Drama review for the Sopranos
• Know the network, dates, creator and number of seasons. Include something about the popularity or critical acclaim of this series.
• Know the key characters we watched: Tony Soprano, his wife Carmela, his daughter Meadow, his son AJ (Anthony Jr.)…..His psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi…..Tony’s nephew, Christopher, his mother Livia and his Uncle Junior.
• How does the series begin – and why is this first scene critical in establishing what the entire series is about?
• What does Dr. Melfi realize about Tony – and why might that knowledge be a problem for her therapeutically?
• What are the narrative advantages of exploring the mob life partly through a mobster’s visits to a psychotherapist?
• Think about how the pilot we watched showed absurd contrasts between suburban life – and the mob life. What’s the point of these contrasts? What is untenable?
• Consider the payment collection scene (the insurance guy who is chased down by Tony) – and the assassination scene. Consider ideas about sociopathy and why these ongoing scenes of violence are important to the meaning of the show.
• In the other episode, College, explain why the show has Tony wildly follow a snitch while his daughter is in the car with him – and – why Tony gets involved in such a hands-on murder? What do these portrayals do to increase our understanding of this central character?
• What is seductive about Tony as a character?
• Why does he really decide to stick with therapy – what, according to our reading, are his ultimate goals?
• Can he change?
• What does our reading say about the ultimate con job of The Sopranos? If in retrospect, that Tony was never an appropriate candidate for meaningful interpersonal therapy, then why did viewers get pulled in to the premise that he could grow?
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