The Soprano effect

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No doubt there were those genuinely moved by the Sopranos — apparently by the millions. It may please them to think of Tony as a tragic figure, if one placed in a setting different from the classical or Shakespearean drama. Much like Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.” But on balance, as an exercise in art or at least wit, I’d take “The Simpsons.”

Maybe the best we can do in our quest for the spiritual these days is, much like Tony Soprano, consult some monotone neighborhood shrink. After all, ours is The Therapeutic Society. So maybe “The Sopranos” is indeed our masterpiece, our contemporary “Tempest,” or at least “Great Gatsby” — the best we can do. If so, that says much more about us than about masterpieces.

Paul Greenberg is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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