June 12, 2007

Are You Not Entertained?

Sopranos creator David Chase's comments to the New Jersey Star-Ledger's TV blogger should give pause to defenders of the series finale:

"No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God," he adds. "We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people's minds, or thinking, 'Wow, this'll (tick) them off.' People get the impression that you're trying to (mess) with them and it's not true. You're trying to entertain them."
Nearly every defense of the ending that I've read has relied on praising its audaciousness: It's a Rorschach test for the audience, it was the only way to truly surprise the audience, it boldly breaks narrative convention, and so on. But if we take Chase at his word, then the only criteria to measure the ending by is entertainment value. By that measure, almost anything would have been better than cutting to black. By the artist's own standard, isn't the fact that so many fans are unsatisfied -- and do indeed feel "(mess)[ed] with" -- an indication of artistic failure?

Posted by John Tabin at June 12, 2007 07:37 PM | TrackBack
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