Got an email from Jillian that inspired the following. She was talking about how anxious The Sopranos is making her, because so much suffering is on the horizon.
I told her that I forget not everyone watches a dozen shows and has that kind of anxiety several times a week. Heck, the entire rationale for 24 is to make the viewer feel non-stop anxiety during every episode, no matter how far-fetched they have to make the plot.
The Shield is definitely in this mode so far this season, too ... like Tony Soprano, Vic Mackey is feeling a lot of noose-tightening these days. He has a self-righteous streak that Tony lacks ... Vic thinks he's doing good for society, and last week, when, during one of the most excruciating scenes on a show that's full of them, he stuffed a gun down a prostitute's mouth and then later explained that it was the only way to get her to do what she needed to do ... well, he is one disturbed anti-hero is all I've got to say.
I think of this season of The Sopranos ... and next season, for that matter ... as moving us into Godfather II territory. It's less and less possible to laugh off the behavior of these guys. It's not as entertaining as it used to be, because the chickens are coming home to roost or whatever the saying is. But, and this is the thing about great teevee series, it's a long, drawn-out process ... what would take a few hundred pages in a novel, or a couple of hours in a movie, will take months, even years, during a teevee series, and the anxiety will be unendurable.
It doesn't help that Deadwood comes on right after Sopranos ... that is another seriously disturbing show.
Meanwhile, here's Steve Hammond's weekly f-word update:
The Sopranos - Episode 56 - "All Happy Families"
Said the F-word 55 times
Total for the season 216
Average per episode 54
Most in a Season 5 episode - 61 - Episode #55 "Where's Johnny?"
Least in a Season 5 episode - 47 - Episode #54 "The Rat Pack"
Most ever in a single episode - 104 - Episode #37 "Pine Barrens"
Least ever in a single episode - 13 - Episode #27 "Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood"
Average for Season 3 - 51.77 per episode
Average for Season 4 - 42.1 per episode
** Note: all statistics are from seasons 3 through 5, seasons 1 and 2 under review **
[Editor's note: the dirty-word count on the second episode of Deadwood seemed a bit lower than in the pilot. On the other hand, we got to see full-frontal male nudity that wasn't even clearly flaccid. Meanwhile, all of this is spilling over to FX ... somebody said "cocksucker" on The Shield last week.]