A show about corrupt figures who parasitically try to squeeze illicit profit from the system, The Sopranos itself seems a target of attempts to glom on to its fame as a successful TV series: attempts by media executives, marketers, critics and writers, and even presidential candidates. “Everyone wants a piece of Sopranos action,” says Polan, and he traces the marketing of the series across both official and unauthorized media platforms, including cookbooks, games, DVDs, and the kitschy Sopranos bus tour. Critiquing previous books on The Sopranos, Polan suggests that in their quest to find deep meaning, many of the authors missed the show’s ironic and comedic side.
Dana Polan is Professor of Cinema Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He is the author of several books including Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film, Jane Campion, Pulp Fiction, and Power and Paranoia: History, Narrative, and the American Cinema, 1940–1950.