Can people change?
That's the question/premise of The Sopranos. I haven't watched the series. The reputation for greatness came to me late so I decided to watch the whole thing at the end. I did the same thing with Sex and the City, which, taken all in one dose wasn't witty and novel, but depressing and mundane. Like Paris Hilton on a never-ending sex and booze bender, the slutty girls are just pathetic when viewing their whoreanusness all together. But I did take in Firefly that way and was rewarded with a movie-like experience--the episodes taken together made for cinematic heaven on the bedroom flatscreen. I have high hopes for Battlestar Gallactica, too. The first season sure was fantastic, if a little nerve wracking. Some series you need a week in between to recover. I fear The Sopranos will be that way, but there was no way I would miss Seasons 1 & 2 and jump in to the story-line missing information. Even still, I'll watch the last show. I know. I know. It's like reading the last paragraph of a book. I do that sometimes, too.
The question the series will answer in it's own mafia way: Can people change? I'm guessing that Tony won't. I'm guessing that none of them will. It would be un-Hollywood these days for anyone to find redemption. In Hollywood, everyone goes to their graves doing the badness they've always done or doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.
A glaring example of anti-redemption bias happened in one of the best films of the decade. In The Lord of the Rings, the character Faramir was written edgily and it was a huge mistake. Tolkien wrote him as wise and wounded, the un-loved son of an ultimately crazy man, who stood by principles even though violating them held the promise of his father's love. Unfortunately, in the writing team's desire to promote conflict, they dispensed with Faramir's fidelity. They also complicated the relationship between Frodo and Sam, something Tolkien himself considered and (rightly) discarded.
There are people who are true to their friends. There are people who change their heart. There are people who choose the path of light nearly every time they're given a choice. There are people like that.
It's a philosophy on life, isn't it? To believe that all people are lost, doomed to failure and cowardice. But some people are heroic and noble. Some people do do the right thing for the right reasons.
I'm not sure if Tony Soprano is worthy of hope or if he'll die as he lived--a depraved man. As for his co-dependent wife, can she find the moral choice at last? Further, will she find it, embrace and be willing to live with her wretchedness for the rest of her days?
That's just it. Many people don't want to face their humanity day in and day out. A glimpse of self is sufficiently terrifying to go back on living as they've always lived.
But some people do choose redemption. Redemption is not the clean, easy way, to be sure, since it requires remembering accurately, but redemption sure does lighten the load. Here's to hope and redemption, even if Tony Soprano, or Hollywood, never finds it.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Can people change?