The Sopranos: Why did the ducks leave, Tony? | TV



Sitting in the waiting room of the consultation, Tony Soprano observes the statue of a naked woman. His lazy eyes are fixed on the provocative and imperturbable image of the figure. She, unlike him, seems to have everything clear, including her condition of being exposed to everyone's sight. With his twisted gesture, Tony Soprano distrusts. The camera approaches slowly. Who can have everything clear? Who the hell can be in this world without anything disturbing him? Who would be a statue and stop traveling carrying the damn sack of life! Tony Soprano is about to react, almost reproach the figure something or rather get up and leave the consultation, driven by the strongest thinking of all: What balls do I do in a psychiatrist? But, then, the psychiatrist calls him at his first consultation. He would never leave her again, even when he stopped going inside.

That first scene was broadcast 20 years ago today in the first chapter of The Sopranos. Tony Soprano, boss of a mafia from New Jersey and absolute protagonist of the series, sits on the couch of Dr. Melfi. At that time, there was something powerfully groundbreaking about seeing a mobster go to a psychiatrist. It was funny, but also disturbing. The first question that the doctor releases has to do with the collapse that the mafioso had in his house, "maybe a panic attack," she says. But Tony Soprano denies it, as he recognizes that he is "unable" to talk to a psychiatrist. "Why did he faint?" Asks Jennifer Melfi. "I do not know. Stress, maybe. I do not know, "he answers. Answering that question is the mystery of a story, that of Tony Soprano and his two families - the mafia and the other that sometimes gives him more headaches -, full of fights, infidelities, moments of solitude, scams, fights , murders and even nightmares that chase him like chained ghosts.

Mafiosi also have stress. Clear. Those powerful without scruples, those rich who live in illegality, these bullies, sociopaths and thugs, those film beings that populate our societies disguised in every way and condition are also vulnerable. But in Tony Soprano, a stressed and vulnerable guy, he perceives something else. Something for which neither he nor any of us following in his footsteps have words. You see something momentous since the ducks of your pool are gone in that first chapter, the trigger of fainting, the panic attack or whatever it is that makes you collapse next to your barbecue while cooking some chops and smoking a cigar in the garden of your house.

The Ducks. Why did the ducks leave? Tony Soprano made real the moral and psychological tragedy of Shakespeare that David Chase took to the small screen. Since the turn of the century The Sopranos they began to win Emmys and Golden Globes as the great drama series of their time, never stopped hearing the same: Shakespeare snuck into television thanks to this mafia story told in 86 episodes. But not only that. Thanks to the masterful interpretation of the late James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano has been the most impressive character that television has given. With his childish and coarse look, that big man, who smiled with tenderness but who did not hesitate for two seconds to beat you up if you cheated on him, was the character who has most filled a small screen. Full of nuances and emotional recesses, Tony Soprano was the summit of a fabulous cast of second characters like his wife, his mother, his uncle, his children and the entire roster of gangsters who accompanied him in a dizzying tale of power and survival in United States, an American epic in which always echo words that Tony himself unceremoniously shoots: "Next time there will be no next time".

To be issued today, surely, The Sopranos they would not have the impact that some viral phenomena of television presuppose. Not every episode would be commented on Twitter nor would it be part of the culture of communication and entertainment under the protection of social networks. Or not. Who knows. But the only certain thing is that it was introduced in the psychology of an entire generation. In addition, its emergence in American television was a revolution. Just as the creators of New Hollywood changed the landscape of American cinema in the seventies, under the renewing gaze of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola or Arthur Penn among others, David Chase with The Sopranos He did it on American television and, therefore, on American culture. We could not understand the whole development of the HBO philosophy with its outstanding later series as The Wire, Two meters underground, Rome, Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones, Neither does the entire Neftlix brand, without the story of Tony Soprano and his family. More than any other series until then, The Sopranos not only could it be part of our lives, but I could also explain them.

When Tony Soprano enters the consultation of the psychiatrist, it happens that, really, we all enter. His struggle to manage his own existence, without any great victory or heroism, is a shared struggle. His outbursts of fury, his invasions of nostalgia, his anxiety for food, his search for a little understanding or human contact or his need to flee are part of our history. In the end, Tony Soprano, all fire and silence, would never leave the consultation, even when he stopped entering. Maybe like us. Why did the ducks leave? It is the question that we have asked ourselves for 20 years The Sopranos. It is the question that, when it assaults any of us, leaves us speechless and cuts our breath. But, at least, we know that Tony Soprano would understand us, and we him.

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