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James Gandolfini, Dead at 51: The Best Food, Beatings & Shrink Moments From Tony Soprano

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“The Sopranos” has been re-run every night on one of the HBO channels for the last couple months. I’m on my second re-watch, after viewing it during its initial run. There was something about Tony sitting down on the kitchen table, plying himself with cold cuts, that transcended typical television. It worked. Maybe you had to be a schlub from the Northeast to enjoy it, but that could be selling it short. Look, you don’t need me to tell you “The Sopranos” was quality television.

Here are seven great albeit minor, subtle moments that made the Tony Soprano character so indelible piece of television.

One of “The Sopranos” central themes: why would a man who has everything and gets whatever he wants be so unhappy, explained here through the prism of “the Happy Wanderer.”

“The Sopranos” probably peaked with season three’s “Pine Barrens.” This simple coda at the end, yelling at Paulie Walnuts about mayonnaise on his chin is a hilarious way to end such a great episode of television which was filled with so many dramatic absurdities, as in Paulie and Chris stranded in the snowy woods of New Jersey with less-and-less footwear as the episode progressed.

Never forget that deep down, Tony Soprano was a miserable, conniving piece of shit. Beating Georgie, the bouncer at the Bada Bing, emphasized this point from series creator David Chase, even if it was pretty funny.

The delivery here of an absurd topic that was a focal point in the first season is perfect.

Often we forget how much the show revolved around Tony and his mother, Livia, in the first season and parts of the second. “The Sopranos” was never the same after Nancy Marchand passed away before the third season. The delivery of “Poor you,” remains chilling.

If you’ve watched the show multiple times, sometimes you forget in the first season Tony was actually pretty bad-ass, not just a fat guy in tight sweaters who smoked cigars, as this beating on Mikey Palmice proved.

Finally, again, why would a man with the “world by the balls” hate himself so much? Longing for that bygone era of “the strong silent type” showing again Tony was a product of a bygone America.

Rest in peace James Gandolfini.

 

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