Saturday, May 19, 2007

Prostate With Grief

We've mentioned this blog before, but really, nobody can dissect and write about Sopranos episodes like Matt Zoller Seitz, and reading his stuff on Mondays is something I'm going to miss terribly (although if you further check out his blog, you'll see he's got more goodies, including an interview with Simpsons producer Al Jean). So with apologies to Bsmoked Turkey, my two favorite blogs (at least through June 15th) are The House Next Door and The Bastard Machine. And if you really want to see what it's like to take peyote, try reading some of the comments that some folks leave on their blogs. People don't get this deep when deciphering Pink Floyd.

Speaking of which, the "Kennedy & Heidi" episode of the Sopranos (more on the text message I sent Mac about that title later) was especially thrilling in that it allowed David Chase to over-deliver on the music. Sometimes we're pleased to just discover one new song worth downloading in an episode:
  1. Roger Waters, Van Morrison, and some members of The Band (not all of the Band, worth noting) doing "Comfortably Numb", with the lyrics placed perfectly during the final moments Tony and Chris share together.
  2. "Are You Alright?" by Lucinda Williams, as Tony arrives in Las Vegas to figure out what kind of monster he really is (and for those who complain the show doesn't play enough new music, here's one that was actually released in 2007).
  3. "Outta My Head" by M. Ward, a song and artist I'd never heard of before, but really, anything set to the first site of this girl is going to resonate.
  4. "The Adulteress" by The Pretenders playing while that little honey is riding on top of Tony. That's just on a tee.
  5. More Pretenders ("Space Invaders") as T and Sonya smoke the perfect weed. David Chase says he could use nothing but Elvis Costello, Dylan and the Stones for his series, but he sure uses a ton of Chrissie Hynde too.

My man Bob Lefsetz even came in this week, and compared the old Eagles album track "Bitter Creek" to this week's Sopranos episode. Funny, that's the only experience I've ever had with peyote, listening to Bernie Leadon sing about it on that song and wondering what the hell peyote actually did to you (Don Henley would later admit that the entire band was on peyote during the photo shoot for the band's first album). Now I know, thanks to Tony and Chrissy's stripper friend Sonya, peyote is also known as "buttons."

Frankly, I have no idea how David Chase is pulling this off. He's got three episodes left, and who the hell knows where things go with his twisted fucking mind. He's killed off plenty of characters before, but here he's finally killed off one of the three main, essential characters -- with three shows left. Now Steven Van Zandt is preparing everyone for some sort of bloodbath. Killing off Chrissy was the closest thing to offing Tony before the final bell. He had (and frankly still has) so many obvious ways to zig and zag to the final ending, but he's still going as unpredictable as possible. I never thought I'd see Tony try to find himself through the Vegas desert on peyote, and word is those scenes were shot as recently as three weeks ago -- leading some to think that the end of the show would be in Vegas. Now nobody has any clue as to what's next.

For those who can't believe Tony would kill Chrissy, I give you the infamous line from the Eddie Murphy "Death of Buckwheat" SNL skit. "Oh yeah, sure, that's all he's ever talked about." How could this surprise anyone? He really DID talk about it a lot, even getting clearance from Junior to "put him out of his misery" when he learned of Chrissy's drug problem. "If this were anyone else, they'd have their intervention take place through the back of their head," Tony told Chrissy before making him hit rehab.

Now, about that aforementioned text message and episode title. After watching "Kennedy & Heidi" a second time, and realizing that every little detail in every show is carefully put in there by Chase, I sent a text to Mackenzie, suggesting that Kennedy was angel and Heidi the devil. Mac thought I was having my own peyote trip. But then explain to me why we only see these two young teenage girls for those brief ten seconds, and they were the ones driving the car that made Christopher swerve off the road...

Kennedy: Maybe we should go back Heidi.
Heidi: Kennedy, I'm on my learner's permit after dark.

And that's all we see from these two characters, and the fucking episode is named for them! My thinking was that the characters were not unlike the angel/devil characters who would pop up in an old Flintstone episode, the angel telling Fred to do right while the devil would always just say "Fuck it." In the history of the series, Tony has always struggled with his own "Kennedy and Heidi", and the entire Soprano family has been obsesses with all things Kennedy related from the first episode. Point being -- was there any reason to cut to that ten second shot of the teenage girls debating whether or not to go back to check on the vehicle they just saw go off the road? So it had to mean SOMETHING. You don't just name an episode after those two characters, not an episode that's so pivotal as this one in this universe.

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