A Hit is a Hit (1.10)

A smooth-talking rap mogul tries to collect age-old music royalties from Hesh while pursuing an opportunity
with Adriana and Christopher. Tony hangs out with some “meddigans.”

Episode 10 – Originally aired March 14, 1999
Written by Joe Bosso and Frank Renzulli
Directed by Matthew “Yes, that
Penn” Penn


“A Hit is a Hit” is a hit, rollicking with good humor and playfulness—although it doesn’t start out so lighthearted.  In the first scene, the Soprano crew whack a Colombian over a business disagreement.  But after this early violence, the episode turns hilarious, showering us with puns, ridiculous characters, wry cuts, a funny-cuz-it’s-dull anecdote about John Gotti, bad music, bad musicians, and rounds things off with a practical joke on next-door neighbor Cusamano (whose nickname—Cooz—takes a vulgar inflection when Tony utters it).  The episode even gets us to laugh at the story of poor cleft-palated Jimmy Smash, whose career as a bank robber is tanked by his speech disorder.

This is not to say that Chase isn’t doing some serious work here.  The Sopranos’ first season has been a steady investigation of the Gangster in America, and this episode is one more variation on the theme.  Previous episodes focused on the gangster as “father,” “husband,” “friend,” “killer” and “manager.”  This episode continues mainly in the vein of “The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti” (1.08) which looked at the gangster as an American cultural phenomenon.  Episode 1.08 was somewhat cold and distant, with its slyly embedded allusions and self-reflexivity and measured responses to the implicit questions that Chase anticipated his series would raise.  “A Hit is a Hit” explores some of the same territory as did “Tennessee” but it is more accessible—it doesn’t have the layered allusions to previous films or the cleverly embedded responses to scholarly criticisms.  This hour looks at the Gangster in America not as he exists in the theoretical world of academia or the media, but as he is actually perceived in the neighborhood.

This neighborhood is populated not only by traditional Mafia gangsters, but by capitalist and hip-hop gangsters as well.  All three “gangs” must endure stereotyped perceptions by others, and all three are, in the final analysis, comprised of fairly regular folks, not too different from anybody else.  Everyone exhibits the signs and signifiers that indicate their membership in a particular group, but the differences between them are mostly superficial.  The wealthy couple at the Cusamano’s dinner table might look like they were transplanted from a 1987 episode of Knots Landing, but they’re not that different from Tony Soprano in some respects.  In fact, the gentleman says that what goes on in corporate boardrooms is comparable to Mafia behavior, and Cooz adds, “Sometimes I think the only thing separating American business from the Mob is fuckin’ whacking somebody.”

Massive G and his crew are also not fundamentally different from everyone else.  Although Massive is O.G. (Original Gangsta) rather than O.C. (Organized Crime), he and Tony have a lot in common.  They both are constantly on the hustle, try to avoid violence, and even seem to share a similar temperament. Despite their differences in accoutrement and etiquette and backgrounds, everyone is essentially the same.

2 gangsters

The divisions that do exist between the characters are mostly marginal—in the end, everyone is swimming in the same “fucking regularness” of life.  As Tony explains to Dr. Melfi, “Guys like me, we’re brought up to think the meddigan are fuckin’ bores.  But truth is, the average white man is no more boring than the millionth conversation over who should have won, Marciano or Ali.”

The “mayonaissers” around Tony’s neighborhood almost desperately want him to be different, not just a regular guy like one of them.  They look to their neighborhood mobster for excitement and amusement.  Tony recognizes that they see him as a novelty, a “dancing bear.”  He just wants to fit in: trade stock tips over some BBQ and play a nice round of golf with the guys.  But the guys don’t include him in their investment discussions around the grill, and at the golf course they are more interested in hearing juicy stories about Mob life.  Tony gives them an anecdote about John Gotti that is notable mainly for its banality.

The hip-hop gangstas are not as exciting or intriguing as one might have expected either.  Massive G  has a degree in Urban Planning, and prefers to solve his problems with lawyers rather than with bullets.  The episode title strongly sets up the possibility of a violent confrontation between gangsters and gangstas, but the battle between the two groups takes the mundane form of lawsuit and countersuit.  Anyone watching this episode hoping to see an explosive shootout would be as disappointed as the meddigans hearing Tony’s story about John Gotti buying an ice cream truck.

This episode shows us, yet again, that banality is the underlying key in which life is composed, and every chord in our existence is relative to that key.  That being said, we see (and hear) that some things—like music—can transcend the regular and the mundane; they can be exceptional.  This, of course, is what the titular “hit” refers to.  Not all music is created the same.  The Little Jimmy Willis tune which is the cause of so much contention here is so much better than the stuff that the band Defiler is producing.  The gap in quality becomes enormously (and hilariously) apparent when the two songs are heard in back-to-back scenes:

I love this clip.  For one thing, we see/hear how Chase blurs the definitions of diagetic (source) music and non-diagetic (scored) music: is Hesh actually listening to Willis’ “Fools Follow Angels” or is it just scored over the scene?  And if he is listening to it at his home, how did it bleed into the prior scene with the wives sitting around the table?  It’s a touch of ambiguity.  Even more ambiguous is the song itself.  “Fools Follow Angels” so perfectly captures the sweet mixture of pop and soul that defined the Motown sound that we assume that the track was an actual ’60s song.  It’s not—it seems to have been written by Tom Harriman and Pamela Phillips-Oland specifically for this episode.  (If you want a chuckle, Google the song and see the confusion it has generated.)  Regardless of whether it is diagetic or non-diagetic, an original Motown song or one made for The Sopranos, one thing is certain—it is a hit…is a hit is a hit is a hit…


I had seen this episode two or three times before I recognized how highly concerned it is with gender roles and definitions of masculinity and femininity.  One reason why Tony has hesitated for so long to build a friendship with Bruce Cusamano may be because “Wonderbread wops” like Cooz don’t exactly live up to his conception of masculinity.  (Of course, it would be difficult for anyone to live up to Tony’s idealized notion of “Gary Cooper” masculinity.)  In his essay, “Wonderbread and Stugots: Italian-American Manhood and The Sopranos,” E. Anthony Rotundo writes that…

“The struggle between opposing cultural forces defines the essence of Italian-American manhood—a struggle between the remembered manhood of premodern Italy and the manhood of modern America…To watch Tony Soprano wage this struggle is to examine the struggle itself.  The life choices of an atypical Italian-American male lay bare the heart of Italian-American manhood.”

A part of Tony certainly wants to fully assimilate into mainstream suburban America.  But I think he also feels some revulsion for those he sees as emasculated, deracinated suburban American males.  The neighboring white men don’t fully accept Tony Soprano as one of them, but they are fascinated by Tony the mobster, who—ostensibly—lives a life of manly action and excitement that they can only dream of.  Though they may treat Tony like a dancing bear, they must also admire some of Tony’s bear-like qualities—he is large, powerful and dangerous.  Some of the appeal of la cosa nostra (literally “our thing”) for Tony may be that the Mafia provides him a way to hold onto his ancestors’ tougher, more traditional definition of masculinity as he makes his way in the new country.

The Gangsters vs. Gangstas storyline here is also anchored in these concerns about manhood.  Much of black urban culture, including Gangsta Rap, emerged as a response to the socio-institutional emasculation and marginalization of black men over a period of centuries.  The exaggerated posturing and threats between the African-Americans and the Italian-Americans in this hour are fundamentally an attempt by each to exhibit their masculinity and dominance.  (Even the name “Massive G” is meant to suggest a bigger-than-average manhood.)  At no time is this clearer than when Massive shows off his guns, displaying a pistol to Christopher with a combination of menace and phallic swagger:


This episode’s exploration of femininity is more subtle than its treatment of masculinity.  The notion that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen and the bedroom” is an outdated idea in contemporary America, but it still has traction in the world of the Mob—Chase uses the kitchen and bedroom to great effect in Carmela and Adriana’s storylines here.  Carmela and Adriana’s lives as Mob Women are strongly compared and contrasted in this episode.  The comparison is set up early by a conversation in which Adriana scoffs at the idea of becoming the stereotypical Mob wife:

Adriana:  And be one of those wives like Carmela Soprano?  Breast-feed a bunch of rugrats and spend the rest of your life at the gym, just you and your stretch marks?
Chris:  You’re right, my cousin always had a brain, but what does she use it for?
Adriana:  With a husband who can’t even tell you where the money comes from.

Carmela is a far more colorful character than this monochromatic assessment by Adriana and Chris would suggest, although it is true that her life is limited in many ways.  Of Carmela’s four scenes in this episode, three of them take place in her kitchen.  She makes her way to the kitchen counter in her first scene (picture 1 below), wearing a gym shirt (hmm, maybe Adriana was on to something), and desperately tries to learn about their family’s financial security from Tony, who is not very forthcoming at all (ok, Adriana’s description of Carmela’s life seems pretty much on-the-money).  But in a later scene (2), also at the kitchen counter, we find Carmela taking her financial security into her own hands.  Acting on a tip from a neighborhood wife, Carmela is purchasing stock—without her husband’s knowledge.  Looking sharp in Business Black, she most definitely does not look like a clueless housewife/gym-rat here.  In her final scene (3) of the episode—at the kitchen counter again—Carmela happily discovers that she bought American Biotics shares at just the right time, the stock price has gone up.  Reading the newspaper in a blue sweater, she looks like neither a bored housewife nor a cutthroat stocktrader, but like a woman becoming engaged with the world, learning to transcend the narrow limits that have defined her life:

Kitchen carm 123

Adriana also tries to empower herself, embarking on a career of “music management” with Chris’ help.  Her effort is compromised by the fact that she doesn’t seem to have a great ear for music—Defiled is a truly crappy band.  But she is also undermined by Christopher.  He assures her that she will have control over the venture, that he only wants to be able to control how she dresses.  But Chris wrests full control of the project at the studio, making absurd demands and smashing the singer with a guitar, and then using his position as financier of the project to justify his outrageous behavior.  Massive G, a potential partner in the venture, also does not accord Adriana great professional respect.  His interest in her is much more personal.  In the scene where they listen to an execreble track by Defiler, Adriana is backlit in a way that makes it clear what Massive G is really after:

adriana backlit

Drea de Matteo is excellent in this episode.  Her “Adriana” is a woman who embraces her sexuality but does not knowingly exploit it.  She desperately desires empowerment but lacks the means and confidence to gain it.  She is vulnerable to exploitation, too naive to recognize when she is being victimized.  Chase seems to meta-exploit de Matteo here, shooting three different scenes of Adriana in the bedroom in her panties, in order to emphasize how sexual objectification and gender constraints limit Adriana in the hyper-macho world of the Mob:

bedroom adriana 123

Although Adriana mocks Carmela in that early conversation with Chris, it is Carmela who is finally able to carve out a space for herself within the confines of her life and her kitchen.  As the series progresses, Carmela will gather more and more power for herself.  Adriana gives up her business venture here and, tragically, she does not learn or grow from the experience.  She will, with Christopher’s help again, become the proprietor of a nightclub later in the series—yet she will remain powerless and vulnerable.  The FBI will ultimately exploit this nightclub to leverage their power against Adriana, which will lead to a very unfortunate consequence for her.

The episode closes by treating us to one of the funniest scenes of the first season.  Nobody’s fool (or dancing bear), Tony asks Cusamano to hold a package for him for a while.  There’s nothing illicit or dangerous about the package, it is filled with sand.  (Perhaps Tony grabbed the sand from a sand trap at the public golf course that he has returned to, no longer interested—or welcome—to play at the private course with Cooz’ meddigan friends).  As the Cusamanos stare at the menacing box, they get further alarmed by a terrifying grunt coming from the Soprano house.  We know that there are no violent activities taking place next door, it is simply the sound of Tony lifting weights.  Defiler’s horrendous “Defile You” starts to play, the song’s title underscoring that meddigan Cooz and mobster Tony have mutually defiled one another over the course of the episode and the song’s ridiculous sonics providing one last gag in this hilarious hour before the final credits start to roll.


In his essay “‘Fat Fuck! Why Don’t You Take A Look in the Mirror?’: Weight, Body Image, and Masculinity in The Sopranos,” Avi Santo takes a different angle than I do on Tony’s anecdote about John Gotti and the ice cream truck.  I think the limp anecdote is primarily meant to highlight just how similar mobsters can be to everyone else in middle-class America—a gangster’s life is not all hits-and-tits, bullets and boobs.  Santo recognizes this point, but also argues that the story underlines an important difference between Tony and Cooz.  He writes…

…the image of the ice cream truck being driven by a gangster is a powerful symbol of sinful over-indulgence if there ever was one…Cusamano, the embodiment of middle-class restraint, fits perfectly into the world he inhabits.  Ice cream is a temptation he can resist.  Tony, like the disturbing image he conjures up of Gotti ceaselessly ringing the ice cream bell, does not.

I’m sure we’re reading way too much into some frickin’ ice cream.  But then again, we know that Chase has sprinkled symbolism onto his ice cream in the past:

menacing ice cream

In the Pilot episode, an ice cream cone represented a menacing threat to Mahaffey when Big Pussy tossed it into the gorge at Paterson Falls.



  • The killing of the Colombian confirms the expectation of murder that we have when we read the episode title.  Because of this, the title becomes very effective as a red herring—we expect violence to breakout between Tony and Massive G’s crews, but nothing of the sort happens.  They instead sic their attorneys on each other (which may make an even uglier scene—aaah, look away!)
  • Although The Sopranos is supposed to be a crime drama, there hasn’t been much focus on actual criminal activity in this first season.  The whacking in the first scene here is part of an effort to rectify that, as it initiates a storyline about drugs and stolen money (which, frankly, in the end will seem like an afterthought tacked on solely to satisfy genre requirements).
  • Paulie asks, “Could this be the end of Rico?” quoting from the classic 1931 movie Little Caesar.  David Chase is yet again making an overt gangster film reference.
  • Most non-cinephiles will not be familiar with Little Caesar.  But many Americans will have seen the picture of the Carmine Galante hit that the men discuss at the golf course:carmine galante hitThere are other allusions to the real world as well, like the references to Jimi Hendrix’ performance at Café Wha?, and the house in the Hamptons that belongs to Steven (Spielberg).  By being so broadly allusive, The Sopranos appeals to a broad range of viewers with very different interests and backgrounds.
  • It is not completely apparent, but Carmela seems to have had access to some insider information regarding American Biotics, leading her to buy stock in the company at just the right time.  The company name seems noteworthy to me.  We will see, through the seasons, illegal activities surrounding companies with the word “American” in their names (American Express and American Standard, for example).  Chase is making some commentary with this convention, perhaps pointing to the “they are us, we are them” idea—it’s not only mobsters that indulge in illegal activities, it is all of us, all of America.  He may simultaneously be saying even though mob activities may only involve a particular company, they actually injure America as a whole.

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Ron Bernard

57 responses to “A Hit is a Hit (1.10)

  1. I just discovered this website. I love it! I am a new fan of the Sopranos….

    You mention in “Additional Points” that it is not completely apparent, but Carmela seems to have insider info re: American Biotics. I believe it is clear where she got this info: after the dinner at the Cusamanos’, Carmela is chatting with the women, and one of them mentions what a good buy American Biotics is right now.

    I also read something different into Tony’s tale of Gotti buying the ice cream truck. He grows more and more upset as the men continue to “treat him like a dancing bear” by asking him for juicy stories about the mob. In his own Mob circles, he would just yell at them to shut up, but he knows that to these men, such outspoken behavior would confirm to them that he is “coarse” and inferior. So how to stand up for himself while not being labelled?

    The solution is when they ask him about Gotti, which is the final straw of insensitivity on their part. Watch his face after that question. You can see anger, then thought, then a decision. I believe that during these moments, he has decided to let them know how annoyed he is at them by telling them a false or half-false story, which he will bend to make a point. He will win at their game. He will make his point in such a way that they, as “gentlemen,” will be at a disadvantage: they are too “cultured” and polite to ask outright, or be sure, if he is telling them a true story or if he is threatening them with a vulgarity.
    The story he tells of Gotti buying the ice cream truck ends as follows: As Tony comes to the climax of the story, he slows down, looks at them hard, pauses, and says, (I paraphrase here), “He rang that bell all the way home.” And here he glares at them and supposedly demonstrates – by moving his cupped hand up and down. Is it a bell-ringing motion? Or is it the time-honored masturbation gesture, meaning “Go fuck yourselves.” The men look slightly confused; but no one asks Tony for any more anecdotes.


    • Thanks Jane. I hope you’re not too new a fan (i.e. a first-time viewer) because my little corner of the internet here is full of spoilers…

      You’re definitely correct that Carm got information on American Biotics from the women. What I meant to say is that it’s not completely apparent whether the women have “insider” info or just publicly available info.


    • FWIW, I always interpreted his hand motion ringing the bell was the “go fuck yourself” symbol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ron, No, I’m not too new a fan. I discovered The Sopranos around 2012, and have watched it about 5 times so far, still finding new things in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your reviews and analysis Ron. I cannot get enough of the Sopranos. I have watched the whole series front to back 6 times and catch something new and interesting each time. As insightful as Todd VanDerWerff’s reviews are on AV Club, I really enjoy the more cinematic themes and intricacies that you touch on. Keep it up!


    • I appreciate that Bobby. It’s partly because TVDW’s review are so insightful that I figured I could focus a little more on the “cinematic” elements that he doesn’t spend as much time on: editing, sound, camerawork, etc. But Todd would kick my butt in a writing contest any day.


  4. Hi there!
    Fantastic site, I’m really enjoying wading through and I’m really impressed by all the work you’ve put into this.
    One thing just occurred to me about the differences in Carmela and Tony’s wonderbread friends- the women readily share stock tips with Carmella, but Tony is shut out. I may be misremembering, but if it’s the case that’s pretty interesting- certainly feeds into the masculine/ feminine threads.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The ice cream truck story was banal, but you missed the point. Tony was fucking with the meddigan, just like later with the package of sand. His hand gesture, showing how Gotti allegedly rang the bell, is one of contempt; he’s signalling that they are jerk-offs, rather coldly, but they didn’t pick up on it. He got his revenge for their boorishness.


  6. There’s a subtle point here regarding bullying that I believe Chase might be making in the golf course scene. When Cusamano talks to Tony in Tony’s kitchen, he seems genuinely interested in Tony, to the degree where he invites him to the private club’s golf course, as a way of thanking him for the Cuban cigars. At that club, it appears to me it’s the other members in the group (other than Cusamano) who are seeing Tony only as a “mob guy”–Cusamano in fact, to me, seems genuinely embarrassed in this scene for Tony, that the others can only see Tony as a mobster. But when Tony recalls the episode at his session with Dr. Melfi, he sees Cusamano as being as unfeeling as the rest, and in fact exacts his revenge on his neighbor (the mysterious package). Perhaps suggesting that someone who is being bullied comes to see everyone involved in the event as equally culpable, having lost the ability to discern nuances in behavior.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Juan Valdez has been separated from his donkey!


  8. You have definitely brought this episode back to life for me. Its safe to say that there is not another episode quite like this in the entire series. I feel this is the “weakest” of the entire season, but I find myself laughing hysterically when watching this episode. Its still watchable and contains some excellent moments. Its impressive to me that all the music featured is fictional. In reality though, who the fuck would listen to Defiler? The “Defiler” parts are completely ridiculous, especially when Chris breaks the guitar on the guy’s back. A few have commented above about Tony telling the guys in a roundabout way they are jerk-offs. The gesturing of his hand while ringing the bell is definitely Tony jerking them off. It’s nice to see other people getting the same reactions from this scene. Your analysis of the three types of gangsters has never once dawned on me. You have the unique ability to bring out the what “should be obvious” to the forefront for some good discussion. I enjoyed the Massive Genius character and thought he was a pretty solid portrayal of the late 90’s gangsta rapper. He came off like a laid back Tupac. Again, Chase has potentially set up the possibility of some serious shit happening and what does the “gangsta” OG threaten to do…..sue! WTF! Its a realization that all three of these gangsters featured in this hour have one thing in common; money. Lastly, this may be the only time that the camera shows Tony completely out of his element with people who are not part of his circle. He seems to come to a realization that he cannot have these types of relationships with such people.


  9. I agree that Tony was just playing them with that story about Bungalow Bar. He was annoyed about them asking for stories, and so he made one up that makes no sense at all, and yet because they are not “insiders” who knows if its true. It’s amazing that people would ask those kind of questions anyway..so I think he was just pissed and screwing with them.


    • There’s a kind of genius in Tony’s response: just like we viewers can’t be completely sure if Tony is being serious or if he’s fucking with them, the men can’t really be sure either…


    • If they won’t give him any inside info about the stock market or let him be an insider at the golf club, he won’t give them inside info about mob life. Tit for tat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He was treated as an object of curiosity and that pissed him off. He wouldn’t tell them any mob stories anyway. They weren’t going to let him join the golf club Cusumano just wanted to show him off like an oddity.
        If you notice, they don’t have regular outside friends. Nobody in regular life wants to associate with them. Tony felt bad.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Cusimano only asked him to play golf because the cigars impressed him, and he wanted to impress his friends. They show you many times the disdain that the Cusimano’s feel for the Soprano’s, and Italians in general, even though they are Italian themselves. He may like Tony superficially, but not really. Italian-Americans who are not involved with organized crime don’t like this impression of Italians. Coming from an Italian family, I can tell you that the portrayal of the Soprano’s is right on the money. But this small percentage of OC Italians casts a big shadow on the regular working class Italians that go about their business like anyone else. Also, the Italian culture is very rich, and to homogenize it seems to me to be a great loss in the Americanization..

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow. I am a long time soprano fan and regularly watch reruns. (I literally do not want any other tv shows) I have been looking for a in-depth analysis of the sopranos for years. This is truly high quality analysis. Well done, i look forward to reading every single edition you have produced.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Another great analysis, thank you. The points about the many similarities of the three “gangs” are spot on. I also think Chase was fueling Christopher’s desire to be a real world player. Chris sees MG’s car and “smaller than the Hampton’s one” house, and celebrity hobnobbing and really envisions what he wants his life to be. This feeds into him continuing to want to pursue show business endeavors. But besides that, Chase was careful to say, yes, there are many similarities, but do not forget the difference, the fact that the Sopranos and their ilk will kill over a dispute. Seems obvious but at times it can get lost when focusing on the similarities, so Chase reminds us. The first reminder is the opening hit. I do not see this so much as a genre reminder, but more as a reminder of how the Sopranos solve seemingly unresolvable disputes. They do so with a gun and without hesitation or remorse. The second reminder is the boardroom comment at the Cussomano’s dinner party. Yeah, it was an off hand joke and can be viewed as a commentary on how there really is little difference between organized crime and at least some of corporate America. But that single difference is still a critical difference that must be remembered. The Soranos (meaning OC in general) are willing to kill if you cross them. Even in matters of simple business. This was a key point made in The Godfather novel, specifically in reference to the Jack Woltz scenes. Woltz was a powerful public figure who assumed he could not be pushed around. Only to be reminded via a horse head that “these people” are different. They will not sue you. They do not make idle threats. They will most definitely kill you if you do not give them what they want. They will cross a line that the rest of society just doesn’t even consider, even such vile men as Woltz. So Chase reminds us, lest we forget amidst all of these business dealings between rival “gangs”. MG makes the same mistake as Woltz, and is told by Tony Soprano he is in over his head. Only MG he is fortunately he is in dispute with Hesh, who is willing and able to play by the accepted rules of society, at least in this case. MG dodges the proverbial and perhaps even literal, bullet. The scene with the group viewing the horses may even be an allusion to The Godfather scene where Woltz finds out HE was in way over his head as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another point on that idea. Besides making the organized crime gangsters a different and more dangerous group, it also means they have crossed a moral line. Sure, we can compare the “wrongs” these groups commit and say it’s all relative, but there still are times when you get down to indisputable right and wrong, or as Melfi’s therapist would say, good and evil. Tony’s group crosses that line with regularity, and when you look at the consequences as the series progresses, it’s pretty damning.


  13. “He’s got to do the right thing, that’s what.” – Christopher, hilariously and I’m sure knowingly quoting the Spike Lee film title during the Hesh/Massive G sit down. Always makes me laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Black entertainers being cheated by white businessmen is a good subject for a ‘Sopranos’ episode, but it was a serious matter. It seems that the singer Jackie Wilson was cheated even worse than others. If you’re interested, this report is probably worth eight minutes of your time.

    (Despite the title of the video, it’s not an interview. And there’s no Part 2, at least not on YouTube.)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Young Tony would ridicule Jimmy Smash by asking into sing Mack the Knife. The character Mack the Knife (Macheath) from The Beggar’s Opera and Threepenny Opera is, like Tony, the captain of a gang of robbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Did anyone else get a Three Stooges vibe at the beginning, right before Paulie shot the Colombian?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I loved this episode! So happy to read this, I love your observations.
    One thing which struck me is how different Adriana is in the early seasons compared to the later ones. She seems somehow sassier and sharper in a way. She still has that naiveté about her but it doesn’t seem so over the top as later. Christopher doesn’t look like he gets to that abusive behavior (yet) and their relationship seems happier. Really sad to see how bad it got. I guess they needed to make her less sharp as the seasons went on, but it still seems like a pity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “It’s stored in buffah memory….there, ya see?” Always loled at this very contrived-feeling scene when Adriana fixes Chrissy’s deleted script meltdown. Both at “buffah,” as well as how artificial both the structure of the dialogue as well as the need to demonstrate some sort of brain on Adriana’s part. “Computer Tech Barbie” comes to mind. I always felt that scene was very out of step for the rest of the show, and I realize it’s not even from this ep, but it speaks to that dulling of the character Ade. Early on things were pushed in the other direction, but perhaps to a degree that was itself a detriment.

      I always felt that the character was meant to have a reach that exceeded her grasp, probably a trait that brought her and Chrissy together; both have aspirations for something greater, but neither of them are likely to be faced with a choice to leave due to outgrowing their partner… This was demonstrated by an ambitious young woman who was sharp, but not necessarily very smart. There’s a reason she is the gf of a 2-bit associate (season 1) of local mob. They both keep on trying to gain more in their worlds than just jersey mob ties, but their execution is repeatedly lacking. Largely due to the continued acquiescence to “the life.” It’s like it keep pulling them back in.

      Perhaps she becomes less sharp as she is worn down by the pressures of the life, hers and Chrissy’s drug addictions, etc… dunno. Thoughts.

      xD. Love this site. Love the commenters.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series run. It doesn’t project the main plot forward in any significant way other than laying the groundwork for Adriana’s evolution as a character. Her naivete/cluelessness to what is really happening will become a prominent storyline told over many seasons with terrible consequences. It’s one of the most painful plotlines to watch of the entire series. Chris also suffers from delusions of grandeur in the same way with his scriptwriting, but its mostly used for comedy purposes rather than being woven into his character in any significant way.

    Really ENJO

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: The Soprano Onceover: #80. “A Hit Is a Hit” (S1E10) | janiojala

  20. Hey Ron- another great write up! I disagree with you about one thing though- I don’t think Adriana‘s tin ear lasts throughout the season. If you notice when she starts to manage the crazy horse, the acts that she signs are relatively good and command a decent crowd. But after she gets whacked, there’s a scene with Christopher in the bar and the band he’s hired is absolutely horrific. The change in tone at the bar now that Adriana is gone is striking, which tells me that she did grow as a businesswoman and did manage to reach some level of success, even within the tight constraints of the mob.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Rewatching Sopranos (2nd time) and appreciate this site. I agree that Adriana doesn’t’ necessarily have a tin ear. I interpreted it that she’s just wrapped up in her past personal relationship which mingles with the subjective nature of musical taste. The song they were recording in studio reminded me of a lackluster copy of Everybody Hurts by REM.

        Liked by 2 people

  21. There’s a beautiful moment when Tony tells Melfi a story about the kid who used to hang around his crew, and he had a cleft palate and a speech impediment and they would keep him around so they could make fun of him. He has a pure moment of empathy where he understands this kid’s pain, because Dr. Cusamano was bringing him around so he and his friends could ask him questions about the mafia and ogle him as a curiosity. And then as he wraps up this story, and he understands the pain this kid (now man) felt, he cracks another joke about him.

    That’s the story of Tony Soprano – it’s not that he’s incapable of empathy. He’s very much capable of feeling the pain of others, of feeling guilt for his actions, of moral conflict with his lifestyle and his idea of being a good man, father and husband. But he can very easily shove it aside, compartmentalize it, and move on in an instant.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Fouquet’s Palace

    I always love the retort when Massive G says “Herman, you bought horses with your money. What did Little Willie buy?” and Silvio replies “He bought horse”. Always has me slapping my thigh. Good enough to be a Paulie Walnuts line. Hopefully Hesh and his lawyers take this urban planning major (you get a degree how to create a ghetto with crack houses and sidewalks wide enough for prostitutes to gather?) to the cleaners for sampling his songs without permission the way Allen Klein did to the Verve for “Bittersweet Symphony “.


  23. This was one of my least favorite episodes; there is a palatable disconnect between idealized beliefs about the music industry and music in general. As hip as Adriana portrays herself to be (but eventually WILL be when she runs her nightclub), she is infatuated with a group who totally lacks talent. Chris tries to ‘motivate’ the group to do a better job, but in typical fashion, fails. We don’t even know whether or not Massive G is a musician himself. Hesh is the de facto long-reigning expert (and penultimate user of many talented musicians), but doesn’t bother to teach Adriana and Christopher how to spot real talent. So, what was the point of this episode? Music? Ego? Legal issues? Who cares?


  24. I have to admit that LMAO at Tony’s comment, “It’s [Cusamano/Meddigan] what my old man would have called Wonder Bread wop … eating gravy out of a jar”. Per quotes.net:
    ▪ Alistair Rioley:
    “What is this, a casting call for ‘The Sopranos’ reunion? Do me a favor, tell room service nobody here ordered the extra-large wop with a side order of wops!”
    • The Boondocks [2005]

    Liked by 2 people

  25. MEDIGAN definition:
    • Italian slang for a non-Italian
    • A contraction of the words ‘merde de cannes’ (French for ‘dog shit)
    ▪ Tom Cardella (South Philly News, Dec 2019)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope. Meddigan is like saying “American” with an Italian accent. Ameddigan= American. Shortened to ‘meddigan=‘Merican.


      • PS I asked a mobbed up guy I know from south Philly, who says we are spelling it wrong. He says it’s spelled Mericone.
        And he agreed it is Italian for the word American. When you roll the R it sounds like a D.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Joe in Bensonhurst

    Sounds awfully close to “maricón” (Spanish for fag).
    BTW, while not Italian myself, I grew up in Italian-American neighborhoods in Brooklyn and I don’t recall ever hearing anyone refer to spaghetti sauce as “gravy”. I wonder if it’s a Jersey thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It 6 of one 1/2 a dozen of the other. Meddicone (sp) is slang for white bread Americans. Assimilated.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Something about Makazian was driving me crazy – until today. He told Tony that he ‘heard’ Pussy was wired, BUT … didn’t mention the fact that Pussy was facing 30 years for selling heroin! Could he NOT have known this? You’d think that he’d pass this on to Tony! Then again, my favorite episode (Funhouse) probably wouldn’t have been made. Sigh. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Sexual objectification limits Adriana? You seem perfectly content to objectify Drea De Mateo in your other write-ups.


  28. Joe in Bensonhurst

    Isn’t there a difference between appreciating her beauty and sexuality, while still recognizing her achievements as an actress (actress, not actor), and ONLY seeing her as an object of sexual gratification? Without combing over all the rest of the site, I think Ron has done the former, not the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, you got me. Ron said she’s a good actress so that makes it ok! Isn’t is possible to speak about her talent as an actress WITHOUT bringing up personal attraction? What relevance does that hold? Yes, this is his personal site, not a journalistic article, but it’s still weird at best. I think Ron not answering and you pinch hitting for him speaks volumes.


      • I chose not to answer because I guessed it is one of those things where we just have to agree to disagree. Maybe there’s a generational difference at work here (though I don’t know what generation you’re a part of). For Gen X-ers like myself, generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with complimenting someone’s appearance as long as there is no intention to belittle or insult or objectify. I can’t imagine that Drea would have invited me on to her podcast if she felt I was objectifying her or the character she plays. (Alas, she cancelled the podcast before I had a chance to go on.) Maybe It’s old-fashioned of me to say this, but I think intentions count for a lot.

        If I was doing these write-ups today, maybe I wouldn’t have written some of the stuff that I did. But I couldn’t promise that would be the case, because I still think we should be able to make flattering remarks without it turning into a matter for the Culture Police…


        • Joe in Bensonhurst

          Yikes, if I ever had an idea of hosting my own website, posts like those to which you are replying might convince me otherwise. I used to run a BBS about two and a half decades ago, but things sure have changed. Culture Police indeed.

          Liked by 1 person

  29. It would be nice if people couldn’t post anonymously; might lessen unfair attacks.
    I agree with the earliest comments on the thread: My take has always been that Tony was clearly messing with his golfing partners as retribution for not treating him like a regular guy. I think the session with Melfi after the golf round confirmed that. He has no reason to lie and/or put on a show in that scene.
    I think whackworth made a nice observation regarding Adrianna on 7-27-20. Always had that thought regarding Ade, but never fully formed it or knew how to verbalize it.

    Liked by 1 person

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