Watching Too Much Television

Episode Report Card
Aaron: A | Grade It Now!
Our (Crack) House

Hey! It's the A-Team! I used to love that show! Not as much as Murder One, MacGyver, or Red Shoe Diaries, but I loved it nonetheless. Adriana is watching TV again, and this time the A-Team's insipid dialogue about smuggling an incriminating videotape across the county line should provide all the explanation Adriana could ever need about why you shouldn't believe everything you hear on television. If this job has taught me anything, it's that the only network you can trust is the UPN, and that's only because they don't even try to hide the fact that they suck. Christopher comes home, and turns off the TV before silently sitting down beside his fiancée. Eventually, he admits that even though he's "not happy" she lied to him, he graciously does want to "try and deal with it." "I love you, Adriana," he says tenderly. "I want you in my life." Aww. Now, see? These two crazy, mixed-up kids really do love each other. It's actually quite sweet, in a drug-induced, shadow-of-impending-doom sort of way. Adriana asks if he's high, because she wants to be sure that his feelings are real, and when he insists that they are, she asks when they can get married. Christopher wants to do it in Las Vegas on their anniversary, which causes me to suddenly realize that I'll be in Vegas myself for the weekend of the season finale. I'd better go check my mail for an invitation. The happy couple embraces, and Adriana tries very hard not to spill the ash from her cigarette onto the leather sofa.

Chez Soprano. Carmela refuses to allow Adriana to get married by an "Elvis impersonator," because, as we all know, marriage is a "sacrament." And nothing says heresy like a fat guy in a sequined jumpsuit. Instead, she wants to hold the wedding right there at Chez Soprano, in the backyard, or maybe in the "great room." "What's so great about it?" I wonder. Carmela, however, is too excited to answer. In fact, her voice is pitched so high that I'm surprised Adriana's dog hasn't come running. She wants to invite all their friends, and have Artie do the catering. "We can decorate the whole house with mums," she says, to the woman who can't have children. Heh. You always gotta be paying attention with this show. Eventually, Adriana gets into the spirit of things, and actually seems to be excited about life for a moment. And, even more shocking, she's wearing a zebra print instead of leopard. You could knock me over with a feather.

Newark at night. We're outside the crack house, when a bunch of gangbangers pull up in a late-model Volvo station wagon. You can always count on gang kids to be safety-conscious. Seat belts may interfere with your aim, but no self-respecting Crip would ever be caught dead pulling a drive-by without side-impact airbags and ABS brakes. They storm into the house, shooting the place up with an Uzi that's almost as big as the kid who's carrying it. Just for added dramatic tension (with special bonus irony, as well) they've put a little girl in there with all the crackheads. What's really frightening is that I actually thought it was Taylor for a second. Now, that would have been weird. But not entirely unexpected, given her lineage. Anyway, the kids continue beating on the helpless drug addicts until pretty much everyone has run away. At this point Random Resident -- whom I've decided to rename Crackhead Carl -- picks up a pistol and tries to lead his sister and the little girl out of the house. He's quickly beaten down by the younger, faster, and not-high-on-crack kids, and they proceed to steal both his gun and his drugs. As he stumbles out the door, one kid fires off a single shot which ricochets and hits Carl right in the, er, "crack pipe," so to speak. Damn! Now, that's gotta hurt. Hell, even just having a squib go off there must have hurt the stuntman. On the other hand, it's only one of the many literal and figurative emasculations going on in this episode. I mean, you've got Furio turned into a wuss, Boon taking a beating, Tony getting chewed out by Melfi, and Christopher discovering that he'll likely never have a male heir. Hmm. I wonder if David Chase is trying to tell me that "Watching Too Much Television" makes you less of a man? I wouldn't put it past him. The scene ends with a homeless guy out in the street reminding Crackhead Carl that he "told [them] that crack is some bad shit." Then Ice Cube and Cuba Gooding Jr. stop by, and everyone takes a moment to feel sorry for poor, poor Morris Chestnut.

Cut to a bank, where the final element of the HUD scam is consummated as Vondie "buys" the houses from the shady urologist. You know, if there's one thing I love about this show, it's their ever-present willingness to poke fun at their own habits and motifs. Of maybe it's their willingness to make fun of their corporate masters. Either way, the bank in question is adorned with a huge generic sign which reads, "Mid-County Bank," presumably because no real bank was interested in being product-placed as an institution which condones fraudulent mortgage lending. I'm gonna have to give that one a hearty "heh," and also negative fifteen StPP points.

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