D-Girl (2.07)

AJ believes that “God is Dead,” and
grandmother Livia only reinforces this belief.
Christopher hangs
out with a couple of Hollywood players
and gets notes on his screenplay.

Episode 20 – Originally Aired Feb 27, 2000
Written by Todd Kessler
Directed by Allen Coulter


Works of art are not static things—they change over time, in part because we change over time.  We are constantly molded by new experiences.  Our bodies undergo all sorts of changes, both superficial and deep.  Our brains change at a microscopic level, as new connections form between neurons while old neural pathways fade away.  All these changes may possibly affect the way we think about an artwork.  The feedback that we will get from our eyes and ears and hands when we grasp a work at some future time will not necessarily be the same feedback we received when we originally grasped the work.  The work itself may play a part in shaping these changes within us, broadening us and giving us new perches from which to look out at the world.  When this episode first aired, I was impressed by its audacious willingness (by TV standards) to deal with philosophical ideas openly and outrightly.  However, upon my second viewing about a year later, “D-Girl” felt heavy-handed to me.  The Sopranos, after all, had been dealing with those big existential questions about the meaning of life and the absurdity of death with subtlety and craft right from its opening minute, so it seemed excessive to me that this hour would so blatantly incorporate the philosophy of Existentialism into its plot.  My third viewing (sometime in 2006 just after Part I of Season Six aired) felt like a revelation: I came to believe that “D-Girl” and “The Fleshy Part of the Thigh” (6.04) together express a philosophical outlook that deeply informs the entire series.  For those Sopranos fans who were steered to this website primarily because of a curiosity about the final cut-to-black in the Series Finale, I will add this: my interpretation of the final scene at Holsten’s Diner can only be understood if my interpretation of “D-Girl” is understood first.

This episode is primarily composed of three storylines: 1) Pussy finds it increasingly difficult to walk a tightrope between the Mob and the FBI; 2) AJ resists receiving Catholic confirmation after being exposed to alternative philosophies; 3) Christopher gets a taste of some actual Hollywood filmmaking.  Let’s look at Chris’ story first as it makes up the bulk of the hour.

In the Pilot, Chris mentioned that his cousin’s girlfriend, who works in the movie industry, says that mob movies are always hot.  When he meets Amy Safir now for the first time, she repeats the sentiment.  Luckily for Chris, Adriana saved a copy of his mob-themed screenplay that he had tried to throw out.  David Chase has previously used the character of “Chris Moltisanti” to spring The Sopranos into the meta-level, and that practice continues here.  Jon Favreau, Janeane Garafolo and Sandra Bernhard all interact as themselves with Chris in this episode, giving “D-Girl” a meta-fictional flavor.

Favreau Garafolo Bernhard - Sopranos Autopsy

Chris finds himself being drawn into the world of filmmaking.  His contribution at a movie set goes over well: “‘Pucchiacca.’  Let that one call that one ‘pucchiacca.’”  He gives Jon and Amy a tour of Jersey, and they give him notes on his screenplay.  His old life is losing much of its appeal.  He storms out of a dinner with Adriana and the Sopranos, sick of their Italian preoccupation with food.  He is growing confident that he can enter into a bright and shiny new life without all the fucking regularness of the old, particularly after he and Amy spend some passionate hours together.  But it is never made clear to us that she thinks of him as anything more than a fling.  The differences between them are vast.  When Christopher’s limitations as both a screenwriter and a person become clearer, Amy gives him the brush-off.  Her up-and-down feelings for him are mirrored in the staging of their first and last scenes together.  In her first scene of the episode, Amy looks up at Chris with hearts in her eyes as he stands up to the Manhattan douchebag at the next table.  In her final scene of the episode, she looks down at him with cold steel in her eyes:amy safir first and last scenes

Part of the reason it could never work between Chris and Amy is because he is, at heart, a thug from New Jersey.  Chris meets Amy and his cousin at the Manhattan bar dressed with classic goombah flair: red velvet jacket, red shirt, red tie.  The Morgan Stanley-type that he confronts immediately picks up on Chris’ Joisey pedigree, slinging at him the insult that Manhattanites reserve for outsiders: “bridge-and-tunnel boy.”

bridge and tunnel boy
Christopher’s outsider status may have intrigued Amy at first, but once her physical desire is satisfied, he loses much of his allure.  Favreau also starts out fascinated by Chris, but his appeal is diminished after they too have a physical encounter of sorts: after snorting a line of coke, Chris lets his roughhousing (and his film criticism) get a little out of hand:

chris and jon favreau

Chris is out of his element with these Hollywood types.  He is also out of place geographically—most of his scenes in this episode take place in New York.  The “bridge-and-tunnel” dig is only one of several moments that remind us—and remind Chris—that he is not in New Jersey, but in the more prominent state to the east: Amy says that she sat across from Alphonse D’Amato (the former Senator from New York) at a party;  Amy and Jon are staying at the Soho Grand, a hotel whose name itself proclaims the grandeur of New York City; and even the hotel staff treat Chris with an air of superiority.  In her final scene, having lost interest in Chris, Amy reverses her earlier position—mob movies are not necessarily always hot.  (She blames it on Mickey Blue Eyes, which had been released the previous year.  Damn you, Hugh Grant…)  As though her higher placement, physically, on the staircase didn’t clearly enough make the point of her superiority, she makes a highbrow reference to playwright William Inge, which was bound to go over poor Christopher’s head:

william inge

Chris is just a “skinny guinea,” he is out of his depth and he knows it.  At the end of the episode, when Tony give him a choice between the Mob and “whatever the fuck it is that’s calling you out there,” Chris unsurprisingly chooses Tony and the Mob.


“D-Girl” transitions back and forth between its various storylines very elegantly and intelligently, even by Sopranos standards.  This episode contains one of my favorite edits of the series, one that reveals the true personality of The Sopranos:

As soon as the director calls “Action!” Chase cuts to a quiet scene in Tony’s car.  The “action” of The Sopranos was never primarily found in shootouts or fist fights or car crashes.  The drama of the series is found mainly in the relationships between characters, like in this moment between father and son.  While other TV dramas often feature explosive car crashes with vehicles flipping over willy-nilly,  the car accident that occurs in this hour is very low-key—it is a minor mishap.  AJ bangs up his mother’s car which he had taken out without permission.  (He’s still years away from getting his driver’s license.)  It is very possible that AJ’s proclamations that “God is dead” and “life is absurd” are (or at least, start out as) a tactic meant to divert his parents’ attention away from his misbehavior.  Nevertheless, it is very likely that AJ—like his father—may be prone to having a dark, dismal view of the world.

In 1942, Albert Camus defined the Absurd as “being born of the human call and the unreasonable silence of the world.”  We live in absurdity as the universe remains silent to our desperate pleas and questions.  Religion tries to provide some answers, but they often seem pat and ridiculous:

AJ: Why were we born?
Carmela: We were born because of Adam and Eve, that’s why!

Carmela’s conclusion sounds trite.  Pussy’s son Matt provides a more thoughtful discussion, giving AJ a sort of overview of Existentialism 101.  But AJ is out of his intellectual depth here.  So he turns to his grandmother with his concerns.  Big mistake.  Livia is full of bad advice, first telling her grandson that it is dangerous to wear seatbelts in the car.  When he asks what the purpose of living is, she snarls out an even more disturbing philosophy:

Why does everything have to have a purpose?  The world is a jungle.  And if you want my advice, Anthony, don’t expect happiness, you won’t get it.  People let you down…In the end, you die in your own arms…It’s all a big nothing.  What makes you think you’re so special?

nihilist livia

Livia’s bleak philosophy has been casting its shadow over the entire series, and her “big nothing” speech here is its clearest articulation.  Several commentators have explored how the show deals with this concept of Nothingness, perhaps none more diligently than Kevin Stoehr in his essay, “‘It’s All a Big Nothing’: The Nihilistic Vision of The Sopranos.”  Stoehr defines the nihilist as someone who “typically recognizes the transience of life and subsequently loses faith in conventional ideas and standards that had been viewed previously as fixed or permanent.  The very purpose of one’s existence is put into question.”  He continues that there are two types of nihilists (as defined by Nietzsche):

  1. The passive nihilist, who is not able to find the courage or motivation to transcend this life-negating, cynical outlook, and thus everything in the universe loses value for him
  2. The active nihilist, who is able to become a life-affirming, self-possessed creator of a value-system despite the abyss that looms before him

Stoehr convincingly argues that Tony is a passive nihilist (and it pretty much goes without saying that Livia is also).

Dr. Melfi’s words to Tony echo Nietzsche’s definition of the passive nihilist: “When some people first realize that they are solely responsible for their decisions, actions and beliefs, and that death lies at the end of every road, they can be overcome with an intense dread…a dull, aching anger that leads them to conclude that the only absolute is death.”

Many viewers believed The Sopranos, on the whole, to be an expression of this pessimistic view.  In a sense, they are justified in believing so.  The storylines did grow darker as the series progressed.  Major characters were either killed or became trapped in cycles of despair, addiction or gluttony.  The final cut-to-black in the Series Finale seemed to be the ultimate confirmation of the inevitability of death and the impossibility of rendering any meaning in life.  But I believe that Chase, throughout his series, presents alternatives to this grim worldview.  In this episode, for example, Pussy’s interaction with AJ serves to counter Livia’s gloomy speech to her grandson.

AJ gets busted smoking weed after his confirmation, so his Godfather Pussy goes upstairs to speak to him.  Pussy shares the story of how Tony always came to the hospital to visit his ailing sister before she died.  The story evokes a sense of friendship and obligation and human connection.  His advice to AJ is a bulwark against the Big Nothing: “Now go down and enjoy your party.  Make your parents happy.  You got your health and your family.  Enjoy it while you can, while you got it all in your hand.”  Livia devalues relationships, and so her connections to people and the world continuously erode.  She told AJ that ultimately, you “die in your own arms.”  Pussy, in contrast, closes their conversation by putting his arms around AJ, a physical confirmation that human connection is indeed possible and meaningful.

pussy hugs aj

Though David Chase has a reputation for being cynical, I think he does believe that connection is possible, and furthermore, believes that such connections act as a defense against meaninglessness.  This, I would argue, is why he puts such an emphasis on connectivity in his series.  In an early interview with Peter Bogdanovich (included as a Season One DVD Extra), Chase makes it clear that he and the writers made an effort to add “connective tissue” between the episodes.  Years later, he expanded on this idea to the L.A. Times, telling the reporter that at the end of each season he would go to France to work on the following season, and then…

“…I come back from France with a chart of every character over 13 episodes,” he says. “What happens here, what happens there, how do things intermesh. Then I show the chart to the writers and ask, ‘What are we going to do that really interests us?’ Separate stories sometimes emerge, and the chart sometimes becomes just connective tissue.” (“The Family Hour Returns,” Feb 15, 2004)

In our own lives, connective tissue is what binds us to our loved ones, our gods, work, community—all of those things that give our lives dimension and meaning.  When such tissue dissolves, we become alienated and alone—like Livia.  On The Sopranos, connective tissue takes many forms.  It may be a repeated word or name or imagery.  It could be the reappearance of a character or storyline.  It might be similarities in certain camera angles or in the staging of scenes.  Sometimes music is reused.  The series does not only connect back to itself, it is also uses reference and allusion to connect to books, films, paintings, popular culture, urban legends, history, myths.  Such connectivity gives SopranoWorld a certain “thickness,” a sense of dimension, from which verisimilitude and meaning can naturally arise.  I try in this website to uncover some of the important connections that often get overlooked, but I have not, by any means, tried to catalog them all.  It would be impossible.  David Lavery (who is probably the world’s greatest Sopranos scholar) has compiled at least two lists of “Intertextual Moments and Allusions in The Sopranos” which briefly explain many of the allusions and the contexts in which they appear on the show.  Lavery’s compilations may be useful and informative to viewers.  But the lists themselves, organized alphabetically and appearing on the printed page, almost seem to drain the allusions of their meaning—they become little more than random factoids.  It’s as if the allusions need to be seen in their original context within The Sopranos—they need to be fully connected—if their meaning and full significance are to be understood. 

Chase exploits the medium of television to achieve a high level of connectivity.  Since The Sopranos is about 86 hours long and spread out over 8 years, there is ample opportunity for connections to be made.  Every television series is made up of moving images, music, dialogue, locations, architecture and costumes, but not every series exploits these elements as The Sopranos does in order to make connections.  Some connections may be little more than a thin wisp of tissue, barely noticeable and of no great significance.  For example, in this episode we see Janeane Garafolo wearing a “Churchills” T-shirt, which connects to the Churchills shirt that Meadow wore in 2.03 and to Churchill the dog from 2.04:


Sometimes the connections are more noticeable and significant.  The “development girl” of this episode, Amy Safir, was first mentioned in the Pilot (though not by name).  My guess is that David Chase did not have either this “D-Girl” episode or “Amy Safir” clearly in mind back when he made the Pilot.  The writers in Season 2 may have reached back to the Pilot to generate the character “Amy Safir.”  This episode also reaches forward to certain future episodes in which Christopher pursues his filmmaking dreamsThis hour may also reach forward to the Series Finale, when AJ takes a job potentially similar to Amy’s (D-Boy?) in movie development.  The structure of The Sopranos, latticed together with such ties and connections, is itself a counterargument to Livia’s philosophy of fragmentation and disintegration.

If we look back now at the character of Isabella who appeared in Season 1, we can more fully understand how she functioned as a counterweight to Livia.  While Livia plots to kill her son in “Isabella” (1.12), Tony hallucinates a charming, nurturing woman who embodies all the maternal characteristics that his own mother lacks.  Isabella, we may remember, says that she is a dental student “interested in tumors of the gum and the soft tissue of the mouth.”  Isabella is studying how to heal and repair tissue—just as Chase builds “connective tissue”—while Livia always ends up severing and destroying all the connections and connective tissue in her life.

Isabella- soft tissue

Meadow has a small scene in this episode that I think is important in the context of connectivity.  Tony and Carmela are shocked when AJ first questions the reason for our being born and the existence of God.  Tony wonders what type of school curriculum could lead to such questions.  Carmela wants to blame it on the new English teacher.  Meadow steps into the kitchen and tries to enlighten her parents: “You want him to read something other than Hustler?  Hello?!  He got assigned The Stranger.  You want him to be an educated person?  What do you think education is, that you just make more money?  This is education.”  Tony, whose life is centered around the acquisition of wealth and power, would surely find any educational curriculum that does not directly serve this purpose to be meaningless.  Not everyone would agree with Tony.  William Cronon, in his 1998 essay, “‘Only Connect’: The Goals of a Liberal Education,” outlines the benefits of a more broadly conceived education.  He says of liberally educated people, in his tenth and final bullet point, that:

They follow E.M. Forster’s injunction from Howard’s End: “Only connect…”  More than anything else, being an educated person means being able to see connections that allow one to make sense of the world and act within it in creative ways.  Every one of the qualities I have described here—listening, reading, talking, writing, puzzle solving, truth seeking, seeing through other people’s eyes, leading, working in a community—is finally about connecting.  A liberal education is about gaining the power and the wisdom, the generosity and the freedom to connect.

“Only connect.”  If Livia only understood the importance of this concept, she (and perhaps her son and grandson as well) would be primed to live a life of love and meaning.  As it is, Livia is damned to a life of isolation and meaninglessness.  Tony may also be condemned to a life of passive suburban nihilism because of Livia’s crippling influence on him as well as his narrow conception of education and his dehumanizing way of making a living.


When Pussy gives his comforting speech to AJ, he extols Tony as being a “stand-up guy.”  This is a big thing for these mobsters—being a stand-up guy means you live by a code, you do right by others, you uphold certain values.  Pussy and Chris each finds himself at a crossroads at the end of this episode, and the staging of their final scenes here underscores how each one is (or is not) a “stand-up guy.”  Tony wants Pussy to literally stand with him in the family photograph, but Pussy sits in the bathroom instead, sobbing because he has little choice but to betray his friend:

pussy not standing

Chris’ final scene of the episode is an inverse of Pussy’s final scene.  He sits on the stoop, deliberating what his next step should be.  He finally stands up and returns to Tony, returns to the Mob:

chris stands and returns


Although I’ve tried to make an argument here that Pussy functions as a sort of anti-Livia in this episode, providing AJ with an alternative way of looking at life and relationships, I can’t be sure that this is what Chase had in mind.  When I first saw this episode, so many years ago, Pussy’s speech did not seem so significant to me, partly because it is difficult to hear what he says—some of his dialogue comes to us in the form of a garbled transmission to the FBI:

Pussy’s words are arguably some of the most important of the series, embodying a philosophy of connectivity.  But Chase buries the significance of it, hiding it in static and interference.  This sort of burying occurs again and again in this series (perhaps most notably in what I think is the sister episode of this one, “The Fleshy Part of the Thigh” (6.04)).  I believe this may be part of Chase’s commitment to verisimilitude and ambiguity: life’s important lessons are not always clearly perceived or understood—why should it be any different on The Sopranos?



  • On the movie set, as the actresses brandish their guns at each other, Amy Safir says “The silencers underscore their voiceless place in society.”  Perhaps Chase is taking a little dig at those of us who constantly try to analyze and read into every detail of The Sopranos, try to figure out how one thing “underscores” something else.
  • Fittingly, it is a song by Thievery Corporation that is playing at the Soho Grand when professional criminal Chris visits the hotel.
  • Actor residue.  Janeane Garafolo starts to get upset on the movie set when the script has her character being called a “bitch,” and everybody on the set immediately jumps to placate her.  Chase is banking on our knowledge of Garafolo—her actor residue—as an outspoken Gen-X feminist to give us the funniest moment of the episode.
  • 2nd funniest moment of the episode: Jon Favreau making sure he gets all his fingerprints off Christopher’s gun.
  • Chris says that he loves movies but he very often gets details about movies wrong.  Here he refers to Scorcese’s film The King of Comedy incorrectly as “Kings of Comedy.”  (He may be mashing it up with the comic documentary The Original Kings of Comedy.)  Robert DeNiro’s climactic line in Scorcese’s film—“Better to be King for a night than schmuck for a lifetime”—might echo Chris’ thoughts in this episode: he may have returned to Tony and the Mob because he would rather be a king in New Jersey than a schmuck in Hollywood.
  • Real-life mobster Joe Gallo is discussed in this “Existentialism” episode.  (Favreau wants to make a movie about him.)  Gallo was a unique mobster, interested in Existentialism and the counterculture of the 1960s.  Umberto’s, the restaurant where he was killed, is referenced here (as it also was in “A Hit is a Hit” (1.10)).  A journalist’s photo of the crime scene is familiar to many fans of gangland news:umberto's
  • Favreau never did make a movie about Gallo, but he did make the mob-themed film Made, with Sopranos regulars Drea de Matteo, Vincent Pastore and Federico Castelluccio in 2001.  Dino De Laurentiis did produce a film about Gallo called Crazy Joe in 1974.CrazyJoe
  • Season 6 connection: Christopher is something of a “fish out of water” around the Hollywood folks in this episode, and he will be again in “Luxury Lounge” around Lauren Bacall and Ben Kingsley.
  • Another Season 6 connection: Carmela brings up AJ’s “God is dead” stuff from this episode in “Cold Stones,” an episode that powerfully explores Existentialism (although the philosophy never gets mentioned by name in that hour).
  • The transformation of Parvati into Janice is well under way.  Tony’s sister is introducing herself as “Janice” now and is looking more and more like a suburban housewife:

i'm janice soprano

  • Death always has a presence in The Sopranos, and it is literally the backdrop for Pussy’s house: his house sits adjacent to a cemetery.  The omnipresence of death does not need to be a harrowing, depressing thing.  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (from whose theory on “the five stages of grief” the title of episode 1.03 was generated) writes, “For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force.  The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.”

pussy cemetary

  • In Amy Safir’s last scene, it is probably because Chris confronts her on a staircase that she thinks of William Inge.  He is the author of “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.”Dark at the top of the Stairs - sopranos

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71 responses to “D-Girl (2.07)

  1. You make mention of garbled dialogue in deconstructing this episode. I have found that watching these episodes, and in fact any movie, with the subtitles sometimes helps fill in missed dialogue. I find that I concentrate a bit more on what is being said with the subtitles as well.


    • True, but this undermines the original point. And besides, most viewers would not have subtitles activated.

      I wonder if Chase really intended this to be the case, or whether the cuts to the police were really just reinforcing the fact that they were listening in. How deliberate was it? The fact that we’re asking these questions shows how layered with details this show was.

      Highly enjoying this analysis, and this show was particularly interesting to read about as existentialism and nihilism seem to creep into my thoughts more frequently than ever these days.


      • I don’t know if these thoughts are creeping into your head because of personal reasons or because of the general state of the world, but if it’s the latter, then yeah, the planet is having to deal with some truly existential issues right now…


  2. I know I’m a negative atheist here but one theme of the sopranos ( at least for me) is how arbitrary and unhelpful religion and its outdated moral code is in governing our lives. Carm really does sound naive when she talks about Adam and eve and the disownment of human emotions ( devaluation of sexual variety, the ban on feeling suicidal) or harmless “wrongs” (homosexuality, recreational drug use) and the lack of emphasise on genuinely understanding and empathising with others or destructive behaviour like gossiping or threatenng violence ( at Anthony jnr) is quite striking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In “The Fleshy Part of the Thigh,” which I think is the sister-episode to “D-Girl,” Chase shows us just how “outdated” certain Christian beliefs can be. (Remember evolution-denier Pastor Bob?) But I think Chase also highlights some of the positive aspects of Buddhism and Christianity in season 6, so it seems to me that Chase is not exactly criticizing religion in general, but religion as it is sometimes practiced by the characters in SopranoWorld. (I’m jumping the gun a little bit – I’ll make a better argument for this when I get to the Season 6 entries.)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Something I’ve always wondered about since first seeing this episode years ago. What do you make of the edit that seems to suggest that Pussy is the embarrassed mystery mobster in Chris’ story? The edit, especially in conjunction with Pussy’s declaration in 2.03 about how adept he is at “spotting blowjobs” seems to point to him as the gangster in question. But then, Chris refutes that later on. Just curious what your thoughts are.


  4. Chris names the mystery man(Joey Cippolini)when he finds out that Favreau and Amy have incorporated the tale into their screenplay.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The scene where Favreau is talking about the Joe Gallo movie with Christopher was probably done on purpose because Favreau is talking about Gallo and saying how he believes hes this tragic figure who is deeply flawed but at the same time has this yearning to learn, grow and read- similar to Christopher, who always wanted more out of life, and had this yearning to be in the movie business and branch out from the mafia, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pussy tells AJ what a wonderful man Tony is, while wearing a wire to betray him. Deliciously ironic.
    AJ’s answer is also telling. “Everybody tells me what a great guy my dad is, but I never see that guy.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Ron, great write-up of D-Girl! You’ve got me thinking about connectivity. I was a methamphetamine addict 11 years, barely made it out alive with a bit of sanity intact. For the 10 years I’ve been clean, I’ve struggled to write about my experiences. The Sopranos—and your Autopsy—inspire me to try and write in ways that (hopefully) reach people, and help them and their loved ones overcome similar obstacles to those I’ve overcome. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. You went all out on this one Ron. Good job. There is certainly a lot going on in this episode and reading this makes me a bit more understanding of what Chase may have been looking to accomplish. “You fuckin’ D-girl!” Ha ha, Chris made me laugh a few times this episode; the wine in the soup, his coked-out conversation with John Faverau, and yelling at the hotel concierge. Imperioli made this hour seem to fly by with his crazy bullshit. The Chris character is a riot. The way you analyzed the use of the camera between Chris and Amy from early to late in the episode was brilliant. I’ll never look at this episode the same. This hour does have some interesting scenes and dialogue and the theme of nothingness has been present throughout the series up until now and all the way to episode 86. Livia’s conversation with AJ really stuck me as absolutely horrible, more so after reading your autopsy. We see both AJ’s and Chris’s limitations in similar ways here too don’t we? Perhaps my favorite scene with Vincent Pastore in the entire series is the one you went into detail here with AJ. The fact Chase adds static during Pus’ words to wisdom to AJ is just too convenient. I suppose it doesn’t matter what he said to AJ…because we know he has that “rotten, putrid Soprano gene” and nothing anyone can say will change AJ. However, I think that this scene was done perfectly and appropriate for all that was going on in AJ’s and Pus’ life as well. Seeing Pussy balling his eyes out really made me think of how much being a rat is killing him inside. For the last few episodes he seemed very cold toward his “famiglia” and warming up to Skip, but here we are exposed to how he truly feels.


    • Thanks. Keep an eye out for my “Fleshy Part of the Thigh” write-up (it should be coming out in 2 weeks or so) because I think its themes and overall thrust is very closely related to “D-Girl”…


  9. This episode clearly shows us how dangerous Christopher is as well. He has a mixture of stupidity mixed in with his murderous instincts…Jon Favreau was stupid to steal his idea..these are not people to mess with. I thought it was hilarious how scared he got. It’s all fun and games until someone pulls a gun out!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Your comment makes me think of how he senselessly murdered JT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, I think he resented JT because he was back in action, writing a script and doing what Christopher wanted to do himself. Also, that he spilled the beans on mob secrets. Drugs and Christopher are scary.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. “When you get married, you’ll understand the importance of fresh produce!!”

    Liked by 5 people

  12. One of my favorite subtle Tony lines here. AJ making the case that “God is dead” gets Tony to casually reply “even if he is dead, you’re still gonna kiss his ass.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. A few episodes earlier Pavarti lectures Tony and Carmela about disciplinarian parenting being ineffective. She later runs into old flame Richie Aprile at yoga. Stops by Livia’s vacant house, notices the damage from Meadow’s party, returns to Tony and Carmela’s and goes complete Jersey Girl demanding that they rake Meadow across the coals. The second Richie laid the Manson Lamps on her, Pavarti became Janice.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. More on Richie and Janice. We first see them together at yoga learning conflict resolution through restraint and meditation. We last see them together in a kitchen where he hits her during a petty argument and she returns with a gun and shoots him twice in the chest.


  15. I thought the final scenes in this episode, Pussy crying in the toilet and Christopher giving up his dream, serve as a response to Livia’s Big Nothing in a very Meaningfulness-affirming way. In moments like these, how can one say life’s all meaningless?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, Chase keeps finding ways to challenge Livia’s philosophy throughout the series..


      • That’s how I’ve always seen it, or chosen to see it. What’s the point of a work of art that just reiterates that life is meaningless. There’s much more to gain from showing ways in which it might not be. Nihilism is so passé.
        Thanks for your blog and all the work you’ve put into it by the way, it’s absolutely top class.


  16. “we were born because of Adam and Eve…now go upstairs and work on your math!”

    hey oh!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. When the feds are at the heliport telling Pussy to wear a wire to the confirmation, he gets mad and says “i’m the kids sponsor!” The other agent says “and who the hell do you think is sponsoring you!” Pussy looks off and there is a pause because of a helicopter that is making a lot of noise. I wonder what that sound meant. Only thing I could think is it is like a police helicopter following him, reminding him that the cops are closing in on him and he is caught. He had hoped he could manuver his way around the police but he is realizing that he is really being cornered by the cops. Any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good catch. I never really paid attention to the sound of the helo before but it certainly adds some drama to that scene, and may remind Puss that he is being watched, there’s no escape for him…


  18. As an ex-Catholic, I find it interesting that this episode was built around AJ’s confirmation. From what I remember of mine (which was a million years ago), you receive the sacrament of confirmation when you have reached the age of reason and can make the choice to commit yourself to the Catholic faith, confirming (hence “confirmation”) the commitment that your godparents made on your behalf when you were baptized. For most young Catholics, I suspect it’s more of a prescribed ritual than a spiritually meaningful experience (it’s your tradition, and your parents expect it, like AJ’s). I don’t think the Soprano family is unusual in that respect. Kid goes to Catholic school, family is at least nominally Catholic, kid probably had instruction at school (I remember having to study and learn a bunch of questions and answers), kid and classmates get confirmed, and it’s all over but the party. What interests me is that, while AJ’s confirmation was both official and fairly meaningless, Tony’s “other son” Christopher undergoes a meaningful but unofficial confirmation when he chooses Tony over the dream of making movies. He doesn’t look happy when he gets up and goes back into the Soprano house in the final shot, but we know he’s going to make his act of confirmation to Tony.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. While having a coke and a slice in the pizzeria with Jon and Amy, Chris gives his opinion about Swingers and then tells the story of the wise guy’s sexual encounter with the she male at the swing set. Playing in the background is the Steve Miller Band’s “Swingtown”. That’s pretty brilliant connectivity.
    Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” immediately follows which later in the series is the girl AJ recognizes in his post suicide therapy.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Great insights, thanks! The scene also includes the Rhiannon lyrics “…you’ve never seen a woman…” which I felt contributed to the connectivity theme you so nicely illuminate.


  21. What I always found funny about this episode is how Favreau and Amy, “Hollywood,” move in on Chris, take his ideas, and leave him more or less cleaned out creatively, for now anyway. It used to be that the mob controlled major parts of Hollywood, and that artists often had to go through the mob (or at least associate with them) to find success in nightclubs, films, or union jobs. (Think Frank Sinatra.) Here the opposite happens; Hollywood sees something in the mob it wants to monetize, takes what it wants and spits out the rest. Talk about ruthless!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Hey, the Sopranos gets some trans representation – and Christopher even manages to get her pronouns right! Shame about, you know, everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. In Favreau’ movie Made, the main characters stay at the SoHo Grand.

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  24. Ron, you mention David Lavery as a preeminent Sopranos scholar. I did some research and learned he’s recently passed on. I found his Sopranos book, THIS THING OF OURS, available from Colombia Press. The reviews weren’t very good and, in the blurb on CP’s site, Corrado is spelled “Carrado.” That gave me pause. I can overlook such but, before I do, do you have recommendations for “must read” books about this fine series? Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Essential Sopranos Reader, compiled and edited by Lavery, is a better choice because it was written and published after the series ended. Professor Franco Ricci’s Born Under A Bad Sign is incredibly thoughtful and insightful, but his scholarly writing style isn’t for everyone. Dana Polan’s book is excellent, though half of it deals with HBO’s business and marketing concerns…


  25. When Jon Favreau asks Chris, “Are you strapped?”, he is proud that he knows the slang word. Then he wants to ask, “Have you ever killed anyone?”, but is not bold enough. Then he is frightened when Chris forces him to join in the horseplay with the gun. Then he is frightened to point out the defects in the screenplay written by this man who is so casual with his gun. Then he wipes his fingerprints off it before giving it back. This is very well done – mocking those people who get a kick from hanging out with criminals.
    – – – –
    He opens his arms and says, “Give Uncle Pussy a hug.”
    He sobs in the toilet.
    For me, these are the most poignant moments in the entire series.
    – – – –
    Perhaps the second-most poignant:
    Vito Spatafore’s young children read the newspaper report of his murder and learn a little of the truth about him. The little girl says, “So Dad wasn’t a spy?” Her elder brother says, “No.”

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Some non relevant connections: Peter Boyle who played the title role in Crazy Joe (1974), obviously who starred in Everybody Loves Raymond, with David Proval (Richie).
    Crazy Joe also stars Sam Coppola (Melfis family therapist) and Tony Lip (Carmine Sr).

    Liked by 1 person

  27. This is one of the few episodes where I was COMPLETELY taken out of the episode by the actress who played Amy. My god, was she awful.
    Usually I can overlook it but listening to and watching her were torturous for me. Strange, because I’ve seen worse acting that bothered me less.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, while I loved this episode, I found Amy’s character rather repellant. A weird mix of bland and snobby, reeking of faux sophistication. Maybe that was the point, I don’t know. To show how enamored Christopher was with the Hollywood lifestyle, to the extent that he totally overlooked how tepid she was (especially in comparison to Ade).

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think the actor did a very good job with the role. We are supposed to be put off by her. She seems brittle and deeply uninterested in connecting to people. She likes to get what she wants from folks just like Chris, Tony, Carmella. She a!so has a superficial charm just like Chris. The fact Chris can’t see who she really is and thinks she’s just a D-Girl tells us how shallow he also is. There is a parallel of how he takes everything unique and valuable Adriana offers him and leaves her with nothing.

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  28. Watching this for the first time just now…a couple of things:
    Poor Chris. If he was able to adapt and attempt to do something about NJ nightlife without the Mafia, he might have had something intriguing to offer.

    Check out the Whale Tail on the assistant director. That is SUCH a 90s thing. Hah.

    Having a son entering his 15th year this April, this is a long episode that’s hitting home quite a bit. AJ definitwly has different feelings about life and the world in general, much different than the rest of his family. It’s tough to readily accept a child’s views on things when you spend 10+ years grooming them to learn about your own views. Its necessary but a damn hard thing to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. – In all, this is a lower-tier Sopranos episode, which is never below B-, not even “Christopher.” Ron, are you a list guy? Have you ever made fave/least fave Sopranos lineups? This one’s pop culture flash is cut from the Hit is a Hit class, but I like that particular episode. I like all Sopranos episodes.
    – I should probably read it again (“Where do people find the time?”), but I remember thinking Camus dumped a lot of the absurdist philosophy of The Stranger in the latter half of the novel, and it felt unearned to me. I’m opening an unnecessary can of worms here, but there it is. I did enjoy it.
    – What IS it that makes Christopher Moltisanti one of the most interesting characters on this show? Outside of Tony, I’m interested in no one else’s trajectory as much as Chrissie’s; not Carmela, Junior, Paulie or the kids. He’s not very intelligent, but he’s sometimes very curious. He can be charming, affable, all the things we like about his uncle, and somewhat less threatening physically (somewhat). He doesn’t quite have Tony’s self-awareness, and lacks the humility, to truly comprehend that he’s in a morally corrupt organization, however. I don’t think a single bell of truth rings in his head when J. T. yells “You’re in the mafia!” in the final season. He…goes about in pity for himself. Alcoholic mother and no father, few other options outside an attractive & profitable life outside the law, or at least not enough individuality to resist nurture. Despite his enthusiasm, he remains boorish, gauche, and clueless in the Favreau orbit. It is too late for him. I think he almost scratches this in S3, contrasting himself and Jackie Jr; “Oh so [the life’s] alright for me, but not Little Lord Fuckpants.” Tony can’t say it, but he knows that whether Chris had a choice once or not, he certainly doesn’t now.
    – Hey waidaminnit. Why isn’t Father Phil in the confirmation photo? Who’s this old guy?
    – To be a fly on the wall in a writers’ room watching Chase & co decide which tiny plot threads to deposit in what episode and where. I had honestly forgot Ritchie & Janice were even in this one (then immediately remembered Tony’s silverware crack).
    – “Be a good Catholic for fifteen fucking minutes!”
    – Pussy as a character gets sadder and sadder every time I watch this show. It is impressive how much Chase makes us feel sympathy for people whom he’s constantly reminding us are baaaaaaad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chrissie is maybe my favorite character, at least my favorite non-Tony character. Many of the others either have very little trajectory (which of course is by design) or they continually trend downwards, morally and spiritually. Adriana’s trajectory gets very interesting in S5, but she does little to actuate it—she just passively gets caught up in events. Chris, on the other hand, uses his strength of will to achieve his goals (get his button, produce a movie etc) but his temperament and his addictions constantly foil him. That seesawing between progress and regress is pretty compelling to watch…

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Just had a thought reading this. Pussy being referred to as the Godfather, was the Godfather tape not working a few episodes ago an ominous sign? I agree it was a metaphor for their Italy experience, but still…Sopranos likes to have things many ways at once. May be an interesting thread to go down.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Re: religion and the Sopranos, one of the funniest lines was one of the wise guys saying of the “”family, “We bend more rules than the Catholic Church!”
    My thoughts on Pussy & AJ: Great acting on the part of Pastore. You can almost read his thoughts in his face. When he says to AJ, “Your dad would take a bullet for you,” and then maybe considers that Tony would probably take a bullet for Pussy too, and now Pussy is going to screw Tony, thus he sits down and cries. FBI people look embarrassed at the vulnerability, intimacy and conscience they hear from Pussy through the wire. Note that Pussy offered a hug to AJ even though he was wearing a wire, but Pussy wouldn’t let the wise guys touch his Santa suit because he had a wire underneath. Muffled sound that FBI hear through the wire is because Pussy and AJ are hugging, pressed against the wire.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Is Chris really making much of a decision at the end? Dipping a toe into Hollywood, and something else into Amy, didn’t work out. So recommitting to Tony doesn’t exactly make him an exemplar of Existentialism. The same could be said of Pussy and the pressure being put on him by the FBI.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Throughout AJ’s interacitions with his parents in D-Girl we see AJ alone at the top of the frame while Carmela and Tony are unified for once, against him at the bottom of the frame where they loom over him. The cuts also show how their body language matches with arms akimbo. Both shouting at him when he asks questions. They have no real answers for him just commands, shouting and fury.
    When Chris first meets his cousin and D-Girl the only people not wearing grey “flannel” suits are Chris and Andrea. When Chris meets her in her hotel room they are either in contrasting colors (he is in black she is in white). Or complementary colors (both in black when they are in the elevator).
    Once she is reminded she cheated on her fiance Amy says she is a good person paralleling how everyone in the Soprano’s universe absolves themselves of responsibility (AJ and Meadow, always say “It wasn’t my fault”) Five minutes later Caremella tells Adriana Chris did not mean what he said. Amy retreats to the bathroom and examines her face in the mirror (like narcissus) instead of accepting what she has done. In her last scene with Chris she is back in the grey suit.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Pingback: THE SOPRANO ONCEOVER: #83. D-Girl (S2E7) | janiojala

  35. No mention of the glorious line from Tony in therapy: “You can’t put the shit back in the donkey”. Made me laugh so much I had to pause.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Hey Ron- I never read this write up – I missed it somehow, probably because this is not one of my favorite episodes. However, I was wondering if you thought perhaps the title “D Girl” not only refers to Amy as Development Girl, but also refers to Livia as either Depression Girl or Death Girl?

    Liked by 1 person

  37. ….and Ade is Ditched girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Poor Christopher! He’s so outside of his element that it’s pathetic – even his ‘stories’ seem rather weak. Yet, he persists in the chase for recognition and fame, despite being warned several times by Tony to keep his mouth shut and remain focused on his ‘real job’ (making money). Chris will continue to look for recognition and respect (by Tony et al) until the very end. And that’s a tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Interesting that you mention “King of Comedy,” one of my favorite DeNiro, Scorcese movies, as it ALSO features Sandra Bernhard (a noted guest star in this Sopranos episode).

    Liked by 1 person

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