THE SOPRANOS – SEASON 3-38: AMOUR FOU

Poffy The Cucumber

Women Be Crazy.

O god, why hast thou made this gleaming snare
Woman, to dog us on the happy earth?
— Euripides, Hippolytus 428 BC.

Amour Fou – love so intense it drives one to madness. Mad love.

Gloria Trillo (Annabella Sciorra, filling the TV screen more than lusciously), the latest in a long line of Tony’s mistresses, who would seem to be a simulacrum of Tony’s self-pitying, sado-masochistic mother, is truly, upon closer inspection, the archetype of EVERY woman. In the afterglow of sex, her ant-chatter so inane that not only Tony (James Gandolfini), but the TV viewer also, starts contemplating appropriate pastels for re-painting the ceiling – until she starts dancing in her underwear, gyrating sensuously to arouse the male of the species. Then attentions turn to svelte breast and satin thigh…

Sopranos_38_captionWhen will Woman apprehend that this is specifically Her sole role; that this is what She was designed for by evolutionary fashion-stance? Many a time has Woman accused me of not listening. Truth. I don’t. Woman, would it be too presumptuous to suggest leaving the talking to men? Please: Just – Don’t – Talk.

Discovering her car tires are slashed, Gloria somehow, circuitously, places the blame on Tony. I put the question to Men of Earth: is this not one – if not every woman – you know?…

For the past few hundred years, women have used violence against them like a Get Out Of Jail Free card, never more so than in this present politically-gutless paradise. The heftiest threat that men enact upon each other subliminally is the tacit threat of personal physical violence. Respect is a euphemism for fear. (This review is not the ideal forum for lengthy psycho-babble on societal duplicities, so if you would like an expansive discussion on this topic, please visit my office and I will throw you against the wall.) This is why men NEVER act as boneheadedly toward one another as women seem to believe they have the right to act towards men. (When men breach that unspoken edict, violence ensues – but it would seem that this society can more easily tolerate man-on-man violence – that, too, is another essay.)

Only women can get away with the brainlessness they so openly exhibit toward men – whenever a woman does so, its extremity is in direct correlation with how self-important and attractive she believes herself to be – working that trump card and backing up against the social stigma of violence against them, coupled with the actual unjust laws that that stigma spawned. Result: perceived impunity.

Yet they claim equality….

Mz. Trillo, in forgetting that Tony Soprano stands outside any societal law and outside any social stigma, opened up her own personal can of female whup-ass. We men should not thank Tony Soprano and David Chase and HBO for openly portraying violence against women. We should thank them for taking a stand against brazen defiance of respect and honor and plain ole Chick Bullshit, expressed in the form of Tony restraining Gloria in a manner which befits her open assault and battery of him.

Come home drunk and arbitrarily beat your woman and you’re a stupid, ignorant menace to humanity – but if that woman is physically battering YOU, psychologically attacking you, berating, threatening, destroying your property or livelihood, purposefully grinding your face into her glibness because she wields the impunity of an agricultural-age ethic anachronistically and hypocritically superimposed over feminist-age rhetoric, who are we to stultify instinctual animal behavior hardwired into us since the battle for food and procreation began in primordial swamps?

It is a glaring truth that women are only good for one thing, and most of them aren’t even good at that…

Amour Fou – when one angle of crazy love is not enough…

Carmela (Edie Falco), Tony’s selfishly-suffering wife, whose character seemed to follow an arc of complexity over the last few episodes (in questioning her moral integrity by aiding and abetting Tony’s Mob Life), has at last lifted the albatross from her neck – and proven her superficiality in the process. Though she fooled us – and herself – in braving a quest for catholic righteousness, her simplistic resolution illustrates definitively that she was not really searching for a direction out of her hypocrisy, but for someone to give her hypocrisy direction.

After visiting a Freudian psychiatrist (who advised her to leave Tony) and her randy priest, Father Phil (who advised her to change Tony), Carmela ultimately settled on the fence-sitting advice of the Nubian priest, who advised her to simply give up “extravagances,” which left her swimmingly overjoyed at her new-found chosen path – the exact same path she had been following all along! She just needed to hear endorsement from an authority figure. Absolving her from the responsibility of taking any kind of stand, the Nubian priest presented her with the path that *every* christian seeks – the path of least resistance.

Carmela’s selfishness and hypocrisy were never more evident. She never really wanted to give up The Life, so could not reconcile the advice of both the Freudian psychiatrist or Father Phil – to leave Tony or to change Tony would mean sacrificing The Life for a less enabled and less socially-ostentatious existence; instead, she would rather walk that lazy christian middle ground between good catholic and mob moll, courting the salvation that her god promises and wallowing in the material goods that Tony’s profession provides.

Of course, this is merely her perception of being a good catholic. Like every christian, she has molded her rules to suit herself; and she sought an authority figure to endorse her pitiful parameters as satisfactory. When Tony’s gift ring is noticed more than once, she imbues this ring with the symbolism of the “extravagance” that she could do without and truly believes that in getting rid of it she has shucked off her material fixations. Carmela is now content in the belief that she is living on the cliff-edge of poverty for Jesus’s sake. But here’s the clincher: as with all christians, Carmela’s limit for sacrifice…. will CHANGE, as her moods and circumstances do. Witness the apotheosis of christianity.

The wives of Tony’s crew, over an extravagant meal, banter over Hillary Clinton’s humiliating situation (having to keep her upper lip stiff for the American public through her husband’s philandering), smugly behaving as if they were not also in exactly Hillary’s position: wives to powerful men, who bear the humiliation of their husbands’ cumares, wearing fake smiles in public, in return for the benefits and social standing that their powerful men provide.

Anyone for a second helping of hypocrisy? Refusing to see that their husbands are paying for their silence and loyalty in exactly the same way that Bill Clinton’s power keeps Hillary’s trap shut, the wives bluntly come to an unspoken realization that maybe they are simply four Hillarys, bought off and kept women, able to partake of extravagant meals like this whenever the whim takes them precisely because their husbands are who they are.

They eye each other, as if to ask, Are they mad to love their husbands? Amour Fou, indeed…

To curb amour fou, to stop Gloria Trillo from hounding Tony, Patsy Parisi, one of Tony’s goons, must hold a gun to Gloria’s nipples, with a contender for one of the best lines of the series, “My face is the last one you’ll see – not Tony’s….It won’t be cinematic.

The writers then prove the exemplary nature of this series by choosing to show us nothing happen in the very last scene. Jump-cutting to Patsy carrying groceries to his car, entering it and driving off whilst on the cell-phone to his wife, we are so geared to having scenes such as this resolve in ambush or car-bombs, that the masterstroke of mundanity rocks us out of our chairs. We are being shown the “other side” of these Bad Men’s lives, illustrating once more the multi-layered nature of every human being.

Patsy has just threatened the life of a woman with a gun under her ribs; what does he do next? The grocery shopping, of course…

Amour Food.

END

Sopranos-Season3_titleTHE SOPRANOS – SEASON 3-38: AMOUR FOU (Mar 2001)
Directed by: Tim Van Patten.
Writers: Frank Renzulli, David Chase.
Starring: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Robert Iler, Steve Van Zandt, Dominic Chianese, Aida Turturro, Drea de Matteo, Annabella Sciorra.
RATINGS-08imdb
Word Count: 1,350      No. 115
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SEASON 3 EPISODES
3-27: Mr. Ruggiero’s Neighborhood
3-28: Proshai, Livushka
3-29: Fortunate Son
3-30: Employee Of The Month
3-31: Another Toothpick
3-32: University
3-33: Second Opinion
3-34: He Is Risen
3-35: The Telltale Moozadell
3-36: To Save Us All From Satan’s Power
3-37: Pine Barrens
3-38: Amour Fou
3-39: Army Of One
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