22 June 2013

My Tribute to James Gandolfini (As Published in the Inquirer)

Thanks to Inquirer's Pam Pastor for granting me the space. :)

I wrote this hours after the news broke out. Pam sent a message asking if I would like to write a letter. I wanted to say many things that I could've geeked out about The Sopranos or sounded too emotional. (Dammit, I was crying the whole day!)

Instead, I came up with this.

I hope it made sense.

Because I still cannot believe this happened.

To the Boss ---

Your death comes as a shock to me. It feels personal because I’ve spent the better part of last decade following “The Sopranos” and I was one of those captivated by your portrayal of the head of the Family.

Minutes after your death, the LA Times wrote this: “Without Gandolfini's Tony Soprano, there would be no Don Draper, or Walter White, or Vic Mackey.” I read years ago that “The Sopranos” ushered the Golden Age of Television, where you’ve made Tony Soprano an iconic figure. Badass, flawed, and unapologetic --- you embodied this character so well, it wasn’t really hard to embrace his badass-ery, demons, faults and all. 

Lucky for those of us who have witnessed your talent watching your show. But it’s still sad to accept that your life is too short.

It still hasn’t sunk in: Tony Soprano --- James Gandolfini is gone.

I want this sad news to be so much to be like how your show ended, with cool but simple fade-to-black, giving viewers the power to draw their own conclusions. All those years, I had assumed life went on for the Sopranos and nobody died. And for six years after the show aired its last episode, that was what I truly believed.

Until today.
My letter, published in PDI June 22, 2013.

Your death seemed to seal the fate of one of my most beloved TV characters. It just got real.

I will never see you in another movie or TV show again and exclaim to myself, “Ahh, Tony!!! See? You’re still okay!” because you are truly gone. No more fade-to-black this time. 

But I will be forever grateful that you’ve made watching TV such a pleasure and a gratification, and for that, you will not be forgotten.

Buonanima, Mr. Soprano! You truly were one of the greats. 

With so much respect,