After a flirtation with it last year, I started with tons more gusto watching Season One of The Sopranos. I love a good gangster movie, British or American, they all count. (I was saying to a friend the other day, many a time I’ve considered writing Rocknroller 2 and sending it to Guy Ritchie!)
Anyways, you get the picture, i like a Gangster movie. People have always been surprised I’ve never watched The Sopranos. Until now. As part of what i’ll be studying on my HND is Television Writing, it’s insane to not watch what’s out there. I’m a big believer in things being replicated, knowingly or unknowingly and so starting with the originals is always my port of call.
Two episodes in, and I was hooked. A timely hangover stay in bed day proved useful to kick back and soak up season one quickly. Currently I’ve just finished season 3 and I’m enforcing a break on myself. I love the programmes, love them. It’s just I’m starting to act all Soprano about things.
I’m thinking Soprano in my head, when I’m shopping I’m drawn to the pastas and parmegiano, while talking I’m thinking in Italian, (I don’t even speak it!), instead of laughing with friends I feel like I’m only laughing on one side of my face, (the other side has Tony’s raised eyebrow) and my speech? Holy fuck, it’s breaking my balls. < see?
Why has it gripped me so much?
Aside from the high speed rate of my watching it, it’s pretty damn special. If you haven’t seen it, do so.
I think what firmly made me love it, was Christopher Sopranos stint as a writer. You can tell this is heartfelt and ‘writing what you know‘ in pure form. As unlikely as it may seem, I felt his hopes and fears alongside him as a writer. Yes the show is predominantly about ‘wiseguys’ but The Sopranos normalise them. The head of a mafia family going to see a psychiatrist is pure genius, fish out of water narrative. Following them around while they deal with child rearing, ageing parents, growing up, twisted family relationships amidst the odd hit is clever and captivating.
Trying to fit into the wise guy niche firmly carved out by the likes of Scarface, The Godfather and Goodfellas was bold, yet they tackle it head on, speaking aloud what you’re thinking. Christopher talks about writing his screenplay, they talk of their favourite parts in The Godfather. They break that fourth wall very early on, letting you know, that THEY know, that you’d be thinking that. Clever.
So, I’m having a break while I get my mind back to my own. Nearly calling my cat a ‘C***sucker’ for jumping on the kitchen side was a turning point, Season 4, I’m coming to get you, but not just yet.
UPDATE 2023 – When James Gandolfini died I couldn’t go back to this. Nothing like when Ray Liotta died, James’s death hit me because you see so much of him in Sopranoas. It made me too sad. So far I haven’t completed this season.