AJ would say.

Here’s Chase on the subject of the audience’s Tony Soprano fixation: “They had gleefully watched him rob, kill, pillage, lie and cheat. They had cheered him on. And then, all of a sudden, they wanted to see him punished for all that. They wanted ‘justice’ . . .The pathetic thing — to me — was how much they wanted HIS blood, after cheering him on for eight years.”

Well, DUH!!!

After 8 years writing a mostly terrific Mob drama (not to mention a drama that centered pretty heavily around its lead character’s psychotherapy), does Chase really not understand why people love to watch his show? Or any Mob drama, for that matter? Of course, we live vicariously through the lives of fictional mobsters! Of course,we cheer them on! They get to do and say things we NEVER can get away with in our own lives, and usually wouldn’t even want to. But in the end, we all want to see justice done. We all want and need moral resolution, the reassurance that the world works the way it’s supposed to and that evil really does NOT triumph. We need that safe distance from bloodthirsty, larger-than-life characters like Tony Soprano. And I don’t think it represents any great artistic achievement on Chase’s part to deny it to us. In fact, it’s more like he’s spitting our moral rectitude back in our faces in a self-righteously snotty way.

And besides, it’s not like Chase hadn’t been building to an apparent comeuppance for Tony all season. Let’s review shall we: The New York guys go gunning for him. Christopher dies. Silvio is incapacitated. And finally, even Dr. Melfi abandons him. That haunting shot at the end of the next-to-last episode – Tony alone on his bed in the safe house, clutching his rifle and waiting – pretty much set us all up for a bloody denouement. Instead we get family eating onion rings and listening to Journey, and no clear indication of what – if anything – happens to Tony. But you all know that.

You’ve got to wonder about a TV series writer who berates viewers for enjoying the characters he created just a little too much. I believe that’s called “biting the hand that feeds you.”

For the whole story on the Chase interview, check out this link: http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/10/23/tv.sopranos.davidchase.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

(Photo from cnn.com)

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