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LAST NIGHT; Mafia gets a kick up the 90s in a big way.

BY KATHLEEN MORGANTHE SOPRANOS

(Channel 4)

FINALLY someone has taken Mafia-style drama by the scruff of the neck, dragged it up a dark alley and given it a good slap.

The Sopranos avoids all the cliches that movies like The Godfather and Scarface are crammed with and breathes new life into Mob mentality.

Tony Soprano enjoyed giving a good knee-capping, just like any other Mafia boss. But instead of being your stereotypical Mob chief, he was as neurotic as Ally McBeal on a bad day.

The bane of his life was his senile mother and his rebellious daughter, leaving his corrupt "waste disposal" business way down his list of worries.

Somehow, it is difficult to imagine Robert De Niro or Marlon Brando's Mafia characters going through a mid-life crisis. But that was just what Tony was suffering.

Instead of burying it with all the corpses that he collects, he decided to tackle it head on and consult a psychiatrist.

That is where the fun started. Watching a large, lumbering, powerful man like Soprano cry over a family of ducklings in his swimming pool made classic viewing.

And hearing him describe a dream where his penis fell off after he twiddled with his belly button was inspired entertainment.

His sophisticated psychiatrist laid down the ground rules as soon as she realised who her new patient was.

She didn't want to hear of murders or maimings, so they worked out a code language that would leave her out of Mafia business.

Instead of telling her he broke some man's leg and kicked him half to death, Soprano said he had taken coffee with his victim.

Soprano was on Prozac, knowing that if news of his fragile mental state got out, he would be a dead man. The Mafia had been hauled into the 90s kicking and screaming.

The show is already more like TV drama The Don than The Godfather. Mafia movie fans might find The Sopranos irritating, because it makes the sober-faced classics look dated. Those of us who don't take it so seriously can sit back and laugh.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Morgan, Kathleen
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 16, 1999
Words:348
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