The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Do It Yourself Sopranos

By Dennis Byrne

After a brilliant run, Sopranos creator David Chase dropped from exhaustion at the finish line.

The non-ending ending, in which nothing about the major characters is resolved, was quickly praised after the HBO’s acclaimed series ended Sunday night as brilliant and triumphant.

The praise is as deserving as cheers for the emperor who paraded around sans clothes. It’s as if Chase ran out of ideas, threw up his hands and told his viewers to “take it from here.” We could understand exhaustion as an explanation; the series was one of television’s most masterful.

But many reviewers indeed took it from there, hailing the ending’s ambiguity as a metaphor for, well, everything in life. As if there’s something creative about concluding that “life goes on.” Or not.

We already know that, from our own mundane, drab lives, and so we turn to the lamp keepers of the imagination—writers, artists, performers, producers—to fill in the blanks. Chase had done the job wonderfully and consistently over the years, so we expected much.

Just like other great epics and works of art, skillful endings often are what have made great works of art deserving the honorific, “classic.” Without the final movement, Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s Ninth would be merely great symphony instead of the masterpiece it is. I seem to recall that Shakespeare’s great plays had endings. Movies, books—most have endings too.


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