George J. Ames '37:   Financier and   Philanthropist
Those Were the Days,   My Friend!


Roar, Lion Roar!

Nicole Marwell '90
Mignon Moore '92
Joshua Harris Prager   '94
Cristina Teuscher '00

Meadow Soprano, Where Are You?

By Alex Sachare

Meadow Soprano
Meadow Soprano '04
(Jamie-Lynn Sigler)

I love The Sopranos. More accurately, I enjoy watching the adventures of this dysfunctional family and Tony's mob cohorts on HBO each Sunday night, and wish they could produce more than 13 new episodes a year. Perhaps I find it so fascinating and entertaining because the show provides a titillating look at a slice of American society that is so foreign to me. At least, that's what Dr. Melfi might say.

Yet try as I might this school year, I never ran into Meadow Soprano shlepping her laundry bag across campus so she could bring her clothes back home to New Jersey to be washed. Columbia's most famous first year (our apologies to Julia Stiles, Anna Paquin, and 1,000 or so other highly accomplished if less publicized teens) was nowhere to be found - not in University Food Market, not on the ramps of Lerner, not even in the crowds squeezing into the Hamilton elevator between classes. And her dorm room sure didn't look like the Carman Hall I remembered, or any other Columbia dorm, for that matter.

So what's the story? Enquiring minds want to know - so we contacted the feds, who offered to have a team of agents place a wire in a lamp in Low Library so we could listen in on negotiations between the Sopranos' production company and Columbia administrators. The sound was a little fuzzy, but we think the conversation went about like this:

Sop: We'd like to shoot, I mean, film some scenes on campus - exteriors, Meadow's dorm room, maybe a classroom or two. Of course, the University will be well compensated for any disruption to normal campus life, if you get our meaning.

CU: We certainly do and we'd like to cooperate, but we're somewhat sensitive to how you might use the University in your story lines.

Sop: Hey, whassamadda? You don't like us giving Meadow a neurotic roommate? Or maybe you didn't like her half-Jewish, half-African American boyfriend who drove her father up a wall? Perhaps you don't like the way we described Columbia's fund-raisers as "Morningside Heights gangsters?"

CU: Well, frankly, no, we don't. And we're concerned that your characters, dialogue and plot development may not be consistent with the image of Columbia we like to portray to prospective students and their parents. To say nothing of alumni donors.

Sop: So you want us to cut the bit about her getting her bike stolen on campus? But the smirk on Tony's face when he found out it was taken by a black guy - hey, you gotta admit that was good.

CU: Yes, it was, and of course, we of all people do not advocate censorship of any form. But perhaps it would be best for all concerned if you did your shooting, er, filming, elsewhere.

Not surprisingly, with University officials wisely realizing this was a no-win situation for them, negotiations went south from there. So if you're looking for shots of Columbia on The Sopranos, you'll have to look carefully. We've been told that while the talks were going on, some exteriors were taken to serve as establishing shots, and maybe even a few interiors. But once the parties decided to go their separate ways, no more filming was done.

So while Al Gore could be seen around South Field this spring, along with a coterie of celebrity guests that included Rupert Murdoch, Alan Greenspan and David Letterman, there was no Meadow Soprano to be found. Too bad - I was looking forward to seeing Tony and Carmella at Family Weekend.


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