I’m interested in how this show has six seasons. Two episodes in and they’ve already breached all the big topics: family, business, trust, anxiety, therapy, relationships with mothers, morality, generational differences, etc. etc. etc. Like, BoJack Horseman 1 took four seasons before breaching the topic of mothers in any capacity.
Yet here we are—two episodes in and Tony Soprano has an anxiety attack about ducks leaving and then about having to put his mother in a retirement home. That’s some heavy stuff to be putting into a TV show two episodes in, and this was in 1999. This show was doing a responsible-looking (so far) approach to mental health 19 years ago, but it feels like the twitterverse is catching up to it just now. 2
I understand that just because this has been part of the plot for the first two episodes doesn’t mean that they’ve closed the lid on the topics. It’s the first series that led us into the ”Golden Age of Television” after all. We’re coming back to this time and time again for the remaining run-time of the show. 3 It’s just refreshing to see something that really goes into the deep end of the pool in the first two episodes.
As someone who’s been to therapy 4 I find the “tell me about your mother” cliché to be hilarious. It’s hilarious because it’s true though, and that’s something that I feel I might not like in the show.
Tony Soprano has that Italian (and also Catholic) attitude where family isn’t family—it’s Family. It’s the most important thing. I can appreciate that, but I can already tell that if Tony let that go a little faster he’d be able to get more out of therapy. We wouldn’t have 8 years worth of a wonderful show, but I just want what’s best for him, and I think he needs to realize (and accept and forgive) that his mother is kinda a toxic person. She’s nothing like my mother, but she’s creepishly similar to my grandmother. The overdramatic “Just stab me right in the heart because it would hurt less than what you’re saying to me now” is just… Ugh, what an awful thing to do.
The emotional manipulation levers are really out there and noticeable. There’s no nuance in it 5 and I just have zero tolerance for it. I’m hoping it gets more interesting, but also if this show is going to have one aspect that will really curb my enjoyment of the show it’s this one.
Season 1 Episode 1 Rating: 4/5
My current reigning champion of the “Best TV Shows Ever” list↩
Which led me to thinking that, like, maybe there was a period of “fewer things to be anxious about” sometime during the Obama administration? Maybe those eight years were good for us* and we could watch things get better for a while?
* Of course, by “us” I mean people who are (for one reason or another) mostly tuned into US news even though we logically understand that they’re not good for us and not great and… not even representative of things happening globally.↩
8 years IRL and probably around 100 days for me because I’m binging this shit↩
and should go again if they know what’s good for them.↩
if you wanna see some stelar manipulation there’s a bunch of shows, but if you wanna see it in a cheerful environment I’d like to direct you to Gilmore Girls’ Emily Gilmore.↩