Ron Rosenbaum

The Most Intriguing Moment on The Sopranos, So Far

What was the full-length version of that idiot Rozerem commercial doing in the last episode? You know, the sleeping pill ad whose premise is that the familiar figures of your dreams miss you because of your insomnia, so you need to drug yourself back to their drowsy embrace. The one which depicts said dream figures as Abe Lincoln and what seems to be (I’m not a zoological expert) a beaver(!)?

Does anyone dream in such obvious symbols? Is the prospect of returning to a dream world populated by such symbols really enough to drive one to drug oneself into insensibility? Wouldn’t it rather cause one to seek out some counter-sleep drug like provigil to avoid the possibility of ever encountering these apparitions?

But even more puzzling, yet genuinely, esthetically intriguing is the decision of the writers to offer it in full on a tv screen in the “A.J. attempts suicide” episode. We see the stunted pasty-faced little creep (has there ever been a less sympathetic character despite all the last minute efforts of the series to make him seem geopolitically aware?) watching tv in the dark. And there on the tv is Abe and the Beav shilling for Rozerem. The tv-within-tv scene leaves out only the brand name of the pill.

So what gives? Are the Sopranos writers trying to say something about the idiocy of commercial tv they’ve escaped? It’s got to be more than just telling us A.J. has insomnia. Is it another moment of self-recognition by the Sopranos writers: we’ve abused symbols (those ducks!) and dream sequences enough.

Could they be suggesting that the stupidity of the Rozerem ad had a role in driving A.J. to suicide?

It’s not like it’s keeping me up at night, but if somebody has a better idea, I’d like to hear it.