Beginnings and Endings

The last couple of days have seen many changes in my little world. First of all, I was officially hired yesterday by the company I’ve been temping with for six months, Marsteller. It’s a good job with good people in an excellent location (right in Union Square). The pay doesn’t hurt, either. Nor will the chance to now see doctors and dentists.

As a result of my hiring, the next few days will all involve some sort of orientation, but it’s very redundant as I’ve been here for so long already. Quite a different experience than the last time I was hired – a whirlwind twenty-four hours that involved being hired on the spot and thrown blindly into my first project.

This past weekend was one in which I made some much-needed purchases: an amp and a cellphone. They are both already on their way towards destination: North Bergen, but I’ll wait to go into more detail about these items when they arrive (this is what passes for excitement here on stanus.butt)!!!!!

Of course, as Semisonic famously sang, every beginning comes from some other beginning’s end (my 17-year old self just cringed at this reference). Yes, just as I am welcoming my new money-making opportunity and acquisitions into my life I’m saying goodbye to another part. Oh, who am I kidding? Yes, I’m implying the last episode of the Sopranos that aired Sunday, but I only watched about 3 seasons and never was really into it. Nevertheless, I’d like to throw in my 2 cents on how they decided to end this award-winning series so here’s your official spoiler warning!!!

For those who need a reminder (or for those who don’t watch and didn’t see what happened), here’s the final scene in its entirety.

I hate to be unoriginal, but my initial reaction was that something was wrong with my tv. Then I realized that this is how it ends and it’s up to us as the audience to decide Tony Soprano’s fate. I went to bed thinking it was a cop out. I mean, any show could just end with a blank screen and have the audience fill in their own gaps.

But with a night to sleep on it, I woke up enjoying the ending. The Sopranos – at least in the last three seasons – has been more than just plot and gangsters. There have been entire episodes that leave the viewer guessing what they just saw (the dreamland shit from earlier this season). Subtle metaphors creep up throughout the show (how about the meaning of the cat in the last episode), and poetic descriptions appear as well (a train derailing as Tony’s brother-in-law is killed). Hell, this episode begins with Tony waking up in the morning and getting himself a gun – the now famous line from the opening theme.

If this show were just about being entertaining, then leaving the audience to hang would be a crime. Instead, this show is art and invites the audience to interpret what they see. I personally wanted Tony dead – he was a hypocritical gangster who had no compunction about killing people but would fly off the handle if someone threatened his family. He also didn’t even treat his family very well. So I’ll just pretend the unknown man entering the bathroom was a referene to the Godfather where Michael Corleone finds a prearranged gun hidden in a bathroom.

Other interpretations that I’ve heard are much more interesting. These include: the audience gets whacked; Tony gets whacked and doesn’t see it coming so his world – the show – just ends with silence; and that this final scene gives us the opportunity of what it feels like to be in danger every moment of your life (like being in the mafia). This water cooler talk is great and is also consistent with the rest of the series. People have been trying to make sense of what they’re presented with each episode – not because there are plot twists or mysteries, but because it’s art and everyone takes something different from what they see. I believe if you didn’t like the ending of this series then perhaps you weren’t appreciating the Sopranos for what it really was.

Perhaps it’s time to finally start plowing through Dorian’s DVDs of the first 3 seasons!