Edie Falco and James Gandolfini in The Sopranos (dir. David Chase et al., 1999-2007).
I've now seen all eighty-six episodes of The Sopranos. I found the final stretch of the sixth season emotionally exhausting--not because of the suspense as to who would bite it and when, which was frankly by this time rather irrelevant, as the series had so effectively hammered home its point that life is pointless, especially for ruthless Machiavels who long ago sold away any soul they might have had, but because of its hyper-realistic grasp of the American and global now. If the show can be said to have a politics, it is a politics of horror too intense ever to curdle into mere apathy, but too impotent ever to admit the possibility of spurring anyone to transform their sensibility. Blind catastrophe is a given. At some point one has to wonder, not only "how is this entertainment?" but "what in the way of contemporary drama could possibly be entertaining ever anymore?"
That anything at all besides cynicism and nausea can come out of this blighted vision is a tribute to the cast and crew, whose determination to make their fictional world one we can care about despite its clear hopelessness is all the more powerful for being at odds with the message contained in each frame: everything is so totally beyond fucked.
Labels: David Chase