I have to admit. I've never been that big a fan of The Sopranos. To me, it was mostly melodrama with a perhaps inspired mishmash of prior mafia movies and shows driving it forward. But, at the very least, it had a animal energy to it in the early years.
But it's jumped the shark for awhile now, probably at least two seasons, and the glimpses I got this year didn't change that opinion much. Tony Soprano (aka "Old Bloat") has been huffing and puffing his way around the stage wherever the writers wanted him for awhile now. Seeing Old Bloat smother his dying son just seemed like a rote action, frankly.
However, it's the ending to this final season that made me nauseous. The total lack of irony in the ending, the nausea-inducing playing of Journey in the background, the black wall of closure that leaves Old Bloat and his family looking like, hey, your All American Family. Because showing the true ending of Old Bloat would be too true to the beginnings of the show. Because, like Six Feet Under (or heck, even like Seinfeld), the creators of The Sopranos began to believe their own press clippings. They clearly thought they had to deliver Profound, not Fitting. And in doing so, they betrayed whatever was good about the show.
But, like I said, the Sopranos has been that way for a long time. A crime drama from the mafia family's point of view that began to think it was Shakespeare or something.
Still, this wasn't nearly as bad as the interminable end to Six Feet Under, which Ann and I were laughing during, as we get to see all of the characters' deaths, one after another, sometimes in really crappy old-person makeup.
Death sped up is just slapstick. Death deferred, as in The Sopranos, is gratuitous lack of gratification.