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Sopranos a Dangerous Gig

I keep hoping that some character in "The Sopranos" will suddenly look up from his linguini and acknowledge the obvious: "This is really dangerous, being on this TV show." Tony's little mob needs to hire an actuary just to review the show's mortality rate. So many people get shot, decapitated, carved up, imprisoned, or keel over from clogged arteries that the viewer fears the show will run out of characters altogether. For some reason I bet the last guy standing is Silvio. Because of the bullet-deflecting helmet-hair.

Last night we saw one guy in the mob try to get out. He inherited money, wanted to retire to Florida. But there are no smooth exits from the family or the show. The guy was clearly stamped as this episode's sacrificial lamb. You wanted to scream at the TV: "Run for your life!" This was the equivalent of the obscure Star Trek crewman who beams down to an alien planet with Kirk, Spock and Bones. On first glimpse you know he's dead meat.

Meanwhile, everyone's suddenly weight conscious and trying out a new diet. Tony's been eating too much sushi and winds up with a heck of a bellyache. Tony's thesis: Your friends will let you down, and so you can only trust family. Unless your uncle is delusional and packing a pistol. Jeepers this is a violent show. It might make you long, just a little, for the kind of television we had in the old days, like "The Dick Van Dyke Show," because you knew Rob Petrie was very, very unlikely to get shot in the season premiere. (Though it did seem as though Morey Amsterdam was always on the verge of being rubbed out.)

[In the Post, Shales raved about the new season and David Segal explained how characters beg for their lives when told by David Chase that they're about to be killed off.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 13, 2006; 6:57 AM ET
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