I'm a little behind on the teevee watching, what with Sleater-Kinney last Sunday and a Giants game tonight. So I'm still watching stuff that everyone else has already processed, and for that reason, I'll keep this short.
You might have heard about it already ... one of the secondary characters died this week, not exactly unexpectedly, but like Tara said to Buffy when Buffy's mom died, no matter if you're expecting it, it's always a surprise.
Yes, I'm talking about Uncle Vic on Queer As Folk, who passed away on Sunday's episode.
OK, the truth is, no one cares about Uncle Vic. It was easy to remain spoiler-free for Vic's death, in part because everyone who watches teevee was too busy talking about the death of Adriana on The Sopranos. But another truth is that Vic's death carries little of the emotional resonance of Ade's death. Queer As Folk hasn't been very good this season ... the characters are all acting more grown up, there's a lot less gratuitous sex, but the result has been characters who are more boring, and too often characters who aren't really acting in a believable fashion, given what we've seen of them in past seasons. It's one thing to have the characters mature; it's another to make them different just for the sake of a new season.
Adriana, though ... we care about her, and her murder has important implications for the direction of the show. Of course, one of the reasons The Sopranos is such a great series is that actions have implications. But Ade's murder (it diminishes it to say she got whacked) isn't just about the show's narrative, it's about the entire world of the show, not just the show but the world of the audience of the show. Adriana was not innocent, but her transgressions were the kind we all experience: she does the wrong thing sometimes, she takes too many drugs, turns too many blind eyes. There was something about her character that made the audience want to look out for her ... Carmela is far more complicit in the moral universe of the mob, even though she pretends to exist outside it while Adriana always knew what kind of world she lived in.
There have been a lot of deaths on this show. But Adriana's murder was one of the few times where we in the audience might take it personal: like Adriana, we're on the outside looking in, we like what we see even as we're disgusted, we keep coming back for more. If I was a character in The Sopranos, I wouldn't be Tony, the king of the world, I'd be Adriana, trying to have a good life, trapped in the mistakes I had made, ultimately rejected by the people I loved, people I thought loved me. There really isn't any room for people like me in The Sopranos ... that's what Adriana's death means.