Friday, May 18, 2007

Flash! Ex-clu-sive!

I've just learned how the final season of The Sopranos ends. Or should I say begins? (I have my sauces, I mean sources.)

For, in the final episode of the series, Tony, Carmela and Uncle Junior go into the Federal Witness Protection Program, move to Phoenix, learn to scuffle, and begin life all over as. . .The Bevelaquas, which also just happens to be the name of the new half-hour sitcom that The Sopranos evolves into.

A running gag in the new series finds "Phil" (i.e. Tony) constantly forgetting to call Carm by her new name, "Briana." Each time Tony, I mean Phil, slips up, it's signalled by a long Boingggggg! heard on the soundtrack and then an inevitable close-up of a pointedly miffed Carm---Boingggggg!----I mean Briana.

Much of the humor in the new series involves situations that arise out of the now totally gaga Uncle Junior (called "Uncle Mike" here) wandering off and getting into scrapes at Early Bird Specials and church Bingo parlours, with Carm and Tony (oops) Briana and Phil finding him just in the nick time before he blows the whistle on their new identities. Uncle "Mike's" new love interest is played by Charlotte Rae, best remembered as the house mother in the series, Who's Your Sister?

The FBI agent saddled with keeping things on track is played by Leslie Jordan. You'll probably remember him from Will and Grace as Beverly Leslie and the movie Sordid Lives as Tammy Wynette. Somewhat ironically, his character's name IS Tony, which results in further hilarity, i.e., "I wasn't talking to you!"

A occasional parallel storyline finds TJ (Justin Timberlake) and Meadow (Ashley Simpson) and those few other survivors of the old series still back east attempting to figure out what's happened to Tony and Carm. An especially hilarious entry in the series finds the kids believing that their folks have been abducted by aliens. What follows is a hilarious fantasy sequence reminiscent of the old TV series Mr. T and Tina, in which we find Tony and Carm-----Boingggg!---I mean Phil and Briana, outfitted with antennae and bug eyes, acting out a scene from The Sopranos as it might be done on Mars: "Take me to your godfather."

The Bevelaquas will not be seen on HBO, though they had first refusal rights, but on NBC. In the new series, the roles of Tony and Carm/Phil and Briana (Gandolfini and Falco passed on reprising their roles) will be played by Dom DeLouise and Cloris Leachman.

The Bevelaquas will air Wednesday nights right after the new sitcom, Captain Ahab: "Two distant cousins---a naive Southern girl (Tori Spelling) and a streetwise Vegas showgirl (Parker Posey) inherit their uncle's New York townhouse, a lot of money, and Capt. Ahab, a ninety-year-old talking parrot. To keep the money, the two cousins have to live together and care for the smart-mouth parrot (the voice of Michael Richards)."

Not since The Ugilies!

Hope I don't get whacked for disclosing this. Bada-Bing!

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