David Chase should be fired. It's that simple. His five-year plan for "The Sopranos" is failing miserably. The 2004 season, Chase's fifth as head coach/general manager, a season that began with Super Bowl-sized expectations, has turned into a nightmare punctuated by an embarrassingly confusing, pointless 20-minute dream sequence in the middle of last Sunday's New York-New Jersey showdown.
How can you mess up with a cast like this?
If he had any class, Chase would announce his resignation at the conclusion of the 2004 season. He would acknowledge that he lost control of his cast and storylines during the 2003 season and has failed to re-invigorate his team despite the offseason acquisitions of high-impact free agents Steve Buscemi and Robert Loggia.
HBO CEO Chris Albrecht provided Chase with all the tools necessary to make Season 5 an all-time great. Adding Buscemi and Loggia to the cast was the equivalent of Payton and Malone joining Kobe, Shaq and the Lakers. Some thought this "Sopranos" season would run the table, every episode would be can't-miss, a perfect 13-0. Hell, the '72 Dolphins uncorked bottles of champagne by week 7, when Chase wasted an episode on Fran Felstein, Tony's father's ex-goomah. It's been nothing but losers ever since.
Chase is no Phil Jackson. We haven't seen this much talent wasted since Mike Dunleavy coached the Portland Trail Blazers. Last Sunday's dream episode guarantees that "The Sopranos" won't even qualify for the playoffs as a wild card ... no matter what happens in the final two episodes.
It's over. And that means it's time for Chase to step aside. If Chase is unwilling to resign, Albrecht needs to force him out and immediately replace Chase with David Simon, executive producer of "The Wire," which is now clearly the best real-life crime drama on TV. In just two seasons of "The Wire," Simon has shown enough creativity and vision to warrant a promotion to head coach of "The Sopranos" and "The Wire."
Everything the past two seasons "The Sopranos" has lacked can be found on "The Wire." Yes, Simon is a more traditional storyteller. He's a former newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Sun. He teamed with a former Baltimore cop to write about the drug war in Baltimore. "The Wire" is gritty and realistic. Storylines are introduced, followed and completed. The truth is stranger than fiction. "The Wire" remembers that. Chase has forgotten, or he's drunk on his press clippings.
Chase is making the wrong calls in the huddle.
Chase reminds me of Mouse Davis, the old run-n-shoot football coach. Remember Davis? He made Neil Lomax a star at Portland State. He helped Jim Kelly throw for 5,000 yards with the Houston Gamblers. Mouse Davis became the hottest story in football. He was the coaching star of the USFL. Davis' revolutionary run-n-shoot offense swept the National Football League and never pee'd a drop in the playoffs. The offense bombed in Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. Warren Moon racked up Hall of Fame numbers, but Jack Pardee got fired, Kevin Gilbride got punched and the Buffalo Bills rallied from the biggest playoff deficit -- 35-3 -- in the history of the league. Davis was last spotted in the Arena League.
David Chase wants to revolutionize the way TV dramas are written. Chase is trying to break every rule. He has a run-n-shoot mentality when it comes to plots. It's all or nothing, three-n-out. There's no reliable running game. He throws a lot of passes that don't consistently move the chains. Storylines don't wrap up in an hour. They don't wrap up in a season. Hell, many of the plot twists Chase introduces are never even followed up. For a while this was cute. Now it's annoying and frustrating. It's a tease. No one likes to be teased episode after episode, season after season.
What happened to the Russian dude Christopher and Paulie "chase-d" through the woods? Will the Feds ever get any valuable information out of Adriana? It's an absolute unforgivable sin that Meadow's boyfriend Finn could witness a 400-pound wiseguy giving a security guard an oral examination and then have that storyline dropped for at least two weeks. It was a jarring, water cooler-discussing curveball with no payoff. You might think Chase is a genius for doing this. It's a reason to tune back in. It's not. I don't really care about Finn and Vito Spatafore. Their roles aren't developed enough for me to care. It's like Furio Giunta, the ponytailed mobster from the Old Country who fell for Carmela. He wasn't around long enough or his character wasn't developed enough for me to care whether he ever comes back to the States.
After Chase is canned as executive producer of the show, he should work a pole at the Bada Bing. He's great at taking you to the point of titillation. He's a tease. He's Mouse Davis. He's Marty Schottenheimer. Chase can build the foundation for a championship team, but he's never going to take us to the promised land.
Where have you gone Paulie Walnuts?
He must go. Last Sunday's episode was a fireable offense. We don't need weird dreams that waste 20 minutes. The show finished 10 minutes before the top of the hour anyway. We sat through a half episode. Chase has forgotten what makes mob "movies" great. We watch for the violence, the perversion, the betrayal, the affairs, the crimes. Chase thinks we're watching for the psychobabble spewed between Tony Soprano and Dr. Melfi. We're not. As much as I've enjoyed Lorraine Bracco's nude scenes, Dr. Melfi could get whacked this Sunday and I'd throw a party. Chase has said the inspiration for "The Sopranos" was his real-life dealings with a therapist over his dysfunctional relationship with his mother. Great. I'm glad that inspired him. But no one cares. Just because something inspired you doesn't mean you have to be beholden to it for life. I'm glad Livia Soprano is gone. Chase should have Tony Blundetto clip Melfi.
It won't happen. Chase isn't writing for hardcore "Sopranos" fans. He's too self-indulged. He writes for himself and his friends. He prides himself on being able to fool his viewers. Nothing ever happens the way we anticipate. I've never had one of my "Sopranos" predictions come true. Not one. I'm now embarrassed to even talk "Sopranos" with my friends. I sound stupid. Like, right now, I'm convinced that Tony B is going to eventually form an alliance with Johnny Sack and take out Tony S during the middle of next season. Tony B will find out that Tony S had the money and drugs thrown out in the streets as an inducement to draw Tony B back into the life.
But that's the kind of plot twist David Simon would provide "The Sopranos" next season. It's exactly what the show needs. We've lost track of the characters -- Paulie, Silvio, Hesh -- who made the show great. Avon Barksdale, Brother Mouzone and Omar -- roughnecks from "The Wire" -- would absolutely wipe out what's left of Tony's crew.
Before that happens, let's eliminate Chase. He had a good run. It's time to move on. Simon4Chase in '05!
Chad, first off MeenBro is right, check around before you post. Secondly, you should at least give credit to the article that you cut and paste from. The way you posted this makes it seem you wrote it yourself.
Originally posted by thechadzone10@May 20 2004, 03:38 PM sorry mean bro green didnt see it , yea im kinda new at posting articles so my fault. yea i just saw i spelled event wrong by accident but give me a break ive been working all day
no prob dude, just busting your balls, you took it well
i would like to take this moment to say, once again, that i was the FIRST to say the new season/episode was waful and that the sops were going to stink while everyone raved about eps 1. just like when i said that the jets overpaid greatly for DR, and that he would be solid but no star. im always right. always. :lol:
Originally posted by dickkotite@May 20 2004, 03:46 PM i would like to take this moment to say, once again, that i was the FIRST to say the new season/episode was waful and that the sops were going to stink while everyone raved about eps 1. just like when i said that the jets overpaid greatly for DR, and that he would be solid but no star. im always right. always. :lol:
always??? didn't you also argue that your avatar was Abe Lincoln???
Originally posted by Mean Bro Green+May 20 2004, 03:48 PM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Mean Bro Green @ May 20 2004, 03:48 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--dickkotite@May 20 2004, 03:46 PM i would like to take this moment to say, once again, that i was the FIRST to say the new season/episode was waful and that the sops were going to stink while everyone raved about eps 1. just like when i said that the jets overpaid greatly for DR, and that he would be solid but no star. im always right. always. :lol:
always??? didn't you also argue that your avatar was Abe Lincoln??? [/b][/quote]
WHAT?? my avatar was abe lincoln? hahaha no way
A few crappy episodes? The majority of the naysayers have been bashing it on here since last season...Thats a lot of time to put in on a "crappy" show. The beauty of it is we all have our own opinions.
By TOM MAURSTAD and MANUEL MENDOZA / The Dallas Morning News
Here's our weekly critics' roundtable discussion of Sunday's new episode of The Sopranos, with Dallas Morning News critics Tom Maurstad and Manuel Mendoza. This week: "Test Dream."
Tom Maurstad: OK, this was a wild episode. I don't mean in some flashy, guns-blazing, unexpected twists and turns way. I mean wild as in fearless, throw it over the edge, never seen before, can't believe what I'm seeing. Just when Angelo has been killed and Tony B's missing in action and presumed out for vengeance, the show cuts to – what else – a 20-minute dream sequence. It was crazy, defiant, courageous. It just kept going and going. I was practically yelling at the TV. Forget David Lynch – this was a stunning display of free-associative storytelling. There's so much going on in "Test Dream;" there are so many nuances and references and allusions and little moments, I don't know where to start. On top of that, I can already hear the complaints from viewers wanting more (bloody) meat and less meandering, to which I say: By all means, stop watching.
Manuel Mendoza: Meandering is what made last season so misunderstood, so I agree – side trips are a Sopranos strength and last night's seemed to be fueled by acid. We could spend a week or a month diagramming the dream sequence, tying each element to a plot line and looking for clues to what Tony's going to do next, a role that his past dreams have served. But for right now, I'm just freaked out, dude. I almost called you last night to ask, 'What in the name of tarnation?' It was bravura TV-making, working without a net to get inside Tony's guilt-ridden head, and it invites many repeat viewings. The compiling of his victims in a car driven by his father – along with his therapy session with Dr. Gloria, Annette Bening as Annette Bening, and "Three Times a Lady" – was as creepy as visual storytelling gets. Not to mention the pop-culture references we've loved before, only this time they were twisted to serve a Lynch-esque nightmare. By the way, I love how you keep urging people to get off the bandwagon. You said the same thing last season when the backlash started.
TM: Backseat drivers are bad enough, but when they jump in halfway through without knowing where the car is heading and start telling the driver a better way to go ... Let's start at the beginning, when Tony is served a dish of Valentina Flambe. How many times now have we seen Tony have sex in which he seems oblivious to the woman he's having sex with, grunt, roll over and immediately start getting dressed. No peck on the cheek, no kind words, no nothing. The only woman he isn't that way with is Carmela – Tony may have had sex with who knows how many women, but he's only made love to one. And that great encapsulating moment of Tony's blinkered narcissism when he complains to Tony B about having to deal with the girlfriend he wanted to dump ending up in the burn ward: "Why the [expletive] does this [expletive] always happen to me? The wheels are coming off Tony's wagon, but at least this week there were some signs that Tony has begun to realize it. So, some of the other Tony-related stuff I loved: Tony as Holden Caufield, running away from his life and checking into the Plaza Hotel and calling up a hooker. The parallels in his dream with The Godfather and then the way his horseback exchange with Carmela echoed Carmela's talk with A.J. – she tells him coming home requires some "non-negotiable conditions," exactly the phrase she used with A.J. How multilayered and perfect is it that Tony is both the repentant husband and the prodigal son wanting to return home.
MM: There was incredible use of repetition both in and out of the dream: the smell of Valentina's burned hair reminding Tony what Carmine had said right before he collapsed (and the connection is why Carmine ends up in Tony's bed at the Plaza). Another example: the way the dream kept returning to the idea that Tony has to kill somebody, namely Tony B. His role in the New York war should have been nipped in the bud, as Tony likes to say, and Tony now realizes that. In fact, the dream was all about Tony trying to think his way out of his current trap. Just before the dream started, I wrote "isolated king" in my notes, and that massive suite at the Plaza, with its stunning view of the Central Park forest, is his castle. Part of the problem is that everyone in Tony's world, including him, has their own agenda, so they rarely connect. When Tony goes to Tony B's, basically to vent, they talk right past each other. The dream's second image – after Carmine in bed – is Tony crawling on the floor half naked, looking like a baby in a diaper. It's one of the most stunning screen images I've ever seen, Tony infantilized, helpless, pathetic. And from there, the dream turns into a tour of his life, winding up at the end of Tony's childhood with the appearance of his high-school coach, who he tries to kill. Tony feels like a failure at this point. He could've been a contender in the straight world, the coach tells him. Asleep or awake, he's torn between what might have been and what is.
TM: I wrote "lonely emperor." That's the crushing realization of all those hotel-room scenes: Tony is so utterly alone. He has no friends; if it weren't for "work" he'd have nothing and no one. That situation also had me thinking of The Catcher in the Rye with Tony as Holden Caufield. When he isn't busy being a baby, he's a discontented and disaffected adolescent. Like Holden, he runs away from his life, checks into a New York hotel and calls up a prostitute. One of the most striking elements of the dream was the recurring role of television, that incredible exchange with Carmela when he's transfixed by scenes from, first, Chinatown and then A Christmas Carol . When Carmela complains, he says: "It's so much more interesting." So much more interesting than what, she asks. "Than life." She gives him a dumbfounded look as she snaps "You're kidding me. It is your life." The part played by television in this dream and in this series is worthy of a college course. In a way, Tony watches his life as if it were a television show. It's part of his denial – you can't control what you aren't really a part of. And just to toss out something, what's up with the book he's given in the bathroom being The Valachi Papers. In the dream, it's the book he's read (his homework) to prepare for what he has to do – kill somebody. The book, famously, is about a mob snitch. So who's the only mob snitch currently still alive that we know of? Adriana. Does Tony intuitively know? Is that who he's going to have to kill? I know Tony B is, but that's so obvious.
MM: I don't know if that's what the appearance of The Valachi Papers means, but you could certainly read it that way, except how would Tony know? Because that's what he's trained for – sniffing out threats and snuffing them. With the meta scenes – and not just the ones involving TV and movies but also the references to past developments on the show, like the horse that evokes Pie-O-My – The Sopranos seems to be commenting on the characters' nostalgia, be it from books and films that romanticize the mob or from the show itself. It gets back to where the series started: with mobsters so self-aware that they feel the need to get into therapy. You're right, though, it's a form of denial – Tony remembering the horse he once loved or the way he once felt about Charmaine (or at least thinks he felt) or his love of his one-time role-model coach. In his mind, he separates those memories from the horrors that accompanied them. The strangeness and the intensity of the episode made the few not-so-strange humorous moments stand out. My favorites: Tony B's Sanford and Son line, Tony's reference to Charmaine's notary public license, and Chris' desire for Tony's Toblerone bar (his jones for sweets since becoming sober has become a running joke). But then it all got back to Tony and Carmela and that heartbreakingly intimate phone conversation. She knows him so well, and they may be the only two people on the show who still listen to what the other one is saying. I believe in the end, especially when the house starts falling around Tony not just literally, she will stand by her man.
TM: After all the surreal strangeness and the empty isolation of the episode, it ends in such a quiet, warm moment of real life. That pre-dawn phone conversation; at once like they are husband and wife in bed together and like they are high-school sweethearts calling each other in secret. The way she knows without him telling her what his dream was about, the neighbor's dog barking, him making a silly joke about it, her laughing – we see the depth and breadth of their connection. And that beautiful closing line: After asking her early on, "Is it daylight where you are?" the scene ends with him asking, "Is it light where you are yet?" Maybe it's a light Tony is finally beginning to see.
if we all can remeber back to the last good episode . it was when tony and adrianna got into that car accident. thing is after that episode that hasnt been brought up . we havent really seen adrianna since and chris is doing some crap with tony b. in upstate. i think if they focused more on paulie, adrianna ratting out everybody to the fbi , tony and adrianna ( to see if anything happens since they were getting pretty close when chris was away that episode i know they didnt do anything but came close until they knocked on the door , plus i would of betted if they didnt get in a car crash they would of hooked up) from seeing commericals for sunday i think what we all want is coming , tony b. to get whacked and possibly johnny s. plus it showed a brief scene in the commerical with adrianna