I'm now up to Season 6.5. Watching a series via dvd has both strengths and drawbacks. Not having HBO, and borrowing the dvd's from my daughter, I have to admit to being a bit "hooked." Season 3 was the weakest, IMHO. It seemed the series shifted, and I see Nancy Marchand's death early in Season 3 as facilitating that shift. Her character has been my favorite, as she WAS the true gangster of them all. From then on, it became a "gangster" show with each year providing a new antagonist of sorts whose destiny of being whacked was fairly evident.
Not that there weren't other characters of interest. "Big Pussy," Gloria, and Adrianna were characters whose deaths, while inevitable, were well fleshed out, and I "felt" for them when death came(although Gloria's more as an aside on the series.) Richie, Jackie Jr., Ralphie, and Tony B.,...I kind of knew it was a matter of time.
By Season 6, there was a feeling of "who gets whacked this week." The show felt like it was marking time a bit, which I know will draw me the ire of loyalists by making such a comment. After all, modern critics and fans have all proclaimed it the "best ever!," generally meaning neophyte comments like mine, by someone who got on the bandwagon after the fact, will be suspect. BID. And yes, I would say the episodes of "Tony's coma" were the "jump the shark" point for the series.
One character who didn't mark time, but seems to have developed and "snuck up" on me has been Bobby. Again, I see this by having watched the season progressively and back to back. He is the inspiration for the title of today's blog entry.
He started out in season 2 as a doofus. One of Junior's "crew," with Junior(in prison) now out of favor, Bobby took every insult, humiliation, condemnation and verbal assault. Bobby was a trenches guy. He eventually took care of Junior, again absorbing every insult Tony and others could hurl. I laughed out loud when he showed up in the deerhunter gear to go rescue Christopher and Paulie, even though in afterthought he was the most prepared and knew how to survive in the woods. Unlike the others, he had no outside mistresses, but was completely devoted to his wife and family. One couldn't help but feel for him when she died. I cringed at his marriage to Janice, one character I kept/keep hoping will get whacked. (Remember, I haven't seen it to the end, yet.) He's been good for her, and he is an individual while others are too suck-up. I like a guy who loves electric trains. And, he kept taking crap from Tony, even while Tony was in Bobby's house.
One thing I found upsetting has been the "Tony can get away with anything because he's 'The Boss'" crap. In one episode(season 4?), Tony goes out of his way to infuriate Janice after she's seriously tried to deal with anger issues. Tony took his anger out on one of the Bing's bouncers, a huge guy who took the pounding because he's supposed to, when anyone else would've had his head handed to him by said bouncer. To re-establish his "boss" status, Tony "takes on" a big kid(after his coma and recovery episodes)pounding him for a supposed "insult." There never seemed to be a "reckoning" for Tony, and it's that narcissism about the series that I have found a bit disturbing...until today watching the first episode of Season 6.5.
Bobby "cleaned Tony's clock" after having about enough of Tony insulting his wife, regardless that she's Tony's sister. While purists and Tony loyalists will argue the "sucker punch" angle, the fact was he stood toe to toe with Tony Soprano, not backing down, and layed out a' whoopin' on someone who'd been needing one. He didn't back down. I cheered. But it cost him a bit of his soul. He'd never killed anyone, and his next assignment from Tony was just that. He won. But he lost a lot more, too.
Call all this a bit of a "life lesson" for me today.
I also did some sketching, some caricaturing, or cartoonituring, of other Soprano's characters. Enjoy!