Can "The Sopranos" be "The Sopranos" without violence, nudity and the F-word? Yes and no. A&E, naturally, says viewers will barely notice...
Can “The Sopranos” be “The Sopranos” without violence, nudity and the F-word?
Yes and no.
A&E, naturally, says viewers will barely notice a difference when the basic cable network launches reruns of David Chase’s blockbuster HBO drama. Back-to-back episodes will start Jan. 10, it has announced.
The mobbed-up “Sopranos” “is so well-written and so well-acted, it doesn’t rely on language, violence and nudity to carry story arcs,” says Tom Moody, A&E’s vice president of program planning.
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“It overcomes any of those little obstacles.”
“Those little obstacles” are part of “Sopranos”‘ DNA, many say.
Like Michael Imperioli’s Christopher or Tony Sirico’s Paulie beating some man (or woman) to death. And liking it. Like James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano delivering an obscenity-laced tirade to his mistress or one of his soldiers.
“One of the things that makes ‘The Sopranos’ ‘The Sopranos’ is that, when it chooses to, it can be so ruthlessly, uncomfortably violent,” says Bob Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television.
“When you take it away, you’re making it something different. You’re emasculating the nastiness of these people. … The language is very important because it’s so ugly and aggressive. To some extent, if you tame the language and violence, you tame the characters.”
Not to worry, says A&E’s Moody.
Looking ahead to international distribution and domestic syndication, HBO initially shot alternative “cover” scenes from different angles and with tamer dialogue, he says.
One example: On premium HBO, viewers routinely see topless dancers gyrating behind Tony in the Bada Bing. On A&E, the shot might focus on Tony’s face, eliminating dancers from the frame.
In all, less than one minute — and no full scenes — will be edited from each of the 77 episodes, an HBO rep says. “The Sopranos’ ” final nine originals on HBO will most likely debut in early April.