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Signoffs - Classic Series Finales

"Oh, I went ahead and ordered something for the table" - The final words from episode No. 86 "Made in America" on the series finale of the popular crime drama THE SOPRANOS/HBO/1999-2007.

The Soprano family (Tony, Carmela and Anthony) wait for Meadow to arrive for dinner - THE SOPRANOS

The final moments of this New Jersey mafia-based series are set in Holsten's, an ice cream parlor/eatery located at 1063 Broad Street in Bloomfield, NJ.

As Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) enters, he looks around the room then takes a booth and waits for his family members to arrive. While he waits, Tony flips through the table-top juke box and selects the song "Don't stop believing" by Journey.

As the song begins, Tony's wife, Carmela (Edie Falco) enters the restaurant, finds her husband, says hello and sits on the opposite side of the table. Carmela picks up the menu that Tony just placed on her side of the table and says nonchalantly, "What looks good, tonight?" Tony replies "I don't know" and they sit quietly.

Then Tony ask where's Anthony Junior? His wife replies, "He just called. He's on his way. Meds' (Meadow) coming separately. She had to go to the doctor. Switch birth control." Tony smirks. Then Carmela asks, "Did you talk to Mink again?" in regards to a decision relating the family lawyer. Tony looks up from his menu and says 'It's Carlo. He's gonna testify."

All the while, we are shown scenes of other people in the restaurant (young lovers, a group of cub scouts, strangers). Some are seated. Some enter the joint. Some pass by Tony's table. Some appear normal, Others suspicious, possibly even threatening. Because of Tony's recent dealings with the New York "Family" and the FBI, he's a potential target for a hit, so he is very wary of his situation.

Anthony Junior "A.J." Soprano (Robert Iler) arrives at the restaurant and sits next to his mother. He looks off to a waitress and says "onion rings."

Anthony's mom asks "How was work today? and he complains about the mundane nature of the job at Little Carmine's production company (getting coffee, answering phone calls). His mother advises, "You may not realize it, but your are making contacts." Tony Sr. adds, "It's an entry level job, so bug up." Tony adds don't be sarcastic.

Anthony relents and says "Alright, focus on the good times." Tony warns, "Don't be sarcastic." Looking at his father, Anthony says "Isn't that what you said one time. Try to remember the times that were good" Tony Sr. asks "I did?" Looking at his wife, Tony says, "Well, it's true I guess."

Meadow Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) still hasn't arrived. She was having difficulty parallel parking her car outside the restaurant. Meanwhile, the waitress drops off three glasses of what appears to be a cola beverage with a straw in each glass. Junior takes a sip from his glass. The camera cuts back and forth from the restaurant to Meadow's multiple tries to line up her car properly. Her license is show as 39F LG (last letter not readable).

A waitress delivers a basket of fried onion rings to the table and Tony announces, "Oh, I went ahead and ordered something for the table."
Tony, Carmela and Anthony each grab an onion ring from the basket and eat it.

Outside, Meadow finally parks her car, runs across the street and approaches the entrance of the restaurant. The camera cuts back to the table.

As the song lyrics from the juke box begin to say "Don't stop believing", we see a close-up of Tony, apparently looking to see if his daughter is coming. Suddenly, the bell on the entry door rings and the screen goes black. A few moments pass and we see the credit: Associate Producer MICKIE REUSTER, followed by list of guest stars.

The ending of the series was very controversial. Many viewers believed that Tony should have been punished for his crimes. Many anticipated a shoot out in the restaurant where Tony and possibly his whole family would have been killed. But there was not such slaughter, just the silence and the forbidding blackness of a TV tube.

Some folks not satisfied with the original finale made their own. Many of these were posted on YOU TUBE website. One shows the exterior of the restaurant, then flashes of light as the sound of six-gun shots echo from inside the eatery.

TRIVIA NOTE: In 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton, the then candidate for the Democratic party presidential race, did a parody of the Sopranos ending for a campaign ad.

As in the final scene of the SOPRANOS, Hillary enters a restaurant and takes a table. She is followed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. When Hillary asks where is Chelsea, Bill says she is "parallel parking." When the waitress delivers food to the table it's not onion rings but carrot sticks. Hillary says, "I ordered for the table." Bill isn't happy with the healthy entree." No Onion rings?" Sympathetic, Hillary says, “I’m looking out for you."

The commercial was a front for choosing a campaign song for the campaign. When Hillary was about to reveal the name of the song, the screen went black then the message: "Find out the winning campaign song at: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/song."

The ad spot was timely, and cute, but in the end, Hillary lost the election race to Senator Barack Obama. A lose that was probably as controversial as the closing scenes of the SOPRANOS.


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