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Media

Channel 514: Hey, what kind of French is that on the Sopranos?

Posted by MP / April 9, 2007

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The best show in the history of television is back, and consider me stoked. Especially when there's an undeniable local angle. Canadians, including Montrealers, tend to feel kind of funny when their country or, better, city is mentioned in a TV show or movie, so it's doubly gratifying when last night's episode featured a key plot twist centered around Montreal (presumably it's Montreal; I don't think Quebec City or Sherbrooke or St-Clin-Clin-d'Ben-Loin have as rich a criminal class as la metropole).

Much was made over the presence of two French-Canadian gangsters (played by Christian Laurin and Philippe Bergeron) and their proficient use of joual. And for once, thankfully, it worked. They had the language angle down perfectly (my favourite line was Denis calling Normand a "maudit d'épais" but pronouncing it "épah"). I've seen TV shows set in Montreal and I'm usually driven berserk when clueless producers use someone who speaks français de France.

One thing I did like about last night's episode was Bobby's reference to Montreal as an important point of entry for Italians arriving on New World shores. According to the 2001 census, Italians are the third-biggest ethnic group in Montreal, after Francos and Anglos. They're also expert at running a criminal empire. For an excellent book on the Montreal mob, I recommend this one.

But the more important plot twist was the murder in the laundromat. There's a vigorous discussion about the significance of Bobby's torn shirt, Harpo, Carmela's birthday blow job and the French Canadians here, here and here.
Bacala's proved his loyalty and competence, but there's no telling what kind of mental toll the Montreal murder will take as the rump season progresses.

One complaint: the husband was a drummer who's LEAVING Montreal to find work in Winnipeg? Ooh, swift kick to the verisimilitude.

Discussion

3 Comments

asmaa / April 10, 2007 at 03:33 pm
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i laughed at that winnipeg reference, too! as if ...
OJ / April 10, 2007 at 10:50 pm
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Apparently, we're also home to a wanted eco-terrorist - according to the Law and Order SVU episode tonight. I wonder if Montreal is ever referenced in a positive manner in any mainstream TV shows.
JKelly / April 18, 2007 at 06:34 pm
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My father - a musician - moved to Winnipeg from Montreal in 1977. Granted he's an anglo and that was then and this is now, but still... not completely unreal.
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