''Sopranos''

La Vito Dolce

Meadow gets engaged, but that's not the real shocker. Nope, not by a long shot, says Liane Bonin

James Gandolfini, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, ... | DADDY'S GIRL Meadow is in some serious denial about her father and his cohorts
Image credit: The Sopranos: Barry Wetcher
DADDY'S GIRL Meadow is in some serious denial about her father and his cohorts

Meadow's engaged, but that's not the real shocker

Before we get to the meat of last night's episode (divorce, betrayal, engagement, yada yada yada), let's just dwell on that golden moment when Vito popped up his head from a certain security guard's lap to give Finn (a.k.a. Joe Perry Lite) the old hairy eyeball.

Considering that the only thing we've ever seen this guy get passionate about is a ripe jelly doughnut, the only development that could've been more shocking than the idea of Vito getting jiggy with another man is if he'd revealed he'd started teaching Jazzercise classes at the local Y. I know it's too much to hope for, but wouldn't it be great if Vito came roaring out of the closet in the series finale, planted a big wet one on Tony, and suggested they start a life together in West Hollywood? If the ensuing panic attack wouldn't kill ol' Tones, nothing would.

And let's talk about those annoying panic attacks, which keep boomeranging back into the story line like acid reflux disease. While it's hard to believe Tony never spilled this key bit of information to his shrink before, at least this awkwardly divulged plot nugget explains why Tony Uncle Al (Steve Buscemi) is still alive and limping after offing Joey Peeps and edging the already tense Little Carmine/Johnny Sack situation closer to nuclear holocaust.

Seriously, could this guy be a worse poster boy for prison rehabilitation? One sniff of his cousin's Jersey McMansion and Mr. Mellow Massage Therapist was seething with greed, gambling like Ben Affleck, and itching to shoot a hooker in the chest for easy money. If he really has a 158 IQ, you'd think he'd be able to read the writing on the wall -- it's time he started playing smart, which really means playing by Tony Soprano's rules. No, the prince of panic may not be the brain trust in the family, but he's not the don for nothing.

But speaking of none-too-bright Sopranos, could someone please give Meadow a good, hard shake? While Joe Perry Lite's proposal was trés romantique (um, I'm really tired, but I feel this, like, really strongly?), maybe deciding to run off into the sunset with the guy you've been arguing with for the last 10 hours does not bode well for your future together.

And really, what woman in her right mind wants a weenie who talks about ''process'' and ''abundant intentionality'' when what he's really saying is ''I am so scared of one of your extended family members I was about to pack a suitcase, get on a plane, change my name, and hide in my parent's basement until I am positive this big, scary, and apparently gay guy decides he'd rather shoot/date someone else''?

Don't get me wrong, JPL (hey, just like ''American Idol'' -- and equally dorky!) isn't a bad guy, but he clearly isn't cut out for the Sopranos lifestyle. While Meadow coolly rattles off a master's thesis statement to rationalize her bloodthirsty clan, her honey got the dry heaves just seeing a guy take a bottle to the face. And if Meadow ever sees the way JPL looks at his pre-puke nursemaid Felicia (who seems like a less intelligent, less interesting version of his very own girlfriend), he may be the next guy getting a beer bottle in the puss.

While this episode had some priceless moments (I'm just hoping someone brings some little yellow marshmallow chicks to that Peeps headstone before it comes down), the best line of dialogue was uttered by Carmela. ''You have options; I have a lawyer,'' she coldly intoned after her holier-than-thou daughter urged her to stop sponging off Tony (hey, pot with Daddy's charge card, meet kettle!) and start over.

To discover that not only is Carmela short on options, she's completely out of luck when it comes to legal assistance was, though not entirely surprising, pretty devastating. Like that big, black bear (yeah, yeah, David Chase, we get the metaphor, can we get the ducks back?), Tony is always going to be loafing around the pool, scaring the neighbors, and picking nits out of his fur. And we wouldn't want it any other way.

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Originally posted May 03, 2004
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