The Universe should not be allowed to take Tony Soprano away from us before his time. It should not be allowed to do this in the same month that we have the Red Wedding to contend with. It shouldn’t happen in the same year that the US Office ends. There’s only so much I can take.
James Gandolfini’s passing yesterday is a tragedy. As Tony Soprano he created the single most memorable, ambiguous, enjoyable character that I’ve ever had the pleasure of simultaneously loving and hating. It’s testament both to the writing and to Gandolfini’s portrayal that a character so eminently evil was also so popular and relatable. His fight with Carmela in Whitecaps is one of the greatest scenes I’ve ever seen in anything.
As someone who wasn’t around when the Sopranos was in its heyday (around in the sense that I was interested enough in TV), that’s the biggest tribute I can pay him. Along with the Wire, he permanently changed the way I watch television, what I consider good and bad, and the expectations as to what TV is capable of. He’s almost single-handedly consigned plenty of okay shows to the never-watch bin of mediocrity.
James Gandolfini raised the bar as far as I was concerned (and I’m sure millions of others agree) and the world as a whole is a worse place today.