The Sopranos lives! Or, at least, Meadow and AJ Soprano still do, in a Super Bowl commercial helmed by none other than Sopranos creator David Chase, in which Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler reprise their roles as Tony Soprano’s children, Meadow and AJ.
The involvement of Chase (and, for that matter, original Sopranos director of photography Phil Abraham) may not exactly place the Chevy Silverado commercial into official Sopranos canon, but it’s as close to a sequel to the iconic HBO gangster drama as we may ever get. (Well, it’s this or the cemetery scene at the beginning of The Many Saints of Newark.) And since I’ve spent most of my professional life obsessively analyzing all things Sopranos, how could I resist giving this ad the full Zapruder film treatment?
Here are the crucial takeaways from 60 seconds of bonus Sopranos content:
Meadow and AJ survived that fateful dinner at Holsten’s
Chase is never going to come right out and say whether Tony lived or died in the famous final scene of The Sopranos (though he came awfully close in The Sopranos Sessions). But if you subscribe to the theory that the guy in the Members Only jacket burst out of the men’s room at Holsten’s ice cream parlor to pump a few bullets into Tony, then there is entirely a chance that AJ (seated at the booth with Tony and Carmela) and/or Meadow (opening the door into the restaurant right as the scene cut to black) were collateral damage of this hit. But this Chevrolet-funded coda posits that both are alive, well, and happy to see each other.
Meadow doesn’t care about countersurveillance
The bulk of the ad recreates the Sopranos opening credits sequence, with Meadow driving her electric Silverado out of the Lincoln Tunnel, and around various spots of New Jersey’s Hudson, Essex, and Union counties. Tony, though, was paranoid about electronic government surveillance — he often had important business conducted by pay phone, and in one episode told an associate to log off his computer because “that ‘cookies’ shit makes me nervous.” Meadow’s truck, though, comes with wi-fi and a full suite of apps that would make both the vehicle and the conversations inside it much easier to track, and she’s using an electronic E-ZPass tag to get onto the New Jersey Turnpike. If Agent Harris or anyone else at the local FBI office wants to follow her movements, she’s made it very easy for them.
The sights have changed a bit
For the series’ first three seasons, the credits included a shot of the Twin Towers in one of Tony’s rearview mirrors. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened before Season Four was filmed, and Chase removed that shot from later seasons. Here, we can see the Freedom Tower (which opened seven years after Sopranos ended) in Meadow’s passenger-side window. Meanwhile, when she passes her father’s old stomping grounds at Satriale’s, the pork store’s signage boasts “No Antibiotics” — a marketing choice that Tony, Paulie Walnuts, and friends no doubt would have mocked or tried to remove back in their day.
Sometimes, a cigar is not a cigar
Where Tony puffed on one of his stogies during that original drive home, Meadow opts for a lollipop as her oral fixation.
Meadow still doesn’t know how to parallel park
Among the tensest parts of the Holsten’s scene from the series finale is Meadow’s seemingly endless difficulty parallel parking outside. Here, when she arrives at her destination, she conveniently finds a head-in spot in front of the charging station. Could she have backed in a big truck like that? Almost certainly not.
The Sopranos siblings remember Whitecaps
Meadow is meeting AJ by Bahrs Landing, a famous seafood restaurant in Highlands, New Jersey. (It’s also the place where Dickie Moltisanti and Giuseppina enjoyed a meal — among other things — late in Many Saints.) Highlands is only a few miles up the road from Sea Bright, the town where Tony briefly bought a shore house for himself, Carmela, and the kids in the classic Season Four finale “Whitecaps.” The episode ends with Tony (who has been kicked out of his own home and marriage by a fed-up Carmela) backing out of the purchase, but Meadow and her brother clearly took to the area.
Finally, AJ approves of Meadow’s choice of an environmentally-friendly car
AJ greets Meadow with a smile and a hug, no doubt pleased that she finally came around after once complaining about his proselytizing on behalf of hybrid vehicles.
— No Context The Sopranos (@sopranosnocnxt) January 28, 2019