Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Sopranos: I Dream of Tony

Over the past eight years, I’ve had several dreams — that I remember — inspired by The Sopranos. (Not surprising; I’ve been in bed with hundreds of political leaders, alternative rock musicians, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, thanks to my habit of falling back asleep after my clock radio switches on to National Public Radio.) In nearly every Sopranos dream, I have some kind of relationship with Tony, but I have never figured out what the heck it is. I only know that I’m under his protection but uneasy about it. These dreams seem important in the light of Sunday’s episode, in which Tony tries to be a better parent than the ones who raised him. In the case of A.J. (I won’t spoil), he’s fairly helpless, just like most parents in the real world. But when Meadow is verbally harassed by a member of Phil’s crew, Tony uses his prerogative to nearly kill the guy — specifically, by curb stomping him, in one of the most disturbing acts of violence during the entire series. Predictably, many of the commenters on Sopranos-related blogs say that Tony was justified in this case, but they are simply indulging in the fantasy of being a member of Tony’s crew (as I apparently have in my sleep). Given all that was written about last week’s episode (“Heidi and Kennedy”), I was surprised not to see any mention of the shot in which Tony, relaxing in Las Vegas, is wearing an emperor-type robe and we see the sign for Caesar’s Palace framed by the window of his hotel room. He may not be as far gone as Caligula, but Tony is now deluding himself into thinking he’s a kind of god: Everything he does — including his treatment of Christopher — is, by definition, for the common good. Further, any sign of disrespect toward him is, by definition, deserving of violent punishment. (And remember, both The Sopranos and I, Claudius have monster mothers named Livia.) I don’t know what else is going to happen, but I’m convinced that Tony is going to tell Carmela about every murder he’s committed, not out of guilt but out of pride.

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