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A Missed Education. Avoiding the Ordinary in The Sopranos

Paolo Babbiotti
p. 5-15

Abstract

The aim of this article is to comment on an episode of The Sopranos in which we are shown two simultaneous failed attempts at education. Tony Soprano’s son and “nephew” seek their own path, their own education, and both end up returning to the world of the two families: the Soprano family and the Mafia family. On this road, they meet people who could lead them out of these worlds, but their affiliation with the family will not be scratched: the two families have too many attractions to be abandoned. The missed education of the two young men mirrors the fall of Tony Soprano, whose tragic fate this episode anticipates.

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Introduction

  • 1 This old joke – which works very well in the English language, due to the polysemy of “doxy” – is r (...)

1Writing about TV series is a hazardous business. The risks are many: aren’t some TV series too long to be compressed into one article? What is more, aren’t they too new an object of study, which makes it difficult to avoid amateurish attempts at commentary? Most importantly, why bring up philosophy? Well, philosophy – as an old joke goes – is anybody’s doxy.1 This includes its application to TV series and the newborn experience they bring with them. It is an experience that penetrates our artistic consumption in ways that are unprecedented, domestic, even too domestic. One can consume TV series just as one consumes meals; often, one consumes TV series along with meals. Does this fact make them any less noble than other artistic forms, which require leaving the familiar space to be appreciated (like a cinema, a museum, or a university)? I don’t think so, which is why I decided to analyse a philosophically significant example of a TV series.

  • 2 https://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/06/movies/television-radio-sympathetic-brutes-in-a-pop-masterpiece. (...)

2I am thinking of The Sopranos (1999-2007). In this specific case, there is little hope of talking about it within a small space. In fact, The Sopranos is so long (86 episodes of about one hour each) and so rich that it arouses in the commentator a panic mixed with reverence. Academic studies of The Sopranos have flourished with regularity since its debut in 1999, and that very year The New York Times called it “the greatest work of American popular culture of the last quarter century”.2 The Sopranos Sessions (2019), edited by Zoller Seitz and Sepinwall, is a recently published work which brings together many relevant contributions (including a lengthy interview with creator David Chase) to understand more fully the art of this pioneering TV series.

  • 3 https://tv.avclub.com/the-sopranos-made-in-america-1798175338.
  • 4 https://sopranosautopsy.com. This site provides a useful list of readings on The Sopranos.

3Along with this latest contributions and many others in article or book form, commentary sites on the series are also flourishing, such as the one by Van Der Werff3 and the ambitious (and much appreciated by fans) Sopranos’ Autopsy by Bernard.4 Bernard himself, on the introductory page of his blog, acknowledges the debt owed to Van Der Werff for his undertaking. Without Bernard’s blog, I most likely would not be here writing this article. Like many people of his community, I feel grateful for his patient and thorough analysis of The Sopranos, which began in 2014 and ended in 2021 with the 30000 words commentary of the very last episode, Made in America.

  • 5 https://sopranosautopsy.com/season-2-3/d-girl-2-07/.

4Bernard committed seven years to commenting episode by episode of this incredible series, dissecting it with patience and rigour, in all its details. Is it not then really too ambitious to hope to provide a general idea of this TV series, and to show its relevance to the ethics and politics of TV series in general, commenting on a single episode? I think not. On the contrary, I think that the analysis of one particularly important episode is able to hint at the complexity of the ethical and political issues raised by the entire series. I am talking about the seventh episode of the second season: D-Girl. In his write-up dedicated to the commentary of this episode, Bernard claims that without an adequate understanding of D-Girl, it is impossible to understand the entire series.5 One of Bernard’s theses, expressed on several occasions in the Sopranos’ Autopsy, is that The Sopranos incorporates a form of connectivity into its texture – everything is linked, connected, in The Sopranos. In talking about D-Girl, I hope that this unique characteristic of the series emerges.

5If everything were not connected, as it is in The Sopranos (and as it might not be in other TV series), it would most likely be more difficult to talk about a single episode and do justice to the entire series. (Of course I am aware that, as is the case with all great works of art, every word expressed about them, no matter how small and modest, may seem like too much. But I have already started writing and making connections, and I will continue – and I will continue with plenty of spoilers).

6The Sopranos tells the story of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss, struggling with problems derived from his family and his Mafia clan (his second family). Tony suffers from depression and panic attacks. For that reason, from the very first episode of the series we see him pouring his problems and anxieties into the office of psychoanalyst Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Through Dr. Melfi’s sessions, the viewers get inside the Mafia boss’ psyche, dissecting its complexities and nuances. And, slowly, we viewers learn to leave behind a clear-cut conception of right and wrong, good and evil, ending up appreciating the ambiguities that characterise Tony’s life. Many other characters populate the fascinating world of The Sopranos. For the purposes of this article, it will suffice to mention Tony’s wife, Carmela, along with his two children Anthony Junior (AJ) and Meadow. From the Mafia family, on the other hand, we can introduce Christopher Moltisanti: he is defined by Tony as his “nephew”, but he is actually Carmela’s cousin; the special relationship that binds him to Tony is a result of the special relationship that Tony had with his father, Dickie Moltisanti. Christopher and his fiancée Adriana, in this sense, are not only tied to Tony through Mafia connections (thus of the second family), but they embody connections internal to the first family as well.

7The episode I have chosen to analyse, the seventh of the second season, is interesting for the parallelism it establishes between the two “pupils” of Tony Soprano: AJ and Chris. Both of them, in this episode, go through a moment of loss; and both of them, after some hesitation, return to their respective families (AJ to the first family, while Chris returns to the second, the Mafia). Their lack of emancipation mirrors the lack of emancipation of Tony Soprano himself. In the course of the six seasons of The Sopranos, in fact, we see Tony struggling against his demons, which very often emerge from the Mafia context; as we watch him, however, especially watching him retrace the events of his life in Dr. Melfi’s office, we hope that Tony will free himself, that he will arrive at his own independence and autonomy, and that he will not be seduced and crushed by the Mafia world.

8Certainly, the Mafia world is deeply rooted in Tony, and determines all his values; however, his own sensibility seems to make him escape the deterministic logic that would give him up, condemned to be an unscrupulous mafioso. James Gandolfini’s acting and expressive ability is fundamental in making us perceive the possibilities of change within Tony Soprano’s life: the viewer perceives that there is more than violence, more than traditional values, that moves Tony Soprano. It is what we might call, in a broad sense, the search for meaning that sets Tony in motion (“Who am I? Where am I going?” we hear him say at the beginning of the sixth season), and that convinces him (despite various hesitations) to continue the therapy; a therapy that encourages him to speak again, to overcome the silence and the omertà of the Mafia way of life. But therapy is not enough. Mafia life is too deeply ingrained in him, so deeply that it leaves him no way out.

9In this sense, D-Girl constitutes a particularly interesting episode within the series, because it shows us the story of two characters equally as lost as Tony, looking for their own way (outside the straits of the family logic, be it the family family, or the Mafia family); not only that, but it also shows us how their attempts to escape fail. Families are too strong to be resisted, too tempting to be abandoned.

1. In quest of an education

  • 6 Word limit has constrained me to publish in a separate blog (https://scribblemrgibbon.wordpress.com (...)
  • 7 Martin 2013.

10In light of a parallel piece on D-Girl I have written, “D-Girl. A Reading of a Sopranos’ Episode”, the sense in which David Chase linked AJ and Chris’ parables within this episode will be clearer (and deeper).6 Truth be told, though, it’s not just David Chase. It was the then 26-year-old Todd A. Kessler, considered by Chase and his collaborators to be a brilliant writer, who wrote the episode. It is a tragic irony of history to think that Kessler wrote this episode that revolves around the confirmation of two young characters; in fact, shortly thereafter, more precisely after the second season finale, Kessler will be fired by Chase. I won’t go into the details of this episode. If one reads some accounts of the event (such as that of Brett Martin in a GQ article, later reprinted in his book Difficult Men), however, one thing seems certain: Chase’s choice was perceived as absurd by Kessler.7 This fact, in an ironic-tragic key, makes Kessler’s parable in The Sopranos even closer to the reflections on absurdity that punctuate D-Girl.

11The parallels between AJ and Chris allow Kessler to imagine their quest in terms of a quest for education. In the case of AJ, the centrality of education to his existential condition is directly thematized (remember Meadow’s words regarding AJ’s doubts, which are interpreted as a direct consequence of his educational path: “What do you think education is for? Just to make more money? This is education”).

12However, in Chris’ case, the link to education seems to be less obvious. In what sense is Chris’ character, within D-Girl, shown searching for an education? In the sense that he, like AJ, is also searching for his own way in the world, particularly the world of film. The people who are supposed to educate him, to guide him, actually take advantage of him, delivering him back into the hands of the Mafia. His pass to the world of cinema is his script, the condition without which Chris cannot be accepted (the equivalent of a diploma, or a certificate, for the working world). But Chris’ script, as it is shown in this episode, is interrupted, blocked. Chris’ writer’s block is in part due to the fact that he is unable to deal with his own personal issues (those that arose during the theatre class that Ade had gifted), which are recalled in this episode as a still open wound for Chris. “I want to be a player and not an actor” we hear him repeat three times in D-Girl: to be an actor would entail following a long, tortuous, tiring educational path; a path in which one has to bring one’s whole being into play, and in which shortcuts are not allowed. Faced with the (continuous, regular) suffering that a process of education of one’s emotions and writings would entail, the mafioso seeks the short route. The safest way, the way of perfect condemnation. From Tony Soprano’s staircase (where Chris is shown sitting in the final scene of D-Girl) out into the world there are infinite ways. From Tony Soprano’s staircase back to the comforts and splendour of his home there is only one way: it is the easiest, the most comfortable – and there is food and drink inside.

13What about AJ’s condition? Inspired by the readings he tackles at school (such as The Stranger by Camus, but also Nietzsche), AJ comes to “question the whole universe”. A central part of an educational process, in fact, is the practice of a certain scepticism, combined with the practice of constant and incessant questioning. “Why were we born?”, “What is our purpose?”. If we then listen to the words of Meadow, who quotes Madame De Staël, we frame the educational problem in terms of the contrast between boredom and suffering. Taking upon oneself the weight of these questions, along with the daily attempt to deal with them, can lead to suffering. Suffering in the face of which one can certainly shy away, and retreat to a safer, more familiar, less frightening world. That is what AJ will do by deciding in favour of confirmation, and silencing for now his sceptical doubts “about the entire universe” in order to instead enjoy the comforts of the Soprano’s household.

2. The tragic fate of The Sopranos’ characters

14This form of withdrawal, of rejection of the educational process, is what afflicts not only Chris and AJ, but also and above all Tony Soprano. It is therefore useful to open a parenthesis on the entire series. The Sopranos is a tragic story. The fate of the protagonists becomes increasingly dark over the course of the six seasons. The narrative arc of the main characters becomes more complicated until they reach some points of no return: Tony could become a better person, more sensitive and less violent, but he renounces this path by remaining at the head of the Mafia clan; Carmela, his wife, glimpses liberation between the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth season (when she separates from Tony and the divorce seems imminent), but at the end of the fifth season she returns full force to the trap of their marriage; Christopher tries to escape his addiction to alcohol and drugs (which he resorts to in order to avoid facing the problems of everyday life), but ends up being sucked and sucked into the vortex of addiction (which he returns to because of the isolation he feels in the Mafia clan, due to his teetotal choice, and his AA meetings), and is killed by Tony Soprano; Adriana, after trying to convince Chris to run away with her, thanks to the help of the FBI, is killed by Silvio, Tony’s consigliere.

15These are the fates of the main characters that we find in D-Girl. Their lack of education – or liberation – is a result of common reasons. For example, Tony and Christopher shun the path of boredom, of everyday life, to embrace the suffering that implies the choice of the Mafia life. The originality of The Sopranos, in fact, lies in showing, repeatedly and with great attention to detail, all aspects of daily life in which the protagonists are immersed. We enter their homes, and watch their ordinary days unfold. These people wake up, eat, sleep, smoke, play cards, shop, drink, eat again, read the newspapers… They are immersed in what Chris, in The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti episode, calls the “fucking regulareness of life”. Chris claims: “It’s like the fucking regulareness of life is too fucking hard for me or something”. And so he resorts to drugs and alcohol; to violence and murder; and so he wakes up, leaves the house, and gets himself a gun. Even for Tony, the “fucking regulareness of life” is too much to bear. In one of the sessions with Dr. Melfi, Tony, speaking out loud, asks himself: “You know my feelings: Every day is a gift. It’s just, does it have to be a pair of socks?”. The fact that life can express itself in such trivial details, like a pair of socks, leads Tony to despair, and to the search for escape through alcohol, drugs, violence, sex…

16Now, Carmela is co-implicated in her husband’s criminal affairs: she knows everything, or at least she knows a lot, and agrees to keep quiet and be okay with the comforts that this kind of life brings (from a huge house, to the latest model of Porsche, to the swimming pool in the garden, to the succulent food, to the clothes and jewellery she wears…). In this sense, Adriana plays a parallel role to Carmela’s. Although she is aware of Chris’ Mafia life, she supports and encourages him in everything he does, effectively making his parable possible.

17The comforts, glitz, and excesses that a Mafia life brings about arouse the admiration of some viewers outside of the Sopranos’ world. In D-Girl, this is the case of Amy Safir and Jon Favreau, both of whom are attracted (in Amy’s case, even sexually) by the exotic nature of the Mafia world: both, however, are lucky enough to get close to the Mafia world and save their skins, while other outsiders will be less fortunate in the course of the series (to give just one example: think of the merciless end that writer JT Dolan incurs).

18The search for meaning, in the world of The Sopranos, is given by death. Death is an absolute certainty in which most mobsters believe. Those who do not conform to the rules of the Mafia world are destined to die. Another certainty is given by the univocality of their way: drug addicts, alcoholics, depressed people are not accepted – even oral sex (practised by a man on a woman, like in the episode Boca) is taboo.

3. A reversal of “Emersonian perfectionism”

  • 8 Cavell 1990.
  • 9 Emerson 1903-04: 85.

19The conformity of the Mafia form of life is one of the reasons I see in The Sopranos as an exact reversal of what Stanley Cavell has called “Emersonian perfectionism”.8 In Emerson’s individualistic philosophy, “self-reliance” is presented as an aversion to the conformity of one’s peers, the conformity of any closed community. According to Emerson’s image, described in the opening of the essay Experience, each of us is immersed in a staircase of which we see neither the beginning nor the end – we are in the middle. For Emerson, the point is to be able to walk on one’s own two feet, finding oneself at every single step, and being able to endure life in its banality and regularity, without being overwhelmed by despair and anguish. In the final paragraph of Emerson’s Experience we find these lines: “Patience and patience, we shall win at the last”.9

  • 10 https://sopranosautopsy.com/season-6-part-ii/chasing-it-6-16/.
  • 11 See for instance Cavell 1979: 464.

20But what do we win? We win “the near, the low, the common” and not “the romantic”. (This contrast is presented by Emerson in his famous lecture “The American Scholar”). And it is exactly the romantic that many of the Soprano characters seem to be looking for, in the sense of the distant, the not real, the not tangible, in a word: the infinite. It might sound like a great word to use in this context, that of infinity, but I don’t think that is the case at all. As the episode Chasing It, dedicated to Tony’s addiction to gambling, well shows, the “it” he seeks (and which, as Ron Bernard well shows in his commentary in the Sopranos’ Autopsy, is left ambiguous)10, be it money, or the excitement of spending, or sex, or drugs, is never finite, but always an infinite quest. Stanley Cavell has repeatedly claimed that to grow up is to choose finitude:11 in this sense, the process of education, of growth, cannot take place until one chooses – with “patience and patience”, immersed in the “fucking regularness of life” – the finite.

  • 12 https://scribblemrgibbon.wordpress.com.

21Central to Emersonian perfectionism (as recounted by Cavell in Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome and Cities of Words) is the figure of the friend, a travelling companion with whom one compares perceptions, receives stimuli and suggestions, and perfects oneself and the other. Now, in the world of the Sopranos, conformity reigns and, what is more, there are no friends. The isolation felt by Christopher and Pussy in this episode is a real isolation, and Pussy’s crying, sitting on the toilet hopeless, is indicative of this fact. Pussy is now out of both families (the Soprano’s and the Mafia’s), as a secret FBI collaborator; for this very reason, in D-Girl, he is shown not taking part in the family picture. For the sake of brevity, I didn’t mention in my reading of this episode12 that during Pussy’s speech to AJ, the FBI is listening remotely, connected via the wire Pussy is wearing. Bernard, in Sopranos’ Autopsy, suggests that this filmic device may refer to the difficulty and fragmentation of interpersonal exchange. A difficulty that prevents us viewers from fully grasping the meaning of the words Pussy gives AJ, but that does not diminish their strength and beneficial intent (in one of the few sparks of friendship in The Sopranos, Pussy fulfils his role as sponsor of the confirmation, or Emersonian friend). Ron Bernard writes:

Pussy’s words are arguably some of the most important of the series, embodying a philosophy of connectivity. But Chase buries the significance of it, hiding it in static and interference. This sort of burying occurs again and again in this series (perhaps most notably in what I think is the sister episode of this one, “The Fleshy Part of the Thigh” (6.04)). I believe this may be part of Chase’s commitment to verisimilitude and ambiguity: life’s important lessons are not always clearly perceived or understood why should it be any different on The Sopranos?

22What are “life’s important lessons”? Let us listen to Pussy’s words, “Now go down and enjoy your party. Make your parents happy. You got your health and your family. Enjoy it while you can, while you got it all in your hand”. These are simple, everyday words, words that express care and attention to ordinary, repeated situations, but they also invite us to enjoy the small, present moments. In the final episode of The Sopranos, AJ will remind his father that, years earlier (for the viewer: the end of the first season), he had told the family, “Remember the little moments, like this… that were good”.

23The inability to cling to the little moments, to the steps of the staircase on which the human animal finds itself walking, is a result of the attempt to jump off: to dive into the abyss of an addiction, of a violent life, of the denial of the other (thereby choosing the infinite over finitude). As Bobby Baccalieri says about the Soprano family in Sopranos Home Movies: “You Sopranos you go too far”. And the character we see going “too far” in this episode is definitely Livia. Livia’s nihilistic philosophy certainly constitutes an answer to AJ’s questions, but a desperate answer.

24Let us read her words: “Why does everything have to have a purpose? The world is a jungle. And if you want my advice, Anthony, don’t expect happiness, you won’t get it. People let you down… In the end, you die in your own arms… It’s all a big nothing. What makes you think you’re so special?”. Again, these words express a constant air in The Sopranos (the air of “a broken record”, as Tony addresses Livia in the series pilot): what makes you think you’re so special? Nothing. Everything is vacuous, everything is nothing. You might as well let yourself be seduced by something (anything), take advantage of it while you can, and die alone. Livia’s desperate affirmation, “It’s all a big nothing”, also represents a metaphysical negation born of a lack of acceptance of everyday life. The everyday dimension has been taken away from her by the kind of life she has found herself immersed in, the life of her husband Johnny Soprano. Livia has absorbed the negativity of the Mafia way of life, taking advantage of others and breaking relationships, ostensibly for the benefit of the family, but ultimately always for her own individual gain.

25“I did it for myself”, like Walter White, Livia (but also Tony) Soprano might admit. This confession, in its splendid and gruesome sincerity, is reminiscent of Tony’s confession to Melfi in season six (which occurred in a dream, however): “I haven’t been able to tell anybody this. I’m fuckin’ relieved [by the death of Christopher]. I mean, to begin with, every morning I wake up thinkin’ is this the day that one of my best friends is gonna dime me to the FBI? And a weak, fuckin’ snivellin’, lyin’ drug addict? That’s the worst kind of bet”. Tony’s problem with Christopher was that he had to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis. And Tony can’t stand dealing with human weakness, his own weakness – “the human condition” – of which he dug up the most scabrous, intimate, and daily details in psychoanalytic sessions with Dr. Melfi.

4. An education to the ordinary?

26Every time I think about it, I am struck by David Chase’s comment about Tony not changing: “So Tony Soprano never changed, people say. He got darker. I don’t know how they can misunderstand that. He tried and he tried and he tried”. These words are spoken in the poetic text that is David Chase’s eulogy for the death of James Gandolfini. Tony Soprano “tried and he tried and he tried” – to which we might add “and he failed and he failed and he failed”. But his repeated failure – combined with the search for a desperate way out in the Mafia form of life – only accentuates the possibility of an ordinary and banal way out. A way that is expressed not in grand gestures (“Your father would catch a bullet for you”) but in the repetition of little gestures (“He came to the hospital every day”).

27Of course, if The Sopranos had shown Tony Soprano’s gradual transformation and his acceptance of the “fucking regulareness of life” it would have been much more boring on a narrative level. The tragic nature of the series, in fact, is expressed in the choice of characters in favour of extreme suffering, and in the repeated rejection of the everyday, in the rejection of boredom. Despite Dr. Melfi’s efforts, Tony will never come to accept that life can also be “a pair of socks”.

28The viewers of the series, however, with the passing of the seasons, are educated to accept this fact: the repeated shots of the family, domestic, and ordinary interiors of an extreme life such as the Mafia are highlighted, are brought to the centre of the scene. And it is precisely these moments that represent a lifeline for a world as ruthless as that of The Sopranos. If even a Mafia boss can come to recognize a meaning, a value, in the most trivial aspects of existence, then we too, with even greater reason, can do so. The vision of The Sopranos, in its breadth and length, thus allows us to appreciate “the little moments… that were good”, the ones that await us every day, when we wake up in the morning and we would be tempted to get our daily gun, too.

  • 13 In The World Viewed Cavell wrote that “the movie’s power to reach this level [of involvement] must (...)

29The temptation to avoid finitude makes us similar – more than we could be willing to acknowledge – to the tragic people of the series: their radicality, and the radicality of their choices, is useful to understand better, more deeply, our own condition. They are us and we are them. And, among other things, the medium of the TV-series could help us realise this kind of involvement (of us with them, and of them with us). As is well known, this involvement, or mirroring, is also at work in cinema; however, the gigantism of the cinematic figures13 renders the involvement that takes places in cinema very different from the involvement that takes place in TV series.

30The protagonists of a TV series are closer to us, they are our equals. Tony Soprano might be a gigantic figure, but a giant who is compressed into a television screen. And this very fact contributes to making him more familiar to us, and to welcome all its criminal acts into our homes. The radical choices of the Soprano crew can certainly distance them from our daily lives, but since their daily lives are structured and filmed in all their similarity to ours, they thereby feel not so distant anymore. And we, like them, know all sorts of ways to avoid the ordinary, and to choose not to grow.

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Bibliografia

Cavell, S. 1971, The World Viewed. Reflections on the Ontology of Film, Cambridge (MA), Harvard University Press,1979.

Cavell, S. 1979, The Claim of Reason. Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Cavell, S. 1990, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome, Chicago, Chicago University Press.

Cavell, S. 2004, Cities of Words. Pedagogical Letters on a Register of the Moral Life, Cambridge (MA), Harvard University Press.

Emerson, R.W. 1903-1904, The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Edition, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

Martin, B. 2013, Difficult Men. Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, London, Faber and Faber.

Seitz, M.Z., Sepinwall, A. 2019, The Sopranos Sessions, New York, Harry N. Abrams.

Williams, B. 1993, Shame and Necessity, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press.

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Note

1 This old joke – which works very well in the English language, due to the polysemy of “doxy” – is recalled by Bernard Williams in the Preface to Shame and Necessity (1993).

2 https://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/06/movies/television-radio-sympathetic-brutes-in-a-pop-masterpiece.html.

3 https://tv.avclub.com/the-sopranos-made-in-america-1798175338.

4 https://sopranosautopsy.com. This site provides a useful list of readings on The Sopranos.

5 https://sopranosautopsy.com/season-2-3/d-girl-2-07/.

6 Word limit has constrained me to publish in a separate blog (https://scribblemrgibbon.wordpress.com) my reading of D-Girl. However, that reading is closely related to what follows in the section “An Education to the Ordinary?”.

7 Martin 2013.

8 Cavell 1990.

9 Emerson 1903-04: 85.

10 https://sopranosautopsy.com/season-6-part-ii/chasing-it-6-16/.

11 See for instance Cavell 1979: 464.

12 https://scribblemrgibbon.wordpress.com.

13 In The World Viewed Cavell wrote that “the movie’s power to reach this level [of involvement] must have to do with the gigantism of its figures, making me small again” (1971: 154); David Foster Wallace also expressed a similar judgment, in his article on David Lynch: http://www.lynchnet.com/lh/lhpremiere.html.

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Paolo Babbiotti, «A Missed Education. Avoiding the Ordinary in The Sopranos »Rivista di estetica, 83 | 2023, 5-15.

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Paolo Babbiotti, «A Missed Education. Avoiding the Ordinary in The Sopranos »Rivista di estetica [Online], 83 | 2023, online dal 01 février 2024, consultato il 26 mai 2024. URL: http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/estetica/9145; DOI: https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/estetica.9145

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Paolo Babbiotti

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