What can we say? We just couldn't get into The Sopranos in 1999. The whole mobster-in-therapy conceit sounded like Analyze This: The Series, and thus dreadful. By the time our friends and colleagues began spraying each other with torrents of "Shakespeare But Better" gush, it was too late to pick up the show's many plot strands. So, to keep ourselves pure for the inevitable catch-up marathon, we attempted to go through today with one mission: to avoid hearing how the Sopranos ended.
We lasted exactly one hour. Below is the timeline of our undoing.
8:15 a.m.: The home page of the Times stares us in the face with a photo of leaden-eyed Tony and the kids regarding their diner menus. The breakout lede to Alessandra Stanley's postmortem: "After eight years and much frenzied anticipation, The Sopranos defied expectations up to the final minute." Okay, fine. Could have figured out that much.
8:17: An editor IMs in response to our request not to talk about The Sopranos: "I am surrounded by crazy people."
8:20: The Post homepage. "Tony & Gang Whack Fans." The lede: "There was nothing wrong with your television. That's the way the creator of The Sopranos wanted it to end." Huh? Has David Chase opted for some sort of Andy Kaufman–esque messing-with-your-reception stunt? Does the thing end with Tony breaking the fourth wall with a hail of bullets and "killing" "you"? Awesome!
8:22 a.m.: We dutifully submit the first post of the day — the Morning Line, a collection of news links — naturally without mentioning The Sopranos.
8:31 a.m.: The editor writes: "Okay, well, be warned, I made Sopranos the top item in the Morning Line."
8:42 a.m.: We tear ourselves away from the computer and run out for a cup of coffee. Goddamn you, Daily News: "So was that Tony Soprano's last supper or what?" reads the cover. Okay, we're totally piecing it together now.
9:15 a.m.: And the coup de grâce comes from our own Daily Intel. "We're just wondering: How many people started calling Time Warner, convinced their cable had gone out?" So it's a "profound" open ending that hints at Tony's demise but doesn't depict it, and crests with a note of suspicious inactivity or expectant silence as the family chows down at a diner. Great. Nothing to psych us up for an 86-hour DVD commitment like the full knowledge it will end in nothing. —Michael Idov