I stole this exquisite salad (the idea, not the actual salad) without asking from the Asti ristorante in Hyde Park. Roast some beets. Slice some cara cara oranges. Douse with a mixture of balsamic and blood orange vinegar. Add blue cheese, chopped mint, salt and pepper. A triumph.
The official Twisty preparations for screening the polygamy-is-grand show “Big Love” commenced on Sunday. I made a TV dinner of gazpacho and beet salad, and tuned to HBO an hour early so I wouldn’t forget to watch. Whereupon I beheld what was called the “season premiere” of “The Sopranos.”
It is off-putting that TV has “seasons,” and that these seasons appear to correspond to no distinguishable calendar whatsoever. Call me an old cynic, but to me the word connotes weather and agriculture and infinity, and an abiding, ancient sort of relationship to the earth’s position with regard to the sun, and that bloody fucking Vivaldi from which no American is ever really safe, rather than 6 endlessly repeated episodes of lite Hollywood entertainment revolving around asshole characters and misogynist themes. But there you are.
Prepending the Sopranos season premiere was a montage of the actors in glamorous clothes striking poses for tilted cameras at some unidentified red carpet event. This went on for a pretty long time, and because the actors were allowed to make unscripted speeches about their characters, was unbearably dull. My obstreperal lobe began to yearn idly for “Evil Dead 2.” To have watched the severed hand scuttle across the screen and squeeze the life out of those pointless gasbag celebrities would to me have been joy complete. That this pleasant scenario failed to transpire set off in my brain the release of the hormone ennuitine that would eventually dump me in the lap of Morpheus, which semi-minor deity is as one with my lime green recliner when the TV is on.
But not before “The Sopranos” proper commenced. I haven’t watched “The Sopranos” in a couple of years (seasons?), but it didn’t matter. The best thing about that show is the opening titles. Tony still breathes loudly through his nose in order to convey his primitive dark torment (somebody get that dude some Breathe-Rite strips already), some guy gets whacked, some young couple still wants out of the mob but is trapped by the Unwritten Law, some guy still yells at his wife and throws something breakable at a wall while an innocent child cringes, and Carmella still yearns. Yearns for what? Possibly a manicurist who is not a psychopath. Bo-ring.
Call me an old cynic again, but I dislike watching guys wrap other guys in plastic, throw them in trunks of large cars, and shoot them in the head. I realize that this aspect of The Sopranos—shocking amorality roiling beneath a thin veneer of socialization—is what gives the show its celebrated gravitas or whatever, but if I have to watch blood-curdling male posturing on TV I’d rather it be a PBS documentary about chimpanzee cannibals.
Anyway, the next thing I knew, it was 3 in the morning, and the dog Bert, who does not love me according to any human definition, was shoving a stuffed toy Canada goose in my wazoo. I had entirely missed “Big Love.” I won’t lie to you. I was kind of relieved.
Lest you come away from this fluffy post with the inaccurate notion that I have bailed entirely on my masochistic “Big Love” project, let me reassure you that I did finally watch the episode in question last night during one of its ceaseless reprise performances. My pithy analysis will follow shortly.