Let me tell you a few things:
First, I'm gonna miss these guys. When The Sopranos first started I was slogging my way through graduate school in the Midwest, complaining about the lack of a good bilay and fresh mozzarella with prosciutto. Nothing, but nothing, brought me back to my home like The Sopranos intro.
Watching Tony drive out of the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel and up the ramp towards my home, a ride that I have done no less than thousands of times, made me feel like I was back in North Jersey for an hour. Past Pizza 33 and the train bridges in Kearney. Through Bayonne, Rutherford and all the way to the hilly suburbs of Montclair and Caldwell.
And all those mentions of Bloomfield Avenue, Route 3 and The Turnpike always made me so proud of my home state and feel like if I ever wanted to, I could reach out to Tony -- or maybe even Sil, since he was always so level-headed. I'll miss having an advocate for New Jersey like Tony because he loved it like we love it -- without question.
I'm gonna miss the gratuitous stripper shots at The Bing, watching Tony eat sandwiches in enormous bites from the pork shop, and even Uncle Paulie's bizarre behavior. I'll miss being at home with T; they loved showing Tony snort his way out of sleep and waddle down the stairs in that ratty bathrobe to a waiting Carmella. Despite his almost repulsive morning appearance, he cleaned up well and he was no slouch with the ladies.
The Sopranos did capitalize on a mostly-false stereotype of what Jersey, and Italian-Americans, are really like. But I love being form Jersey and I love that our state could potentially be filled with tough guys that don't take shit and then validate themselves by spilling their guts to a therapist. And I love that when people think about Jersey they associate it with a guy that is emotional to the point of passing out, but might also kick your teeth in if you cross him. It's better than potatoes, or corn, or Bush.
I'm gonna miss Christopher and Sil and Paulie -- especially Paulie. The hair, the temper, the constant desire to be nothing but number three or four. He was a true and loyal servant of Tony and a heartless bastard at that. But they made you love him.
Finally, I'm gonna miss anticipating what will happen next to this North Jersey gangster and his family. Talking about it at work, at the dinner table, at the bar. In the early years of Big Pussy (really, the first meaningful guy to get whacked), we used to plan for the show and watch it over huge Italian feasts with lots of red wine and cigarettes and conjecture and opinion. And it was good. It was great, actually. And it was this that made Tony and his crew so special. They made you want to hang out with them and around them. They brought people together for the common enjoyment of watching a story unfold. They are what makes television such a special medium and The Sopranos will be greatly missed. Especially in North Jersey, and especially by me.
Follow Jordan Safirstein, MD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cardiacconsult