Cover image for A sitdown with the Sopranos : watching Italian American culture on TV's most talked-about series
A sitdown with the Sopranos : watching Italian American culture on TV's most talked-about series
Barreca, Regina.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, [2002]

Physical Description:
179 pages ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1992.77.S62 S58 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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With over 9.5 million viewers and in its fourth smash season,The Sopranoshas profoundly altered Americans' views of New Jersey, HBO, Sunday nights, and especially Italian American culture and life. The show has not been without critics, who have lambastedThe Sopranosfor presenting negative stereotypes of Italian Americans.A Sitdown with the Sopranosis an insightful and balanced reply to this criticism from some of the country's most important Italian American writers. Edited by Regina Barreca, an acclaimed writer, scholar, and national columnist, the book examines eight key components of Italian American life and considers how accurately the show portrays these topics.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

English and feminist theory professor Regina Barreca gathers eight Italian-American writers' thoughts on Tony and Carmela Soprano, family, psychotherapy and more in A Sitdown with the Sopranos: Watching Italian American Culture on TV's Most Talked-About Series. "The Italian American experience being spotlighted here is a reflection of all the other versions of itself... The Sopranos is about the human experience about all of us, about the struggle to find a safe place," she writes in her introduction. The essays that follow from Sandra M. Gilbert's "Life with (God)Father" to George Anastasia's "If Shakespeare Were Alive Today" offer intelligent commentary on how the show portrays (or fails to portray) some key components of Italian-American life. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

No television show since Norman Lear's All in the Family has inspired such an outpouring of academic books. The critics who wrote and contributed to these three books seem to agree that The Sopranos is on a par with the works of Dickens and could be even greater than Shakespeare's plays (Yacowar claims it is the best television series ever made; George Anastasia, in A Sitdown with the Sopranos, writes, "If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing for The Sopranos). All three books claim that the show is so superbly written, directed, and acted that it demands careful analysis to ensure readers will know and understand its place in the pantheon of the world's greatest plays and novels.All the contributors to Barreca's collection are Italian American and all claim that only Italian Americans can truly appreciate and understand the real meaning of The Sopranos. Contributors relate their experiences growing up Italian in the US and explain how some aspect of the story line and the characters (manhood, the role of women, the Catholic Church, etc.) should be understood from that experience.Lavery's book is the most scholarly of the three, which is both its strength and its weakness. The essays discuss the series' significance and popularity in terms of a new level of original television programming; the digital revolution; cable and advertising; and particular aspects of the show (e.g., gender, body image, psychiatry, gangsterism, place, language, intertextuality etc.). Some of the essays are insightful; others are ho-hum.Yacowar's thesis is simple: every episode of the series' three seasons must be appreciated in and of itself. Thus, he launches into an explanation and analysis of each of the 39 episodes. A tour de force for the author, a tour de torture for the reader. Though all three books help the reader understand why the show is so popular, many of the essays fail as criticism because the writer gets caught up in the story line and the characterizations--analyzing the series as real life and forgetting that it is soap opera fiction and written to be entertaining. ^BSumming Up: All are optional. Large academic collections; public libraries. R. Cathcart emeritus, CUNY Queens College