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June 11, 2007

The Sopranos: Is ISO 9000 training for the family in order?

The Sopranos was HBO's masterwork. It started in 1999 and ran its 86th and final episode last night. Yeah, Tony and his family survived. The best television series ever came to an end--but you didn't really think HBO and Chase Films was going to kill off movie sequels along with the family, did you?

Like a genuinely responsive law firm, a winning litigation strategy or a successful American political campaign, Tony and the Soprano crime family either prospered or perished--and lived or died--on the family's "rapid response" apparatus working or not working well. Last night Tony and what's left of his crew put it all together at the last moment.

But they were getting cocky, sloppy and slow to react.

So "now" the clan from New Jersey badly needs a firm retreat. And to consider an ISO 9000-like continuous improvement model, some training, performance auditing and a new plan so they will be ready in the future--if only in the ether of our imaginations--to ward off evil-er forces and make some serious scratch. Enough said.

On a personal note, I never saw this show until it show entered its third season--and then I caught up quickly. In fact, and setting a bad example for fellow TV-weaned baby boomers, I have watched close to zero network or cable "series" television over the past 40 years. It's not a matter of having good taste or loving Leaves of Grass or The Upanishads more. Rather, it's because hardly any of the shows over the years have been interesting, exciting or funny. Some are even painful for a human to watch. I viewed Friends and Seinfeld in their heydays for 10 or 15 minutes each and was disturbed for days, especially by the portrayals of the male characters. But The Sopranos was an exception. It was well-written, intriguing, different, fast-moving and, most of all, the funniest television show ever made. Somehow real. Disturbingly American. And always hilarious.

Posted by JD Hull at June 11, 2007 12:59 AM


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