The Best is Over
A conservative interpretation of The Sopranos
I started rewatching the Sopranos during lockdown, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it had aged. I suspect, partly, because I had aged. Revisiting the show in my forties, the story of a middle-aged man crushed by worry over work and family somehow resonated more than when I first watched the programme in my twenties.
The ground-breaking drama first aired 25 years ago today, and vast amounts have been written about how it changed television and kick-started the modern golden age of box sets, leading the way for The Wire, Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
But perhaps the most interesting analysis – to me - was published around the time of the cinematic prequel The Many Saints of Newark in 2021, written by Willy Staley for the New York Times Magazine; in particular it was about how the show appealed to a younger generation.
Staley observed how: ‘One oddity that can’t be ignored in this “Sopranos” resurgence is that, somewhat atypically for a TV fandom, there is an openly left-wing subcurrent within it…
‘This is especially true on Twitter, where just about everything takes on a political valence. But it goes beyond that: There’s a Socialist “Sopranos” Memes account on Facebook with 22,000 followers, run by a Twitter user called @gabagoolmarx. There’s a podcast called “Gabagool & Roses,” “the ONLY leftist ‘Sopranos’ podcast,” a presumably ironic claim, because there’s also the much more popular “Pod Yourself a Gun,” which frequently brings in guests from the expanded Brooklyn leftist podcast scene.’
I found it thought-provoking, and would like to present a contrasting conservative, or at least Laschian, interpretation of the show.