Last night was a huge programming dilemma for me as the 61st Annual Tony Awards went head to head with the finale of The Sopranos. Fortunately my decision was made for me by my viewing companions who did not share my unbridled passion for the theAYter ( know, crazy). However, thanks to DVR, I have seen both broadcasts and therefore feel fit to make a final call in the BATTLE OF THE TONYS (TONYS TONYS TONYS TONYS)!
::Ding:: Round 1 - Suspense
If one thing can be said for The Sopranos swan song, it is that it kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Everyone had such blood-thirsty expectations that every time Tony crunched on an al dente piece of ziti, we were all quivering and peering to see where the bullet came from. David Chase exploited our nail nibbling, depends desiring selves with what, in retrospect, I think was directing brilliance. While I could have asked for a better soundtrack (Really? We had to listen to 80 percent of a Journey song to end the series forever?), Chase showed the Soprano nuclear unit gathering, one by one, almost in slow motion. Each person passing in a car while Meadow parallel parked like she was Uncle Junior, or each person on their way to the restroom was given just enough camera time to make us think they were going to be the gunman that ended it all. That nervousness that we felt for just 5 minutes is what the Soprano clan can expect for the rest of their lives.
Meanwhile, at the Tonys Spring Awakening and The Coast of Utopia won a combined 15 out of 25 awards. Duh. Zero suspense.
ROUND ONE THE SOPRANOS!
::Ding:: Round 2- General Entertainment Value
For the male members of my dictionary definition, blue collar, New York suburban family who have watched The Sopranos religiously for doses of machismo and titties at Bada Bing, perhaps watching Phil Leotardo's head get squished by an SUV was entertaining. I covered my eyes.
Good old Uncle Paulie, however, did not disappoint. In my opinion, his visit to the kids table at dinner (where he unbottoned his pants) and claims to have seen the Virgin Mary at the Bing were priceless.
The Tonys gave America the chance to fall in love with Christine Ebersole's Little Edie as she serenaded us with "Revolutionary Costume." The Tonys let an even wider
audience of America's youth move on from Rent as they saw the magic of Spring Awakening. And it was so. rewarding. to see an obviously shocked and touched David Hyde Pierce win the Tony for his role in Curtains. He thanked his partner of 24 years, which I am pretty sure he did each time he won Emmys...yet he was only openly gay as of last week. Please. Maybe David can give some advice to poor, little Mark Indelicato who has been turned into a gay icon before he has even finished puberty. Inappropriate much?
But I digress. The Tonys were a thrill and a half and chock full of beautiful moments.
ROUND TWO THE 61st ANNUAL TONY AWARDS!
::DING:: Round Three- Overall Sentimental Value
Going into last night's finale, saying goodbye to the goombahs that have entered our living rooms and hearts for the last sevens seasons was anticiated as something that was going to be hard...maybe a little sad. Instead, the show cut out so abruptly, that across America, millions were cursing their cable boxes and companies. I don't think anyone has pulled a stunt like this since Andy Kaufman (I forget the show, but he had "TV SNOW" inserted for 30 seconds, making everyone watching think their TV broke).
Conversely, the Tony Awards feel like a big family getting together again. Awww. Granted, it does appear there are lots of people crashing to date. If you are a C List celebrity that once thought about attending a Braodway show, they enlist you as a presenter in order to raise theater's profile. But then Bernadette Peters and Harvey Fierstein come out to present together, and you know all is right in the glorious clique that is the theater community.
It is also nice to have a nationally broadcasted awards show on a network known to skew old and conservative in viewers have men getting on stage and thanking their partners and husbands and supportive parents that gave them Judy Garland records when they were younger (Thanks, Michael Mayer).
ROUND THREE THE 61ST ANNUAL TONY AWARDS!
That means, according to Modus Tollens logic, The Tonys win the Primetime Battle of the Tonys. Booyah.