Download Reading The Sopranos: Hit TV from HBO (Reading Contemporary by David Lavery PDF

By David Lavery

The Sopranos has rewritten the foundations of tv drama and adjusted attitudes towards tv itself. themes explored contain the extreme characterization of Tony Soprano; racism; goals; Dr. Melfi as narratee; Carmela as a feminist; Italian-American womanhood; mafia theatrics; use and abuse of kin values and feudal codes; the HBO model; food's function at the exhibit; and extra. The publication beneficial properties Lavery's finished consultant to the show's intertextual moments and allusions, a timeline, and personality and episode publications.

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Additional resources for Reading The Sopranos: Hit TV from HBO (Reading Contemporary Television)

Sample text

Of course, it’s a truism that great actors keep acting even when they’re not talking, and Gandolfini’s expressive face articulates this principle. His animal magnetism sucks us in, and we follow our unlikely hero on his way home as he skirts deadly hazards both inside himself and in the world. Carpooling with Tony in cinematic space, we watch as the actor descends deeply into the role, chomping his cigar, grabbing the toll ticket with disdain and defiance—a lion among hyenas, a beast in the jungle made so by the fact of other beasts in the jungle.

For a moment, the entire city is reflected in a hubcap. Further on, more industrial parks, enormous bridges, factory pollution, the tank emblazoned with “Drive Safely”—a caution in wildly ironic contrast to the outlaw at the wheel—then the giant figure of the worker, and the depressingly straightforward “Pizzaland” sign. The sequence ends with shots of working-class, then middle-class city homes, and finally the forested road leading to the driveway of Tony’s nouveau riche, essentially gaudy home, symbolic of that economic class which is somehow unselfconscious in its naked wish to be noticed and admired.

She wants for nothing. Carmela imposes herself as a role model for us all, “enforces the norm and safeguards the truth” (Foucault, Will 3) about ideal American womanhood that the media works so hard to promote. Given that America is in the throes of a seismic political and religious shift to the right, shaped by the rise to prominence of the fundamentalist Christian Right with its pro-life, pro-family, anti-gay agenda, Carmela is well rehearsed in its rhetoric. Moving around her ergonomic kitchen, she is saturated in the nostalgic language of the media backlash, seducing us with the promise of simpler, better times when women knew their place and life was less complicated.

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