Mob Experts on The Sopranos, Week 11

How Is Tony Soprano Like King George III?
Talking television.
May 17 2004 11:33 AM

Mob Experts on The Sopranos, Week 11

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Jerry,

Is it true that we can say anything we want now that Jeff's not here? Well, here goes: I've thought all along as we write these pieces that we all may be guilty of overthinking The Sopranos, but last night I had an epiphany. In fact, we've been underthinking The Sopranos. This series is really not about the mafia. What fools we were to compare this to real life gangland. I see it now in a whole new light. This is really a show about a monarch of old. It's been done before, of course. John Turturro and Rod Steiger starred in the 1991 New York mafia movie version of Macbeth, titled Men of Respect. When I now think of Tony Soprano, I think of England's King George III (1760-1820). And just like the character now playing him, King George III was insane, suffering from the same psychoses that Tony suffers from, including hallucinations or dreams about people he murdered. King George, like Tony, involved himself in bribery, coercion, and corruption. And like the jerks who serve Tony, King George's Cabinet consisted of a bunch of mediocre servile sycophants, who betrayed him on occasion. It's really too bad that King George didn't have Dr. Melfi telling him that "depression is rage turned inward."

I know this all seems strange, but believe me, with old George in mind, the ridiculously obvious dream sequence (watered down David Lynch) becomes almost tolerable. The teeth falling out, for example: a monarch without a bite—imagine that. As an old mob client of mine once said, "I never bark if I can't bite." How many times must King George have said, like Tony did last night, "How does this shit always happen to me?"

But you know, Jerry, even King George wasn't as bad as Tony. As my friend Angela said to me this morning, by wanting to have his friend Artie's wife, Charmaine, Tony has reached a new moral low, even for him. As I've been saying all along, Tony is a weak, selfish, small man who can't even control Tony B. You know, if there were such a thing as a mafia commission, they'd be plotting Tony's death right now. But on the bright side, it was good to see Annette Bening.

Talk to you later.
Jerry (S.)

Gerald Shargel has represented many high-profile clients, including John Gotti. He is a practitioner in residence at Brooklyn Law School, where he also teaches.

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