I’ve noticed that it’s become de rigueur to over-criticize everything (other than personal politics, mandates, foreign governments, or presidents not named Trump), particularly when it comes to the Sopranos prequel. People are so desperate to appear savvy and informed that they will over-analyze things, thereby nullifying the joy of discovery. You talk yourself into hating, in the futile hopes of besting the haters. You’re afraid to love something that someone else might hate.
To prove my point, I’m going to stick thoughts into your head that will make you hate your favorite things. Let’s start with The Sopranos!
Sometimes in life, we fashion an artistic animus that over time, becomes a cage that confines us. Sometimes we try different things to keep the animus from becoming stale, and redundant. Sometimes we overhear a song that makes us want to kill, kill, kill, until we are hip-deep in blood and viscera.
Regis Francis Xavier Philbin, elfin television presenter and former sidekick of Rat Packer Joey Bishop, exited the closed set of our world on July 24th at the tender age of 88. Regis was unique in that he was genuinely beloved by a broad range of people, and was an ebullient, welcome presence on the small screen for literally decades.
I am now in the unique position of confessing that in 1996, I secretly attempted to form a cult around him.
Before we begin; I hope for both our sakes that you’re wearing your protective mask while reading this. I can’t actually see you, so I have to implement the “honor system” and presume you’re a “good neighbor” who won’t somehow infect me with mystery germs through the endless tubes of the internet. I know you’re better than that; I can tell by the fancy mask you’re no doubt sporting inside the house you’ve been confined to for the past four months. Even though, as stated, I can’t actually see you.
These are strange, uncertain times in which we find ourselves. I imagine you must be worried sick by now; about getting the virus, about whether there really is a virus, and about whether you’ll ever be permitted to leave your house again without dressing like part of a hazmat crew. Well buddy, I don’t mean to trivialize anyone’s neuroses, but let me tell ya, I need to fuck.
There’s an itch that rap music scratches that no other kind of music does. For this reason, I have a longstanding love-hate relationship with the genre. But the fact remains; I always come back to it. Once I realized I was listening to it alone, when there was no one around to impress, I figured I enjoyed the form enough to jabber about it sincerely.
Of course I was spoiled growing up. We didn’t just have The Muppet Show (and Fraggle Rock!) on TV- we knew the name of the man who brought the Muppets to life; Jim Henson. We even knew that the man who voiced “Miss Piggy”, Frank Oz, guest-starred in one of the biggest sequels of all time, as a little green alien called “Yoda”.
Oh, and that sequel? We all knew whose baby it was. George Lucas. His film-school buddy Steven Spielberg was the mastermind behind E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, and the classic-styled anthology show Amazing Stories. (Just to name a few.)