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June 15, 2007 08:36am
Life Is an Onion Ring
Source: Courtesy of L.A. Xpress
by: William Margold

Bill Margold comments on junk food, the Sopranos, porn and how they all somehow related, taken from his column in the LA Xpress, Cinema Seen by William Margold.

I have never particularly liked onion rings.

Even at those suspicious looking eateries that brag about the quality of Their combination of dough and onions being blended into the "best" or "most delicious" or "can’t be beat" snacks…I’ve usually found the exterior not to be crusty enough (as well as tragically bland) and the interior to be way too soft or mushy.

Well… that was until some supremely symbolic onion rings were served during the last few minutes of the Sopranos as it ended its run on HBO.

Indeed those little golden circles were an absolutely perfect mini-meal for my mind to chew on…and in fact…I’m still chewing… as the pungent tastes cooked up by series creator David Chase, who wrote and directed the unbearably tense finale, are just starting to subside within the greatly appreciative confines of my starving to be satisfied sensibilities.

By now, almost anyone who gives a damn about giving a damn, knows that the Sopranos, and its magnetic center piece cum anti-hero, Tony Soprano (awesomely rendered throughout the series with cunning clumsiness by James Gandolfini), did not go out with a bang…or a whimper. He, and his series simply…beautifully…and magnificently stuck to the eternal spine of "family is everything" as they both went to black…and…silence…leaving the viewer gasping for air in a vacuum of wonder as the marble in his mind rattled about seeking the right number to land on---because if nothing else…life is a roulette wheel…or an onion ring.

For any number of very personal reasons--- including the ad of an adult film ("Deep Throat: The Quest Begins") in which I play a somewhat connected fellow named Bugsy Gunn, appearing in the Bada Bing office---I was lured into the series when it debuted back in 1999.

In 2000, I was given the recurring role of Buddy (who goes from bartender to hit man with a couple of stops along the lay), in the Sopornos---a cannily crafted hardcore homage to the Sopranos---by Rob Spallone, a fellow who was lucky enough to realize that he had apparently been born to play Bobby Soporno.

And since I’m fondly known in my circle as "The Bear"---although those who foolishly and jealously think of me in un-fondly ways lamely mock the ursine image---Tony’s bear like mannerisms during the show could not be overlooked. And neither could the remarkable similarity between a 2001 Tv Guide cover shot of Edie Falco (who glowingly portrayed Tony’s wife, the enduring Carmilla) and Gandolfini, and a not-so-cuddly publicity shot of me with my all-time favorite adult industry personality, Anita Cannibal, that was taken in 1997.

And when, a few seasons ago, Chase brought in Joe Santos (he eventually gets whacked), whose patience was perpetually tested by James Garner on the great late 70’s and early 80’s "The Rockford Files" on which Chase worked as a writer)---and with whom I had the honor and pleasure of playing touch football for many years during that time at 1100 Coldwater Canyon---I knew that my relationship with the Sopranos had been cemented, and of course, that such a relationship could not be taken lightly.

Which, of course, was impossible anyway, because before my cosmic brother, the Adult Entertainment Industry’s "Historian" Jim Holliday, not so gracefully exited life in December 2004, he would call me immediately after each episode, and we would analyze the numerous nuances and incredible insights within the hour that had just played.

And now I know why I sat there in the darkness of my living room, bathed in sweat, although it wasn’t very hot, smiling just a little bit, while at the same time sensing that I was sad---as the Sopranos became a piece of television history.

It was because Holliday wouldn’t be calling.

By the way: I don’t think that he liked onion rings…either.

But I think Jim would have been quick to gobble up the ones that David Chase was serving---as the Sopranos very gracefully became the basis for an eternity of "food for thought."


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