Thursday, June 6, 2013


I saw this article on some website disguised as “news” and it made me wonder. The article was about a six year old television show that was on HBO called “The Sopranos”. I remember it was the talk of the town at the time, but I didn’t have cable so I never watched a single episode. I knew the show was about a mob family but was not interested.
Well, it seems the finale of the show left some questions unanswered. I think these are critics choices or puzzlers.
1. Does Tony die in the finale?
2. Is there any hope for Adriana?
3. Does Tony ever find out about Melfi's rape and seek revenge?
4. Does the Russian from the "Pine Barrens" episode ever come back?
This reminded me of the talk around the water cooler about “Who Shot JR?” on “Dallas”.
I watched the last scene of “The Sopranos” on YouTube but didn’t know what all the fuss was about. A family having dinner and a door opens and then?
I know how these things work. A program must leave the audience wanting more for next season. That is how the writers must form these characters, always giving the reading or viewing public the chance to respond to their actions.
As I have said before, my wife was drawn into soap operas to the point the characters who came to visit everyday became her electronic family. She follow every twist and turn in their lives and reported to me what they were doing every evening. Then after dinner we would watch some more of these characters, who were wealthier than anyone, live their complicated lives before our eyes for an hour only interrupted by hair gels and car sales. “They are just actors.” I would say.
Oh no! Did I ruin it for you? You did know all these characters are NOT REAL?
Yet we talk to about them as if they were Aunt Sally or the neighbors down the street. Matter of fact, we seem to like observing someone else, even if we don’t know that much about them, and then give our opinion on how they dress, who they are with, or even if they are ‘good enough’ to be in the conversation. When shows like “All in the Family” point out our prejudices we either laugh at ourselves or change the channel.
But Edith and Archie were only acting. So were Dick and Mary and Lou and Hawkeye and Margaret and Radar and Kirk and Spock and even those cowboy heroes. They are all actors who lined up for casting calls with hopes of becoming a character who the public would adore for a few years and then be remembered in the annals of history. They were (and are) the Bobs and Sallys and Jims and Janes who may become a celebrity because of the character they played or may just fade away after a brief life in the spotlight.
In some dark room a group of boys and girls write out their fantasies and present them to companies who have the money and equipment to publish their characters, but for a price. Often stories are edited to meet the current fashion of the public or just rewritten for the ultimate commercial returns. Only a few writers get remembered as authors but their characters can be merchandised and remade forever.
So as we sit around the cocktail party asking if you saw the latest version of someone else’s adventurous imagination and constructing solutions to their make believe lives, remember it is all an escape mechanism. Even the “reality” shows are staged. Do we really believe this stuff or are we falling back into our childhood dreams.
This morning I woke up from a dream. It was a crazy dream about a bunch of old people walking all around my house looking for a bathroom. It seems my crazy mind had visions of handicap people having a picnic/ballgame/festival in a field next to my house. I first noticed this guy wandering around in the house, then another and another. At the same time I was having a problem with a refrigerator that was leaking water all over the floor. When the children and the dogs started showing up, I turned my attention to ridding the house of these folks. The next-door neighbor who was also in my house was complaining about these people sitting on her patio and wandering around. None of the faces were familiar but were very clear and recognizable. I never solved the problem as usual and woke up in a sweat.
So I guess I have as much imagination as those crazy sci-fi writers. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t go to sleep on a dinner of red beans and wild rice?
The good part is when I open my eyes and heard the birds sing and those mysterious people were all gone. I even woke up in a different house than the one in my dream.
Maybe we are all just characters in a play? What is real and what is not? Oops! Sorry, I lost my place in the script.

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