There's been a lot of hoopla about the impending end of The Sopranos. HBO's signature show has just five hours left before Tony, Paulie, A.J. and Vito Spadafore Jr. shuffle off to typecasting, reality shows, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and a nasty infection of the foot, respectively. Executives at the network are probably wondering how they will fill their schedule in the future but anyone who has kept watching the channel on Sundays after the mob drama ends knows they have the answer already in hand.
I'm not talking about Entourage. If it wasn't for people's unwillingness to change the channel immediately after The Sopranos ends no one would watch that horrendous show in the first place. But if you can make it past the homoeroticism and midgets to 10:30 you'll find the family that should replace Tony and Carmela's as the people you have Sunday dinner with. The Mayweathers are ready for prime time and after the show covering the run-up to Saturday's fight comes to a close, tonight at 9:30, the suits should figure out a way to keep the family on the air for as long as possible.
The show has already had more twists and turns, profanity and intrigue than The Sopranos and that's with one less episode in the bank. You've got Floyd Mayweather Jr., the greatest boxer in the world, who trains and lives in Las Vegas where he can pursue his three true loves in life - boxing, counting the money he makes from boxing and betting the money he makes from boxing. There hasn't been a more mezmirizing moment on all of television this year than the one where Floyd dances in a ring, throwing money at a camera while chanting "My name is Floyd, My name is Floyd, My name is Money, Mayweather."
If there has been a more enjoyable moment it's anytime Floyd Mayweather Sr. opens his mouth. The dreadlocked father of Floyd and former trainer of his opponent Oscar De La Hoya isn't afraid to let you know what he thinks about his son or his brother, Roger, who trains Floyd Jr. Actually, come to think of it, the most enjoyable moment may have been when Roger called into a press call with De La Hoya's trainer Freddie Roach. Slurring his words, as always, Roger asked for some inside tips about how De La Hoya would approach the fight and Roach told him to call back and speak English.
Both of the brothers have done time in jail and each one was a boxer in days past and there's some real animosity in Mayweather camp while Roger works with the son and pops stands in the shadows. Floyd Sr. is only going to the fight because he got a ticket from Oscar's camp. "He can go home in a rocking chair, I don't give a fuck," is the son's opinion on his father when dad expressed displeasure with what Uncle Rog said about him on the HBO show.
Floyd Jr. has never been shot by his father or his uncle, unlike Tony who caught a slug from Junior, but he has watched his father get shot in front of him. Like Tony, though, he's a villainous character that you can't help but love. De La Hoya is the real villain. He's a civilized, white collar fighter training in a tropical mansion and playing the trash talk with little of his heart in it. All of his head's in it though. Oscar knows that the animosity, even if he could care less, sells tickets but Mayweather is all raw emotion. He hates Oscar for the same reason everyone hates the guy who made it big on the back of things other than talent and that, plus the insane asylum atmosphere he obviously grew up in, makes him a somewhat sympathetic character.
Throw in Floyd Jr.'s own kids and their eventual, unavoidable trip toward their family profession and you have a show that's a mash-up of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under with it's criminal element, violence and focus on a family business you'd rather not get into but find yourself drawn to all the same. If you haven't seen it yet check out tonight's final episode and realize that as viewers we need a show like this to be on for reasons that have nothing to do with hyping the big fight. Based on the reports from yesterday's press conference, it's not going to be a disappointing episode in the least. How many times have you said that about the Sopranos this season?