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The Sopranos: The Shrink Narrative And Its Significance

Remember Lorraine Bracco’s Dr. Jennifer Melfi who Tony Soprano had hots for? This psychology narrative from The Sopranos has more to it than what meets the eye.

David Chase’s brainchild, The Sopranos, came at a time when TV series had its limitations. Perhaps, it’s no exaggeration to call this show a talisman of HBO. The network giants made a killing out of this show, paving way for a generation of exemplary TV series. The major part of the show’s success is attributed to the fact that it was one with the mundanities of contemporary American zeitgeist. Not to mention, it delves heavily on the subject of psychology that was an aberration in itself.

The Sopranos: Psychological Narrative

The Wesleyan Argus calls the show’s psychological narrative involving the protagonist and a shrink worthy of a reexamination. David Chase drew an eclectic influence, before putting forth a show that was about to bring new outlook into the stigma. Needless to say, the show represents the beliefs and convictions through the end of 20th century and embarking into a new one. Mental illness was an enigma then and in desperate need of an addressing.

Tony Soprano, for his part, is a family man who found his niche as the New Jersey mob boss. Despite the occupational hazards, he has to confront his inner demons. The demons in question here manifests in the form of breakdowns that contradicts the criteria of a top guy. In that vein, Tony gets into an acquaintance with a psychiatrist who has a fair share of problems of her own. The interactions between the two, that runs parallel for an entire six seasons is quaintly insightful.

Despite the omerta that goes hand in hand with the gangsters, Tony is up front with Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Dr. Melfi, on the other hand, prescribes Prozac and takes to her counselling approach. Tony develops a penchant for her and fantasizes her. He breaks protocol and becomes a sucker for her ways. The Prozac use represents its rampant use in America during the early 2000s and it was David’s way of breaking the stigma. Moreover, Prozac deteriorates Tony’s mental health as much as it helps him during the breakdowns. The statement was made!

An enigma that was Tony Soprano.

The Sopranos: Mental State

Much before anyone gave prominence to mental state of affairs of the characters, David Chase did. He saw the stigma build around the mental health and thought it best to introduce it in his narratives. Perhaps, he wanted to show that the mental illness can influence anyone, irrespective of a mobster and a shrink. In that respect, Dr. Melfi was a survivor of sexual violence. Also, she was seeking counselling from a senior colleague herself.

The HBO series had an astounding run for eight years before calling it a day. A decade after its final episode aired, it still stands as relevant. The show commands respect for its exceptional standards and influence it had on subsequent TV series. There are those who improvise and then there are those who blaze a trail. The latter ones find a proud son in David Chase, of course.

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