Judging from some of the posts in the forums, as well as some of the more, um, "exuberant" emails I've received this week, there's a significant percentage of you out there who'd probably prefer it if I quit babbling about all this Sopranos crap and just got straight to the hockey talk. Or the New Jersey bashing. Or the bashing of the New Jersey hockey teams (and despite their dominance, the Devils do suck). Out of respect for my three loyal fans (and also the two-hundred-and-forty-seven-page legally binding employment contract Sars made me sign -- said contract featuring frequent and vehement usage of such heart-warming turns of phrase as "punitive damages," "breach of contract," and "summarily executed"), I won't quite do that, but I will say this: Randy McKay is the only man I know who could make Dawson Leery's hair look normal. Seriously. Somebody needs to tell that guy that John "Not Katie" Holmes called and asked for his facial hair back. Okay, sorry. That's the last hockey talk you'll hear from me, I promise.
Jaromir Jagr: Hey, you know what would make this show better?
David Chase: Mario Lemieux?
Jaromir Jagr: Heh. I can't argue with that. Except, no. See, I was thinking maybe like this kick-ass opening narration -- you know, some James Earl Jones shit or something? All the cool shows have one.
David Chase: Actually, there's not as many as you'd think.
Jaromir Jagr: "In a world gone mad, only he can control a family of mafia Devils who are terrorizing the New Jersey hinterlands. His name is Tony. He wears a robe. He is…The Soprano." Whaddya think?
David Chase: I don't know…
Jaromir Jagr: Don't worry, it sounds much cooler in Czechoslovakian.
David Chase: Umm, okay. Whatever. Just don’t let Paulie hear you say that.
Fade up this week on a beautifully conceived shot that starts as a close-up on Carmela's sapphire ring before pulling all the way back to reveal her crossing through a room full of dark marble statues, with Cecilia Bartoli's cat crooning all the while on the soundtrack. She (Carmela, not Cecilia Bartoli's cat) and Meadow are at the Museum of Art, and Carmela surreptitiously asks her daughter if she can borrow a tampon, and also if she's ever had that "not so fresh" feeling. There's some more discussion of feminine issues, in regards to which I will simply plead a manful (read: willful, and also grateful) ignorance. Later, the two are gazing at a portrait of some random woman, whom Meadow describes as being "just the wife of some rich merchant." Carmela doesn't care (or get the analogy to her and Tony), and just likes the idea of having her portrait in a museum. The conversation turns to Meadow's grades, and Carmela gently ribs her about spending a little less time with Little Lord Fuckpants and a little more with Little Lord Fauntleroy and the rest of her books. "Please. That is so over," snots Meadow as she stalks off, and Carmela's eyes light up with surprise. Mine did too, but that's just because Fauntleroy was actually a pretty good book. As they move to the next room, Carmela is suddenly transfixed by a painting of two women holding a baby. She stares at it, even starting to sniffle a bit, until Meadow comes over to ask what's wrong. The painting is identified as The Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine, but it's the baby that seems to have captured Carmela's attention. "She's marrying a baby? Good luck," snarks Meadow, but Carmela just sobs and wistfully replies, "We all do." She immediately follows that by apologizing and saying she "shouldn't be sarcastic," but I think we can all agree that was pretty funny. Carmela remains fascinated by the "innocent" little baby, and Meadow just eyes her with concern.
You know, you'd think that given the austere elegance (tm Wing Chun) of Melfi's office, her building would at least be able to hire a security guard for their parking garage. I'm frankly amazed that we haven't seen George Costanza in there taking a leak. Anyway, Tony pulls in and parks, but before he can make it to the stairwell, he's accosted by a repentant Gloria. She begs him to listen, and explains that she hates the thought of throwing something so special away after just one argument. "One argument? You threw a fucking dinner at my head," replies Tony. Hmm. He must not eat much of a balanced diet, because I only remember seeing her throw the meat. Tony makes a veiled threat that's also vaguely sexist, which leads Gloria to break down and confess that she's been having a rough time of it lately due to "shit with her family and other crap." She's a real silver-tongued devil, ain't she? Tony wants to know why she couldn't come to him with her problems, and given where they're standing, how's that for a meta-commentary on the whole "Will Tony ever find out about Melfi's rape?" subplot. Anyway, Gloria seems to have finally charmed Tony into forgiving her, and there's much girlish giggling as he heads off to his appointment.