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Thread: Writers react to The Sopranos' ending -- David Chase not taking any calls

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    Default Writers react to The Sopranos' ending -- David Chase not taking any calls

    TV Writers Were Also Watching ‘Sopranos’
    Reaction - Sopranos Ending - New York Times
    Published: June 12, 2007

    After he completed the final episode of “The Sopranos,” David Chase told publicity executives at HBO that he was leaving for France and would not take any calls asking him to comment about the ending of his classic television series.

    One Last Family Gathering (June 11, 2007)The Lede: After the Screen Went Black, the Theories Began

    He also said that he had instructed all of his writers and producers to turn down any requests for information about the decisions that had gone into shaping the show’s last chapter.

    The reason for his resistance became clear on Sunday night when “The Sopranos” ended, not with a moment of final summation, but with a literal blank. The reaction to the stunning last shot of an empty screen has been a mix of outrage among some fans at being left sitting on the edges of their seats, where they had been perched for much of the show’s last batch of episodes, and awe among others who have always regarded the show as the most ambitious and unconventional of television series.

    Included in the latter group were many people in the same line of work as Mr. Chase, storytellers in the entertainment business.

    Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of the ABC hit show “Lost,” another series whose viewers have high expectations about quality, said: “I’ve seen every episode of the series. I thought the ending was letter-perfect.”

    Like millions of other viewers, Mr. Lindelof said he was initially taken aback by the quick cut to a blank screen and thought his cable had gone out at that crucial moment. He even checked his TiVo machine and saw that it was still running several minutes beyond the end. When he checked the scene again, he said, he noted “the scene cut off right as Meadow is coming through the door and right at the word ‘stop’ in the Journey song.”

    He said: “My heart started beating. It had been racing throughout the last scene. Afterward I went to bed and lay next to my wife, awake, thinking about it for the next two hours. And I just thought it was great. It did everything well that ‘Godfather III’ did not do well.”

    In an e-mail message sent right after the final scene, Doug Ellin, the creator of another HBO hit series, “Entourage,” said: “The show just ended, and I’m speechless. I’m sure there is going to be a lot of heated discussion, but that’s David Chase’s genius. It’s what made ‘The Sopranos’ different from anything that’s ever been on TV. It invented a whole new approach to storytelling that isn’t afraid to leave things open-ended, and now the biggest open story line in the history of television.”

    For David Shore, creator of the Fox hit “House,” one of the best touches was Mr. Chase’s own refusal to discuss the ending. Mr. Shore said: “Obviously he wants us to speculate on what it all means. Obviously that’s what we’re all doing.”

    David Milch, who has created highly regarded dramas like “NYPD Blue” and “Deadwood,” said: “It was a question of loyalty to viewer expectations, as against loyalty to the internal coherence of the materials. Mr. Chase’s position was loyalty to the internal dynamics of the materials and the characters.”

    Comedy writers also said they were impressed with Mr. Chase’s choices. Chuck Lorre, who created and leads the CBS hit comedy “Two and a Half Men,” emerged from screening the final episode and said with a laugh, “This is what you get when you let a writer do whatever he wants.”

    But he added that he was saying that with admiration. “People just finished watching that show and immediately talked about it for a half-hour,” Mr. Lorre said. “That’s just wonderful. What more could you want as a writer?”

    If any shows feel special pressure from the attention “The Sopranos” finale is receiving, it is current series looking down the road at their expected finales, even if long in the future.

    Tim Kring, the creator of this year’s NBC hit “Heroes,” said, “I have to admit that as soon as it ended, I immediately went there. I don’t have an ending for the series yet. I put myself years in the future thinking about what you do when you have viewers with these sorts of expectations. And I think you just have to be true to what you were originally trying to say.”

    Mr. Kring said he had only come back to “The Sopranos” this season, anticipating the buildup to the ending, and he said he found “the storytelling in the finale a bit disjointed, so that you lost the cause and effect of some scenes.” But he said he admired the choices Mr. Chase had made to be true to the nature of his series. “This was a show that always did everything its own way,” Mr. Kring said.

    For the producers of “Lost,” who have declared an official finale in three more seasons, the conclusion of “The Sopranos” carried special weight. “There was immediate blowback for me,” said Carlton Cuse, Mr. Lindelof’s creative partner on the show. “A sense of fear ran through my veins, thinking that we are going to be in this position,” he said, adding, “we know the end is coming in 48 short episodes.”

    He had admitted to some initial frustration with the ending of “The Sopranos.” “But it settled well with me,” Mr. Cuse said. “In that blank screen, there was a certain kind of purity in the choice Chase made to make it the fulcrum of the ending.”

    Mr. Lindelof said that as daunting as it is to think of the expectations of ending a popular piece of entertainment, there was also a bit of benefit. “If you feel that everybody is going to hate it anyway, no matter what you do,” he said, “there’s a certain liberation in writing it.”

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    Okay, so I will play devil's advocate. Do you all think that maybe the ending was too smart for some people? By that I mean that the majority of the shows on are really dumbed down. So some people are used to having it literally spelled out for them. And that the viewers who are up in arms about the ending, never truly understood the writing on the show. They were all about the surface stuff, never digging deeper than the obvious. What do you think?

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    No, I think the WRITER is dumb and ran out of ideas in the end.

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    I think David Chase is anything but dumb and probably still has more ideas left in one brain cell than most of us have put together.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    He needs to use them then.
    I don't know him personally so I don't know.

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    Chase is far from dumb. This is already reaching Star Trek territory in terms of theories, etc. What more could a Creator/Writer want???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    No, I think the WRITER is dumb and ran out of ideas in the end.
    Well I guess that answers my question. David Chase is quite obviously a well read man. His writing is layered like great literature.

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    Well, I'm not a genius or dumb, I just wasn't thrilled with the ending. Some people will want to see it as the most creative, deep thinking episode/finale of all time...others will think it was a let down.

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    Lucky,
    Yeah, I can see where being the write of Soprano's, Nothern Exposure and the Rockford Files would make you smart in it's own terms. hahahahahaha

    Sorry, I am not alone. Most people are upset over this very boring ending. I don't watch shows such as Soprano's to test my intelligence, I watch it for entertainment. What's so hard to understand about that? I like how you are saying 'if you didn't like the ending' you are stupid. How moronic on your part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky32 View Post
    Okay, so I will play devil's advocate. Do you all think that maybe the ending was too smart for some people? By that I mean that the majority of the shows on are really dumbed down. So some people are used to having it literally spelled out for them. And that the viewers who are up in arms about the ending, never truly understood the writing on the show. They were all about the surface stuff, never digging deeper than the obvious. What do you think?

    I think you might be right that it was too smart, too avant-garde, for some people. I stand by my theory that he left it open-ended so he can make a future movie. But the problem was that he built the tension up so much in the episode, especially cutting back and forth between the diner and Meadow parking, that you expected some big payoff. And then to just end it so abruptly, it had a lot of people scratching their heads. Because he left too many plots just dangling in the air.

    I was pissed, at first, but after thinking about it the episode as a whole was well-written, and I think, to an extent, he was letting the audience write their own ending. Do Tony and his family get wiped out, or do they all just live out their normal lives? No one is right, and no one is wrong, because nothing is definitive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky32 View Post
    Okay, so I will play devil's advocate. Do you all think that maybe the ending was too smart for some people? By that I mean that the majority of the shows on are really dumbed down. So some people are used to having it literally spelled out for them. And that the viewers who are up in arms about the ending, never truly understood the writing on the show. They were all about the surface stuff, never digging deeper than the obvious. What do you think?
    yes definetely; too many dumber types (the types who voted for G. Bush and such) watched this show, for obviously different reasons then the rest of us smartypants and those were the idiots who were disapointed and in need of violence, gore, explosions, "closure" bla bla bla. ......... i loved it though! it was nice. maybe the viewers aren't dumb intelligently speaking but they're not very well-rounded (I'll call it) when it comes to the art of film and television.

    btw the creator says there are no plans for a movie and I dont think that would ever be his motivation for such an "ending" to the series.

    oh yeah and btw the show is about family
    Last edited by AliceInWonderland; June 12th, 2007 at 02:49 PM.

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    Pay attention. I stated a question not an opinion. I never said "if you didn't like the ending' you are stupid." I am asking that if the ending was too smart, in the sense that it was not black and white, for some viewers. Also, for you to imply that "I think the WRITER is dumb and ran out of ideas in the end," is moronic.

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    No, it's not moronic, it's my OPINION. Sorry, didn't mean to be rude in the first place.
    But...
    Have some of you ever thought maybe some people are too geeky to realize this ending sucked? I mean seriously, most gangster movie fans HATED this ending. I have been reading a lot about this and hearing a lot in the news.

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    dp

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    While I agree that the ending may have been too mysterious for some to handle, that doesn't mean that it was well-done. When the episode ended, I felt extremely cheated, not just because the increasing tension led up to nothing on-screen, but because there were so many inferences being made throughout the episode that I couldn't help feeling disappointed. Paulie kept making these sad faces, like he had just sold Tony out. The fact that the storyline didn't go that way just makes the writing for the previous episode flawed - why would Phil choose to whack Bobby before Paulie? Bobby had only just had his first hit this season, when he killed the Canadian in the laundromat. Why not go after Paulie, who poses a much bigger threat? And why the strange editing in the final scene, between the diner and Meadow's failed car-parking? It was just very manipulative on Chase's part. And wow, Journey to end the series? That was embarrassing.

    I appreciate the fact that Chase expects his audience to be smart enough to "understand" his ending. What I have a problem with is the fact that Chase didn't choose a definite ending. Tony could have lived, died, gone to prison, whatever. I don't like the fact that I choose how it ends - I'm not the writer, and no matter what I think, there will always be that, "well, maybe I'm wrong" in the back of my head. That ruins it for me. This was one of the most important and poignant shows on television - why have the entire series come down to a Goosebumps' "Choose The Ending" finale?

    I just would have appreciated a definite ending. I feel Chase copped out because he either A) couldn't decide what to do with Tony and co., or B) half-expects there to be a follow-up project and wanted to keep his options open. I'm glad he's being crucified by the press, because that episode was nothing more than a huge disappointment. Knowing what I do now, I wish the series had ended with "The Blue Comet" - Tony dozing off in his safe house with a gun is so much better.
    I saw a film today, oh boy.

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