Lyric Sopranos

I’ve intended all week to post rhapsodic about the final episode of The Sopranos, about how creator David Chase’s “non-ending” is in fact the perfect ending, a rare example of an artistic act in the guise of a mere TV show. The only thing that even comes close is the last episode of St. Elsewhere.

As someone whose own fiction has often been criticized for lacking traditional endings (I’ve always abided by screenwriter Paul Schrader’s theory that movies should end “out on the pavement” — or something to that effect — after you leave the theatre), Sunday night’s Dadaist denouement struck just the right chord with me.

In case you haven’t seen it yet — or even if you have — take a look:

Always curious what Harlan Ellison has to say on the matters of such importance, last night I queried him over at his message board. Here’s his reply:


– Tuesday, June 12 2007 21:13:29


I think the final episode of THE SOPRANOS, and particularly the final scene before the blackout, is stunningly brilliant. It is Art in its purest form. David Chase did the impossible, he gifted the loyal viewer of the series a payoff at once deep, thoughtful, chilling, fraught with summation and insight … and even had the wit to add an iconographic contextual image that is magnificently resonant: the onion ring consumption.

Or did that trope escape everyone else’s perception.

I was simply knocked out by the ending of the series; and now I am given to understand that “a large part of the viewership was angry” at it. That only speaks to the fact that there is a finite amount of genuine talent in the universe, and most of the muttonheads that would complain are simply either too ignorant, or too debased by contemporary media, to know a grand thing when it’s given to them.

David Chase is in the top tier, as far as I’m concerned.

I couldn’t be more satisfied by that ending. I don’t know how he was able to outthink us all, but he knew his story better than anyone else, and he gave us the mot juste.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Leave it to the man who wrote A Boy and His Dog to zero in on the never-ending onion rings.

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