"The morning of the day I got sick I'd been thinking... it's good to be in something from the ground floor..."
I first learned about The Sopranos at NPR's old headquarters. I was new to my job, to any office job, and people in the building were talking about the show, apparently passing around VHS tapes. I asked to be put into the queue. Two people were ahead of me. When at last I received the tapes I found myself fall ill, spend four weeks at home with a high fever. This was the first time that James Gandolfini came into my life. Every day, I had something to do while I rested, healed, that I loved. Books sat unopened, I shared the show (show? superfilm?) with my visiting father. Eventually, I got better, returned the tapes, asked for more, signed back up for HBO. Now, when I look at The Sopranos scripts -- and a better version of this comment came originally from an astute friend, Will Berson, in conversations we would have about the show -- I see that despite the show's great writing (a show about millenial America, about watching, about the now, about entropy), it was the acting that made it, especially in its early seasons when it was lighter. That acting was lead by Gandolfini, in practicality and in purity of spirit, and today, I return to watching Sopranos episodes, often just for the enveloping performances, for Gandolfini's life-affirming,selfless devotion to his art. The watching will go on.--Adam Baer, www.adambaer.com