The Sopranos: Born Under a Bad Sign
Published: June 2014© 2014
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 336 Pages
Dimensions: 6.03 x 9.00
336 Pages, 6.03 x 9.00 x 0.76 in
Often hailed as one of the greatest television series of all time, The Sopranos is a product of its time, firmly embedded in the problems of post-industrial, post-ethnic America. In The Sopranos: Born under a Bad Sign, Franco Ricci examines the groundbreaking HBO series and its impact as a cultural phenomenon.
Ricci demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of the series, the genre, and their social context in his analysis of the show’s complex themes and characters. He explores The Sopranos’ deep engagement with problems of race, class, gender, and identity, specifically in its portrayal of the Italian-American experience, consumer and media-driven society, and contemporary psychosocial issues. The series’ protagonist, Mafia boss and patriarch Tony Soprano, in many ways embodies the anxieties of our age. Focusing on Tony’s internal struggles and interactions with his therapist, family, and associates, Ricci traces this archetypal character’s existential conflicts and sheds light on his search for self, connection, and meaning.
Comprehensive in scope and sophisticated in approach, The Sopranos: Born under a Bad Sign is richly rewarding reading for anyone with an interest in the popular television drama, both as entertainment and social commentary.
Introduction: “Coming Heavy”: Revisiting, Rereading, Rethinking The Sopranos
1. Inner Sanctums
2. When I Grow Up I Want to Be an American
3. God Help the Beast in Me
4. Two Tonys: Drawing Conclusions from Mediated Mob Images
5. An Appendix of Verbal Bits and Visual Bytes
‘Ricci’s book is a carefully considered and detailed study with an exhaustive and nuanced understanding of the show.’James McNamara, Australian Book Review, January-February 2015
‘Franco Ricci’s The Sopranos: Born under a Bad Sign provides an interesting take on a controversial, but much-heralded, television series…. It is an important read for those interested in psychoanalysis, social commentary, history, and American popular culture.’Nick Giorgio, H-Italy December 2014
‘The Sopranos is a unique, extended meditation on Chase as auteur… This book should be of interest to students and scholars in film/television studies, media studies, Italian American studies and related fields. Ricci’s analysis also stands as a useful and usefully extended, case study for those interested in semiotics, mass media, and aesthetics.’Michael R. Frontani, Italian American Review winter 2015
‘Ricci’s study is compelling, innovative, and even surprisingly moving.’Liz Roberts, Media Education Journal vol 57:2015
“The Sopranos: Born under a Bad Sign stands out among the books already devoted to the series. Ricci knows the show extremely well, and his readings of The Sopranos in light of contemporary debates about censorship, identity, and class are compelling.” Dana Renga, Department of French and Italian, The Ohio State University
“Franco Ricci’s The Sopranos: Born under a Bad Sign marks the first major study in this decade of one of television’s greatest dramas, and it was worth the wait. Ricci’s knowledge of the series is profound and his insights – ideological, aesthetic, cultural – are multifarious and original. By the time I had reached the final page of this erudite, accessible, and well-written investigation into the small screen’s finest contribution to the mob genre, I was ready to break out my Sopranos boxed set and start binge-watching the primary text again.” David Lavery, editor of 'Reading The Sopranos' and 'The Essential Sopranos Reader'