Is “The Sopranos” a chick show?

From, “Why an ultraviolent drama about a New Jersey mafioso paints a more nuanced portrait of women than anything you’ll find on Lifetime,” by Rebecca Traister. She concludes:

Perhaps it is the tense power seesaw between Tony and Carmela that makes them vibrate like tuning forks when they are in the same room; or maybe it’s just some great chemistry between Gandolfini and Falco. Either way, every scene they have together feels intimate and familiar. Barreca agrees: “Those scenes were like listening to your parents fight, when you’re both horrified and compelled to keep listening. I couldn’t believe that she was willing to go as far as she was. I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and rock back and forth. I didn’t feel a sense of feminist triumph.”

So it may not be empowering. But it is engrossing, and confusing, and genuine. And who said that good female narrative has to be empowering, anyway? Better that it be smart and give us something complicated to chew on. “That’s why the show is such a treat,” says Barreca. “You get so tired of being served the dishes you’ve helped to prepare. It’s so good when someone makes you something you’ve never tried before.”

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