Hitting the high notes.

One more round of proofreading, and the Busy Period draws to a close. This will be followed by a Fallow Period, then a Broke Period, then a Panic Period, followed by another Busy Period.

Ah, the circle of life.

My goal is to become John Scalzi, freelancer and blogger, who just revealed the shocking news — to me, anyway — that he typically tops 100K in a single year. Most of it, he says, is for “corporate work,” which may have the disadvantage of being highly boring, but hey — cash money has a way of taking the sting away.

(Note: This Busy Period will also be followed by a Housecleaning Period; a tumbleweed of dog hair just blew past my feet near the kitchen door. And the sunshine is bright and clear today, revelatory of every flaw in my rather lackadaisical housekeeping. Best start Swiffering. Today.)

So what’s on the agenda on this unscheduled Wednesday? How about a little Sopranos dish?

I think David Chase writes these shows with all the high-quality screenwriting bells and whistles, including Big Themes and Seasonal Arcs. In the past, they’ve been, of course, the Nature of Good and Evil, Corruption, the Bystanders, etc. We’ve had it shown to us time and again, starting in season two, that Tony is not just a big suburban shlub with an unusual line of work and a fondness for animals, but a true monster, bred by monsters, breeding more monsters, fouling all that he touches. If some mobster entertainments have taken pains to show these guys are only playing a game that everyone enters with open eyes, give “The Sopranos” credit for showing that there really are innocents in “our thing.”

Look at what being a Soprano has done for Tony’s children. Remember the second-season plotline with David Scatino, Tony’s old high-school buddy with the sporting-goods store? Scatino joins Tony’s “executive card game,” loses big and opens the door for a bust-out of his business. Tony takes Scatino’s kid’s car in partial payment and tries to make a gift of it to Meadow, who rejects it — she knows it belongs to one of her classmates. But when that classmate, Eric, yells at her about his father’s indebtedness to her father, she defends him. Daddy’s girl, and not even out of high school.

This season, I suspect, will be All About Choice. And I think the person to watch will be Carmela, who has obviously found the salve for her tortured conscience, and it has lots and lots of zeros on the end. Because I saw a lot of old episodes in the run-up to this one, I remembered the one where Tony buys her a giant sapphire ring for her birthday, out of guilt over his new mistress. She knows what’s behind it, not the specifics, but the general idea, and can’t look at the ring without a little frown, and finally puts it away in her dresser drawer.

But look at how she pees her pants when Tony gives her a new Porsche Cayenne in the first episode, how she flaunts it to her less-fortunate friends. No more tortured confessions to Father Phil for her. She’s decided a possible eternity in hell is nothing compared to a lifetime of Manolo Blahnik shoes.

And I suspect the last victim will be revealed this season, and it will be A.J. He’s the last one left who’s still somewhat salvageable, if only because he’s dumb enough that he could be steered in another direction. But he never had a father to do that, and his mother just gave up the job, too.

I like his new hair this season. He’ll make a fine mobster. Discuss.

Posted at 9:36 am in Same ol' same ol', Television |

10 responses to “Hitting the high notes.”

  1. Dorothy said on March 15, 2006 at 10:17 am

    My ultimate favorite moment in all of the Sopranos episodes to date was when Carmella confronted Tony, threw his clothes into the driveway from an upstairs window, and her emotional and mesmerizing explosion of anger at him. I replayed that tape at least 5 times and each time could feel the hair on my arms stand up and salute. Edie Falco is the best actor on the show, hands down, and I have read enough about the upcoming episodes to know she’ll get to prove it again and again. I’ve read that Robert Iler will get plenty to do this season, too, as A.J.

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  2. blue girl said on March 15, 2006 at 11:12 am

    I agree with you Dorothy — that was my favorite scene, too. But, I’ve only seen it once. I’d love to see a replay of it.

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  3. Carmella said on March 15, 2006 at 11:41 am

    True, Dorothy, good scene! “You’ve had quite a time on my watch.”

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  4. Dorothy said on March 15, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    She was not acting when she did that. She was CARMELA. Seriously, I’ve done a little bit of acting in community theater acting, and I’m not an expert. But I learned so much watching her do that scene. I’ve never seen anything to compare to it.

    Dammit my brother Joe has all of my tapes! I can’t go home and pull it out to watch it again tonight!

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  5. nancy said on March 15, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    That was a great episode. I don’t know if she won an Emmy for that, but if not, there’s no justice.

    What about her comments about Adriana? Surely she’s not that dumb. Does she not suspect, particularly the way Tony changes the subject when it comes up? Maybe that will be her final confrontation with the terrible truth, and her reaction will either save her or seal her fate.

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  6. Laura said on March 15, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    Re: John Scalzi. Sure, he’s making $100 k, but (by my calculations),he’s doing it for @ $.10/word. That’s really churning it out. How does he even make time to eat or sleep?

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  7. John Scalzi said on March 15, 2006 at 8:51 pm

    Well, a significant amount of that writing is at the Whatever, which is not paid writing at all. If I were to factor in only what I’m being paid for my per word rate goes up significantly (enough that I have time to eat and sleep, in any event).

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  8. Connie said on March 15, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    Hey, and just today I checked out John Scalzi’s new book, “Ghost Brigades” from the library where I work. Having read “Old Man’s War”, I am looking forward to this one. Nice to meet you in the comments John.

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  9. Pam said on March 16, 2006 at 11:57 am

    Has anyone noticed how Tony’s nasal breathing is being played up this season? He must snore like crazy! But you can hear it all through the show whenever he’s in a scene.

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  10. Laura said on March 16, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    You go, John! I could never make it to one million words/year–I’m way to slooooooooooow. You give me a glimmer of hope that I could boost it up a notch, though.

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