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Italian-American, N.J. take on  'Sopranos' finale


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'Sopranos' finale gets mixed reviews
June 11: NBC's Dawn Fratangelo reports on Sunday night's finale of HBO's "The Sopranos." Some viewers were left frustrated.

Is Paulie, in line to become the next head of the construction crew, to die prematurely?  And speaking of Paulie, what was the deal with that stray cat that Paulie was so obsessed with, the one staring at Christopher’s picture on the wall?  Does Silvio ever come out of the coma?  How badly will Janice, Tony’s equally screwed up and jealous sister, mess up Bobby’s kids now that she has tapped into the motherly instincts she learned from her own sick mother, Livia?  

So many possibilities, including this consideration:  Did David Chase actually write a different ending with Tony and his immediate family getting whacked at Holsten’s by the suspicious guy after he went into the bathroom to get the hidden gun?  Did Chase decide that such an ending would be too predictable, and decided to end the scene with Journey’s incredibly appropriate song “Don’t Stop Believing” as Tony and his family were about to order?  I was blown away by the ending, but my wife, Jennifer, thought something was wrong with the television.  While the credits rolled in silence, she looked at me and said, “That sucked. ... I was bored.”  Luckily Jen and I agree on the important things.

So that’s it. "The Sopranos" is over. For those of us who made it hard core, appointment viewing for nine years, Sunday night just won’t be the same on HBO. Even though "Entourage" is great stuff, there will never be another television event like "The Sopranos."

Controversy among Italian-Americans
P.S. "The Sopranos" has also generated great controversy in the Italian-American community.  Many of my fellow paisanos argued Tony and his crew “gave Italians a bad name.”  They also say the series did much to malign our already maligned reputation in New Jersey.  Italian-American anti-defamation types said that people in Nebraska or Iowa would think that all Italian-Americans in New Jersey were somehow “connected” after seeing "The Sopranos."  They wanted HBO to feature honest, hard-working Italian-American doctors, lawyers and other upstanding citizens.  I get the point.  It’s the same one that was made about "The Godfather" glorifying the Mafia. 

But those people in Nebraska or Iowa will think it anyway.  No, I don’t think "The Sopranos" helped the reputation of Italian-Americans — that wasn’t its intent.  It was entertainment.  It was an escape.  While it felt true to life, it was still a drama.  I’m thinking that even though Italian-Americans are still discriminated against by some, we’ve accomplished so much since our parents and grandparents came here from Italy.  We can appreciate a television series like "The Sopranos" for what it is.  We know who we are and we know what we’re not.  But to deny that organized crime is a small but pervasive theme in Italian-American culture and that ultimately "The Sopranos" was a great story about a complex Italian-America family is a mistake.

Write to Steve Adubato at

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