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The Sopranos, Episode 87 – The Final Countdown

There has been much debate in recent years about the end of the TV series „The Sopranos“ (located in the Italian-American Mafia milieu). What happened at the restaurant after our screens went black? What was the guy with the Members Only jacket up to who disappeared in the toilet? Did he shoot Tony in this historic TV moment when the screen went black and the music stopped all of a sudden? And who could have prevented the murder? Daughter Meadow, maybe, his „guardian angel“, by parking faster?

The ringing of the bell, the orange-colored cat and all the other little symbols – signs that death of the Capo of New Jersey was near? „You probably don’t even hear it when it happens …”, was argued earlier on in the series.

Did Tony Soprano die or not?

Of course he died. Anything else is wishful thinking. The music has stopped playing once and for all.

But things are not always what it seems ...

Let me take you back to a restaurant in the greater New Jersey area, back to the year 2007 … 

 

The bell at the entrance rings, Tony Soprano looks up … [cut to black]

Daughter Meadow enters the restaurant – and rushes to her family’s table: „Hi there, nice to see you, sorry for the delay, the traffic was murderous ...“

Tony doesn’t notice the arrival of his daughter, he just passed out quickly, lost consciousness for a moment. The guy with the Members Only jacket put a gun against his head from behind, after leaving the toilet – silently and unnoticed by everyone else. A cold, merciless death sentence in these circles. Tony knows what that means: Your death is a done deal, you’re gonna die soon, not right now, not here in front of wife & children, not with so many f*cking witnesses, and certainly not quick & painless. No, my friend, you will die slowly & painfully. We have to settle an open account – and the time has come to do so.

Of course Tony has noticed the Members Only killer of the New York Mafia, as he checked the situation earlier on in the restaurant, sitting at the bar and looking like a cowboy across the prairie, calm & determined, an ice-cold angel of death. But only with the gun in his neck Tony recognized the severity of the situation. He was sentenced to death. And Tony passed out, slumped against the table …

No one else in the restaurant noticed the deadly threat – neither Tony‘s wife Carmela nor his son Anthony. They were busy looking at the door and seeing Meadow rushing in: „Hi darling, good to see you, sure, the traffic is heavy at this time. Everything went well at the doctor?“

After a short welcome they see what happened. „Come on, Dad ... so shocked to see me?“

Carmela hurries over to the other side of the table, pats Tony‘s cheek, talks to him, they all talk to him, coax him – and after a short while Tony regains consciousness. Where am I? What happened? A brief moment of gracious oblivion – but slowly the memory comes back: You’re a dead man, Tony. A bloody f*cking dead man. Liquidated. Dishonored. Terminated.

„Family“ – the monster that bites & hugs ...

Family – the monster that bites & hugs ...

Carmela puts her arm around her husband: „Shall I call a doctor?“ But Tony is fed up with doctors after his long hospital stay, following the gunshot injury caused by Uncle Junior. He shakes his head – he now has other problems ... What can I do? How should I react? The Capo of New Jersey can‘t just surrender to those damn f*cking New York wankers … I need to do something, just what the f*cking f*ck what?

Tony can‘t confide in his family. His wife & kids know about his Mafia connection, they know he’s not working in the „ordinary“ waste & construction business – the upscale standard of living has other reasons. However, they do not know any details. They have never been directly involved in any Mafia operation – primarily for their own protection. Tony sometimes asked for a little support in one or the other situation, without big explanations ... How could you possibly explain a Mob job …

And even now, in the face of death, Tony can’t speak out. He thought about it for a second – but dismissed the thought immediately.

But who can help him now in the „Family“? Who can he trust in this situation? Who stands by him through thick & thin? After all these years, where he has been anything but squeamish in so many ways … Who the f*ck is still on his side? What bloody f*cking rat would betray him? Who? When? How? Where? What is planned? How will it be done?

Half of the city has reason to kill him (the other half doesn‘t know him). Some of the community say: „I pray for you, Tony“ – but that is just Christian-speak for „I hate you“.

And why does this f*cking killer look so much like my father? What does that mean? What the f*ck does that all mean? Tony thinks feverishly ...

Meanwhile the Members Only killer has left the restaurant, and there is lively bustle, as if nothing had happened ... As if not one of the guests had just looked into a raging abyss from which there‘s no escape. „When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you“, Nietzsche warned us long time ago. Tony‘s psychiatrist might have told him so, and Tony might have even listened – but in his world the best way to clean a gun is the next liquidation.

Carmela and the children attribute Tony’s faintness to his still weak health condition after the serious gunshot injury caused by Uncle Jun. And to all the other problems Tony went through in the last couple of months ... Carmela thinks of an old Italian proverb: „If you are over 40 and nothing hurts in the morning – You. Are. Dead.“

As Tony works his way through a list of traitors in his mind, he eliminates Uncle Junior – too old, too demented ... The very next day he would not be able to remember whether he ordered a pizza, a Members Only jacket or a murder ... And why the hell they still call the oldest member of the Family „Junior“? But Tony knows this is the f*cking wrong time for this question ...

He also knows: Here in this restaurant, I‘m safe. Here with my family, I‘m safe. „Family“ matter of honor, so to speak. But as soon as I step out onto the street – permission is given to shoot … to all these f*cking idiots out there …

The silicon chip / inside his head / gets switched / to overload … But we are not in a song here. This is bloody f*cking real. Tony’s mind goes crazy with all kind of thoughts, he only catches fragments of the conversation at the table …

And Tony is only half aware of his surroundings, as Carmela waves to a friend she hasn’t seen for a while: Liz La Cerva, the mother of missing Adriana La Cerva, who was engaged to Tony's protégé Christopher Moltisanti.

„Hey Liz, nice to see you, how are you? You sure look better than last time I saw you ... What about the new job here, you like it? Have you settled in well? Come here, sit down with us for a moment … Tony, remember, I told you about Liz’ new job here … Any recommendations, Liz? What about this ‘Burger Diavolo Deluxe’?“

Tony mutters a brief greeting, hardly looks up ...

„Please excuse him, Liz“ says Carmela, „Tony just passed out, you know, all the problems lately ... But tell us, how's life? Did you hear something from Adriana lately?“

Adriana was the longtime girlfriend & fiancée of Tony‘s relative & associate Christopher Moltisanti. Chris has made a brilliant career in the New Jersey Mafia – thanks to Tony. He treated him as a protégé since Chris’ father had been sort of a mentor for Tony. Christopher got away with more than others – a violent temper, increasing drug abuse or rather bad screenplays he wrote in his spare time.

Christopher wanted to become a successful screenwriter in Hollywood – and has already had some degree of success in this field. Although he wasn’t really a good or nearly good writer. But he used a lot of violence & brute force – and some producers appreciate that. „Brutally realistic“, they liked to say – and didn’t know (or didn’t wanna know) that it simply was pure reality. Creativity & imagination wasn’t Chris’ strongest point – at least not when it came to writing.

Chris was about to marry Adriana, when he found out that his fiancée cooperated with the authorities and gathered information about Tony Soprano and the „Family“. Adriana never wanted to do that, she felt very bad about it and only provided the FBI with rather insignificant matter. Being the weakest link of the Family chain, the authorities put her under pressure – although they didn’t have much to hold against her. She just gave in rather quickly to the demands of the FBI.

Chris really loved Adriana, she probably was the best thing that ever happened to him. It broke his heart to discover the betrayal. However, he reported to Tony – as required in the Mob circle. And Tony & the „Family“ issued the death sentence. No mercy. Adriana was lured into a car, killed & buried somewhere out in the woods by Silvio Dante, Tony’s intimate & fugleman.

They told Adriana’s mother, Liz La Cerva – and everybody else – that Adriana had left Chris all of a sudden, just like that, without any explanation, right before the wedding. And that she has not contacted him since – this slutty f*cking stupid b*tch.

Liz La Cerva never believed in this story, of course. She had a close relationship with her daughter and they almost spoke on a daily basis. She knew, Adriana would have never run away just like that – especially not right before the wedding. She loved Chris, she loved him sincerely, with all his faults & quirks.

Mother & daughter were looking forward to the wedding, making all sorts of plans. Liz knew, something terrible must have happened. She knew that Adriana was no longer alive. And she openly accused Christopher of having killed her daughter.

And Liz La Cerva spoke with Carmela about her assumptions – and for a while even Carmela suspected the truth or something close to the truth. But Tony’s patient & logical arguments were compelling enough to finally dispel her doubts. No, Chris really loved Adriana – he would not have been capable of committing this crime. Sometimes Carmela met Adriana in her dreams, she floated through the rooms like a beautiful angel – without ever revealing her secret.

„Dead people don’t want to disclose anything“, Tony’s sister Janice once said, „It’s only our narcissism that makes us think the dead still care about what we do, and still want to participate in our lives.“

Soon after Christopher married another girl – look at me, no problem, I’m fine … However, he could not really get over the loss of Adriana … consumed more & more drugs … fell deeper & deeper into violence, darkness & despair … towards his own end … which came in the form of a car accident, on the road with Tony … with a little help of Tony in the very end.

Together with Chris‘ widow, Tony took care rather reluctantly of the heritage. Most of all he wanted to prevent any incriminating material falling into the wrong hands. However, Tony himself, at this point, went through a deep personal crisis – his poor health, the broken marriage, the son‘s problems, the problems in the „Family“ and more ... So the examination was quite superficial – especially as the relationship with Chris had cooled down considerably towards the end. The heavy drug consumption, the frequent outbursts, the increasing unpredictability ... Chris had become a nuisance and risk factor for the Family.

There was a hand-written notebook with the inscription „Love Story“. Tony quickly read through the first and the last pages – and noted: Another bad script written by Christopher Moltisanti. And, moreover, this ugly & hard-to-decipher handwriting … Apparently Chris had written a kitschy love story about the better days with Adriana – maybe it helped him get over her, Tony reckoned, he sure has my blessing … Perhaps it would also help Adriana‘s mother get over the loss of her daughter. Maybe Liz‘ constant accusations would finally stop …

So one of those days the Capo of New Jersey stood in front of her door and handed over a small booklet to Liz La Cerva. As well as a few more keepsake items …

Tony probably didn‘t notice the bell ringing when he entered the house …

And Liz did what Tony had not done: She read the script very carefully, page by page, sentence by sentence, word by word … and she could hardly believe what she was holding in her hands: The story of a great love, yes – but also the detailed description of the murder of Adriana, in all the terrible details. The cruel naked truth, without embellishment.

It was all there – the entire bloody, barbaric story. Exactly the way it happened. Adriana had told her mother often enough how close to reality Chris used to write – and that one of those days that will be his undoing …

At the end of „Love Story“ Chris had built into the script a flashback to the beginning – to end with something positive, not exactly a Happy Ending, but sort of a conciliatory ending. Therefore Tony didn‘t notice all the bloody stuff written between the beginning and the end. Remember that Tony was one of those men who prefer to read only account statements & menus. And especially dislike love stories, when it comes to reading … We all remember when he once said quite annoyed to Chris: „I wipe my *ss with your feelings.“

Liz remembered how much Adriana loved the movie „Love Story“ with Ali MacGraw as a child. And how often they had watched it together. And how Adriana had hoped over & over again that this time, she would not die ...

Ok, Tony – so you ordered the murder. And you, Silvio, accomplished the deadly mission. Chris didn’t even bother to change the first names of his protagonists. Silvio Dante was simply called Silvio Napoli in the script – and Tony Soprano became Tony Maroni.

Silvio, the rotten rat, was meanwhile lying in a coma … He could – at least for the foreseeable future – not be held accountable (as it turned out years later, he joined a witness protection program and started all over in „Lilyhammer“, Norway ...).

But „murder mastermind“ Tony is here. Tony, the cowardly *sshole, who has lied to her face on more than one occasion, pretending not to know anything about Adriana‘s disappearance. Tony, the fool, who all of a sudden stood in front of the door and handed over to her all the cruel & deadly evidence – without even having a clue about it. Poor stupid Tony, who was just too lackadaisical to sift through the script more accurately.

Sometimes life writes stories, Liz thought, shaking her head, that are so incredible & crazy, you can’t possibly make them up – least of all crazy Chris could.

Tony Soprano – I swear to you, your days are numbered.

Obviously you have never informed Carmela about the murder of my daughter – but don’t worry, your wife will soon know the whole bloody truth ...

And Liz La Cerva sits down at the table with the Sopranos for a moment: „Hi there, how are you, Carmela, Mead, Anthony? – It’s quite ok here … so far ... I desperately needed distraction from all that happened … urgently … Did you hear – by any chance – something from my daughter, Carmela? Or you, Tony?“

Tony silently shakes his head, hardly looks up ...

Carmela is pleased to see Liz in better shape again … after her suicide attempt not too long ago … She felt with Liz, with her assumptions, her despair … But Tony finally dispelled her doubts, Chris would not have been capable of committing this crime.

After a short, awkward silence Liz says to Carmela: „This ‘Burger Diavolo Deluxe’ definitly is worth a try, tastes devilishly good … And afterwards you have to try my homemade Orange Tiramisu, an old recipe from Italy – you know, Adriana would have died for it ... At least for you, Tony, a Tiramisu can never be big enough, right?“

„Thank you, Liz“, answers Carmela, „That will do him good after his faintness … So we have 4 ‘Diavolo Deluxe’ and 1 Orange Tiramisu, water and a bottle of ‘Primitivo‘ …“

„Will be served in a minute …“, says Liz and silently adds „… and will be an unforgettable memory, dear Tony …“

Tony, who has lived & dined against the wall, has no idea, that danger is not primarily coming from some dark figures sitting around in the restaurant – but from his plate.

And Tony doesn’t pay any attention to the music when dessert is served: „Killing me softly“ – „… and so I came to see him / and listen for a while … And then he looked right through me / as if I wasn‘t there …“

But I’m here, my dear, I’m here. What a pity you don’t know that I added a little something to your delicious Orange Tiramisu. A fatal little ingredient, a tasteless, fast-acting, pain causing and absolutely deadly poison (we leave it unnamed here for obvious reasons...).

Once the dessert is eaten, the poison starts to act within minutes ...

The pain increases rapidly – and this time Carmela does not accept the objections of her husband. „A doctor, an ambulance! Quickly, Liz, call the ambulance ...“

And Liz La Cerva calls the ambulance for Tony Soprano’s very last trip ... Buon viaggio, Tony, have a good trip to the eternal inner purgatory … give my regards to your intestine … And convey my greetings to Chris …

Some time ago, Liz had a dream where Tony died of a heart attack, on a hot summer day in Italy, after a Sightseeing Tour in Rome ... „See Rome and die“, as they say … But that was just a dream, of course ... Although dreams & fiction often make more sense than reality ... But in the end these are all just different forms of virtual reality, I guess ... Depending from which side you look at it …

And as the ambulance carries Tony away, it seems as if the orange-colored cat on the wall smiled contentedly …

On the way to the hospital, Tony thinks under increasing pain about the Las Vegas of the 60s & 70s, where some people escaped from the Mafia by taking the ambulance to an infirmary and making a deal with a friendly doctor to fall asleep peacefully and never wake up again. Because they couldn’t expect any help from the corrupt police officers back then. And he thinks about the shitty end of Tony Spilotro in the 80s that finally ushered in a new era in Las Vegas after a long & ugly Mob predominance. Tony Spilotro – Tony Soprano – Soprotro – Las Vegas – New Jersey – New Vegas – Casino – Strip Club – locations & times start to mingle in Tony’s head & stomach ... What a lousy creepy bloody f*cking end, Tony thinks, and what an awful dreadful f*cking pain ...

Tony’s very last thought goes out to the Members Only killer. Why didn’t this cock s*cker, this f*cking bloody lousy *sshole pull the trigger in the restaurant – a short & painless death …

Tony never found out about the truth – but then again, it was Tony who liked to tell people „Never miss a good chance to shut up ...”

„You probably don’t even hear it when it happens …”, remained a pious hope – for Tony & his intestines, for his brother-in-law Bobby and for many others.

The following day a message went around the world, saying that the „Garbage Disposal Consultant“ Tony Soprano, the Mafia boss of New Jersey, was no longer alive. And there were headlines like „The revenge was deadly sweet“ – although at this point of time not many details about the murder had yet been revealed.

Liz La Cerva turned herself in to the police of New Jersey the very next day. And handed over a little black booklet which spoke for itself – or rather „screamed“ for itself. She knew the jury would recommend a very lenient sentence, for various reasons. And she also knew that some retrials would take place going forward – and everyone out there would finally find out what happened to her daughter Adriana ...

With the Family background of Liz La Cerva – one is looking for revenge. And one has no trouble obtaining weapons, poison or whatsoever. Liz felt freed somehow after the poisoning – freed from the terrible uncertainty about the fate of her daughter, freed from Chris and now also from Tony. Freed from so many sleepless nights, freem from heavy depression and from failed suicide attempts. You can sit around thinking about all you‘ve lost – or you can look forward to everything you might find. Now she was finally able to look forward again.

In the „Family“, revenge & satisfaction are essential – and Liz made no exception here. This might be a little unusual in our time of „positive thinking dogma“ (Tony used to call it „positive thinking terror“, and he was damn right about that ...). But everything in life has two sides. For Rilke – and many others since –, the beautiful was only „the beginning of the terrible“ – and vice versa. And there are things in life, one can not suppress, sugarcoat or change with just a little well-meant, oversimplified advice.

Back in school, Meadow once had to read a German story – a story that takes place in the Fairy Tale Land. One day the „evil“ characters were fed up with their parts and left: „That’s it, we‘ve had more than enough of being the bad & ugly ones all the time.“ They were tired & frustrated of being blamed for everything, from the simplest of issues to the big ones. So the „good“ characters could show themselves in the best light possible.

And so one day they left for good. At first the „good“ guys in the Fairy Tale Land were quite pleased, everything was peaceful & good. But when everything is good, nothing is ultimately good anymore, because it can’t no longer stand out against something. It can‘t make a pleasant contrast, can’t play trumps. And as time went by, the „good“ characters became more & more annoyed & angry … as they could not flaunt their „being oh so good“ anymore.

And it got worse & worse & worse … until finally one day the „good“ ones got all together at the edge of the Fairy Tale Land, went on their knees and begged & whimpered that the „evil“ characters would please, please, please come back …

Tony liked the story – it reminded him of some smug females from New Jersey’s high society, wives of wealthy men with too much money and not enough to do, or not enough attention, no longer young and not yet old, the modeling career far behind, the „Champagne Supernova“ within reach – in other words the perfect setting for an upscale employment therapy called Charity. A playground for ladies who like to grab the microphone – and an audience that doesn’t mind that the voices are worse than the problems.

A playground where (self) appointees can stand up for the endangered nature, for animals, for world peace or something like that … world peace is always a good issue … or at least peace in the less privileged areas of New Jersey.

Tony cared about animals, too, as we all remember … but he didn't give a f*ck about the other issues …

On his gravestone it says: „Try to remember the times that were good.“ Tony would have liked the funeral, and that so many people came to see him for the last time. It was a very memorable event for all who were part of it.

Tony used to say, why should I attend the funeral of others – they won’t attend mine … However, most of the time, he went there anyway. Family matter of honor, so to speak. And although one could hear some guests whispering: „Tony‘s fallen so low – he had to climb up to get to hell“, many tears were shed …

Those of the Family who knew him a little better, might have had a chance to see some of his various good sides, too. He was a villain, arrogant & ignorant. But he also was a kind & generous man, a loyal friend, a patriot. He had his dark sides and his good sides, and some of us got to know them both. „I guess you learn to love the good & bad in everyone“, Carmela used to say. And she sure had a lot to learn …

Farewell, caro mio Tony. Carmela overlooked a few pretty young women – as good as she possibly could – who also attended the funeral, who knew Tony maybe a little too well and who shed some bashful little tears … „Of course you can swear eternal fidelity“, Tony liked to say, „you can also swear to stay beautiful forever.“

Tony would have enjoyed to see how many people loved him – loved him in spite of everything and through it all … And how many regretted that not only a life, but a whole era had come to an end. „Life goes on, but not necessarily yours“, the old battle cry of the Mob would not be heard so often anymore ... and neither would the battle cry of the New Jersey Outfit: „Whoever enters Fat Ass Vito’s ass, has the right of way.“

„Now the women take over the work for us“, the Members Only killer thought as he worked on the Expense Report, back at home in New York.

Christopher‘s „Love Story“ has been turned into a film called „Jersey Love Supreme“ – and I guess Tony as well as Chris would have enjoyed to see that. The producers made the necessary changes to the scipt … and quite some whitewashing, sugar-coating, decorating & prettifying, especially to the fatal love story … They blurred the distinction between fact & fiction … and they sure romanticized the „Family“, as people want to see complex characters and not just greedy, cold hearted killers, who only care about themselves … And Uncle Junior got to sing several schmaltzy Italian songs which sure had the desired effect …

One has to admit that Tony & Chris and all the others came across quite well in this „Action Horror Mafia Docu Love Story“. One of the few films men and women love to watch, by the way … and that‘s not only because of George Clooney …

Chris himself has picked George Clooney and actually had a meeting with him, short before his death, trying to persuade George to play the role of „Tony“. There were many common grounds, Chris could see: Plenty of Latino charm, too much nightlife, too much sex, too many drugs, the love for Italy and its tradition & cuisine, the love for films & film-making, the love for fast motorcycles, the danger zone & wild side of life and much more. My kind of guy …

And he would sure appreciate a good espresso! But then he saw George struggling with a Nespresso capsule and the machine behind them … struggling with the Nespresso capsule he made f*cking millions & millions of advertising revenues. Chris was somewhat confused, but an assistant hurried over to help him. And when George – while having coffee together – mentioned in passing, he would rather let a doctor with icy fingers examine his rectum than join Facebook, Chris knew this guy has the necessary roughness & cruelty for the role.

However, when Uncle Jun towards the end of „Jersey Love Supreme“ sings „My Way“ at the funeral, hard-boiled men have shimmering eyes ... Although Junior needs to read the lyrics that the audience knows by heart – just like Frank Sinatra in his later appearances.

Yes, there were times / I'm sure you knew / When I bit off more / than I could chew …

Regrets? I’ve had a few / But then again … you’re one of them ...

Liz La Cerva was sentenced – as expected – to a very short, rather symbolic imprisonment. With the compensation money she got for Adriana’s death, she bought – after her release – the diner where the whole tragedy happend. The restaurant is now called „Adriana’s“, and it attracts a lot of sightseers. The rooms have been completely redesigned, in soothing neutral colors, accented with a punch of cranberry – including a few items from Adriana’s former club. There’s no more bell ringing at the entrance, the cat picture is now hanging in the broom closet, and not much reminds of the old days altogether. If you‘re lucky, you meet Liz in person in the „Adriana‘s“, where she feels closest to her daughter. She has never visited a specific place out in the woods.

Adriana would be proud of her mother. Some call her affectionately „Liz Taylor of New Jersey“. The two ladies not only share a similar taste in clothes & jewellery. Liz has become a real „Rebel Yeller“ – on the inside and on the outside. No more compromises & concessions, she has sworn.

There have been rumors of revenge & retribution – but the Mob tends to react in a more restrained manner against women, and Liz remained undisturbed until today.

Contact with Carmela Soprano has been lost. Some say Carmela went to New York and trained as a nurse, as she wanted to do something good & useful – but developed quite an addiction problem. It runs in the „Family“, it seems …

In the (former) villa of the Soprano family – this sunny place for shady people – a racy Italian moved in, who likes to hang laundry outside when the weather allowes it. Some neighbors could have sworn they saw the woman occasionally in the neighborhood when Tony was still around … And some men all of a sudden became interested in gardening …

Only the ducks never came back ...

Maybe they preceded Tony over the (very) big pond, to the happy (duck) hunting grounds … After all, who can tell …

An English farmer once told writer W.G. Sebald: „I have always kept ducks, even as a child, and the colours of their plumage, in particular the dark green and snow white, seemed to me the only possible answer to the questions that are on my mind.” Poet Mary Ruefle later found among the multiple definitions of the word „speculum“ „a medieval compendium of all knowledge” and „a patch of color on the secondary wings of most ducks and some other birds.” Did Tony know that a compendium of all knowledge and the ducks’ plumage were one and the same? He must have felt it somehow …

Nothing ever is just black or white, just dark green or snow white, just good or bad, enlightened or damned to all eternity – there is Star Wars out there, there are so many forces out there which we can only guess vaguely. Tony, Chris, Junior and so many others have tried to contrast the dark sides of life with a little poetry. And sometimes Uncle Jun sang in company the old Bennato song of the island that does not exist, the „Isola che non c‘è“: „Seconda stella a destra / questo è il cammino / e poi dritto / fino al mattino / Non ti puoi sbagliare perché / quella è l‘isola che non c’è.“ Second star to the right, and then straightforward ‘till the morning comes …

The island that does not exist – that’s what they all have been looking for: Edoardo Bennato, Chris, Tony, mama Livia and all their ancestors, who had always raved about America being a country where you can be whatever you wanted to be, back in Italy a long time ago. But after finally having emigrated to the United States, they almost exclusively spoke about the old country. Or Feltrinelli – born with a silver spoon in his mouth and not with a plastic fork in his butt, unlike many others – who bled to death as a terrorist with 15 dynamite sticks attached to his body. Or Che Guevara, „Jesus with a gun“, as they called him, who started out to change the world with plenty of idealism – but eventually realized that with a doctor’s bag, good intentions & good slogans alone he would never be successful. And maybe, on a warm summer evening, he reached for his gun and fired for the first time … Who can tell … And somehow, somewhere, at some point it all went terribly wrong …

And now they‘re all dead. Tony, Jimmy, Chris, Bobby, Pussy, Giangiacomo, Che and so many others. Only the face of Che is not allowed to die ...

And maybe the face of Tony will also stay with us for some more time. Maybe Tony will appear in our dreams sometimes, just as Big Pussy used to appear in his dreams. However, these might have been merely Pussy projections back then, out of Tony‘s own subconscious – the guilt, the chaotic thoughts & feelings, the mistakes & abysses which haunted him in his sleep … and which haunt us in our sleep …

But maybe Tony just smiles at us in our dreams and reminds us „not to stir too hard in our Cappuccino“, a charming expression from the old country, which means approximately „Relax, take it somewhat easier, shift back a gear or two and enjoy the moment every now & then.“ – „Don‘t stir too hard in the Cappuccino …“

And maybe Tony, Jimmy, Chris, Che and all the others have somehow found some sort of peace in the end.

After Tony Soprano‘s death, the Mafia of New Jersey („The Farmers“ in Big Apple Mob slang) fell apart ... just like the Mafia of New York … too many trench wars, too many needless fights, too many personal vanities … and far too many „Family“ members who defected to the authorities, who „flipped“ in droves. The „Families“ of New York & New Jersey don’t exist anymore – at least not in the traditional form.

But whenever someone is killed with sweet food & music, people whisper – since the death of the Capo of New Jersey – he or she „got sopranoed“.

And seen in this way, Tony Soprano has survived somehow ...

 

PS: Only a few young women from the greater New Jersey area, pretty & daring, associate this term with something else ...

PPS: The last word belongs to Tony: „Try to remember the times that were good.“

 

  

Brief explanation: „Family“, Boss & Capo

The American Mafia has Italian roots and was organized for decades in so-called „Families“. However, the American organization never called itself „Mafia”, but „La Cosa Nostra“ (= „our thing” or „this thing of ours”). In New York there were five traditional „Families“ with Boss, Under-Boss, Consigliere/Consultant, some Capos/Captains and various Soldiers/Members, working together with a variety of Associates. These „Families” controlled many important business sectors & unions. Down in New Jersey (the New York Mob called the New Jersey locals somewhat condescending „The Farmers” …), at the beginning of the „Sopranos” TV broadcasting, there were three Capos. One of them had soared up to an „Acting Boss” – without officially taking over the „Family“ – just like Tony Soprano. So he was Capo and Boss at the same time – just like Tony. And, moreover, the two of them were operating in quite the same „business fields”. The name of this Mobster was/is Vincent Palermo, called Vinny Ocean. He later on disappeared into a witness protection program – like so many Mobsters in the last 20 years. Others sit in jail, were shot dead by former companions or turned towards new activities. The „Families“ in their old structures – with their enormous power, influence & wealth – no longer exist. Of course remainders of the American „Cosa Nostra Crime Families“ still exist and are still active somehow – but the good old days are over.

 

Watch out for a video to follow …

 

Some inspiration for the upcoming Holidays:

http://www.besser-fernsehen.ch/blog/entry/10-inspiring-thoughts-videos-for-the-holidays-1.html

 

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The Sopranos – Episode 87 – The Final Countdown
Klartext über Schul-Medizin, Alternativ-Medizin & ...