Friday, October 06, 2006

Tony Soprano v. Philip Roth

Yesterday, a package arrived. A gift, actually. It was a DVD for "The Sopranos", Series One. Grazie, Adam and Kelly. Xtina interrupted my we-got-a-new-DVD,-now-I-can-watch-famous-actors-
dance, with a stern pronouncement. "I have full veto power over this one", she informed. "I'm Italian. I know about these things. Americans don't know about these things".

It was creepy. It sounded just like a line out of "The Sopranos". I began to stake out a defence, sloppily. I informed her The Sopranos is the "most authentic treatment of contemporary America" (it's true; I used those exact words, gesturing at her with the DVD the way a preacher might wag at his congregation with a bible), then searching for a brilliant flourish, I summed up with: "ever!" Then continued: "It's more authentic than anything Philip Roth has written."

These are fighting words, and I knew it. Xtina considers Philip Roth to be her personal guide on all things America. Questioning his wisdom is an unforgiveable form of blasphemy in Xtina's mind.

And now, it's Xtina's turn at summation:

"That's BOO-shit!," she exclaimed. I stepped back. "They will be teaching Philip Roth in the schools in 1,000 years time. Where will your Sopranos be then? Heh?"

Xtina is a PhD. She knows about these things.


Adam said...

The Sopranos and Roth have one obvious thing in common: JERSEY BABY! Oh yeah, and overbearing mother figures.

Let's compare:

P. Roth D. Chase
angst agita
liver gabagool (aka capicola)

any more?

Bernhard Warner said...

We watched the first episode last night in which Tony pours his heart out to Dr. Melfi and Xtina learned the phrase "you're grounded!". So far, so good

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Roth in a 1000 years. But I think The Sopranos is vastly superior to Roth.

Bernhard Warner said...

"anonymous", that puts us both in xtina's cultural doghouse.

Oddly, "The Sopranos" has been something of a failure here in Italy. It's been tried by a few broadcasters, but has never scored even decent ratings. Everybody has a different theory ranging from: it portrays an incongruous picture of the mob that most Italians regard as taboo or simply unrealistic and who wants to watch a drama about trashy Italian Americans? I think the show is completely misunderstood over here, but then again I'm not very objective when it comes to Big T and the gang.