Monday, November 25, 2002


Not that it happens very often, but I was extremely disappointed in "The Sopranos" last night. Granted, I had just watched "Citizen Kane" on DVD right before it started, but last night's episode entitled "Calling All Cars" was weak.

Entirely too much screen time was devoted to the Janice-Bobby Bacala-and-his-kids storyline. We've seen manipulative behavior from Janice before, so there was no jolt of surprise in her sending a haunting anonymous IM to Bobby Jr. in order to more solidly entrench herself in their lives. In fact, it was predictable that she was going to pull a stunt like that and it felt repetitive. The seance with AJ and his little hottie and the Bacala kids was long and uneventful, the scene with Bobby and Janice eating dinner in the mall was all right, but in the end, who really gives a shit about Karen's last ziti? I like the character of Bobby and I usually get a kick out of Janice, but maybe I just don't care enough about the subplot to feel much of anything.

You know what else there was too much of? Lorraine Bracco. To paraphrase James Spader's Steff character from "Pretty in Pink", her acting was, is, and always will be nada. She sucks the life out of every scene she's in and that's quite an accomplishment considering most of her scenes are played against James Gandolfini, who expertly continues to craft one of the most fascinating characters in television history. Melfi's a terrible shrink and Bracco's an abominable actress. Kudos to Tony for ditching the therapy! After sitting through yet another session of Dream Analysis 101 and suffering through the most deliberate delivery in the history of acting, I would've hightailed it out of there a hell of a lot faster than he did.

The most interesting stuff involved the escalating tension between the New Jersey family and the New York family, but there just wasn't enough of it. A short scene with Carmine and Johnny Sack and then an uneventful dinner scene with Little Carmine... That's it? Oh, right, a couple of conversations with Silvio about keeping Florida secret and Paulie Walnuts. Not a memorable scene in the bunch. I'm not saying I don't like where this story is headed, but I do feel as though the moments we saw last night could have been used to lay the groundwork for something that took place in the same episode.

The dream sequences were strange and kind of creepy, but we've seen stranger and creepier from this series. They didn't seem to add up to too much either. Of course, we have to assume their purpose is to set up some big revelation in the last two segments of the season. But that's just it, the whole episode felt like setup. Besides finally eating Karen's fuckin' ziti, Tony cutting the therapy cord was the only concrete thing that occurred. But even that feels unfinished. It was as if the producers needed to stall for a night so they could flood the final two with, what I hope will be, the same intensity as the one where Ralphie got whacked. I guess it boils down to the disappointment of knowing this was one of the final three episodes of an otherwise scintillating season.

No Christoper in rehab... No Adrianna... No Meadow... No Furio-Carmela scenes... No Heshie...

It pains me to admit, but as far as I can remember, last night was the first time I was little bored while watching "The Sopranos."

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