New to The Sopranos; questions

I’ve never watched this show, but recently I’ve watched it several times.

I’m occasionally confused. I’m not even sure what year I’m watching. (re-runs or current) Last week, there was an episode where a character named “John” (I think…) who apparently reports to “Carmine” and this John fellow had a beef with something Tony’s cousin did. (a pale, thin, sickly kind of guy who was in hiding)

At any rate, it looked like this John guy was threatening Tony. (if Tony failed to deliver the cousin)

At any rate, I was surprised that anyone could/would threaten Tony. I’m also confused about hierarchy, the older dude with the gray ‘wings’, the younger guy with the big nose and heroin habit.

Can I get a quick hierarchy/who’s-who so I’m not so confused?

You can get a fair amount of “piecing together” at HBO’s website.

The John you mention is Johnny Sack who was high up In Carmine’s NYC crew. Johnny has a new house in Jersey and has been a “friend” of Tony’s for some time. But they are rivals in that Carmine’s death leaves a gap that Johnny Sack wants to fill.

Tony’s immediate crew consists of:

Silvio Dante who runs the Bada Bing
Paulie Gualtieri (the wings guy)
Christopher Moltisanti (the big nose guy who is also related to Carmela in a roundabout way; enough so that Tony refers to Chris as his nephew).

You’re watching re-runs of the most recent season. (I’m in the process of re-watching them all from the beginning to prepare for the upcoming final season and I’m just coming up to this point in the story).

It’s not just that Johnny Sack WANTS to fill Carmine’s gap. He originally enlisted Tony in a assasination plot to off Carmine. Tony backed off at the last minute leading to some tension. Then added to that Carmine’s natural death, Carmine’s dimwitted son and Johnny Sack contested leadership. Johnny won.

Thanks Zeldar for the link; very helpful.

A couple more questions:

1)Are the New York & New Jersey organizations peers? Or…Is the NY organization superior in that NJ “answers” to NY? (there was comment in the HBO link that said Carmine saw NJ as a “glorified crew”)

2)Were Carmine (& now Johnny now I suppose) & Tony “equals”? Or…was Carmine Tony’s superior in some fashion?

Essentially, *does Tony have a boss? *(other than Junior, who appears to be nothing more than a figurehead)

A couple more…

Would Tony have been a candidate for Carmine’s job? Or…does Tony already have the NJ equivalent of Carmine’s job?

In that respect, would Tony and Johnny be competitors? Did Tony ever indicate he wanted Carmine’s job?

Is this the last season of Sopranos? How may seasons have there been?

The NYC crowd feels superior and often weigh in on NJ issues as if they’re more of a “final authority” but as best the show reveals Tony and his outfit are independent in any real way from the NYC bunch. They have gone in on some joint ventures and on these Carmine has been more of a boss than Tony. Johnny Sack would like that to continue but Tony is being a bit more obstinate, especially as it relates to Tony B (Tony S’s cousin). That’s Steve Buscemi as Tony B, by the way.

I doubt that Tony would be eligible for Carmine’s slot. As I said, the NYC gang sees itself as superior to the Jersey gang and wouldn’t have considered Soprano for that promotion.

So, yes, Sack and Soprano are more competitors than henchmen.

There have been 5 seasons and this coming one may be the last although there are rumblings of more seasons without David Chase, the creator and brain behind it.

Very helpful Zeldar.

Thanks for the heads up.

Right you are. If you want to try to get “caught up” before the new season starts next month, try the episode guides at the HBO site. At least you’ll have a better feel for the dynamics of the NJ side of things and to a degree how the family issues (both blood and gang) have developed over time. There is a substantial body count and a lot of the faces on that opening page of the Cast & Crew page are no longer among the living.

My best guess is that the kids (Meadow and AJ) will be bigger parts of this coming season. AJ, especially. We’ve watched that guy grow up in the five seasons and it’s about time for him to decide where his life is going.

The old timers (Paulie, Chris and Silvio) also have things that may develop.

I will miss this show more than any other I’ve ever watched. THE BEST TV ever.

This is the last full season, but there are eight “bonus” episodes coming after the season finale, and there have been rumours about a movie for years.

You really ought to start from Season 1 and go from there, honestly - the people get so confusing even if you’ve been watching all this time, I can’t imagine just starting in the middle. It’s one of those things where you get really at home with all the characters and so when they change or develop in some way it really matters in a way it wouldn’t if you’d just met them.

Also, if you think you might want to go back and watch, I really don’t suggest you keep watching the ones that are showing now unless you don’t mind spoilers at all. People do die fairly frequently in this show.

You are probably right about that although I’m having a hard time imagining anything particularly interesting re Meadow. She could get kidnapped or something but I don’t know what she could do to make her character more prominent.

As fo AJ, I’d prefer he become an embarassment in some way rather than a worthwhile contributor to the “family”.

Good calls. It may be that Meadow has had her big moments with Jackie, Jr., and with Finn, but since this is the nominal “last season” and I have heard Chase in interviews brag on how the series had an arc that they worked on from at least the third (if not earlier) season, and how they’re trying (I would say successfully) to avoid the cliches of the genre, I won’t be at all surprised if Meadow gets herself seriously involved in some venture this year. I just hope it’s less risky than Adriana’s.

The few clips (previews?) I have seen of AJ, his hair is longer and he’s obvious no longer the Cute Kid whose big fling was fake eyebrows. I can’t see them doing a Jackie, Jr. on him, but I do imagine he’ll “get tough” for at least a few episodes.

Those same previews show Paulie getting mean and the fat underling Vito (the one that shot Jackie, Jr.) looks like he’ll be moving up. For how long would be a fun guess.

I see Chris making it to the next level, but that’s more a guess based on the actor than the character.

What about Carmela? Any guesses?

Paulie and Vito are both captians under Tony. I can see some tension there. After all Paulie is such a laid back calm guy that nothing bothers.

One question I have about Vito. Is he an informer for the FBI? Something is tickling my memory but I can’t place it.

I wonder if there will be any new suprise characters that came along during the off time. A cousin Florio, Ralphie from the pen, another Tony B like cousin? Somebody who gets in close and gets killed along the way.

Vito: maybe you’re thinking about one of the Capos whose picture is not on this page but who is in those gatherings of the Captains whenever there’s some serious business to do with the NJ-NYC issues. His character is Raymond Corto, played by George Loros (or at least that’s who I think you mean – no pictures available) and he’s been seen in several episodes giving up info to some agent or other. I don’t think Vito is a rat – yet, but they could be building another Pussy in this new season.

10-4 on the “laid back” Paulie. Piss on the shoe laces and all.

I would be surprused if they don’t bring in at least two or three new faces this time. The old crowd couldn’t carry it for a season, I don’t think.

Let’s see. We’ve had:

Richie Aprile
Jackie Jr.
Feech La Manna
Tony B
Dave Scatino (Terminator 2 melting man)

and all of Tony’s gals.

What everyone else said…but if you’re digging the show, you might want to rent the previous seasons at blockbuster. Then when the new season starts, you can flow right into it.

My husband thinks there should be more killing, but I think the amount of killing is realistic to how the real Bad Boys do it. I mean, you can’t plug everyone who pisses you off without drawing attention to yourself.

I had some luck running down this picture by doing a Yahoo! Image search for George Loros. The picture confirms that he’s the one I meant in the earlier post. He wears glasses on The Sopranos.

One of my favorite characters was the one who died on the crapper. He just helped fill out the background (except for the hit he did on one of the Parisi twins – the other twin is still in tight with Tony) until he got promoted to Capo instead of Ralph Cifaretto. They were always having words, Ralph usually winning.

I can’t recall a character, even a background stooge, who wasn’t well cast and who didn’t do a creditable job of making that character important. That’s one of the main strengths of this show. No detail is too small. Yes, there have been some boo-boos but they have been tiny and few.

Excellent advice! I taped all five seasons and have returned to the tapes several times. I have also watched the reruns on HBO and ON Demand. There’s no other show, including the very good Deadwood, Rome, The Shield, and even 24, where seeing a rerun makes much sense to me. The thrill is gone after that first viewing for me. But The Sopranos holds up well on subsequent reviewing. Over and over, it’s one hell of a work of art.

I agree with you, Kalhoun on the amount of killing. The first season set a pace that hasn’t been maintained and that alienated some viewers. To me, the killings are “a part of life” with this outfit and it takes time (in general) for things to rise to the level of somebody needing to be taken out. That seems more realistic to me. If body count is all you want, get a video game or join the Army.

I don’t think Vito is a rat – yet, but they could be building another Pussy in this new season.


I think Vito is going to be integral to several story lines this season…

I really feel like the whole Ralphie/Vito killing Jackie Jr story line was left with some serious loose ends when Ralphie bit it. Tony still believes that Jackie Jr died in a drug deal gone bad and I really feel like the storyline needed some closure/retribution. I really wanted Tony to know the truth.

So with season six, I’m really hoping that Vito somehow lets it slip that he’s the one that offed Jackie Jr under Ralphie’s orders - and Tony closes up this loose end.

Also, is Finn the only one that knows that Vito is gay? If so - will we see any further development of that storyline?

I also think he might end up being a rat. But we’ll see…