I acquired the first 3 seasons, and I've been watching them. That's where I was exposed to the term 'vig'. I hadn't heard it in at least twenty years. The quality of the the story, continues to amaze me. Part of me wonders if presented in novel form would it would be mediocre? Some of the details of family's they're able to weave through it are really really good. And I love the shrink, I'm almost tempted to go talk to the guy I used to talk to, to see what he thinks of some of the stuff in the story.
Tony's mother and wife are particularly great characters. His mother because she's such a monster, much more dangerous and evil than Tony, and his wife because she's always there in Tony's shadow, being the strongest character in the story.
Tony's mother tries to get him wacked. She tries to get her brother in law, Tony's uncle to do it. Then she tries to get Artie, the restaurant owner to do it. The shrink is reticent to say, "Well, Tony, your mom is your worst enemy, and she'll kill you if she gets the chance." Tony wants to be a good son, and take care of/respect his mother. Being a good son, nearly gets Tony killed.
I see so much of my family in The Soprano's, especially my mother. When I was a kid, I wanted to be in my dad's business, and he screwed me over until I moved away from southern Michigan. But my mother....... And she had 2 sons, one she loved without qualification. Brother Eric flushed everything my mother had when she was in her mid fifties. Those of us who are over fifty can appreciate how bad an act that is. He was a rotten kid, he was a rotten man.
My mother's father, our grandfather didn't approve of my brothers behavior when he was a kid or an adult. I can remember being about 12, and my mother coming to me and saying that my brother had over heard my grandparents talking and they'd said I was their favorite, and it hurt Eric's feelings. What was I supposed to do about that? Was it true, or one of my mothers made up facts, which she would swear on her soul was true? I think she was lying, but what was the object, why? Was I supposed to go to grandma and say, 'You need to love Eric more.' What 12 year old is supposed to do something like that.
My mother's mother also has a link to Tony's mother. She was raised as a small child by her grandmother. She spoke of her grandmother as a religious saint. She grew up in a small log shack a few miles south of Lake Superior, in the sticks of the UP. I have to wonder if a lot of her behavior as a middle aged to old adult was the result of having a real sick (alzhimers or something similar) real elderly person exclusively taking care of her when she was real small. I'll never know. I only know, I didn't accept her crazy act, and when people wouldn't tolerate it, she got lucid and sane pretty quick.
When my brother was thirty, if there was life insurance on me or some other current profit, would my mother have wanted to see me dead, so she could give Eric even more money to flush? God, I love that Olivia Soprano character. And I love the shrink saying things like, 'well I was reluctant to call a spade a spade but your mom might be out to do you real serious harm..........'
Tony Soprano gives me questions about my own father. Tony is very real. Vito Corleone is more make believe. I can picture Tony being someone I run into from time to time. Tony is a very real character. My dad didn't want me in his business, road building, and why is anybody's question. Was it because my dad didn't make his money honestly? Good question. I will say this, he owned a vice cop. How did he get to know that cop that well in the first place? Why would that cop screw around with some random Joe-Blow if there was no profit in it? Were there cops like that in my hometown? Sure, that was before their modern age of great wealth.................... And does their modern great wealth make them above reproach? If you believe it does, I have a swamp in Arizona I'd like to sell you. I wish my dad was around so I could ask him about a lot of this stuff, and I wish he trusted me enough to answer me.
Did my dad hang around in a 'coffee shop', back in the day? Yes he did. It was a bacon and eggs joint called Fowlers, which was on the corner of Stadium and Liberty. If he wasn't home, my mother would tell people, to look for him there, just like Carmella would tell people to look for Tony at Badda Bing.
Sigh...................... Great fiction, really is.