The Sopranos: Season 4 Analyzed; Week 4
As the editor of this exchange and a Columbia alum, I have something mean to say. You guys really sound your age when you talk about Elliot's daughter! Gender experimentation is de rigueur on campus these days. And these two make a deliciously odd couple. How ironic, and how true to the identity-shifting nature of college life, to see Meadow, who looks like a Sophia Loren in training, getting chummy with Elliot's cartoonishly dykish daughter. Here we have two young ladies of near-opposite backgrounds, and yet they've both ended up at the same university, pursuing similar (if differently derived) interests in social justice. The Sopranos has a talent for pairing off strange bedfellows, and I say we give a warm welcome to the latest twosome.
Meadow seems to be looking to her new friend for legal mentorship. But here's a less obvious possibility: Elliot's daughter is obviously an empathetic, engaged person. College friendships often constitute a kind of therapy—you spend long, regular, unstructured hours discussing your childhood, confiding secrets, questioning everything under the sun. It would be wonderfully ironic if Elliot's daughter ended up giving her father and Melfi a run for their analytic money.
Margaret is right to say that this meeting is all somewhat contrived. But it provides us with a welcome return to one of the show's richest themes—Meadow's ambition and conscience. And with a potential narrative payoff this big, who cares?
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.