Sopranos Season Two

Prod. David Chase
2000
It must have been hard to top Season One of the sopranos, and many episodes of Season Two aren’t as plot-driven as the first.
If this was a symphony, season two would be the exposition part after the statement of the theme. The characters of Richie (David Provale) and Janice (Aida Turturro) are brought in and slyly dominate the season, rounding out their stories very neatly near the end (a big shock, too, in how they did so.) One thing the show reveals is how by toying with genre, the program becomes open to all sorts of experimentation. The show is able to contain realism and surrealism without feeling off. It’s that most magical of shows, one that creates an entire universe. You believe that anything can happen.
Violence is treated realistically here, with short, brutal beatings that don’t last too long, unspectacular car crashes, bullets dispatched without witticisms, and plain knuckle(head) punches. And by doing so, the show never glosses over its characters’ lives of crime. The finale montage, showing the happy extended Soprano clan intercut with shots of ruined lives and illegal schemes run their course (the trashed offices of the ‘boiler room,’ the bankrupted sports good store, reminded us in a lovely cinematic way of the exactly what we’re celebrating. This is capitalism, baby, as we’re often reminded.
And, criminy, what other show would use a Pierre Henri piece on its soundtrack?
Also: My wife has been studying Carmela for pointers. I’m in trouble, I think.
Favorite episodes: The D-Girl (mainly for Alicia Witt–oofa!–but also for the parody of Hollywood), Knight in White Satin Armor, and Funhouse (obviously).
Favorite line: Unrepeatable curse when Uncle Junior falls over in the shower.
And finally: Adrianna (Drea de Matteo) is hot. As is Oksana Babiy (Irina, the mistress).

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