finished the Sopranos, again

It took a while, but this week we concluded The Sopranos. I was re-watching it for the first time since the infamous finale. Amber was watching it for the first time.

My biggest takeaway was how talented James Gandolfini was in the role. Such a range of emotions, many of them subtle. He was such a dominate boss and cool handed leader, but when he saw his shrink he turned into a whining baby and a terrible liar.

It was also interesting to watch them eat. Rarely was it anything other than Italian food. But when the mobsters ate pasta they would play with it on their fork like they were airing it out to dry.

Anthony Jr’s role could have been sussed out way more. Most of the time he was brooding, dumb, clueless, constantly running to his room or being sent to it. In actuality he was far more complex than his sister who had way more screen-time (because she was gorgeous?) than he had.

Edie Falco was also incredible. But I wasn’t crazy about her arc either. Sure it was good that at some point she called bullshit on all of it – in fact that was the best stretch for her character. But after they reconciled she lost her interestingness.

I had forgotten how long Junior was on the show – the whole time! And weirdly Tony’s sister didn’t annoy me as much on the re-watch as she did originally.

My favorite character was Silvio, played by Miami Steve Van Zant. Bruce Springsteen’s BFF. The perfect Consigliere. Always there for Tony when asked, but never overstepped. Not just the voice of reason, but he lead by example, providing the anchor to the choppy waters all around them.

I also didn’t realize what a slam The Sopranos was to the 12-Step approach to addictions. Maybe it just showed that neither AA nor NA could solve your problems if you’re surrounded by people who are constantly drinking, but I can’t recall any success stories in the series who worked the program.

Finally, my other favorite character I had forgotten all about, Svetlana Kirilenko, the straight talking one-legged Russian home care manager who always seemed to have a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She had some great lines, perfectly delivered by Alla Kliouka Schaffer.

One of her best lines came in Season 4 and it perfectly summed up the entire show. Tony, who seemed to genuinely respect her, tells her that she’s inspiring because even though she lost her leg she keeps keeping on.

Svetlana: That’s the whole purpose for people like me. To inspire people like you. So is the trouble with you Americans. You expect nothing bad ever to happen, when the rest of the World expects only bad to happen. And they’re not disappointed. You have everything! And still you complain. You lie in couches, and bitch to a psychiatrist. You’ve got too much time to think about yourselves.

Amen, sister.