Tony Soprano’s coma dream

My post yesterday about last seasons of “auteur” shows reminded me of something that’s bothered me for a long time: what’s the deal with Tony’s multi-episode dream when he’s in the coma in the first half of season 6? Feel free to castigate me in comments if you all had it figured out already, but it occurs to me that it’s the clearest possible example of a “meta” statement that detracts from the actual narrative — the sole function is to say that if we (the audience) dream of being Tony Soprano, his deepest dream is to be one of us.

This fits well with the theory that The Last Psychiatrist proposed as an alternative to my sociopath thesis: if what is appealing about Tony is his absolute and unshakeable self-identity, his radical self-consistency, his fantasy is to be a bumbling awkward guy who somehow fails to match up with his publicly recognized identity. From another perspective, if the men watching wish they could have constant access to casual sex like Tony does, Tony wishes he was the kind of guy who just couldn’t bring himself to betray his wife even in the most favorable possible circumstances.

Again, I’m sure my astute readers had already figured that out. If so, consider this a Sopranos open thread.

6 Responses to “Tony Soprano’s coma dream”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    I thought it was amusing how Tony had always, whenever Carmela suggested getting out of the mob, brought up the dread fate of selling patio furniture by the side of the road. His dream character, who is currently an optical hardware salesman for the MIC (how would Tony even know about the existence of such a sector of commerce?), if I remember correctly, started off by selling that very same furniture.

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Ha, nice connection. As I mull this over further, it seems like there’s some kind of connection with the notion of growing up, which the mob won’t let any of them actually do (viz., “Uncle Junior,” notably the one who attacks him). The fact that his therapy switches from fixing the panic attacks to “impulse control” also fits here — he basically reenacts the scene where he abruptly interrupts his attempted adultery with the woman who wants to put a Jamba Juice (or whatever) in the place of the butcher shop.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I wonder if Vito’s journey to New England to enjoy Johnny Cakes and his eventual return are meant as a kind of echo of Tony’s dream and return.

  4. gerrycanavan Says:

    My recollection is that the dream was framed as Purgatory, or even Hell, much more than a paradise. I didn’t take it as wish-fulfillment except in a rather specific sense (not married to Carmela; not having just been shot).

  5. G Waller Says:

    Do you know Alex Schulman’s piece on this from the Cambridge Quarterly? Worth a read, I think.

  6. Adam Kotsko Says:

    That’s a great article.

Comments are closed.