My little brother says there were a couple things about the Sopranos finale that lifted it into greatness. 1, The characterization of Tony’s power. Tony could on the one hand manipulate his men into thinking that he wanted rival boss Phil dead, then visit Phil in the hospital and squeeze his hand and urge him to get well. “So for the first time he’s able to compartmentalize his ruthless mob leadership. That is so nuanced,” my little brother says. 2, The line that Phil gives to his blonde maid as he brings her toward the Wire Factory to shtup her: “We need to get something straight between us.” Exults my little brother: “It’s the greatest line of the season. I’ve never encountered it in 39 years of barroom humor.”
He also notes that while Howard Stern was crazy for the show, his dental hygienist and her boyfriend, who live in Edison, hated it. For the same reason my wife hated it and I wasn’t crazy about it: because it falsely resolved intense conflicts with harmony, not violence.
My little brother says that even this speaks to the show’s excellence. “Curb Your Enthusiasm is really smart but it has a tiny market. Sopranos is the number one show on all cable. It’s done that with great writing and nuance, and managed to tow along all the guys crying out for violence.”
(P.S. The blatant nepotism of this entry is, I gather, a tradition of blogging. C.f., Instapundit promoting his documentarian wife.)