Life's Labours Lost
The Sopranos: Season 4 Analyzed; Week 11
Life's Labours Lost
Talking television.
Nov. 25 2002 9:18 AM

The Sopranos: Season 4 Analyzed; Week 11


The more I think about it, the more I think that the basic theme of this episode of The Sopranos and of the entire series is loss—which complements Glen's and Peggy's ideas about Tony's doom. After all, Tony has apparently lost hope in therapy as an agent of happiness.  Like The Godfather, The Sopranos traces the erosion of "the old ways" (as if they themselves hadn't appeared to those who practiced them as the erosion of even older ways), but in TheSopranos Christopher gives no promise of growing into a Michael Corleone, so Tony seems even more alone. The real tragic power of this show, it seems to me, is that in its sometimes Shakespearean way—all those parallel plots!—and in a very dark mirror, it reflects the distance between all our hopes and our realities.


I want to ask Glen and Peggy and Joel (if he's available) whether their patients ever talk about this show and what they say, if so. As for me, I'm just a skinny fuckin' editor/writer/analysand from New York.


Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and author of The Psychology of The Sopranos, inspired by this discussion. Philip A. Ringstrom, Ph.D., Psy.D., is a senior faculty member at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Joel Whitebook, Ph.D., is on the faculty of the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Margaret Crastnopol, Ph.D., is on the faculty of the Northwest Center for Psychoanalysis. All are practicing therapists as well. Daniel Menaker is the author of The Treatment, a novel about therapy, and is executive editor at HarperCollins. Judith Shulevitz writes the "Close Reader" column for the New York Times Book Review. Jodi Kantor is Slate's New York editor.

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