The Last American Gangster

During the winter of my freshman year in college, I caught my first glimpse of Tony Soprano.  He was chasing down someone who owed him money with his car, he hit the guy with it, then got out and punched him in his broken legs until the guy promised to pay.  From that moment I was hooked, so were most of the people that I knew.  We would even trade VCR tapes of the shows at college, since many of us without HBO in the dorms had to rely on family and friends with it at home.  I followed the saga of Tony and his family for 9 long years, through each and every long hiatus between seasons, even if HBO was cancelled for a year, we would renew before the next season began.

 I watched him lose his mother, his best friend Pussy, watched him bury his enemies, watched him lie, cheat, steal and kill.  9:01 every sunday, I was in front of the TV with my own loved ones, watching him destroy his.  Tonight being the last episode ever of the series, my girlfriend and I prepared specially for it.  We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, put on our “Sopranos” t-shirts and cuddled up on the couch to watch a “New” Sopranos episode for the last time in our lives. 

9 years later, it’s all over.  I’m 26 now, no longer the boy of 18 who discovered La Cosa HBOstra; and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed.  I’m as disappointed as everyone who watched seasons three and four and bitched and bitched.  I can’t believe that it’s over, and moreso, I can’t believe it’s over with no resolution.  HBO has cancelled shows with ‘more story’ to tell before.  Carnivale and Deadwood just to name a couple, you think that they would give their flagship show the viking funeral it deserves.  Let it go out with guns blazing and fires burning.  Not with a whimper.


At first, Jess thought the tv broke, the door opens, the sound cuts out, the screen goes black, ten seconds later the credits roll, silently.  It wasn’t until the HBO bumper came on that she would believe the show was over, and that my television set had not ruined the most important moment of the HBO-viewing year.

I’m sure there were a million metaphors in this past season (Meadow trying and trying to parallel park a car outside the restaurant, for one), but The Sopranos used to be human, heartfelt and visceral storytelling at its finest.  Remember when Dr. Melfi got raped, or when Tony almost smothered his mother?  Now you tell me after all the hours spent with this show, watching rats get whacked and women beaten to death in parking lots, the ultimate ending is YOU DECIDE?

This isn’t a campfire story game, this isn’t a choose your own adventure novel.  It’s the job of the storyteller to tell us what the fuck happened.  Who came through the door?  Was it Meadow, was it the guy who they showed several times, coming out of the men’s room blazing like Michael Corleone?  Were the two black kids at the jukebox there doing New York’s bidding?  What about the pending indictments on the gun charge?  What becomes of Tony? Carmela? A.J? Meadow?  Does Sylvio live or die? WHAT HAPPENS! 

I’m glad it didn’t end with Tony being the salesman he had dreamt about being when he was shot, that would have been a little too “Dallasish”, but for all the theories that were bandied about on the internet about Tony getting wacked, Tony ratting, Tony committing suicide, Tony getting pinched, the final scene is Tony eating?

 What the fuck?  If I’d known that I’d be expected to make up my own ending I would have quit watching this show in the third season, right after Ralphie died.  Chase is suffering from George Lucas syndrome.  Create a work of art, a masterpiece, something a generation can love, and then let your own ideas get in the way of what initially got you there in the first place.  The only thing he could do to ruin the Sopranos memory more is to do a Prequel Series with whiny actors playing Johnny Boy and Uncle Junior in their twenties.  This was quite honestly the worst ending ever, it made Seinfeld’s last episode look like Citizen Kane. There had best be alternate endings or alternate takes on the inevitable Season 6 DVD box set.  Because if there aren’t, David Chase is the biggest asshole I’ve ever seen in my life. End of story.  Fuhgeddiboutit.

Personally, I think Tony is actually a cyborg, a fat cyborg, and he and Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat go off to rule the universe from beyond the grave. Thanks for letting me have my own ending, Mr. Chase. Go fuck yourself.

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What’s your ending? What do you think happened? Leave it in the comments.


~ by chrismcdevitt on June 11, 2007.

One Response to “The Last American Gangster”

  1. LOVED what you wrote. How true.

    I would’ve liked to have seen Tony get it in the head while stuffing his pie hole with onion rings. I wanted to see Carmela splattered with blood…not unlike the very blood that bought her that house, those jewels, those cards, those clothes. And then AJ who witnessed the whole thing, would grow a pair and decide that HE would carry on the family tradition of “that thing of theirs” and become the new head of the family. The torch would’ve been passed.

    Or I would’ve been happy if Meadow or Carmela would’ve decided to take over the reigns.

    I know the ads always stated family first..and most of us thought the family as in the crews and made men. In the end, though it was about family. Tony’s immediate family.

    You’re right, David Chase can fuck himself. And HBO can blow my dead uncle, too!

    Love your blog!

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