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Tom Shales



I GET IT!!!

May 14, 2007 2:03 PM

HBO, which had a major embarrassment recently (with prez Chris Albrecht stepping down after a domestic-violence incident in Las Vegas), had a minor but curious one Sunday night, at the conclusion of “The Sopranos” and of “Entourage,” which follows it.

The fourth-from-final episode of “Sopranos” was electrifying throughout, with Tony hastening the death of longtime protege Christopher after both were in a car wreck. Torn with conflicting feelings of relief, sorrow, and guilt, Tony went off for a holiday in Las Vegas. He visited an old mutual gorgeous friend of his and Christopher’s and was introduced by her to peyote. After throwing up—as most peyote users do—Tony went tripping through the casino. His recent bad luck seemed to change and he scored hugely as a roulette table.

But here’s the important part: The last scene in the episode was Tony standing in the Nevada dessert, having stayed up all night on the effects of peyote, and suddenly having the greatest epiphany of his life. All became clear to him and he stood up to face the rising sun shouting, “I GET IT!!!”

Prediction: All America will be saying “I get it,” and the phrase will enter the language in a new way—like “read my lips”—over coming months. “Sopranos” is going to go out with several bangs of which we have just seen one of the first, an incredible episode.

But here’s the embarrassing part: “Entourage,” which follows “Sopranos” on HBO’s Sunday night lineup, ended with an almost identical scene. The character called Johnny Drama, an actor, had been suffering grief over universal bad reviews for the premiere of a new TV series in which he appears. He got into a reconditioned Lincoln and drove and drove until he reached the Grand Canyon. There he received, by dawn’s early light, the news via cell phone that the TV series had scored excellent ratings—so who cares what the critics think?

Drama leapt to his feet and, rejuvenated, screamed “Victory!”—striking a “Rocky”-like pose against the Grand Canyon. Fade to black and “executive producer” credit—just as “Sopranos” had done after “I get it!”

Some of us watching thought that by some legerdemain or intra-corporate finagling, the producers of “Entourage” had seen the “Sopranos” episode and were parodying it instantly. But this is highly, highly, highly unlikely. If not impossible.

The question this morning is whether David Chase, the brilliant author of “The Sopranos,” is furious about this coincidence or is taking it in stride. Has he been on the phone screaming to whoever is running HBO? And what has whoever is running HBO screamed back? We shall see. We may even—GET IT!

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Comments (9)

Anna:

I think he said "I did it!", meaning murder Christopher. But I could be wrong.

I also heard "I DID IT"...It needs to be re-viewed and listened to closely..

Dohlink Graham:

He said "I did it!"

munkiman:

definitely "I did it"

ryan johnson:

"I did it." No doubt about it. Shales isn't the only TV writer to "get it" wrong - the TV writer at Salon.com also misheard this key line of dialogue. I wonder if both or either of them prefer their incorrect version to what Tony actually said.....

bboy:

According to the episode recap on HBO.com, it's "I get it!"

js:

I'm not sure they are really that similar. The Johnny Drama line of "Victory" has been an ongoing gag throughout the series. The lines delivered by both actors at the end of each show were much bigger than the locale itself. Don't really see that much similarity.

CobraKai:

I watched with the captioning on and it said "I get it"

Having seen the episode and now read Shales response, I have to admit "I don't get it." Namely, I don't see agree that these final episodes of "The Sopranos" are so great. Sad to say, they're rather disappointing, filled with storylines and plot twists out of left field plus mood swings that feel out of character even for Tony Soprano. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty to enjoy about the production and performances. It just doesn't feel like the creative team is working at top form.

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