Christine's Homework Page






























































 The Notorious Mafia Family (can you think of a good title cause i think this one stinks) I don't have one yet.  I thought about "Family Values" or "Obscenity and Truth"... I think you don't have a title yet because your paper is still a little fuzzy.  You need to focus on the premise -- that there is something redemptive in a show that some people think has no redeeming qualities.  So I also thought of something like "Redemption, Sopranos Style".  Wish I had something better, but that's the best I can do for now.      Every Sunday evening, at 8:00 ( what time and day does the show

come on?i didnt know)
(It's on several times.  I watch it on Sunday nights at 9 p.m.  I believe that's the first time you can see it on HBO unless you have a dish.)  I rush to my couch for the moment I have been waiting for all week.  I sit back and relax as I watch the best television show ever created.  (You should probably say "what I believe to be the best television show ever created" because that's a subjective determination -- my Grandmother thought "Touched by an Angel" was the best television show ever created.)  This show is "The Sopranos", which is a popular HBO series depicting the life and times (I'd cut "and times" and say "depicting the lives of an organized crime family in modern day New Jersey." That's a little cleaner.  I'm a fan of making the writing as clean and easy to read as possible.)  of a modern day organized crime family, living in New Jersey. Watching this show is a great experience for me but some groups of people think that it is unacceptable to watch. (You need to be specific -- what "groups of people" and how do you know?  More on that later...)  Some people are appalled by "The Sopranos" because of the violence, nudity and profanity.  For example, my grandmother was disgusted a scene she witnessed (Do you have a good example I could use in this part? Like Tony killing someone...something graphic) (He killed his best friend by beating him to death; in an earlier episode he strangled a guy with his bare hands.  Of course, I could come up with ten scenes per episode that would upset your grandmother!)  as she watched an episode. She feels it is unhealthy for anyone to watch such graphic violence.
 
Okay...Here are some thoughts on structure...
 
It might help if you think of an English paper like a science project.  If you were going to report on  an experiment, you'd do it like this:  Part One: "Here is what I set out to prove:  If you throw an ice cube into boiling water, it will disappear in an average of 6 seconds.  Part Two:  I took ice cube #1 and threw it into the pot.  I recorded that it took five seconds to disappear.  I threw ice cube #2 into the pot and recorded that it took seven seconds to disappear.  I then added the five seconds to the seven seconds and got twelve seconds.  I divded that by two and the answer was six seconds, which is the average time it took an ice cube to disappear.  Part 3:  Having conducted this experiment, I can now state with authority that it takes ice cubes an average of six seconds to disappear in boiling water, and won't the world be a better place with the advent of such knowledge!
 
So here's what you did:  you stated your premise.  You gave specifics on the evidence that you used to come up with a conclusion.  You then restated your premise in the form of a conclusion.  That's all you have to do to write an essay.
 
Here is your premise, as I understand it:  Some people are offended by the Sopranos, but I think its strengths redeem the show from its offensive nature.
 
Part two:  Here is an example of who is offended, and why.  Since you've said "some people", you don't want to then just explain why your grandmother is offended.  You want to structure it cleanly:  Group A is offended because X.  Group B is offended because X.  (Quote some actual examples and statistics.)  Even my grandmother is offended, because X.
 
Part three:  Explain why these people shouldn't be offended, one at a time.  But before you do that, you need a transitional sentence to explain your own opinion (which is contrary to theirs) before you refute theirs.  For example:  I believe that all of these groups are wrong, and that The Sopranos is not only worth watching, but is actually, in a certain sense, a very moral show.
 
Part four:  Why the Italians are wrong: blah blah blah
 
Part five:  Why the People Opposed to Bad Language and Violence (including my grandmother) are wrong: blah blah blah
 
Part six:  The moral center of the show is its creator David Chase.  Here's a bunch of stuff about him.
 
Part seven:  In my opinion, here is what makes the show worth watching: XY and Z. 
 
Part eight:  Some nice wrap-up sentence or paragraph.
 
I hope that makes sense.  Basically you state your premise, defend your premise (in several steps, with examples and details and facts and quotes) and then you conclude, and you're done.
 
Here is what your outline would look like:
 
A.  The Sopranos is a show that some people find offensive, but I think they are wrong.
     1.  There are several groups who are offended.
     2.  The Italian-Americans are offended because XYZ.
     3.  My grandmother and other squeamish types are offended because XYZ.
  
B.  I think the show is not at all offensive; in fact, I think it has its own moral code.  Even its view on the Italian-Americans is complex and non-offensive.
 
   1.  Here is why the Italian-Americans are wrong.
    2.  Here is why my grandmother and the people who agree with her are wrong.
 
C.  Conclusion
 
The sex and violence are not added for the shock value.  They are incorporated into the show for authenticity.  As I see it, the story of the contemporary Italian American mafia family might not be as realistic without the strong language, sex and murders.

Another area of controversy surrounding "The Sopranos" is its stereotypical portrayal of Italians -- as if all Italian families have ties to organized crime. Several towns in New Jersey have banned production of the series, claiming that "The Sopranos" gives Italians a bad name.  (Can you find names of the towns?  Can you find a quote from the mayor?  Search for specifics on the internet.)  I do not agree with this reasoning.  This show is a fictitious portrayal of one Italian American family and makes no claim to represent all Italian
American families, or even an average one.  The creator of "The
Sopranos", David Chase, is an Italian American himself.  Chase
reveals in an interview how he feels about people who are offended by his show.  "Its bizarre," he says, "It makes you wonder, what is so
tenacious about it?  I think it comes out of shame, actually.  These
people dont feel good about the fact that theyre Italian."

      The mastermind behind "The Sopranos", David Chase has previous credits that include "Ill Fly Away", "Northern Exposure" and
"The Rockford Files".  In addition to his credits, Chase has won an
array of Emmys and Golden Globes, and has done an almost flawless (Again, this is subjective.  I can say "almost flawless" because I'm a television producer and I know what that means.  You might want to substitute "incredible job" or something like that) job of producing "The Sopranos" for four seasons now.

The production value of the "The Sopranos"  adds to the general
excellence of the story telling.  Karen Hall
(Hall or Walker i wasnt sure if

it mattered?) (I go by Hall in my professional life)
executive producer of (the CBS series) "Judging Amy",  described how the creators of "The Sopranos" can be as free as they want to when shooting each scene.  "What happens is that they write all the shows for a season before they start shooting, instead of writing as they go, as most shows do.  That means when they board the show, they can shoot all scenes that take place in one location in one morning," she explained.   (I changed a period to a comma after morning.  Also, you should probably say ine one day instead of in one morning.)

(should I make this next paragraph a new one or stick it with the last

one?) (I think it's okay as part of the same paragraph.  Whenever I use "for instance" or "for example", I keep it in the same paragraph.)

For instance, there was a scene where Carmela (If your teacher doesn't watch the show, she doesn't know who Carmela is.  You should say "there was a scene where Carmela Soprano, wife of mob boss Tony Soprano) saw a friend of hers working in a grocery store, handing out samples. There was no dialogue. On a regular network show they cannot afford to go to a grocery store, pay to use the store, light the store for film and hire all those extras for a short shot with no dialogue. But since they have already written the entire season, they might shoot that shot and then do some other big scene in a grocery store that is going to happen five episodes from now, and that way they can afford the tiny, no dialogue scene. (Make that "the short scene with no dialogue.  I wasn't trying to be literate when I wrote you all that stuff!)  Little things like that make "The Sopranos" so much better then any other series.   (Better how?  Richer?  More detailed?  The purpose of that grocery store scene was for Carmela to see a friend of hers working at the store, as the lady who passes out samples.  The friend was a mob wife whose husband had died, so the scene was powerful because Carmela was obviously looking at the woman and realizing that if something ever happened to Tony, she could be the lady passing out samples -- which would be quite a change from her current cushy lifestyle!  It's a simple fact of drama that anything you can get across to the audience without words is incredibly powerful.  And that's what makes that little scene so amazing.  Like I said, I could never do that in network television.)

Another unique aspect about "The Sopranos" is that the show keeps the audience guessing. Anything may happen at any time. Since
the show was conceived as a short term project (5 years at 13 shows per season is pretty short term by television standards), they can afford to kill off regular characters all the time. It works well for the stories they tell, because a lot of what makes the show fun to watch is that you never know what is going to happen. You never know who is going to get murdered by the end of the season.

Ultimately, we learn more about humanity from a truthful story told
well then wed (we'd) ever learn from an obscenity - free lie set in a world that doesnt (doesn't) exist.  (You probably want to state that as an opinion, too.)  Groups may think that "The Sopranos" is an unhealthy television show to be watching, but the storyline (storylines) would not be as authentic if the script was edited.  Fans know that every part of the show is wonderful.  Without certain aspects, the show would not  be as great as it is.  (I'd say every aspect of the show is wonderful.  Without the authenticity, the show would not be as great as it is.)
What you should add:  some stuff about the good values of the show:  the dedication to family and the loyalty to friends.  How Tony is concerned about his children, and doesn't want them to be in the family business when they grow up.  Also, part of what makes the show redeemable is that Tony is a haunted mobster.  He is literally haunted by the friends he has killed.  He goes to a shrink and lives on Prozac and worries about everything.  He is not a sociopath, he is just living by a code of ethics that his father taught him.  And he knows that the things he does are wrong.  He just can't find a way out.

Works Cited"The Sopranos". Writ. David Chase. Perf. James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco. HBO. USA. 1998.
http://www.fadeinonline.com/chase/interview/chase.html The Fade in Interview Made Man
 
That's all I've got for now.  Good luck!