Several Sundays ago I surprised myself: Instead of settling into my Sunday night ritual of watching a new episode of the Sopranos, I kept the TV set to off. I told myself I’d watch it “On Demand” the next day or sometime that next week, but the week passed, another Sunday arrived, and I’d yet to catch up. Again I told myself I would watch both episodes later, but again didn’t end up choosing to make the time. And it’s not like I felt I was missing something, either. That second Sunday–one of the TV nights I had most looked forward to because of the new episodes of “Sopranos”–I realized that I simply didn’t want to be put through another episode.
For me, watching “The Sopranos” had become a stressful and upsetting experience–and not stressful-fun, as is often the case with a show like “24,” but all-too-depressing and ever-more disturbing. The character of Tony Soprano, who in past seasons held onto some semblance of a moral character, started this season seeming to show moral promise after his near-death experience, but then he simply launched into a downward spiral from there (though he had one rather heroic moment of resisting yet another adulterous relationship due to his promise to Carmela). Paulie seems to get ever more ruthless, as does the once sympathetic, youthful Christopher. And one plotline seems to forever foreshadow the hunting down and ultimate execution of one mafia head–Vito Spatafore–who was outed as gay. I just can’t take it any more.
After all my months of catching up on five seasons of “The Sopranos” in order to be ready for the new one this March, we’re now not even halfway through the 12 episodes, and I’ve given it up. And my Sundays are happier for it.