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OPINIONS ARE (THE SOPRANOS & ONLINE COMMENTS)

Opinions are who we are. About much of anything, everything, particularly as to tastes in visuals, audio and sensory appeal, or, lack of appeal, depending.

But, you know that already. More of that opinion thing (what you know already). Allowing someone else to make a point, though, or just ruminate, about what they know already — not like someone’s discovery of opinion means it’s supposed to be yours — is what makes or breaks an opportunity to comingle with words. Which is where the problems originate: assumptions about opinions, propriety, whose what means or works where, means what to whom. Complicated. Which is why formulating opinions is far easier for many than understanding the opinions of someone else.

About films and opinions: we like, we don’t like, we talk about why. Someone assumes another is telling them the way it is (when what probably is underway is someone is simply expressing their point of view), assumptions fly before understandings and often, people conclude too soon and too often that they just don’t like another. A familiar destination on the internet, that “I don’t like you” place.

Which is why most internet meets about most entertainment media — films, music, television, the internet itself — can be a bog unless you’ve got a tolerant and/or entertaining group.

I spent the entire last year, like millions of others, without new Episodes of “The Sopranos” to view, to not discuss with other viewers, especially the scripts, the dialogue. I don’t know that anyone could write episodic drama better than has been written, already, by David Chase, Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess and a few by Michael Imperioli, on that Series (and a few other screenwriters, but the best is by those four writers). It can’t be done any better than has been done already for that Series. Which means to me as audience that it can only get better, at least hold onto the quality until the Series concludes, until the story of these characters reaches a full-telling, or, simply, the story ends.

About the discussions, among the corporate “us” as audience — forget my thing about being a writer for a minute here — I’d found one public board among many from about two years ago that at least provided a short window of opportunity to mingle about the Series, but which is now pretty terribly oppressed by various opinionators-o’-television screen: a few public peeps who have heavy-handedly taken on some role as rulers of the opinions and it’s no longer a place to visit easily or to accomplish much of anything. Nothing’s discussed, no one’s contributing anything original.

So, anyway, now with Season Five of “The Sopranos” underway, after the last year’s absence of production, despite the developments of the characters and story arch(s) (there are many), a sort of cough has occurred in the personalities of some viewer comments I read on the (dratted) internet. I like the Series, putting it mildly, but what I don’t like at this stage of the development of this Series is this uncomfortable sub-grouping of the viewing audience that is fomenting about their expected and various “analysis” of the Series. Some people do, some people criticize. I just want to watch, or, at least, watch only what the Series produces. Otherwise, it becomes the dreaded “fan fiction.”

Because, there appear to be several type of viewer groups, at this point, most of which fall into a few general bunches, based upon my experiences with the Internet and this Series (“The Sopranos”):

— the “where’s the comedy, what happened to the funny mob guys?” group;

— the “Carmela is a loyal mother and a victim” group;

— the “I’m a (speech, child, massage, whatever) therapist so my opinions are ‘professional'” (and so the projections begin about various characters in the Series to the detriment of most any other aspect to this creative project, which dilutes and even destroys the viewer pleasure for others, especially creative writers);

— the “these (guys, women, crimes, FBI) are gross” group (which also includes the “Tony/Christopher/whoever is cool” group); and,

— the “being disgusting” irrational types who write anything about anything mostly to offend by x-rated terms.

Me, I find the armchair “therapeutic” crowd the most taxing and tiresome; the rest you can scroll on by but that “I’m a professional and…” group are the most offensive and intrusive types. The obvious reasons being that no one who is actually “professional” wastes time writing on internet commenting boards that they are (unless asked to substantiate professional advice they’ve offered), and, it tests one’s capacity to tolerate fiction (everything becomes fiction, then, of the unbelievable kind).

There’s an autocracy there in that personality process, some expectation which is often palpable as a demand that the rest of everyone else accept a point of view, another viewer’s opinion, as that which rules. I don’t object to the opinions of others, but what I do object to is the intolerance of some about ideas that they don’t have. I think it’s the failing of a site itself, when that takes place, that some users become so entrenched in a place as to have lost social perspective about their own public characteristics. Like I already described: oppressive.

I’d rather muse about the actual creative process, with other creative people, and forgo the speculative group(s), about these fictional characters, this wonderful Series, and avoid anyone who makes much of any demand on my time, without some effort to engage me as reader and correspondent. About that last part, there are many on the internet I then, do avoid, for that very reason, about this Series. Something about making modest comments and not grand statements seems to set off those oppressors. Something about the intensity of where the Series has now taken the entire cast of (surviving, remaining) characters has set off a sort of controlling mood in many viewers, as if they’re controlling the fictional process in the Series itself.

I note that that’s also why the Series is so successful, having captured, psychologically, so many among the public.

And, I’d give just about anything to read more insight and discussion about the writing process of this Series and those who create it, particularly that by David Chase, Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and far less of and from the “affected” on the internet.

It’s very, very, very good work, to state the obvious. What will happen to television once “The Sopranos” concludes with the next, Sixth Season? One hope I have is that the Series will bring about a conclusion to the life and times of Tony Soprano that doesn’t involve the ultimate whacking — maybe Tony departs for Italy, maybe the Caribbean, anywhere he can “disappear”or maybe he continues on in his life of crime, that latter story-line the most realistic — anything that surprises beyond the expected death-of-Tony-as-conclusion-of-Series, which is, with the advent of this Fifth Season currently underway, what some of those groups I described are apparently expecting, anticipating, even. More of why I avoid those groups.


C O M M E N T S : now closed