Made in America (The Sopranos)
|"Made in America"|
|The Sopranos episode|
The Soprano family meeting for dinner at Holsten's.
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||David Chase|
|Written by||David Chase|
|Produced by||David Chase|
|Cinematography by||Alik Sakharov|
|Editing by||Sidney Wolinsky|
|Original air date||June 10, 2007|
|Running time||58 minutes|
"Made in America" is the twenty-first episode of the sixth season of the HBO television drama series The Sopranos and the series finale. It is the eighty-sixth overall episode of the series and the ninth episode of the second part of the sixth season, which was broadcast in two parts with a break after the twelfth episode. It was written and directed by series creator, executive producer and showrunner David Chase. It first aired in the United States on June 10, 2007.
The plot of "Made in America" details the aftermath of the mob war between the DiMeo crime family—headed by series protagonist Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini)—and the New York-based Lupertazzi family. Tony also has to deal with many familial concerns involving his wife Carmela (Edie Falco), son A.J. (Robert Iler) and daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler). As the series comes to a close, several characters make personal and professional adjustments.
"Made in America" was filmed in February and March 2007 and marks the first time Chase has directed an episode since the pilot. It attracted 11.9 million viewers on its premiere date. The initial critical response was mostly favorable and since the episode's original broadcast that appreciation has grown considerably, ranking it as one of the best television finales. The episode was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award and won an Emmy Award for writing and an Eddie Award for editing. "Made in America" and its closing scene have been the subject of discussion, criticism and analysis; parodies of the final scene have also appeared in other works of popular culture.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi *
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti *
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado "Junior" Soprano
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Walnuts
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri *
- Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo
- Ray Abruzzo as Little Carmine Lupertazzi
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
- Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
* = credit only
Guest starring 
- Ricky Aiello as Raymond "Ray-Ray" D'Abaldo
- Frank Albanese as Patrizio Blundetto
- Gregory Antonacci as Butch DeConcini
- Carl Capotorto as "Little Paulie" Germani
- Max Casella as Benny Fazio
- John Cenatiempo as Anthony Maffei
- John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia as Albie Cianflone
- Michele DeCesare as Hunter Scangarelo
- Michael Drayer as Jason Parisi
- Frank John Hughes as Walden Belfiore
- Michael Kelly as Ron Goddard
- Geraldine LiBrandi as Patty Leotardo
- David Margulies as Neil Mink
- Angelo Massagli as Bobby Baccalieri, Jr.
- Peter Mele as George Paglieri
- Arthur J. Nascarella as Carlo Gervasi
- Donna Pescow as Donna Parisi
- Joseph Perrino as Jason Gervasi
- Anthony Ribustello as Dante Greco
- Daniel Sauli as Patrick Parisi
- Matt Servitto as Dwight Harris
- Jenna Stern as Dr. Doherty
- Emily Wickersham as Rhiannon Flammer
In the aftermath of the mob war that left top members of his crew dead or injured, Tony wakes up in the safehouse where he and his closest associates have taken up residence. Tony meets with FBI Agent Dwight Harris (Matt Servitto) to exchange information. However, Harris refuses to provide Tony with Phil Leotardo's (Frank Vincent) location. Tony visits his family at a separate safehouse where they are now living. The FBI closely monitors Bobby Baccalieri's funeral, which Tony and his crew attend. Phil talks to Butch DeConcini (Gregory Antonacci) and expresses anger over Butch's failure to kill Tony.
Agent Harris calls Tony and reveals that Phil has been using pay phones in Oyster Bay, Long Island. This information is intimated to have been from a female agent that Agent Harris had just slept with. A sit-down between the warring crime families is arranged. Tony and Paulie Gualtieri (Tony Sirico) meet with Butch, Albie Cianflone (John "Cha Cha" Ciarcia) and Little Carmine (Ray Abruzzo) of the Lupertazzi family and they negotiate a truce which includes payment to Bobby's children for his murder in the previous episode. Butch refuses to provide Tony with Phil's location but tells him, "You do what you gotta do." Tony's crew surveils gas stations with payphones in the area, but they are initially unable to locate Phil.
With the truce agreed, Tony returns to his North Caldwell home and life begins to return to normal for Tony, his family and his crew. The exception is A.J., who, after watching his SUV explode after a pile of leaves set it afire, decides to join the U.S. Army. Tony and Carmela discuss this turn of events with A.J.'s therapist and Tony also talks about his own life and childhood. Tony and Carmela distract A.J. from his military ambitions by getting him involved in producing a movie with Little Carmine's production company and supplying him with a new car. Meadow and Patrick Parisi (Daniel Sauli) plan their wedding.
Eventually, Benny Fazio (Max Casella) and Walden Belfiore (Frank John Hughes) encounter Phil at a gas station and Walden murders him with gunshots to the head and chest, while his idling SUV, left in drive, rolls over his head, crushing it. FBI Agent Ron Goddard (Michael Kelly) notifies Agent Harris of Leotardo's death, causing Harris to exclaim, "Damn! We're gonna win this thing!"
Tony visits the comatose Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) in the hospital. Tony's lawyer, Neil Mink (David Margulies), informs Tony that Carlo Gervasi is testifying to a grand jury and that Tony is likely to be indicted. Tony later visits his uncle Corrado "Junior" Soprano (Dominic Chianese) at the state mental hospital. Because of his Alzheimer's disease, Junior barely recognizes Tony and becomes confused when Tony tries to remind him of his involvement in "this thing of ours". When it becomes obvious to Tony that Junior has little to no memory of their history, he abruptly leaves with a tear in his eye.
Tony then meets his family for dinner at Holsten's, a local diner, arriving first. Carmela arrives second and Tony verifies that Carlo Gervasi (Arthur Nascarella) is going to testify against him and the DiMeo Family. A.J. then arrives and the three talk for a while with AJ reminding Tony of when he said to "remember the good times" such as the family moment they are currently sharing. A man, who has been intermittently staring at Tony as he sits there, gets up from the counter and heads to and enters the restroom. As Meadow enters the restaurant, Tony looks up and the screen smash cuts to black and silence. After ten seconds, the credits roll silently, leaving his fate and his family's a mystery.
Showrunner David Chase planned the series ending and the final scene during the 21-month hiatus between seasons five and six, a long break HBO had granted him. The final scene was filmed almost exactly as Chase had envisioned. It was not intended as a setup for a future film, although Chase later commented "[t]here may be a day where we all come up with something," regarding a possible Sopranos feature. It was then-HBO chairman Chris Albrecht who suggested to Chase to conclude the series with the sixth season.
As with every episode of the season, the plot outline of "Made in America" was developed by Chase and his writing staff, which for the final season consisted of three writing entities: executive producers Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner and supervising producers and writing team Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider. Frequent episode director Tim Van Patten also provided Chase with some storyline suggestions. After the episode's story had been outlined, Chase wrote the first draft. After some input from his writing staff, Chase revised the script to its finished state, although he also made minor changes during filming. "Made in America" is Chase's thirtieth and final official writing credit (including story credits) and his ninth as sole writer (his first since "Join the Club", the second episode of the sixth season).
Chase included allusions to real-life American Mafia history and events in the script for "Made in America", something he is well known for. Specifically, the line "Damn! We're gonna win this thing!", spoken in the episode by the character Dwight Harris after being informed of the death of Phil Leotardo, alludes to former FBI supervisor Lindley DeVecchio. DeVecchio famously uttered the line after being told that Lorenzo "Larry" Lampasi had been shot to death in front of his Brooklyn home and was later charged for informing the Mafia on various accounts, another parallel to Tony Soprano and Dwight Harris.
"Made in America" was directed by Chase and photographed by Alik Sakharov. The two served in the same capacities for the pilot episode, "The Sopranos", which was filmed in 1997. The series finale marks the second time Chase has officially directed an episode of The Sopranos, although as showrunner, he would oversee the direction of most episodes throughout the show's production. "Made in America" marks the thirty-eighth and final credit for Sakharov as director of photography.
Principal photography commenced in late February and concluded in late March 2007. Exterior scenes and certain interior scenes of "Made in America" were filmed on location in Bergen County, New Jersey and in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York City, New York. Additional interior scenes—including indoor shots of the Soprano residence and the back room of the strip club Bada Bing!—were filmed in a sound stage in Silvercup Studios, New York, where most such scenes of the series had been filmed. The final scene of the episode was filmed in late March 2007 at Holsten's Brookdale Confectionery, an ice cream and candy shop located in Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Bloomfield Township Council initially tried to stop HBO from filming in the town because "[they] found the HBO mob drama offensive to Italian-Americans" and voted to deny the production company a filming permit. However, as the council had no authority to stop filming in the town as long as the crew met the requirements stated in Bloomfield's code for filming crews, a permit was later issued. As the show's producers needed to ensure that plot details of the ending would be kept a secret until the airdate, the scripts given to the crew members had their final pages removed. The final scene of these edited scripts was the one in which Tony is raking leaves outside his house, a scene that occurs 10 minutes before the real ending in the final cut. Chase received compliments for this scene from people who thought it was the real ending.
"Made in America" was edited by Sidney Wolinsky, one of the show's three editors, under the supervision of Chase. Chase originally wanted the black screen at the end of the episode to last "all the way to the HBO whoosh sound," meaning that no credits would roll at the end of the episode, but did not receive a waiver from the Directors Guild of America to do so.
Cast notes 
Maureen Van Zandt, who plays Silvio Dante's wife Gabriella Dante on the show, is billed in the opening credits for this episode only (her real-life husband, Steven Van Zandt, plays her screen husband, Silvio). The characters Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), and Bobby Baccalieri (Steven R. Schirripa) do not appear in "Made in America" but the actors who play them are still listed in the opening credits.
- You Keep Me Hangin' On by Vanilla Fudge is heard when Tony wakes up at the beginning of the episode, shortly thereafter when Dante drives Tony to see his family, and later when Phil is at the gas station.
- Denise by Randy & the Rainbows is heard when Tony and Paulie are waiting for Agent Harris at the airport.
- The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi is heard at Vesuvio's during Bobby's wake.
- It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) by Bob Dylan is heard when AJ and Rhiannon listen to the song in the car.
- I Dreamed, I Dream by Sonic Youth is heard when Tony and Uncle Pat talk in the back room of The Bing.
- Pretty Little Angel Eyes by Curtis Lee is heard when Paulie is spooked by the cat at Satriale's.
- I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Creedence Clearwater Revival is heard when Tony offers Paulie a promotion.
- The Jam by Larry Graham is heard when Neil Mink tells Tony bad news in the The Bing back room.
- Scratch Your Name by The Noisettes is heard AJ leaves work and picks up Rhiannon from school.
- The Lifeboat Party by Kid Creole and the Coconuts is heard when AJ and Rhiannon watch TV.
- All That You Dream by Little Feat is heard when Tony arrives for dinner and is waiting for his family.
- Don't Stop Believin' by Journey is heard when Tony plays the song on the jukebox.
During the final scene, while Don't Stop Believin' plays, the scene cuts to black near the end of the song, precisely after the phrase "Don't stop." Journey's lead singer Steve Perry initially refused to let David Chase use the song until he knew the fate of the leading characters and did not give final approval until three days before the episode aired. Perry feared that the song would be remembered as the soundtrack to Tony's demise until Chase assured him that would not be the case.
According to Nielsen ratings, "Made in America" was watched by an average of 11.9 million viewers on its United States premiere date Sunday June 10, 2007. This was a 49% increase from the previous episode and the show's best ratings for both parts of the sixth season. It was also the show's largest audience since the season five premiere.
"Made in America" received mainly favorable to semi-favorable initial reviews from critics while early fan reception was mixed to negative, described by one critic as "a mixture of admiration and anger". During the weeks following the episode's original broadcast, "Made in America" and its closing scene in particular became the subject of much discussion and analysis. Several new interpretations and explanations of the ending were presented in magazines and on blogs, which led many critics and fans to reevaluate the ending.
Marisa Carroll of PopMatters awarded "Made in America" a score of 8 out of 10 and particularly praised the final scene as one of the best of the series. Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle called the episode "[a] perfect ending to a perfect TV series." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called "Made in America" "the perfect ending" and wrote about the final scene, "On shock of that cut to black, the marvelous way it got you to roll the scene over, again and again, in your mind's eye. Rather than bringing the series to a close, that blackout made The Sopranos live forever." Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle characterized the finale as "[a]n ending befitting genius of Sopranos" and wrote that "Chase managed, with this ending, to be true to reality [...] while also steering clear of trite TV conventions." Frazier Moore of the Associated Press called the episode "brilliant" and wrote that "Chase was true to himself." Kim Reed of Television Without Pity gave "Made in America" the highest score of A+ and praised it for staying true to the show. Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger called the finale "satisfying" and wrote that the episode "fit[s] perfectly with everything Chase has done on this show before." Chicago Tribune critic Maureen Ryan's first review was mixed; she criticized the final scene for not providing any closure. Ryan later wrote "Chase got me totally wound up, then ripped me away from that world. I was really mad at first [...] I still think what Chase did was, all due respect, kind of jerky. But minutes after the finale ended, I started laughing."
Retrospective reviews of "Made in America" have been positive; the episode has been included on several lists of the best series finales of all time. Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger wrote in an essay analyzing the finale one year after its original broadcast that he felt the episode was "brilliant". In 2009, Arlo J. Wiley of Blogcritics wrote "by focusing on that last ambiguous parting shot from creator David Chase, we run the risk of forgetting just how beautifully structured and executed an hour of television 'Made in America' is" and ranked it as the eighth best series finale ever. Also in 2009, Stacey Wilson of Film.com named "Made in America" as one of the 10 best series finales of all time and wrote "Crude, rude and no time for emotional B.S., this finale was a delicious end to a show that reveled in the ugliness of humanity." TV Guide included "Made in America" in their "TV's Best Finales Ever" feature, writing "What's there to say about this finale that hasn't already been said? The much-anticipated closer had everyone waiting to see if Tony was finally going to go from whacker to whackee. Instead, they got Journey, a greasy plate of onion rings and a black screen. But, the fact that we're still talking about it proves—for better or worse—that the episode did its job."
In 2007, "Made in America" won an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. It was the only category the episode was nominated in. This is the third and final time series creator/executive producer David Chase has won the award for his writing of the series. In 2008, Chase was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award in the category of Drama Series (Night) but lost to fellow Sopranos director Alan Taylor, who won for directing the pilot episode of Mad Men, a series created by former Sopranos writer Matthew Weiner. Also in 2008, Editor Sidney Wolinsky won an American Cinema Editors Eddie Award in the category of Best Edited One-Hour Series for Non-Commercial Television.
Interpretations of final scene 
The final scene of "Made in America" became the subject of much discussion, controversy and analysis after its original broadcast. The use of an abrupt cut to black followed by several seconds of silence led many viewers to initially believe that their cable or DVR had cut out at a crucial moment. Opposing interpretations soon emerged among viewers regarding the ultimate fate of series protagonist Tony Soprano, with some believing that he was killed while others believe that he remains alive. One argument for the former points to a conversation that Tony had in the midseason premiere episode "Soprano Home Movies" with his brother-in-law Bobby, in which Bobby comments on how suddenly and without sound death can happen in their lives as gangsters: "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?" A flashback to this scene also appears in the final minutes of "The Blue Comet", the episode preceding "Made in America". When questioned on the theory, HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer stated that the conversation is a "legitimate" hint. The final scene showing a man credited as "Man in Members Only jacket" who goes to the bathroom has been interpreted as a nod to a scene in the The Godfather, in which Michael Corleone retrieves a gun from the bathroom before shooting his enemies to death. Speculation has also linked the jacket to the title of the opening episode of the season, "Members Only", in which Tony is shot and also as a symbolic reference to membership of the Mafia. Actor Matt Servitto told Entertainment Weekly that in the script, the scene continued with the man in the Members Only jacket emerging from the washroom and starting to walk towards Tony's table before the screen cuts to black, but he preferred the ending that made the final cut of the episode. Contrary arguments about the ending's meaning have also been made. It has been suggested that the final scene means that while life is fraught with fear and danger, it nevertheless goes on. The lyrics of the closing song are thought to support this. Supporters of this interpretation point out that because of Tony's peace agreement with the Lupertazzi family and their tacit sanction of a hit on Phil, there was no legitimate basis to expect a hit on Tony. However, as it has been mentioned in the conversation between Bobby and Tony in the midseason-premiere about the threat of getting whacked: For guys like them, "it's always out there."
Comments from David Chase 
Chase has made various comments about the finale but has avoided providing an explanation to the meaning of the final scene. In his first interview after the broadcast of the finale with New Jersey paper The Star-Ledger, Chase stated,
I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there. No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God. We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people's minds, or thinking, "Wow, this'll piss them off." People get the impression that you're trying to fuck with them and it's not true. You're trying to entertain them. [...] Anybody who wants to watch it, it's all there.
In an interview conducted by Brett Martin several weeks after the finale's original broadcast, Chase shared his views on the final episode and the reaction to it. On the fans of the show and the demand for an unambiguous and definitive ending, Chase remarked,
There was so much more to say than could have been conveyed by an image of Tony facedown in a bowl of onion rings with a bullet in his head. Or, on the other side, taking over the New York mob. The way I see it is that Tony Soprano had been people's alter ego. They had gleefully watched him rob, kill, pillage, lie and cheat. They had cheered him on. And then, all of a sudden, they wanted to see him punished for all that. They wanted "justice." They wanted to see his brains splattered on the wall. I thought that was disgusting, frankly. [...] The pathetic thing—to me—was how much they wanted his blood, after cheering him on for eight years.
Chase also made comments about the purported lack of finality in the final episode:
This wasn't really about "leaving the door open." There was nothing definite about what happened, but there was a clean trend on view—a definite sense of what Tony and Carmela's future looks like. Whether it happened that night or some other night doesn't matter.
On the future of the Soprano children, Chase said,
A.J.'s not going to be citizen-soldier or join the Peace Corps or try to help the world; he'll probably be some low-level movie producer. But he's not going to be a killer like his father, is he? Meadow may not be a pediatrician or even a lawyer, but she's not going to be a housewife like her mother. She'll learn to operate in the world in ways Carmela never did. [...] Tiny, little bits of progress—that's how it works.
On moments during and after the final scene, Chase referred to a scene from the episode "Stage 5":
There are no esoteric clues in there. No Da Vinci Code. Everything that pertains to that episode was in that episode. And it was in the episode before that and the one before that and seasons before this one and so on. There had been indications of what the end is like. Remember when Gerry Torciano was killed? Silvio was not aware that the gun had been fired until after Gerry was on his way down to the floor. That's the way things happen: It's already going on by the time you even notice it. [...] I'm not saying anything. And I'm not trying to be coy. It's just that I think that to explain it would diminish it.
Chase also addressed the widespread opinion that the open-ended finale was insulting to the show's longtime fans:
I saw some items in the press that said, "This was a huge fuck you to the audience." That we were shitting in the audience's face. Why would we want to do that? Why would we entertain people for eight years only to give them the finger? We don't have contempt for the audience. In fact, I think The Sopranos is the only show that actually gave the audience credit for having some intelligence and attention span. We always operated as though people don't need to be spoon-fed every single thing—that their instincts and feelings and humanity will tell them what's going on.
At the 2008 TCA Awards, held on July 22, Chase commented,
I wasn't going to do this, but somebody said it would be a good idea if we said something about that ending. I really wasn't going to go into it, but I'll just say this...when I was going to Stanford University's graduate film school and was 23 [years old], I went to see Planet of the Apes with my wife. When it was over, I said, "Wow...so they had a Statue of Liberty, too."
In a November 2008 interview with Entertainment Weekly's Steve Daly, Chase stated "There's more than one way of looking at the ending. That's all I'll say." In a December 2008 radio interview with Richard Belzer, Chase was more specific about the ending and referred to scenes from "Stage 5" and "Soprano Home Movies" in relation to the final scene.
Aspects of the "Made in America" episode—particularly the final scene—have been widely parodied. Shortly after its original broadcast, the ending was spoofed in a promotional video produced by the Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential campaign, which former The Sopranos actor Vince Curatola appeared in. The ending was referred to during the opening act of the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 16, 2007, performed by Family Guy characters Brian and Stewie and in the Family Guy episode "Lois Kills Stewie", which aired on November 11, 2007. The January 31, 2008 episode of The Celebrity Apprentice, "The Croc and the Rat", featured a parody of The Sopranos' ending after contestant and former The Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore was fired by Donald Trump. "Made in America" is parodied in the series finale of the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, "Everybody Hates the G.E.D.", which premiered on May 8, 2009. In the final scene of that episode, the title character and his family members individually arrive at a local diner, while the Bon Jovi song "Livin' on a Prayer" plays on the jukebox. The ending was parodied on the May 23, 2010 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! as a facetious alternate ending to Lost. Actors Tony Sirico and Steve Schirripa appeared as themselves on the Sesame Street special, Elmo's Christmas Countdown, in which The Sopranos' ending was spoofed.
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- Richard Belzer: I was working with Steve Schirripa recently. We were judging Last Comic Standing for NBC and we were talking about a lot of different things, obviously. And he was saying that he heard all these theories about the show that weren't, had nothing to do with what your intention was or what any of the actors thought. Like little hints along the way. Like a word. Like when Tony and Steve are on the boat at the lake and they say "you can never know it's gonna happen" or "you never know when it's gonna hit you." / David Chase: That was part of the ending. / Richard Belzer: Oh, it was? You see, what do I know? Are there other things that were in previous episodes that were a hint towards it? / David Chase: There was that. And there was a shooting to which Silvio was a witness. Well, he wasn't a witness, he was eating dinner with a couple of hookers and some other guy who got hit and there was some visual stuff that went on there which sort of amplified Tony's remarks to Bacala about, you know, "you don't know it's happened" or "you won't know it happens when it hits you." That's about it.—Belzer, Richard; Chase, David (2008-12-12). "Belzer and David Chase interview". Premium Air America. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
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- "Made in America" at HBO
- "Made in America" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Made in America" at TV.com