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Jim Miscedra
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Posts: 205
Posted: 21 June 2020 at 8:22am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Greg, I don’t know if you are aware, but I think you will love the Talking Sopranos podcast.   It is co hosted by Michael Imperioli & Steve Schrippa.  Very behind the scenes stories. Fascinating.
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Eric Smearman
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Joined: 02 September 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 5554
Posted: 21 June 2020 at 9:18pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I recently started watching the show. Just finished Season 3 last night.
Really enjoying it.
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Greg Kirkman
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Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 15775
Posted: 25 July 2020 at 4:56pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Greg, I don’t know if you are aware, but I think you will love the Talking Sopranos podcast.   It is co hosted by Michael Imperioli & Steve Schrippa.  Very behind the scenes stories. Fascinating.
+++++++++

Thanks for the tip! That would go well with a rewatch from the start. As it stands, I still need to finish my first viewing, but my time and energy have been limited, hence my very slow progress.

That being said...


“Sentimental Education”.


A really interesting episodes which traces the parallel stories of Carmella and Tony B. as they attempt to lead straight lives...but inevitably find their efforts hindered by their familial connections. 

With Carmella, we see a desperate, lonely woman actually having some fun and romance with a Wegler, decent man. Of course, it speaks to her fear and paranoia (a fear justified and underlined for us, the audience, when we see Tony violently assault his own son over breakfast) that she starts sleeping with a gun after she has sex with Wegler. It’s also a nice callback to her first brush with infidelity when she seeks out Father Phil for advice. Phil, of course, is clearly suppressing some jealousy when giving his Fatherly advice to honor the laws of the Church.

Meanwhile, everything is going fine and dandy for Tony B...and then he blows it all. Literally, in the case of the drug money he stumbles across, and figuratively, in terms of his life plans. By giving into criminal temptation, he puts a strain on his relationship with his girlfriend, and ends up severing ties with Kim, his employer. By, y’know, exploding on him and beating him to a bloody pulp without provocation. And, worst of all, he turns to Tony for some less-than-honest work, which is what Tony has been clamoring for ever since Tony B. was introduced to the show.

The cost of past sins is very much the motif of this episode. As she notes, Carmella will always be judged and second-guessed because of who she married. Tony B. Will never be able to escape the temptations of the life he’s tried to leave behind. And Wegler even raises the issue when twisting Mr. Fiske’s arm to give AJ a higher grade. Of course, on the surface, he’s not entirely wrong about giving the kid a chance, but WE know that A) He’s seeing AJ’s mother and taking pains that he most likely would not, otherwise (which is why he dumps her, in the end); B) Not only is AJ an underachiever, but he’s also a cheater. 

Nice to see Peter Bogdanovich actually directing an episode instead of just doing his usual acting bit, too.
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Greg Kirkman
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Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 15775
Posted: 30 July 2020 at 4:46pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

“In Camelot”.

Another very interesting episode which explores Tony’s backstory and his relationships with his parents, by way of his chance encounter with his father’s old mistress, Fran.

There have been hints before that Tony had some kind of strange, Oedipal feelings toward his mother, and the events of this episode lend a certain credence to that. Fran—initially, at least—represents everything Tony wishes Livia had been: charming, affectionate, full of amusing anecdotes. Even the fact that Tony’s father gave away his childhood dog to Fran is symbolic of the parental grass seeming greener on the other side, so to speak. And there’s that subtle hint of a strange, sexual attraction, too, when Tony is turned on by the dog painting while with his mistress.

Of course, it all sours when Fran turns out to be a wee bit opportunistic, blowing the money Tony um...raised...to help her pay her bills. And, more tellingly, when she starts badmouthing Livia.

Meanwhile, we have a deliciously dark and funny B-story, with Christopher dragging his rehab friend, J.T. (a great little guest role for Tim Daly) down into the depths of gambling addiction and a relapse into heroin use. Christopher’s hypocrisy and opportunism here are staggering (and really funny), as he and J.T. flip-flop their positions, with Chris (who is seen casually drinking alcohol, and, y’know, also BEAT J.T. TO A PULP after getting him in hock to begin with) trying to encourage J.T. as he goes back to rehab. There is also more than a little meta commentary on how TV screenwriters are often addicts, and how well-regarded feature-film writers are compared to television writers, since J.T. is offered a grand total of $15 when trying to pawn his Emmy. 

It’s this sort of smartly self-aware and self-deprecating attitude that modern Hollywood (or what’s left of it) could use a few heaping buckets of.
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Alex Prewitt
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 05 September 2006
Posts: 1446
Posted: 28 August 2020 at 4:08pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Just started a rewatch! Liking the Talking Sopranos podcast very much.
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Greg Kirkman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 15775
Posted: 13 October 2020 at 9:10pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

“Marco Polo”.


A fun-but-smart little episode which carefully delves into the strained dynamics between numerous characters. Of course, Tony, prideful and arrogant as ever, claims that he’d already planned not to attend Hugh’s birthday party...when he’d really just forgotten about it. And the blowout between Carmella and her mother is quite interesting, since her mother’s suggestion that Tony not attend said party was really a cover for keeping him from embarrassing Mary and Hugh in front of their friends. Ouch.

Of all the many, many horrible things Tony has done, inflicting Phil (and his continual demands for repairs outside the scope of the damage done by his car chase with Tony) onto Angie—a widow due to Tony, y’know, murdering Big Pussy—is one of the more subtly awful. 

I can’t say it’s a shock to see Tony and Carmella get it on the pool, after the party. This clearly won’t be a reconciliation, but rather just a brief moment of connection. The dynamic of their relationship is complex, to say the least, and that push-pull, on-off aspect will surely always be there.

The key character of this episode, however, is Tony B. In such a short time, he’s found himself actively asking Tony for criminal work with which he can earn money. And then a hit job is laid right at his feet. One which will cause ALL sorts of trouble between the New Jersey and New York mob crews. Tony B.’s quiet grappling with this offer (and Buscemi’s wonderfully understated performance) is the sneaky little throughline of this episode, right down to his reaming out his kids for stealing from AJ at the party. His kids...who complain about their less-than-rich living conditions. 

It’s a wonderfully subtle bit: Tony B. is trying to instill good values in his boys (and his sense of good fatherhood has already been threatened by his thoughts of his missing daughter, and his watching Tony and Meadow having father-daughter fun at the party), but their complaints about what is, essentially, his inability to provide for them is what tips him over the edge. So, he makes the hit. He opens up what will surely be a big can of worms. And he gets his foot run over by the death car in the process. Because of course he does. 

Only on THE SOPRANOS! No other show has this unique mix of drama and dark humor. Love it.
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