David Chase: Absolutely not.
And now...the fifth season premiere of The Sopranos.
But first, let's take a quick moment just for us. What's up? How've you been? You know I care about each and every one of you, right? And that's why I've got a big announcement to make. It seems Sars has finally fired me for good, so I'd like you all to give a great big HBO hello to our newest and bestest boss and editor, the sublimely effervescent Wing Chun! Hey! You there! Put that away! That is NOT the kind of HBO hello I meant. You people are disgusting. Anyway, hi Wing. Welcome to this thing of ours. ["I'll try not to disturb the hand grenade." -- Wing Chun]
And now...the fifth season premiere of...ah, fuck it. Fade up on some plastic patio furniture, located in the backyard of Das Sopranohaus. A jaunty, countrified tune whose lyrics are so on-the-nose in their description of Tony and Carmela's relationship that they might as well have been taken from my recap of last season's finale plays over a montage of shots featuring the architectural highlights of the Soprano compound in all their excruciatingly Jersey-generic detail. The sense we're supposed to get is one of neglect and loss, what with the empty chairs, and the overcast skies, and the rotting leaves blowing everywhere, and especially that one interestingly composed shot of a lonely-looking window that the editor is forced to hold a few beats longer than he'd like in order to better match the rhythm of the song. Eventually we end up in the front yard, and then a long, slow pan takes us down the driveway, where a fresh copy of the Newark Star-Ledger awaits. It's a measure of just how deeply this show has ingrained its habits in me that even after more than a year has passed, my fingers still retain enough muscle memory to automatically start typing "StR =" at this point. But alas, twas not meant to be. Tony doesn't live here anymore, and that point is driven home emphatically by two thousand pounds of V-8 powered bitchiness as Meadow drives her mud-encrusted Mustang right over the paper and up the driveway to the house. Or, to perhaps put it another way, cha-cha-cha, squashy car!
When she reaches the front of the house, Meadow elects not to emulate her father by climbing out the car and slamming the door behind her. Instead she just lays on the horn and somehow inverts the space-time continuum by earning the season's first "Shut up, Meadow" without ever actually making a sound. Now that's impressive. She hollers impatiently for AJ, and the boy eventually emerges from the house to join her in the car. Of course, it wouldn't be The Sopranos unless Steve Jobs scored an early product placement, so AJ makes sure to flash his iPod right at eye level as he passes by the camera. Then again, I love my own iPod so much I'd probably be having sex with it if I could find a way to unscrew its immaculately-engineered casing, so I've decided not to snark too much about that one. Anyway, they drive off.