Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Writing Music: Vulfpeck - My First Car

Los Angeles, CA

It's not even 19 minutes long!

Vulfpeck's albums are always short interludes consisting of a mere 6-songs. But the LA funksters pack in a ton of emotion in each song. Here's stripped-down funk from Vulfpeck's third album My First Car....

Yes, I can't stop listening to Fortin's favorite band. I have all four of Vulpeck's albums on a loop that repeats itself roughly every 80 minutes.

Other albums by Vulfpeck: Fugue State and Mit Peck.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Writing Music: Vulfpeck - Fugue State

Los Angeles, CA

More about Fortin's favorite band, Vulfpeck, a minimalist funk unit from LA. Fugue State is their most recent album. Like all of Vulfpeck's albums, Fugue State is short album. Only six songs. But they're short and sweet.

Vulfpeck has been getting a lot of airplay this week. Perfect background music for both writing and college basketball...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Writing Music: Vulfpeck - Mit Peck

Los Angeles, CA

Vulfpeck is minimalist funk.

Fortin turned me onto Vulfpeck. He really couldn't stop talking about them. Obsession is an understatement. Vulfpeck does not play many live shows (I think 8-9 in the five-year history of the band) so you really only have four albums of material to work with. Each album consists of a mere six songs. There's not much material out there, but what they got is catchy and downright funky. Very cool jazz inspired, stripped down funky elements.

Vulfpeck is comprised of German-American musicians and they are based out of LA, although they originally formed the band in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Mit Peck is Wulfpeck's debut album circa 2011...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tweedy at the Ace Hotel

Los Angeles, CA

Two things about Jeff Tweedy you can rely upon: 1) ubiquitous surliness, and 2) looking like he woke up hung over in the back seat of his car after a three-day coke bender.

Flashback... lazy afternoon last September at the Lockn festival in Nelson County, Virginia... Wilco's first set... Jeff Tweedy's grumpy mood spewed forth because the distracted crowd gleefully snapped photos of a double rainbow. The short encounter, maybe two or three minutes tops, stirred up enough collective interest by the crowd for a cool instagram pic... but that same minor commotion sent Tweedy off the rails. He lamented on the fact he was upstaged by Mother Nature. If you never saw Wilco before, you'd think, "Wow, what a dick whining about a rainbow." But it was a classic Tweedy moment... using his salty sense of humor during another fearless attempt to confront the audience.

You don't get to where Tweedy is at careerwise without the Big 3: talent, luck, and survival skills. If the drugs/booze don't get ya, the money will. Tweedy kicked painkillers and narrowly escaped getting completely crushed by the massive machinery of the music biz. Sure it sounds cold-blooded, but Tweedy kept Wilco plugging along by kicking out one of his bandmates every few years.

Tweedy's live show process includes a desire to seek out adversity in order to conjure up the best possible performance. Sometimes Tweedy's confrontational style comes off like a fourth-rate comedian when he picks petty fights with the audience. It's an odd way to psych yourself up, but it's part of Tweedy's twisted charm. If the gig was going too smoothly, he'd egg on the audience to create an obstacle to overcome. Tweedy loved the challenge: win over a hostile audience. Most of that behavior stemmed from his earliest days on stage attempting to play punk to heavy metal/classic rock crowds. The audience and Tweedy butted heads whenever his tastes evolved and he wanted to play alt country to punk crowds... or when he performed art rock to the alt country crowd... or the time he ruined all his indie street cred by writing music for car commercials.

Tweedy. Constant flux. Evolving and rebelling from his previous phase.  I caught Uncle Tupelo just before they broke up and Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy split off and formed their own bands (Sun Volt and Wilco). UT's onstage tension is what defined them as a live act. Although UT never threw down, you got the sense that Tweedy and Farrar could rumble at any moment. I appreciated the bottled-up angst. I never saw The Replacements, but those gigs were notorious shitshows where everyone got blind-ass drunk and Bob Stinson brawled with someone... his brother, Westerberg, or someone from the audience.

* * * *

Nicky and I caught Tweedy at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. The Ace was once the historic United Artists Theatre before it got renovated into a music venue. Tweedy had some stand-up schtick about the Ace. "This is where Shirley Temple had her first period. That's the kind of history shit they tell you in this town." Yes, with oodles of show biz history in L.A. you hear random shit like that all the time.

Tweedy unleashed his surliness moments after he completed the opening number Hazel. Tweedy was pissed that the DJ was still cranking in the lobby, plus most of the front rows were still empty. LA crowds were notoriously fashionably late. "It's like the fucking first quarter of the Lakers game," observed Tweedy. He was right. Most of the crowd was still in the hallway grabbing drinks. They missed the opening song, so Tweedy told them he'd play it again. And the band busted back into Hazel, naturally sprinkled with Tweedy's vitriol.

Tweedy wondered why the crowd sat down instead of standing. He heckled one woman who fell asleep in the front row. I assume she passed out, but Tweedy told the crowd about one of his earliest gigs... at an old folks home... and half the audience fell asleep because they were given their meds before his set. Tweedy's music was mellow, but not that mellow. Apparently, pharmies and chardonnay didn't mix very well with Tweedy's acoustic offerings.

Tweedy gave a group of hipsters guff when they poorly clapped along to Uncle Tupelo's New Madrid. He told them that they were fucking him up and to sit on their hands. The group stopped, except for one lone clapper trying to out-douche Tweedy.

Tweedy played one long set plus an encore. The set was split into Tweedy with his son (and backing band) and Tweedy solo acoustic. The first half of the set featured Tweedy performing a dozen songs off Sukirae with a group of musicians and his son Spencer on drums. The covered a song by Diane Izzo, which Tweedy initially heard off her demo tape. The second half of the set, Tweedy was all by himself and he cranked out Wilco songs and one Uncle Tupelo bustout. During the encore, Spencer and the backing band rejoined Tweedy. They finished the show with covers by John Lennon, Neil Young, and Doug Sahm.
Tweedy Setlist, 3/21/15 Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA

(With band): Hazel, Hazel,  Flowering, Summer Noon, World Away, New Moon, Fake Fur Coat, Diamond Light Pt. 1, Wait For Love,  Slow Love, High As Hello, Love Like a Wire*,  Low Key, Nobody Dies Anymore

(Solo acoustic): I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Remember the Mountain Bed, You And I, New Madrid ^, Passenger Side, Whole Love, I'm the Man Who Loves You, Misunderstood, Please Don't Let Me Be So Understood, Only The Lord Knows
Encore (with band): God *** ,  Losing End ****, Give Back The Key To My Heart ^^,  California Stars

* Diane Izzo cover
^ Uncle Tupelo tune
** Mavis Staples cover
*** John Lennon cover
**** Neil Young cover
^^ Doug Sham cover
Nicky and I nearly lost our mud when one of the drunk-ass girls in our row blurted out in a rapid-fire cocaine-addled cadence, "Misunderstood? Oh-Em-Gee... Misunderstood song is about me. It's all you need to know. Jeff wrote it about me... for me... it's all about me. I am the misunderstood in Misunderstood. My life is all a misunderstanding."

Friday, March 20, 2015

RIP Dan Feldman

Los Angeles, CA

I attended college with Dan Feldman. We were friends, fraternity brothers, and business partners. At one point in our lives, we were that cliche "thick as thieves" and/or "two peas in a pod."

The summer of 1992. I was still 19 years old and utterly clueless. That summer the Dream Team crushed opponents in the Barcelona Olympics because it was the first year NBA pros could play. I'm bombarded by vivid flashbacks of the Dream Team because our ice cream truck was littered with giant McD's souvenir cups featuring Dream Teamers like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

One item on my resume was always a conversational piece...
ENTREPRENEUR - Tasty Ice Cream, Atlanta, GA
"Wait... you were the ice cream man?"

TASTY ice cream was an instant ice-breaker during every single job interview in my adult life. It was always fun to talk about. I had crazy stories. Heck, I had an even crazier partner. How did I get into the ice cream business? Dan Feldman invited me in.

Feldman drove an ice cream truck in his hometown on Long Island, but in the summer of 1992 he wanted to do the same thing in Atlanta. I needed a job and so we wet into business together. We lived in our fraternity house (a handful of guys in one of those gigantic southern mansions) and parked the ice cream truck out back and kept the freezer running using a series of industrial extension chords. The truck was really a van with a freezer in the back. Our stoner friends raided the van late nights and left pocket change on the front seat. We drove one truck but alternated work days. It was fun, but arduous work. The city was nicknamed HOTLANA for a reason... hellacious heat, sweltering, irritating, disgusting summer days in Atlanta. I'd come home every night drenched in sweat because the van truck was more like a sauna.

Twenty years later, I can easily say that the summer of 1992 was one of the all-time greatest summers. In the high-water mark of life, Feldman and I surfed the crest of that wave.

Feldman's initial business plan entailed renting a van from TASTY Ice Cream, an independent business run by a Persian that everyone called The Shah. The Shah was a fair man, but he wouldn't rent to us until we had proper credentials. He told us to get experience at HAPPY ICE CREAM, the largest company in Atlanta. HAPPY'S portly owner looked like a character from The Sopranos and he hired me on the spot. He briefly showed me a gigantic map of Atlanta and its sprawling suburbs. He boasted about his vast territory, much like a king bragging about the size of his kingdom  The hot spots were in yellow. I always had a bit of a photographic memory, so I studied the map.

The HAPPY ICE CREAM training program included sitting in a dark room to watch a series of grainy training videos from the late 70s and early 80s. I was one of three other trainees. Both of them fell asleep within an hour. In all fairness, one of the guys was riding the H train and nodded out. I passed the training/safety exam and got sent out on a test run with one of the veteran drivers. The guy had a ghostly, gravely voice like Miles Davis, and he gave me a crash course in the ice cream biz. Miles said the best part of the job was "getting hit on by single moms." Once my HAPPY training was complete, I graduated and was assigned my very own truck.

The plan with Feldman was to alternate days. On his first day on the job, he crashed HAPPY's truck. Drove it right into the front of a liquor store near the old Techwood projects (that got razed to build the Olympic Village). At the time, it was scary. Luckily Feldman escaped without a scratch on his head. But the truck was totaled and our future with HAPPY ICE CREAM looked bleak.

We returned to the Shah and sorta begged him to let us work for TASTY. I showed him my photocopied diploma from HAPPY ICE CREAM that said I was a certified ice cream truck driver. Feldman was a natural born salesman and pretty much told the Shah that we'd have a truck out 7 days a week and we were young, eager college kids who could log long hours because we switched off days. Feldman told him we'd be the Shah's top earners and driving his #1 truck. Truly a bold statement, but by the end of the summer we were at the top of the Shah's fleet of trucks. Besides, how hard could the competition be? The Shah's main competitor HAPPY hired ex-cons and junkies.

Every morning one of us would drive the van from Emory University to MLK Blvd, where the Shah's shop was located. We were a McCatholic kid from the Bronx and a Jewish kid from Long Island working on a fleet comprised of Middle Easterns and Haitians. We bought inventory (usually whatever we sold out from the night before) and dry ice. We needed the dry ice to keep the goods cold. The kid who worked the freezer was barely taller than Kevin Hart and he wore a jumpsuit that looked like he was climbing Mt. Everest. He spent 10-12 hours a day inside a gigantic walk-in freezer.

The Shah didn't even give us a map. He threw us head first into the ice cream pool, but I memorized HAPPY's route and their top areas. Feldman's business model was simple: undercut HAPPY's prices by a nickel. After a week or so, we developed multiple routes and started out in Atlanta and made out way out to the burbs, before circling back toward the city at the end of our shift.

One day I blew a red light and got pulled over by ATL cops. I apologized and the cop let me off with a warning because his kid would never talk to him again if his kid found out he gave the ice cream man a ticket. I thanked the cop and comped him a red, white, and blue Bomb pop. A couple of weeks into the summer, someone driving a HAPPY truck nearly sideswiped me. He chased me down to a cul de sac. The redneck looked like a mean roadie from the Allman Brothers. He pulled out a baseball bat and threatened to beat my ass and slash my tires if I was ever on his turf. That was the last time we worked in Marietta.

Gas was cheap back then and only 79 cents/gallon at the QT, but the van had its flaws: no AC and a busted radio. We utilized a small booxbom and played nothing but Grateful Dead and Phish bootlegs. Feldman was one of the biggest Deadheads in our fraternity. He also gifted me my first Phish bootleg and he once spent two hours lecturing to me about the beauty and simplicity of Contact. I was a staunch Deadhead back in those days, but thanks to Feldman (and other friends like Wilkins, Lerm, Dave Pizza, and Chicago Bob)... I slowly started appreciating Phish. Twenty years later, I always think about Feldman whenever I hear Contact.

It goes without saying that I always think about Feldman whenever I see an ice cream truck. Instant flashback to the best summer of my life. You'll never ever forget the summer you were 19 years old. Those cherished memories were filled with Feldman's laughter. Heck even a couple weeks after he crashed the HAPPY truck, we were joking around about it. I dunno how many times I uttered the line: "Remember the time Feldman crashed the ice cream truck into a liquor store?"

I always wanted to share a story at a MOTH Storytelling. If I ever got a shot, the summer of 1992 and the ice cream truck was going to be one of my Top 3 stories. It's strange that your memory is fickle... I couldn't even tell you what I ate for breakfast the other day... yet memories from the summer of 1992 were vivid and fresh. Those memories were burned into my skull and etched into stone in perpetuity.

Dan Feldman will always be part of the internal hieroglyphics chiseled into the hallways of my mind.

A couple of months ago, I sent Feldman a message on Facebook. My friends will tell you that I'm NEVER on Facebook, so it was a huge deal that I actually logged in. I posted something on Feldman's wall that I always thought of him whenever I spotted an ice cream truck. He reminded me something I totally forgot: I made up a special song to sing whenever I rang the bell. The van didn't have a fancy sound system but had an old school bell attached to a piece of string. You had to hold onto the steering wheel with your left hand and reach above your head with your right hand to ring the bell on the top of the truck. The string went through a hole in the roof, so if it rained, the ceiling leaked and the rope got soaked.
I am the ice cream man
I drive as slow as I can
That's the chorus. I don't recall any other verses. But that's the kind of goofy stuff we used to do.

Feldman turned me onto amazing music. Feldman showed me how to be an entrepreneur and work for yourself. Sometimes someone has to leave your life before you can fully appreciate their impact. I've always been lucky that Feldman was an integral part of the summer of 1992. Between music and business acumen, Dan Feldman impacted me in more ways that I can count.

RIP Dan Feldman. One of a kind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Binge Watching: Sopranos, Season 5

Denver, CO

Deep diving and binge-watching The Sopranos over the last couple weeks. My thoughts on previous seasons: Season 1 - Season 2 - Season 3 - Season 4.

It's finally time for the fifth season of The Sopranos and my half-baked thoughts...

S5, Episode 1: Two Tonys... Meadow drove over the Star-Ledger in the driveway. Tony was kicked out of Castle Soprano, so he wasn't there to pick up the paper, which is how the first episode of each new season began... Sunday dinner, hosted by Janice, recently married Bobby Bacala. Tony and Bobby watched the news (cameo by Matthew Weiner as a mob expert), which aired a segment on the release of several mobsters who went to jail in the 1980s. The "Class of 2004" included Tony's cousin Tony B, Angelo (Carmine's consigliere), Feech LaManna, and Phil Leotardo... Feech stopped by Junior's house and asked if he could return as a bookie. Feech told a story about picking a fight with the biggest motherfucker on his first day in jail... Chris pissed off that he always paid for the crew's dinner. Tony reminded him picking up the tab was tradition and sign of respect... AJ nearly shit himself when he saw a black bear in the backyard. He cried out to his mommy, who scared off the bear with pots and pans. Wildlife cops suggested the bear was attracted to Tony's duck feed. You don't need a degree in English lit to know the bear represented Tony, a menacing predator lurking in the suburbs... Tony watched the Prince of Tides and sent Dr. Melfi flowers (and box of Tide) with a signed card: "Prince of Tide." Tony wore a nice suit in order to ask out Dr. Melfi. Tony said there were two Tony Sopranos: the ruthless mobster and a sensitive caring guy. He wanted to show her the other Tony. Although they kissed, Melfi shot him down... Chris and Paulie told the infamous Russian pine barrens story, which quickly escalated into a near altercation when they blamed each other for the mess... The black bear returned. Tony dispatched Lil Paulie and Vinny Delpino for an all-night bear watch. Vinny asked Carmela for the big guns and she opened up a hollow column with the weapons cache... The crew partied in Atlantic City and Chris had to pick up the tab of $1,184. He left $1,200 and the waiter whined about the paltry $16 tip. Chris threw a brick at the waiter's head and he went into a seizure, so Paulie and Chris shot him (and took the cash too). Later on, Paulie called Chris to bury the hatchet and offered to split the tab... Carmine was eating egg salad when he had a stroke during lunch at the golf course. Eggs = death in Sopranos vs. oranges for The Godfather.... Johnny Sack was still salty that Tony didn't whack Carmine like he promised... Tony tried to woo Dr. Melfi's with two tickets to Bermuda. She told him the truth why they couldn't date: he was a liar and prone to violence. Tony called her a fucking cunt and stormed out... Tony took over on bear watch at Castle Soprano with an AK-47 in one hand and a cigar in his mouth.

S5, Episode 2: Rat Pack... On a dark, rainy night, Tony met Jack Massarone at a diner. Jack gifted Tony a painting of the Rat Pack. Turned out that Jack wore a bug for the FBI. Capo Ray Curto was also a rat, who helped translate wire transcripts.... FBI planted a surveillance camera on Crazy Horse parking lot. Adriana nearly suffocated from in existentialist angst over her being an FBI snitch. Her FBI contact reminded her that she's with the "good guys" now... Carmine passed away. Various crews paid their respects, but Little Carmine felt disrespected that wiseguys offered condolences to Johnny Sack (the assumed successor as head of one of the five families). At the funeral, Junior mentioned that Carmine invented point shaving and alluded to his involvement in a real-life point shaving scandal with CCNY in the early 1950s... Tony visited his cousin Tony B (Steve Buscemi) fresh out of prison. Tony hosted a surprise party where Tony B wore a Miami Vice suit with rolled up sleeves. Artie Bucco asked "Where's Tubbs?" Tony B felt out of place but zinged everyone with one-liners, using comedy to mask his uneasiness.Tony B was bummed out that his twin sons and daughter (goth girl who ran away) did not show up at his party... Tony B seemed bitter that Tony was the boss and cracked fat jokes. Tony B expressed his interest in becoming a licensed massage therapist and didn't want to get back into the mob game. Tony got Tony B a straight job delivering linens... Lil Paulie's girlfriend Tina Francesa told Adriana about stealing money from work, when she wasn't hitting on Chris. Chris didn't like hanging out in clubs as a sober guy... Carmela hosted a film club in Tony's movie room. They watched Citizen Kane on VHS tape. They all got silent when they saw the FBI logo flashed on screen before the film began. They barely discussed Kane for a few seconds before the went into full-blown mob wife gossip... Tony B stopped by Satriale's and made fun of everyone (alluded to Paulie looking like Grandpa Munster). They saw Tony B's massage chair and asked for massages. Tony reminded Tony B that he was the boss and couldn't be made fun of in front of the crew.... Paulie referred to Sun Tzu as "Sun Tizzu"... Patsy Parisi told Tony that someone followed them to his meeting with Jack Massarone. Tony met with him again, but didn't feel a wire. He couldn't tell if he flipped or not... At the Mob Wives Film Club, Rosalie Aprile said Big Pussy's wife was shunned from their social circle after he became a rat. She compared him to Judas. Adriana broke down and almost revealed that she was a snitch. She tried to leave, but tripped in the driveway... Tony threw the Rat Pack painting off a bridge. Quick cut to FBI crime scene team snapping photos of Jack Massarone's corpse in the back of a trunk... FBI pressured Adriana for intel, so she ratted out Tina Francesca's embezzlement scam.

S5, Episode 3: Where's Johnny... BEATDOWN OF THE WEEK: Feech smacked around Sal the landscaper and grabbed him by the balls because he was his nephew's competition... Junior grew so demented that he thought Curb Your Enthusiasm was a reality show about himself (Larry David) and Bobby Bacala (Jeff Garlin)... Paulie's Aunt Mary told Paulie that Feech beat up her gardener. Paulie retaliated by knocking his nephew out of a tree. Paulie also stole his the lawnmower... Tony lived alone in his mother's house, but offered Artie Bucco one of the empty rooms... Paulie listened to a book-on-tape version of Sun Tzu's Art of War... Phil Leotardo fake-whacked Lorraine Calluzzo because she was kicking up cash to Lil Carmine instead of Johnny Sack. He put a phone book over her chest and said it would muzzle the sound. She lived because the bullet only penetrated as far as the Rs... Tony, Junior, Angelo (Carmine's consigliere), and Lorraine had a sitdown. Since the Lupertazzi family never named a successor when Carmine died, Tony suggested a triumvirate leadership between Lil Carmine, Johnny Sack, and Lorraine... Sack and Tony had a meeting in front of Shea stadium. Tony floated his power sharing concept and Sack didn't want to hear it... At a meeting in NYC, Chris spoke out of turn and Johnny Sack flipped out. Tony told Chris to chill out because the Jersey crew could take advantage from in-fighting between Lil Carmine and Johnny Sack... Uncle Junior kept busting Tony's balls at Sunday dinner about failing to be "varsity material." Tony lost his shit and stormed out... Junior wandered off and drove his car to an old joint in Newark where he stashed vending machines with Tony's father. Toothless homeless lady offered to give Junior a half-n-half in the backseat of his car... Junior tried to hide from cops, who mistook him for a homeless guy even though he said his name was Currato Soprano. They didn't believe him but drove him home and made Janice show them his ID... FBI tried to figure out the exact lineage of the Sopranos. Adriana tried to explain that Chris was not Tony's nephew, but cousins via marriage (Carmela was cousins with Dickie Moltisanti)... Tony blew up at Janice and called her out for leaving home at 18 to drop acid and blow roadies, which left 16-year old Tony stuck at home with bat-shit crazy Moma Soprano... Tony mediated the landscaping dispute between Paulie and Feech. Told them to split the neighborhood and to cut the lawns of the local wiseguys like Castle Soprano and Johnny Sack... At the golf course, Tony ran into a neurologist who treated Junior. Doc explained that Junior's mini-strokes caused irritability and short-term memory loss. Tony stopped by to chat with Junior, who alternated between coherent thoughts on the biz and meaningless babble.

S5, Episode 4: All Happy Families... The title was from Dostoevsky's Anna Karenina. Tony's own family and crew were being torn apart by mutiny... Tony B took his twins boys swimming at Castle Soprano. Supposedly, Tony smuggled out of prison Tony B's sperm so his wife could get pregnant... Phil Leotardo dispatched Joey Peeps to whack Lorraine and her fuckbuddy when they refused to kick down cash to Johnny Sack... Chris said it was a declaration of war by Johnny Sack, yet Tony advised his crew to not intervene in the Brooklyn mess... Feech LaManna regaled stories from the old days (as Tony Pinto's driver), including the time Jackie Aprile and Tony were young punks who knocked off his high-stakes poker game. Feech asked Tony if he could have a piece of the Big Game again, even though it was run by Junior's crew. Tony gave Feech a 20% cut. Silvio thought it was a bad idea because Old Man Feech was a douchey egomaniac... The Big Game included Lawrence Taylor and Bernie Brillstein. Feech staked Tony B in the game... AJ wanted to go to college in Arizona, but he had shitty college boards (930 total) and bad grades. He tried to angleshoot an ADD diagnosis so he could have unlimited time to take his SATs... Tony bought AJ a new yellow SUV. Tony said the SUV would stay in the garage until AJ improved his grades to a C-average... Carmela told Tony he never really had legit friends, just flunkies and mooks who laughed at his jokes out of fear... At another Big Game session with David Lee Roth, Tony grew jealous that Feech made everyone laugh while his crew only laughed out of fear... AJ went on a bender in NYC after a Mudvayne concert. They partied in a hotel and made a makeshift bong using a 2-liter bottle and an ice bucket. His friends Krazy-glued his face to the carpet and shaved his eyebrows. Carmela overreacted when he finally came home. Tony noticed AJ didn't have eyebrows and thought he was doing "poppers and weird (gay) sex"... CATTY CARMELA: Carmela was pissed that she was pegged the bad cop, while Tony was the good cop... Carmela told AJ to move in with Tony (and Artie Bucco)... Feech's crew boosted luxury cars at a Jewish wedding and tied up the valets. The prick doctor asked Tony to find one of the cars. Tony reamed Feech for boosting cars without his consent (plus selling them to Johnny Sack)... Tony told Silvio he was worried Feech would turn into another Richie Aprile situation, so they needed to nip it in the bud. Instead of whacking him, Chris set up Feech with stolen goods and he got busted by his parole officer... AJ had fun living at Tony's bachelor pad, where they ate chicken wings, cracked fart jokes, and watched baseball... On a date with AJ's counselor, he suggested Carmela read Madame Bovary because she went crazy after an insufferable marriage... Carmela was conflicted when she came home to an empty house and had a flashback when adolescent AJ rode his big wheel into the street.

S5, Episode 5: Irregular Around the Margins... Meadow bumped into Tony at Crazy Horse, who  had just railed a couple lines in his office in the back... Adriana got the liquid shits because she was stressed out being the FBI snitch.... Tony had a mole removed from his head, but it was not cancer... Tony and Adriana grew close while Chris was on a business trip (acquiring bootleg cigarettes from the south). Adriana revealed she used to be deathly afraid of Tony. They hung out at Crazy Horse and bonded over med issues, snorted copious amounts of blow, and poked fun at Chris' owl face. Oodles of sexual tension accompanied a game of darts. Adriana dropped the darts and bent over in front of Tony. They were about to hook up when they were interrupted... Tony returned to therapy and told Dr. Melfi he had feelings for Adriana. She commended him for not acting on his impulses... TONY'S DUCKS: Adriana fed ducks during an outdoor meeting with her FBI contact. She mentioned her attraction to Tony. The FBI contact made a funny impression of dumbass Adriana behind her back... Tony asked about Danielle (the undercover FBI agent) but Adriana said she drowned. On the way to a coke dealer's house, they got into a car accident when Tony swerved to avoid hitting an animal in the road. Tony survived without a scratch, but Adriana was held overnight for observations... Chris was livid that she drove around with Tony at 2am. He worked hard doing deals with rednecks so she could have money for booze and coke... Tension escalated between Chris and Tony... The crew acted like knitting circle and spread rumors about Adriana was sucking off Tony, which is why they got into an accident. Chris exploded when he heard the blowjob rumors. He thought Tony sent him to North Carolina so he could fuck Adriana... Chris confronted Adriana, smacked her around, and called her a whore. He tossed her out of the house then chugged a bottle of vodka... CATTY CARMELA: Carmela heard the Adriana hummer rumors and took it out on Tony... Chris was shitfaced and unloaded his clip at Tony's SUV at Bada Bing. He walked into the Bing waving a gun but the bouncers dragged him out... Tony and Paulie took Chris out to the weeds. Chris accused him of sleeping with Adriana. Tony was about to whack Chris, but Tony B talked him out of it at the last second... Tony drove to the ER and found the doctor who worked on Adriana. Tony B and the doctor explained to Chris that Adriana had injuries consistent with sitting up (which was proof she did not give Tony a hummer). Chris said it didn't matter. The perception was that she banged Tony and everyone thought he was a jerkoff... FBI asked Adriana if they could put a wire inside the Crazy Horse. She told them to fuck off... Everyone at Vesuvios saw Tony and Chris having dinner with Carmela and Adriana, an obvious attempt to show the public that the hummer rumors were false.

S5, Episode 6: Sentimental Education... AJ butted heads with Tony when he mouthed off and Tony grabbed him by the throat. AJ said someday he'd kick Tony's ass and Tony said BRING IT you spoiled shithead! AJ begged to move back into Castle Soprano with Carmela, but Carmela set forth strict guidelines... Carmela went out with AJ's guidance counselor and said she didn't understand  Madame Bovary, which he told her to read. Counselor banged Carmela, but Carmela was mostly concerned with getting home before AJ woke up. She slept with a gun under her pillow over a legit fear that Tony would discover her tryst, which Father Phil reminded her was adultery because she was still married to Tony.... The counselor realized he was being used to convince teachers to give AJ better grades, especially after he plagiarized a paper on Lord of the Flies. English teacher referred to AJ as Fredo Corleone due to his lack of intelligence and quoted Caddyshack "the world needs ditch diggers too"... Carmela got dumped by her new fuckbuddy and she realized she could never get out from under Tony's shadow... Tony B passed his massage exam, much to the delight of his new girlfriend, whom he met on the internet when he was in jail... Tony B scrapped his leg when someone boosted his linen truck. Kim the owner was irked and thought he stole the truck himself. When Kim learned couple kids did it, Kim sorta-apologized by saying he'd stake Tony B's massage business... "Why do piss, shit, and fucking happen all in the same area?" wondered Paulie... Tony B found a bag of cash and crack when drug dealers ditched it during a police chase. Tony B tossed the crack and kept the $12K in cash. He went on multiple gambling benders, bought gaudy clothes and gifted video games for his twins... When Tony B realized he did all the work setting up the massage biz in Kim's storefront, he confronted Kim and beat the living shit out of him with a 2x4 and heavy fish imagery (koi flopped around on ground from an indoor pond inside the storefront)... Tony B finally gave up the straight and narrow life. During a dinner with Tony, he asked if he could get in on Tony's airbag scheme.

S5, Episode 7: In Camelot... Tony went to his aunt's funeral and stopped by the tombstones of his parents. An old lady sat on a bench in front of his father's grave. We got introduced to Johnny Boy Soprano's side piece: Frannie Felstein, the lady from the fur department... Tony was infuriated because Moma Soprano made his old man give the dog away. She said it went to live on a farm, when in fact his father gifted it to his side piece... Frannie told Tony a lot of old stories including banging JFK in 1961 before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yeah, Frannie was also Jack Kennedy's side piece. Tony gifted Frannie his JFK's captain's hat and she sang a disturbing rendition of Marilyn Monroe's Happy Birthday Mr. President... Frannie was supposed to get a cut of a midget auto raceway, but Hesh and Phil Leotardo stiffed her. Tony had a sitdown with Johnny Sack, Hesh, and Phil Leotardo over the sale of the track. Sack mediated that the proceeds ($150K) were given to Frannie, yet Leotardo was irked he had to pony up $40K... Leotardo didn't pay up. When Tony found him, a car chase ensued with Rock the Casbah cranking out of Tony's SUV. Leotardo crashed into a Boar's Head truck... Uncle Junior said he was in love with Frannie. The reason he never married because he wanted to propose to her. Alas, his brother Johnny Boy banged her instead, so he never had a chance... Tony told Dr. Melfi that Moma Soprano was so batshit crazy that he drove his father into the arms of other women. Moma Soprano never visited Johnny Boy's grave, whereas his side piece visited frequently...  Chris made friends in rehab with TV writer and ex-junkie (who lost his job when he blew a deadline on Nash Bridges). Joe Hollywood was sober and seeking a writing gig on Law and Order. Chris bitched about Jon Faverau to his friend and called Faverau a "faggot cocksucker" who "stole his ideas." Chris admitted that he slipped with "some wine" and a lil weed. They agreed to look out for each other.... Chris offered to book Joe Hollywood's betting action and Chris got him a seat in the Big Game. Joe Hollywood donked off $57K. Chris took over the debt. When he missed a payment, Chris and Lil Paulie gave Joe Hollywood a beatdown. He tried to pawn off his Emmy, but it had no value (unlike an Oscar). He sold his laptop instead. Joe Hollywood fell off the wagon and spiraled into the junkie abyss. Chris seized his BMW as partial payment... 70s FLASHBACK: Moma Soprano had a miscarriage and teenage Tony covered for Johnny Boy, who was banging Frannie at the time... Tony got fed up with Frannie over the dog, the miscarriage, and because she kept smoking after his father died of emphysema...Episode ended with Tony bragging to his crew that his father shared a mistress with JFK.

S5, Episode 8: Marco Polo... Well-tanned Little Carmine moved to New York. He showed off a gaudy "fool the eye" painting while his boat mysteriously sunk... Grandpa Hugh tumbled off the roof while AJ practiced drums. Luckily, Hugh fell in the bushes and escaped with minimal harm. Carmela and her mom planned a surprise party for Grandpa Hugh's 75th birthday. They didn't want to invite Tony... Junior ruined the surprise party when he called Hugh to tell him he couldn't go due to house arrest (and added that his family sedated him)... Hugh thought it was bullshit that Tony wasn't invited to a party at Castle Soprano. He wouldn't go unless Tony was invited... Johnny Sack showed Tony his new $99K Maserati. After causing Phil Leotardo to crash his car, Tony agreed to fix Leotardo's car at Big Pussy's wife's auto body shop. Leotardo didn't like the way Big Pussy's wife fixed his car. Tony sent Tony B to smooth things out, but Leotardo was still a douche... Tony B's cell mate from prison, Angelo (former consigliere to Carmine Sr.), offered him a contract to take out Joey Peeps from Johnny Sack's crew (retaliation for whacking Lorraine). Tony B declined but said Tony didn't want to get involved in a NY dispute... Tony B showed up early to the Hugh's jubilee party and Carmela was already drowning in stress. Tony B and Meadow briefly chatted about his missing Goth daughter... Tony finally showed up with Hugo's favorite sausages dangling around his neck... Grandma and her snooty friends were not impressed, but Hugo was thrilled that Tony showed up... Tony B ended up as Carmela's personal photographer, but he got shitfaced drunk and whined about being the Soprano's slave... Tony gifted Grandpa Hugo a Beretta shotgun... Hugo's old army buddy wanted to hear tales about Hugo's heroics in WW2, while his other pompous friend was a pompous ass. Grandma apologized when Hugo got shitfaced and had to be carried out of the party. Grandma really didn't want Tony at party because she wanted to impress her pompous friends. Carmela went to bat for Tony, because her mother was always embarrassed about being Italian. Meanwhile, she acknowledge that Tony saved the day, manned the grill, and made her father happy... Late night, Tony and AJ threw Carmela in the pool and everyone played Marco Polo. When everyone left, Tony and Carmela hooked up in the pool... Tony B's twins stole AJ's pin collection. They were jealous of AJ's wealth and never wanted to leave Castle Soprano. While making a batch of shitty Tang at his mother's house, Tony B finally gave up on the square life and wanted back into the mob game to earn more cash. He called Angelo and agreed to do the hit for Lil Carmine's crew... Tony B waited outside a brothel and clipped Joey Peeps and a hooker, but the car ran over his foot while the Bad and Ruin played (song from Rod Stewart's band The Faces).

S5, Episode 9: Unidentified Black Males... Heat wave... Finn tried to pay for steak dinner, but Tony was insulted and got pissed off. He later apologized for blowing up... Tony and Johnny Sack played golf and Sack complained about the hit on Joey Peeps. He said a homeless guy saw the killer limping away. After launching a decent tee shot, Tony collapsed due to a panic attack... Finn and Meadow sweated their passive-aggressive asses off in a hotbox NYC apartment. They couldn't decide on movie, let alone their future. Finn graduated and didn't want to mooch off his parents for the summer. He considered blowing off dental school for a job in LA as a photographer's assistant. Meadow hooked him up with a construction job in NJ at $20/hour... Finn got a no show job. Paulie didn't know who he was and made him clean up dogshit. When Paulie found out he was Meadow's boyfriend, he gave him wad of cash... Finn got freaked out by a huge fight between Lil Paulie and Geno. Finn was horrified at the violence. Vito Johnnycakes concocted a story that two black guys jumped Lil Paulie. The "two black guys" was a running theme that the crew gave as an excuse to the cops... Finn told Meadow about the beatdown. He wondered about her life as a mafia princess. She reminded him that her ex-boyfriend was shot dead by "drug dealers"... Tony figured out a limping Tony B clipped Joey Peeps. Tony B said he hurt his foot because two black guys jumped him outside a bar. He also hypothesized that if he was involved, then Tony wouldn't want to know... Tony B begged: "Put me in coach!" Tony assigned him to run the casino on Bloomfield Avenue and he'd finally get him a made man... Tony was impressed that Tony B supposedly got a 158 on an IQ test... Tony told Dr. Melfi that he hooked up with Carmela... Carmela searched for a divorce attorney. She finally informed Tony she wanted a divorce. Tony realized it was about money. He told her she was entitled to shit... CATTY CARMELA: Carmela bitched to Meadow that Tony cut off her credit cards. Meadow called her out for being a materialistic hypocrite... At Joey Peeps' funeral, Johnny Sack was pissed that Tony B clipped Joey Peeps and Tony protected him. He told Tony that he was gonna whack Carmine and Tony B. Tony told him that he should hug it out with Lil Carmine. Tony made up an alibi for Tony B. (they were looking for his runaway Goth daughter)...  The no show crew wanted Finn to hang out with them, chow down on donuts, and bullshit about boxing. He finally gave in... Chris uber-upset that Tony B was now the "number one cousin" because Tony B was awarded the underground casino over him... Meadow went to a beach party with Ivy Leaguers, where two recent grads decided upon film school and one opted for the CIA. Instead of going back to NYC, Finn decided to crash at the NJ construction site.... Finn caught Vito Johnnycakes blowing a security guard. Vito tried to intimidate Finn by calling him an arch nemesis. Vito gifted him a ticket to Padres/Yankees game and said he'd meet him at the stadium at 7pm. Finn told Meadow that Vito hit on him or wanted to whack him. She thought he made it up. Finn was a no show at the baseball game... Finn stayed up all night arguing with Meadow and even dozed off. They apparently broke up but he was sleep deprived and suggested they get married... Carmela's divorce attorney tried to hire top notch forensic accountants, but Tony beat her to the punch. Without a huge payday, the attorney dropped Carmela's case... Tony told Melfi that Tony got jumped by two black guys on the night he was supposed to hijack a truck with Tony B, which inevitably got him imprisoned for 17 years. Tony had a panic attack during the therapy session and he revealed that he really had a panic attack the night he was supposed to steal the truck. Moma Soprano induced the panic attack and Tony passed out and cut his head. He was guilty he could never reveal the truth and that Tony B's life was a mess due to prison, while he rose to the head of the family... SELF-AWARE TONY: "I'm a robot to my own pussy-ass weakness." Dr. Melfi referred to therapy as childbirth, whereas Tony said "it's like taking a shit"... Carmela came home and found Tony floating in the pool. Meadow called home to tell her mother about her engagement, and Carmela was all tears.

S5, Episode 10: Cold Cuts...Johnny Sack stiffed Tony in a delivery of scooters, citing port security issues... BEATDOWN OF THE WEEK: Janice turned into a self-righteous soccer mom. She busted the nose of a loud-mouth mom... Janice got arrested and mocked on the local news... Tony reminded her about her mean temper and subtly alluded to the Jackie Aprile incident...  Chris was jealous about Tony B running the underground casino. Paulie told him it sucked because he too got constantly passed over... Uncle Pat (with the hiccups) sold his farm where the crew buried all the bodies, so Chris got sent up to the farm to clear one of his bodies and a couple of Johnny Boy Soprano's cadavers. Tony B went along, but the ride upstate was full of tension... Chris was emo over the time Tony tied up Lil Chris in the orchard... CATTY CARMELA: The Cold War of the Roses continued when Carmela drained the pool... Janice attended group therapy and took it over... Tony told Dr. Melfi that "revenge is like serving cold cuts." She said that both him and his sister had terrible anger issues... Melfi said, "Depression is rage turned inward"... Uncle Pat couldn't recall where Johnny Boy buried the Johnson Brothers...  Chris and Tony B bonded by poking fun of Tony while digging out Chris' first hit (the Czech who gave him nightmares)... OBSCURE SHAKESPEARE REFERENCE: Digging up the body was reminiscent of Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech using the exhumed skull belonging to Yorick the court jester... Vinny Delpino beat down the security guard at the docks who confirmed that Phil Leotardo and Johnny Sack took the Vespas to retaliate over Tony B whacking Joey Peeps... Tony got pissed when he realized Johnny Sacks was gonna boost his special shipment of imported provolone... Carmela stalked the guidance counselor and told him that she's getting back with Tony, whereas she bullshitted Rosalie Aprile... While fishing, Uncle Pat recalled where Johnny Boy's cadavers were buried. Tony drove up to the farm and helped get rid of the bodies... Tony, Chris, and Tony B went out to dinner, but Tony B cracked one too many fat jokes. Tides turned and the two Tonys started bullying Chris, just like when they were all kids. Chris was still super-emo the next day and he drove home by himself and cried the whole way... Janice seemed reformed during a family dinner, but Tony pushed her buttons by bringing up her estranged son. She flipped out and chased him around the house with a fork.

S5, Episode 11: The Test Dream... Tony's spicy side piece badly burned herself while cooking eggs when her robe caught fire during an argument. Yeah, eggs were a harbinger of doom.... Former prison cellmate Angelo paid Tony B a visit at the underground casino and gave him partial payment for the Joey Peeps' hit. Angelo gifted him a plaque "Because I'm the boss... that's why!"... Phil Leotardo and his brother whacked Angelo... Tony stopped by Tony B's house, who was all antsy and not even listening to Tony, who hinted that he had the hots for Artie Bucco's wife... Tony checked into the Plaza under a fake name, saw Dr. Melfi walk through the lobby, and later drunk dialed Artie Bucco's wife (but afraid to talk, so he hung up)... Tony got a message that Angelo was whacked. Tony B refused to answer his phone because he went AWOL...Tony called Jade Escorts and ordered in an Asian hooker, then fell asleep... TONY'S DREAM: It was a 20-minute dream sequence that featured 8 different segments with a shit-ton of dead people...
DREAM PART 1: Tony woke up next to Carmine, who complained he missed his wife. The phone rang with an order to rub someone out...

DREAM PART 2: Tony went to therapy, but Mercedes Lady sat in Dr. Melfi's chair. They joked about how Tony killed her and they repeated the childbirth/taking a shit therapy banter...

DREAM PART 3: Tony saw his father on a TV set in Melfi's office. Johnny Boy Soprano drove his old Caddy. Tony sat in the back. Big Pussy rode shotgun, then it was Ralphie in the front seat. In the back seat were Artie Bucco and Mikey, Junior's former henchman...

DREAM PART 4: Tony thought he woke up from his dream. He stood in the kitchen at Castle Soprano wearing a black Fila sweat suit. Carmela, also dressed in black, bitched at Tony that they were late to meet Finn's parents. Chinatown and Scrooge was on the TV. Tony spotted himself and Carmela arguing on the TV screen. He spit out a rotten tooth. They went to dinner at Vesuvio. They met Finn's parents but the father was played by the crooked ex-cop that used to bet heavily with Tony before he killed himself. The mother was portrayed by Annette Benning. Tony pulled a rotten tooth out of his pocket and spit out another bad tooth. Finn morphed into AJ. Finn's father started singing Three Times A Lady and Tony realized the mother was Annette Benning. Tony warned them that something bad was gonna happen. Tony and Finn's father went to the toilet. Tony looked for a gun in the stall (just like the Godfather). At the urinal, Tony revealed his copy of The Valachi Papers and Tony heard gunshots...

DREAM PART 5: Tony B shot up Phil Leotardo in the middle of a crowded street. Mercedes Lady showed up with a microphone to interview Leotardo. A black kid asked Tony something. Annette Benning mentioned that Tony had a Bugsy thing going. When the crowd moved in, Tony ran off. Just like a scene from Frankenstein, the angry crowd of villagers and dogs chased him down an alley with torches and pitchforks. Lee Harvey Oswald took a shot at him. Artie Bucco helped him escape...

DREAM PART 6: Artie Bucco drove a getaway car. Tony rode shotgun with Richie Aprile and Gigi in the back seat. Artie watched Tony bang his wife, while he heard horse sounds...

DREAM PART 7: Tony sat on Pie-My-O in the living room of Castle Soprano. Carmela said he couldn't have his horse inside, but she said "whores." Tony had a gun in a holster. Carmela wondered if he took care of his hit job...

DREAM PART 8: Tony walked through empty hallways of a school. He stopped in front of trophy case and put a silencer on a gun. Tony found Coach Molinaro in the gym teacher's office. Coach said Artie Bucco was a tool and gave Tony guff over seeing a shrink. Tony tried to shoot his coach, but his gun fell apart...
Tony woke up in his bed at the Plaza. Chris stopped by to see Tony and told him that Tony B tried to whack Phil Leotardo, but he killed his brother instead. Tony called up Carmela and told her about his recurring Coach Molinaro "unprepared dreams."

S5, Episode 12: Long Term Parking... Random body washed up on the beach and found by kids... Tony and Carmela tried to patch things up. Carmela asked Tony to fund a new property so she could build a new house with her father... Tony's spicy Latin side piece got out of the burn ward, but he had to tell her that it was called off because he was going back to Carmela... Adriana's stress-induced health issues continued and Chris poked fun at her calling her "My Smelly Valentine"... Chris dropped a Bruce Springsteen reference to why he was late to a meeting. He also started drinking again... Chris super pissed that Tony gave him guff over the cigarette scam while Tony B went off the reservation... FBI had the Crazy Horse under surveillance. They saw Long Branch cops stop by the club and decided to bring in Adriana, who was clad in animal prints most of the episode. Turned out the washed up body had a stamp from Crazy Horse, and that he visited the club the night he was whacked. Adriana told the FBI that the Israeli dealer did it. They ripped off some mook and he wanted his money back, but a fight ensued and the Israelis stabbed the mook. The FBI called her out on giving them crappy intel and forced her to wear a wire. She finally asked to speak to a lawyer, which she shoulda done a long time ago. The FBI stalled on a lawyer. They convinced her to try to flip Chris... Tony, Silvio, and Chris went to Brooklyn for a sitdown with Johny Sack and Phil Leotardo, but surly Leotardo walked out because he wanted to avenge his brother's death. Johnny Sack told Tony that he had to deliver Tony B, otherwise it was war... After the body count piled up, Lil Carmine decided to pull out of the race for contention of head of the Lupertazzi Family... Tony got several hang up calls. He assumed it was Tony B and asked Silvio to trace his calls... Tony officially moved his stuff back home. AJ helped. Tony gifted Carmela a Hermes scarf. They had a quaint family dinner. AJ thought it was "fucking weird." Tony said they should celebrate with champagne... Tony B called Tony. Tony finally told Tony B about the panic attack the night he got pinched. Tony used a trace to find Tony B near their Uncle Pat's farm, which was empty after he moved to Florida... Adriana finally told Chris that she was a rat for the FBI. Chris flipped out and nearly strangled her to death. Hours later, he settled down and Adriana had him convinced they should turn themselves in. Chris thought he could finally write his memoirs once he was no longer in the mob... Chris went out to buy cigs and saw a poor family at a gas station. He glimpsed his brokedick future... Tony called Adriana and said that Chris had a failed suicide attempt and that Silvio would come get her and drive her to the hospital. Adriana had a daydream in which she had packed her things and drove solo to California. In reality, Silvio picked her up and she cried the entire way. She had a moment of clarity in the car and realized she was gonna get whacked. Silvio drove her to the woods, she tried to crawl away, but he put two bullets into her (although the camera panned up to the treetops)... Chris tossed her suitcase and drove her car to Newark Airport's long term parking... Tony found Chris at the Bing watching Three Amigos. Chris was loaded on smack so Tony beat him down... With Johnny Sack officially the Boss, Tony went to pay him a visit underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Tony asked to take out Tony B, so he wouldn't suffer. However, Phil Leotardo had other plans. Tony was irked, so he left and told Johnny to go fuck himself... Tony agreed to throw money at Carmela by buying her a 600K empty lot to build a dream house.

S5, Episode 13: All Due Respect... Tony thought he and Carmela spoiled AJ too much. He spent his entire waking existence on the phone... Ray Curto, FBI rat, had no clue Adriana got clipped... Chris told Carmela that Adriana broke up with him and left abruptly. Carmela told Tony, but he was aloof... During a birthday dinner for Ray Curto with all the Capos, Tony gave a speech and said he was protecting Tony B in the same manner he'd protect all of them. Tony went home early and watched WWII shows on the History channel... Chris went into hiding after Phil Leotardo went to his mother's house. He bitched to Silvio that Tony unfairly protected Tony B. The other Capos had similar feelings... Silvio reminded Tony that his crew was unhappy and that he should not have told Johnny Sack to go fuck himself. He called him out with his problems with authority. Out of the seven deadly sins, Tony's was pride. Tony said that it wasn't easy making decisions that affected everything else. He set his course and his crew was either with him or against him... Vinny Delpino spotted Phil Leotardo at the Crazy Horse. He tried to leave, but Phil and his crew jumped him in the parking lot. Phil gave Vinny a severe beatdown... Eugene and Vito Johnnycakes questioned Tony's leadership. Vito even suggested they take out Tony for putting them in danger... Johnny Sack took the provolone shipment for himself, which irked Tony's Capos... Uncle Junior found out that his trial might get delayed. Tony asked him for advice on the Tony B/Phil Leotardo rift. Junior was ineffective dispatching advice... Tony told Dr. Melfi about his recurring dream about his HS coach... One of AJ's friends hosted a party and sold beer cups for $5. When rival HS kids showed up without paying (brought their own cups), AJ told them they had to leave. One of the rivals tussled with AJ's friend, but AJ stayed out of the fight... Tony stopped by Paulie's house and called him out on his beefs. Tony flipped out when he saw the Pie-My-O painting. Paulie said Tony never came by his house, so he didn't think it was an issue. Paulie said he made Tony look like a general out of respect. Tony took down the painting and stormed off. He was about to trash it, but reconsidered... Tony drove up to Uncle Pat's farm and shotgunned Tony B. Tony called Phil Leotardo and told him where Tony B was hiding out, but never mentioned that he already whacked him. Leotardo found the corpse on the front porch... Johnny Sack said their problems were not solved even though Tony offered to give Leotardo some points on his underground casino. Johnny Sack asked Tony to come to a sitdown at 6:30am... Tony asked Chris to go up to the farm and bury Tony B's body. They finally discussed Adriana. Tony called her a cunt. Chris told Tony that he was clean and only went back to the H over the Adriana fallout... Carmela irked that AJ was on the phone and threatened to cut off his allowance until he finished a clown college applications. AJ claimed that he made $600 throwing house parties. Tony told him to do the applications or else. Carmela said that AJ was obsessed with the Studio 54 movie. Tony was worried about the homo-themes of the movie, but he thought it was good he was passionate about something even though it was party promotions... Tony went to Johnny Sack's house and sought to bury the hatchet and move forward. Johnny Sack was a douche about it, but they hugged it out. Tony thought he was getting whacked when he saw two guys with shotguns, but they were FBI. The Feds raided Johnny Sack's house and Tony successfully ran away. He called his attorney, who told him that old man Petrille flipped and ratted out the Brooklyn crew. Tony walked several miles all the way home back to his house. Van Morrison's Glad Tidings played in the final scene and was woven throughout the episode.

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Season 5 is dunzo. Here are other binge-recaps from The Sopranos Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Season 4

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Binge Watching: Sopranos, Season 4

Denver, CO

I finally got through re-watching the fourth season of The Sopranos. There was a 16 month layoff between the third and fourth seasons. Season 3 went off the air in May 2001. This was also the first season to appear after the 9/11 attacks.

I posted half-baked thoughts after binge-watching previous seasons of The Sopranos: Season 1 - Season 2 - Season 3.

Here are some faded thoughts on Season 4 of The Sopranos...

S4, Episode 1: For All Debts Public and Private... Tony thought his ducks came back, but it was only squirrels who boosted the duck food. The duck feed bags were surrogate banks to stash bundles of cash... Tony met with his Capos and claimed that business wasn't going so hot despite the fact that wiseguy life is recession proof... Uncle Junior needed an influx of cash to cover his escalating attorney bills. Tony offered Junior 100K for an empty warehouse in downtown Newark, but it was worth millions. Slithery politician Zellman (Boon from Animal House) tipped off Tony about the revitalization of the Newark Esplanade... During Sunday dinner at Castle Soprano, Janice and Ralphie went upstairs to the bathroom to snort blow and have a booty call, even though Ralphie was dating Rosalie Aprile... Danielle, the FBI undercover agent, successfully integrated herself in Adriana's social circle. Tony gave her a "Hey, how you doing?" when Adriana brought her over to Castle Soprano... Junior promoted Bobby Bacala to Capo. Bobby told tony that Quasimodo predicted 9/11, but he got Nostradamus mixed up with the Hunchback of Notre Dame... Paulie got pinched for a gun charge in Youngstown, Ohio when he was visiting Dean Martin's birth place in Stuebenville, OH. Paulie was pissed that Tony kept his distance... Tony threw a suite party and Furio showed up with a bevy of Icelandic Air flight attendants. Chris was almost caught smoking a joint laced with charlie... Brooklyn crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi gave Tony shit for wearing short pants at his BBQ. "The Don doesn't wear shorts" (which was advice real-life mobster told David Chase)...  Chris was pissed that Tony demoted him to "driver", and obvious punishment for his handling of the Jackie Jr. situation. Chris self-medicated by shooting smack in his toes to hide the track marks... Tony won back Chris' loyalty after he told Chris that his father was killed by a crooked NJ cop. Since the cop was retiring, Tony gave Chris the cop's home address. Chris avenged his father's death and shot the cop while Magnum P.I. played on the TV in the background. Chris went through his wallet and found a $20 bill...Tony was extremely honest with Dr. Melfi, which surprised her. She told him to give up before he gets whacked or thrown into prison... At the end of the episode, Chris visited his mother's house and tacked a $20 bill on the refrigerator. It was the same bill he took off the cop who killed his father.

S4, Episode 2: No Show... Princess and the Queen feuded. Meadow got a new car but spent most of her summer lounging around the pool... Dr. Melfi suggested that Meadow was legitimately grieving and depressed because of Jackie's death... Carmela flipped out when Meadow wanted to take the year off from Columbia to travel in Europe... Meadow saw a $200/hour shrink, who looked like a hippie version of Carmela. They bonded because she said Europe was a good idea and understood her parents were head cases... Tony and Meadow had it out in an ugly confrontation about being a spoiled mafia princess. She ran out of the house and presumably went to Europe, but instead she returned to Columbia... Silvio mediated a sitdown between Ralphie and Paulie's nephew (Lil Paulie) while Paulie was in jail. Paulie wanted 10 carpenter jobs on the Esplanade, but Ralphie only wanted to give him 2. Silvio decided on 5, with no show jobs going to Chris and Paulie... Chris got promoted as acting Capo while Paulie was in the joint, which pissed off Patsy Parisi, who got passed over... Chris and the crew jacked new fiber optic cables from the Esplanade job site, but Tony got pissed because he was ruining a lucrative situation... Patsy boosted floor tiles (with Silvio's approval), but Chris flipped out that they disobeyed his order. Tony confronted Silvio, who chalked it up to a misunderstanding... Adriana told undercover Danielle a secret that no one else knew: she couldn't have kids due to a botched abortion... Chris was suspicious of Danielle, but thought she was a lesbian. He offered her blow (she declined) and tried to incite a threesome, which got shut down. Adriana got pissed off at Danielle and told her to fuck off.... After 4 months of undercover work blown, the Feds decided to bring in Adriana directly. Adriana then puked on the conference table.... Radiohead's Kid A played over the closing credits. Tony's Kid A = Meadow or Chris. Or both.

S4, Episode 3: Christopher... Silvio had serious beef with Columbus Day Parade protests due to Columbus' association with the genocide of Native Americans. Tensions rose between the crew and protestors in Newark. Paulie's nephew got a bottle smashed over his head and Patsy Parisi got arrested trying to take down a Columbus dummy being burned in effigy... Uncle Junior's RICO trial commenced... CATTY CARMELA: She was pissed that Father Phil brought in a speaker for a luncheon that trashed Italian Americans, especially after she and the other mob wives donated a shit-ton of cash to the church's coffers... Carmela developed the hots for Furio... Paulie told Johnny Sack that Ralphie made fun of his husky wife and he also mentioned the huge real estate score Tony made with his warehouse. Carmine from Brooklyn wanted a cut of Tony's profit... AJ started reading Howard Zinn's People's History of the US. "You finally read a book and it's bullshit!" replied Tony... Bobby Bacala's wife died in a car accident... Janice fucked Ralphie in the ass with a vibrator. Janice is a fetish freak, eh? First it was Richie's gun to her head, and now it was Ralphie and a vibrator up his chimney... Ralphie finally broke up with Rosalie Aprile and decided to move in with Janice. At the end of Act 3, those two got into a spat and she pushed him down the stairs because he didn't take off his shoes. Ralphie threw out his back and called her a "crazy cunt."

S4, Episode 4: The Weight... Johnny Sack beat down one of Ralphie's crew in Little Italy. Tony understood Johnny had beef with Ralphie poking fun of his wife's weight, but he had to protect his top-earning Capo... Tony suspected Silvio spilled the beans to Johnny Sack, but it was really Paulie Walnuts... Johnny asked Carmine to let him whack Ralphie to avenge his wife's honor. Carmine declined because the Esplanade was multi-million dollar deal. Carmine agreed to a 200K tax on Ralphie, but no hit... Johnny Sack and Ralphie agreed to two sitdowns, but Johnny Sack walked out of both... Carmine grew tired of Johnny Sack's stubbornness and subtly suggested that Tony take out Johnny Sack... Junior told Tony to use a ruthless hit man nicknamed Lou DiMaggio (preferred weapon of choice was a baseball bat) out of Rhode Island... Silvio and Chris drove to Rhode Island to meet DiMaggio and gave him 10K and Johnny' picture. Even though his crew was ancient, they planned on whacking him in Boston... Tony sent Ralphie down to Miami to chill out while Tony cleaned up his mess... Johnny Sack arranged a hit on Ralphie (without Carmine's consent) but had a change of heart and called off the hit at the last moment. Close shave. The assassin was in the elevator with Ralphie in his Miami hotel... Johnny Sack apologized to Tony about the Ralphie stitch, so Tony called off a hit on Johnny Sack... Johnnie and Ralphie had no clue they were both about to be clipped all over a dumb joke... Meadow's hippie heart revealed itself when she volunteered at the Bronx law center... Carmela found an excuse to check out Furio's new house and dragged along clueless AJ... At Furio's housewarming party, AJ locked Bobby Bacala Jr. inside the garage... Carmela and Meadow both danced with Furio, but Carmela was as wet as a Category 5 hurricane and Tony didn't even notice because he was too busy discussing business.

S4, Episode 5: Pie-O-My... Adriana was irked that Crazy Horse became a mobster hangout. Chris and Furio used her club like a CIA rendition black site to torture delinquent brokedicks. She finally figured out that the club was never really hers... The FBI sent in a new handler for Andriana. During a meeting, the FBI denied that both Big Pussy and Richie Aprile were in the witness protection program. Sorta sad/humorous like a little kid finding out there was no Santa Claus. Adriana finally broke down and ratted out Patsy Parisi for boosting some suits... Vito busted the chair in the Adriana's office. When she went to sit down, she bit it too... Adriana asked Chris to move to California for a fresh start. Chris said no and didn't like her negativity... During Junior's RICO trial, a sketch artist drew his portrait, but Junior hated it because he looked like a goofball on the nightly news. The next day, Junior flashed the artist a major league stink eye... Bobby Bacala muscled a union guy for Junior and convinced him to switch his vote in an upcoming election. For such a soft-spoken guy he was morbidly convincing, especially when he pointed at different parts to his head to illustrate where the union guy was gonna get shot... Ralphie's racehorse, Pie-O-My, was bought in his maid's name. Pie-O-My represented the tempestuous relationship between Ralphie and Tony. Tony became infatuated with the racehorse. After Pie-O-My won a few races, Ralphie kicked down some of the earnings to Tony, who started referring to the horse as his own. When Pie-O-My got sick, Ralphie blew it off and told the vet to contact Tony. Tony treated that horse better than his own family. Tony paid the outstanding vet tab and rushed to the stable to visit the sick racehorse during an intense storm... Carmela pestered Tony about their financial future. She had special fiduciary papers drawn up by her cousin Brian, but it was in Tony's best interest to not sign all of them. Carmela was irked at Tony for leaving her future dangling by a thread, then again, she didn't want to actually have to get off her ass and get a real job if/when Tony got whacked/imprisoned... ANGLE SHOOTING JANICE: Janice was determined to make Bobby Bacala all hers and tried to pass off Carmela's lasagna as her own to Bobby, still deep into mourning over his wife's sudden death. She got jealous and catty when Mikey P's widow visited Bobby. Karen Bacala's last batch of baked ziti sat untouched in Bobby's freezer, despite several attempts by Janice to get him to eat it and move on.

S4,  Episode 5: Everybody Hurts... Adriana and Chris were riding high on the H train. Random junkies hung out 24/7 puking in Chris' toilet... Tony told Chris his master plan to start phasing himself out of the picture by using Chris as his mouthpiece. Chris was surprised but thrilled. He got the nod over Silvio because Chris was blood family and the guy to guide the family in the 21st Century... AJ's stinken-rich classmates and his new girlfriend Devin were intrigued by the mafia lifestyle. They asked AJ to show them Tony's strip club but they ended up at Satirale's instead. "It's a front? Like Jenco Olive Oil?"... Tony visited the Mercedes dealership looking for Mercedes lady. The salesman told him that she died a month or two earlier. Tony got very angry with Dr. Melfi because she didn't save Mercedes lady. She couldn't discuss her due to patient confidentiality. Tony exploded and left... Guilt-ridden Tony started being extra nice to everyone... Artie's wife bitched that Tony's tab at Vesuvio's was 6K and rising... Horny Artie wanted to bang his new French hostess. Her brother needed $50,000 for a bridge loan on some liquor investment. Artie Bucco brokered a deal where he would get Frenchie the loan for a modest fee of $7,500. Artie hit up Ralphie for the money but Ralphie declined because wouldn't be able to hurt Artie if he stiffed him. Tony was upset that Artie didn't go to him first. Tony talked Artie into letting him loan him the cash at reduced juice... TONY'S DREAM: The ceiling cracked while he ate dinner at Mercedes lady house. Plaster fell into his drink. She unfurled a scarf then he woke up... AJ and his girlfriend took a car service into NYC to visit Meadow at the South Bronx Law Center. AJ asked to borrow Meadow's room so she could bang his girlfriend. She shot him down. On the way home, they looked out the window and saw devastating poverty. They went to Devin's house, which dwarfed his McMansion. Her parents lived on a massive compound with security towers. Devin's father (presumably a Wall Street bankster) owned several late-period Picassos and an original pressing of Rubber Soul... Artie got stiffed by the Frenchman. They got into a fight at his apartment. Frenchie ripped out his earring as he yelled "Fuck to your mother!"... Artie ate pills, got shitfaced, and ended up in the hospital. Tony was angry but consoling, especially since he just lost Mercedes lady to a suicide. Tony took over collection of the debt and Tony wiped out his tab at Vesuvio's as partial payment. Artie called him a hawk who could see 20 moves ahead of him. Tony was offended that even his own friend thought he was a ruthless motherfucker... Tony bought Billy Joel tickets, and he and Carmela had a triple date with Brian and Furio. Furio liked Brian's new suit, which Tony bought him as a gift. Brian toasted to Tony for being a "great guy"... The episode ended with Furio knocking on the Frenchman's door.

S4, Episode 6: Watching Too Much Television... Paulie got out of the clink and the crew threw him a welcome home party at the Bada Bing... Adriana learned, from a bad TV show, that husband/wives had confidential privilege... Tony and Ralphie showed up at the steam room to meet with Zellman and fellow political crook Maurice about a HUD scam (tipped off by Brian) in which they'd rip off the federal government... Zellman admitted to Tony that he picked up Tony's leftovers and was in love with his former Russian side piece Irinia. Tony initially blew it off, but later found Zellman at Irinia's house and whipped him with his belt... Furio developed his own feelings for Carmela while looking through a batch of photos. He feigned losing his sun glasses as an excuse to call Carmela... Tony took AJ on a ride through the old neighborhood in Newark, which had fallen into disarray. Tony's tried to give AJ a history lesson about how their Italian ancestors laid down roots in NJ and that his grandfather built one of the first Catholic churches in Newark. His tip: "Buy land AJ, because God ain't making any more of it"... Crackheads wondered if Tony/AJ were undercover cops and told them to leave if they didn't want any rock. "So that's a crack ho?" asked AJ... Adriana wanted to get married and finally told Chris she might not be able to have kids. He flipped out and called her "damaged goods.". Tony told Chris to get married because med technology could change her situation in the future, plus she stuck by his side when he got shot. Paulie advised Chris to "Stay single as long as you can. Marriage and our thing don't gel"... Chris made up with Adriana and suggested a Vegas wedding. Carmela talked her out of Vegas for a NoJer wedding... Tony kicked down a fat watch for Brian for the heads-up on HUD scam... Tony had zero qualms over the HUD scam since "taxpayers pay for airport security" so why shouldn't wiseguys get a cut of government waste... Maurice and Zellman lamented over losing their 60s radical ideals. "The revolution got sold," they agreed... During Adriana's shower thrown by the mob wives, one of them yelled at her using scissors to open a gift because it was bad luck.

S4, Episode 8: Mergers and Acquisitions... Furio full blown crazy in love with Carmela. His uncle told him he was foolish for fucking the Don's wife and he can only do it if he kill Tony... Carmela had sexy daydreams about Furio... Tony commissioned a painting of Pie-O-My for $6,5000... Tony banged Ralphie's new girl, who is half-Cuban and half-Italian... CATTY CARMELA: She found one of Cuban side piece's fake nails, so she taxed Tony and stole 40K (actually $39,600) from his secret stash and opened up trading accounts... Tony broke it off with spicy Cuban side piece because Ralphie was with her. She tried to explain that Ralphie never penetrated her, rather that she was doing freaky shit like dripping hot wax on his testicles... Tony paid Janice $3,000 to spill the beans on Ralphie's bedroom secrets. She revealed his proclivities for taking it up the chimney with dildos and vibrators... Paulie's mom did not get along with other old ladies at the home. They made fun of her for hitting on an 18 in blackjack. Paulie told Vinny Delpino and Lil Paulie to rough up the old woman's son and even chased him down at a HS where he worked... Tony told Dr. Melfi that he's old school (like in Goodfellas) when wiseguys took the wives out on Friday and the girlfriends out on Saturday... Tony and Carmela were non-confrontational about what they really wanted to discuss: Tony pissed about the missing money and Carmela pissed about the new spicy side dish... Pink Floyd heard or sung few times throughout the episode... Tony dropped a lot of cash: home threatre system in pool house, 3K to Janice, gaudy diamond ring (shaped like a horseshoe) to the Cuban, commissioned horse painting, plus Carmela swiping cash to invest on her own.

S4, Episode 9: Whoever Did This... Ralphie's son nearly killed in a bow and arrow accident.  Ralphie lost it, saw a priest and proposed to Rosalie Aprile. Tony started to feel sympathy for him until he burned down the stables and indirectly killed Pie-O-My the horse, which had to be put down after suffering from bad burns... Uncle Junior fell down the courthouse steps after getting hit in the head with a boom mic. He tried to feign Alzheimer's to get out of trial and purposely failed a test with a court shrink. But at end of Act 3, he wandered outside and genuinely looked confused... Ralphie figured out Paulie (via Lil Paulie) was the one who told Johnny Sack that he was making fun of his wife. To retaliate, he cranked called Paulie's mom in the nursing home and said Paulie got busted sucking off a boy scout and had a gerbil stuck in his ass... Tony suspected Ralphie of killing Pie-O-My by burning down the stables to collect 200K in insurance on the horse. They tussled while Ralphie was making scrambled eggs (what, no oranges?). Ralphie sprayed Raid in Tony's eye (mirroring bathroom fight scene in True Romance when Patty Arquette sprayed hairspray in Gandolfini's eyes). Tony overpowered Ralphie, who ended up dead. Tony called Chris to bring gloves and bleach and help cut up the body, but he was noticeably faded to the tits. Tony called him out on being back on the H. Chris half-admitted to dabbling in H (but only snorting it)... Chris grabbed Ralphie's head and his wig fell off, revealing he was bald. Chris put his severed hands, head, and wig in a bowling ball bag. They ditched the body in a quarry and buried the head using construction equipment (that Tony operated)... Chris told Tony that Ralphie was their top earner but more importantly, he was a made man and they could get in trouble. Tony said that those two were the only ones who knew... Tony woke up at the Bada Bing. He saw a pic Tracey (single-mom/stripper whom Ralphie killed in the parking lot) taped on the mirror in the dressing room. Did Tony really kill Ralphie to avenge Tracy, or did he overreact to the dead horse? Both?

S4, Episode 10: Strong Silent Type.... Chris cooked up H with Lil Rascals reruns on TV. He got so faaaaded high, he accidentally killed Adriana's purse dog by sitting on her. "Must've crawled underneath me for warmth" was his excuse... Carmela cut her hair very short. Tony said it made her look young... Furio returned from his father's funeral in Naples. Bummer to get greeted by Burger King logos and American flags. He brought presents for the kids but nothing for Carmela... Tony caught Furio crying in the car. Told him to get over his father's death, when he was really emo about Carmela... The commissioned painting of Pie-O-My arrived, but Tony wanted the painting burned. Paulie took it home and had an artist change Tony to a Napoleon-like figure... The crew discussed that Tony probably whacked Ralphie over a horse... Tony still sad over the horse and Melfi said that he was fucked up for not grieving like that over his mother or other humans. Melfi said the ducks symbolized the dread of something bad happening to his family. Tony said he felt like the "sad clown"... Adriana told her FBI contact that Chris was on the H. They put Chris on mailing list for Hazelden rehab. Chris saw the junkmail and smacked Adriana. Adriana went to Castle Soprano and Tony was pissed Chris knocked her around. Carmela suggested an intervention... Chris went to the hood to score H but got carjacked. They whooped him with a toy xylophone. A random junkie helped Chris home and asked for $30 but Adriana told him to fuck off... CATTY CARMELA: Upset that Furio did not bring her a gift from Naples. She told Rosalie Aprile about her infatuation but Rosalie advised she shouldn't have sex with Furio because Tony would kill him... Junior thought intervention wouldn't work, so Tony should clip Chris like putting down a sick dog that can't be cured... During the intervention, Chris screamed mean things to everyone. Paulie and Silvio beat down Chris when he mouthed off and revealed their secrets like the Russian in the pine barrens... Johnny Sack shook down Tony for Carmine's cut of the HUD scam. Tony told him to fuck off. Tony later leaked to his crew that Johnny had Ralphie clipped for the HUD scam and making fun of his wife... Tony hooked up with Svetlana after she claimed all Americans were spoiled emos... Patsy and Adriana drove Chris to a rehab facility. The doctors searched his bag and confiscated his chocolate bars. Tony stationed Patsy at a hotel up the road to make sure Chris stayed at rehab... Furio cooked his own meals, while Tony re-heated Carmela's pasta... Paulie watched the Yankees game, but the new Napoleon painting of Tony lurked over his shoulder.

S4, Episode 10: Calling All Cars... TONY DREAM: Carmela drove Tony's father's old Caddy, bald Ralphie rode shotgun, and caterpillar on Ralphie's bald head morphed into butterfly, while Tony sat in back seat with Mercedes lady then Svetlana... Dr. Melfi reminded Tony that Freud said "Dreams are wishes." Her interpretation of the Caddy dream was that Carmela was in control and that the people in car (2/3 are dead) were people Tony had unresolved issues with. Tony said his old man would never let Carmela drive his Caddy due to old school rule: men in the front, wives in the back... Bobby Bacala visited the cemetery and told his dead wife he'd be with her if not for the kids. He buried the cake because it was their anniversary... Carmine and Johnny Sack still wanted 40% cut of the HUD scam. They complained that Ralphie didn't make his drops that week. Tony sorta accused Johnny of whacking Ralphie then walked out. Tony called back and counter offered 5%... Carmine sent one of his goons to rough up Vic the (HUD) appraiser. Vito Johnnycakes found Vic and roughed him up for switching side to Carmine. Poor Vic. He caught the brunt of spat between Brooklyn and NoJersey... Bobby and his kids attended Sunday dinner at Soprano Castle. AJ's girlfriend stopped by and they hooked up in his room. Carmela made AJ play with Bobby Jr and Sophia. They opened the Ouija board. Sophia asked the spirits if it knew her mom Karen. AJ hosted a seance where they contacted by a sea captain caught in a storm. AJ squeezed a sponge over Bobby Jr.'s head and Bobby Jr. started crying. Bobby told the adults, "He locked me in the garage at the guy with the pony tail's house."... Silvio and Tony discussed clamming up around Paulie because he leaked intel to the Brooklyn crew... Janice confronted Bobby for being too clingy to his dead wife... Tony gave Svetlana the diamond horseshoe (he originally bought for the Cuban side piece as a goodbye parting gift)... Dr. Melfi asked Tony if Svetlana was her new side piece. Tony was upset that she dumped him because he was uber-high maintenance. Tony brought up Svetlana's assessment that Americas had too much time to worry about petty bullshit. In a rare moment of self-awareness, Tony uttered "I'm a fat, fucking crook from New Jersey"... Tony wanted to end therapy. He joked that for price of therapy he could have bought a Ferrari and woulda got hummers out of it. He apologized for being an asshole and kissed Dr. Melfi on the cheek... Tony flew to South Beach Miami to visit Beansie (the pizza shop owner that Richie Aprile put in a wheelchair) and to meet Carmine, Jr. who called Johnny Sack a pragmatist but a greedy motherfucker. Carmine Jr. and Tony got on the same page regarding HUD... Judge made a ruling that Junior's RICO trial would continue despite his head injuries... Janice pushed Karen's ziti on Bobby. He finally broke down and ate it in silence via candle light. Bobby realized he had to stop being super sullen because his kids already lost one parent and he was slouching... TONY DREAM: He spotted Ralphie walking on porch of a southern plantation house. Tony knocked on the front door. He spoke in bad Italian accent, "Ima here for the masona job. Me no speaka English." A figure appeared on steps... his mother? He stepped inside then he woke up in a South Beach hotel room at 9:07am with the Beach Boys' Surfin' USA playing.

S4, Episode 12: Eloise...  Carmine Jr. flew to NYC to play golf with his father and Johnny Sack. Carmine Jr. went to bat for Tony. Carmine Sr. appreciated Tony's hard ass ways and mentioned Tony was like a son to him, which pissed off Carmine Jr. who then sided against Tony... Tony, Silvio and Johnny Sack met at Carmine's new restaurant but without Carmine, who did not budge on 40% on future HUD deals. Tony walked out and ordered the new joint get trashed by Lil Paulie and Vinny Delpino, who drew a huge cock on Carmine's special painting. To retaliate, Carmine and Johnny Sack called the union to shutdown construction on the Esplanade project... Junior's crew bumped into the foreman on the jury and politely intimidated him and his family... Paulie's mom was in minor fender bender. He agreed to drive her friends into NYC to see the Producers. At the dinner, old lady Matrone mentioned she never used banks. The old ladies got doggie bags and took everything on the table, including the sugar packets... Meadow invited her parents to dinner to meet her uber-rich roommates (including a Spanish countess) and her boyfriend Finn (the future dentist). Tony didn't like the fact she had a male roommate that wasn't gay.  Discussion moved to AJ's report on Melville's Billy Budd. "I didn't know they had fags back then," said AJ. Meadow and her friends agreed that Billy Budd was very very gay, but Carmela embarrassed herself (and Meadow) when she denied the homo-themes and lambasted that too much gay stuff was taught in school and on TV. Tony had been in enough street fights to know when you're not punching your own weight, so he was not about to spar literature with Ivy League brainiacs. Tony stayed quiet aside from cracking a few jokes... Furio, Tony and Brian gambled it up at Indian casino in CT. Brian got shitfaced and hummed Ride of the Valkyries when the VIP host offered them a helicopter ride back to NJ. Tony and Furio took a leak next to a propeller. Furio considered killing Tony by pushing him into the blade. He grabbed him and told Tony he was standing too close... Furio was a no-show next morning because he flew back to Italy. Carmela drove by his house, but never went inside. She found out that Furio put his house up for sale. Rosalie Aprile suggested Tony might've beat down/whacked Furio, which is why he was absent. Carmela submerged into a full-blown breakdown and cried the rest of the episode... Silvio called Paulie out for his wavering loyalty with Tony. In the peaks and valleys of relationships, Paulie said they were stuck in a valley... CATTY CARMELA: Carmela met Meadow for their annual birthday lunch in the city under the Eloise painting at the Plaza. Carmela brought white gloves, Meadow wouldn't wear them. Carmela felt insecure and jealous about Meadow's Ivy League education, but called her a spoiled lil princess when Meadow threatened to transfer to Northwestern... Carmine blew off Paulie at a wedding. Paulie realized Carmine had no clue who he was so he had to make up with Tony... AJ was assigned Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, which seemed little too far advanced for a D-student. AJ told Meadow that Carmela wept over Furio's dad and their mom spent a lot of time helping Furio decorate... Paulie broke into old lady Matrone's house to rob it because she never used banks. She caught him and he smothered her. He took her life savings and gave it to Tony... Meadow stopped by Castle Soprano and Tony reminded her that Carmela loved her. Tony said they went to therapy together and Meadow was shocked that Tony admitted to seeing a shrink. Tony suggested that Carmela was unfulfilled. Meadow never tipped him off that Carmela had the hots for Furio and was heartbroken... In a meeting with Tony, Johnny Sack agreed that Carmine was wrong about Esplanade and indirectly suggested they whack Carmine. When Carmine left, all Tony could utter was "Holy shit!"... Tony was bummed out that his #1 draft pick Furio went back to Italy. Tony's crew was in disarray with Chris was still in rehab, and Paulie was wavering back and forth between NJ and Brooklyn. Tony unloaded on Carmela that he had problems too specifically Furio leaving, which was really the huge problem for Carmela.

S4, Episode 13: Whitecaps... Chris finally got out of rehab and looked great. FBI stalked him when he got out and contacted Adriana to inquire about Ralphie's disappearance. She said that Chris wanted to help get Ralphie in rehab... Chris completed 11 out of the 12 steps except the one when he had to apologize to people he fucked over. Tony suggested "let sleeping dogs lie"... Carmela was sick and went to the doctor, who ruled out Lupus. We knew she was stricken with Furio-itis and depressed and heartbroken. Tony drove her down to the shore to look at a beach house named Whitecaps, which lifted Carmela's spirits when they met Carmela's dad and a realtor. "Reminds you of the Kennedy compound?"... Without an unanimous verdict for Junior's RICO trial, the judge ordered them to go back in and come to agreement. Junior flashed evil stink eye to the foreman... Junior got a mistrial! His crew wanted to celebrate but he just wanted to take a nap... Carmela fined AJ $3 for dropping an F-bomb... Johnny Sack and Tony met in an Office Depot and Sack quoted the Beatles' Hey Jude: "make a sad song and make it better." Tony decided to pass on whacking Carmine but Johnny Sack offered Tony a great deal on future construction. They hugged it out and the hit was a GO... Chris referred to Johnny Sack a "snakey fuck for trying to whack the head of one of the five families" ... Chris suggested two black guys for the hit so it wouldn't get traced back to Tony or Johnny Sack. The hitmen agreed but gave Chris guff for a stereotypical "two black guys carjacking" motif. Chris paid them an advance and gave them Carmine's routine... Tony stopped by the beach house to talk to the owner, an attorney named Alan, who agreed to sell it to Tony... During a walk on the beach, Carmela flashed a momentary blast of happiness. Tony told his kids they'd inherit it some day... Russian Irinia drunk dialed Castle Soprano. AJ answered and gave phone to Carmela. Irina told Carmela "I used to fuck your husband.... Tony loves me... we have some sadness in common. He's sleeping with my cousin with the one leg." Carmela threatened to kill Irinia because she had guns... Layla blasted on the radio when Tony returned home and drove over his golf clubs, which Carmela threw in the driveway. Layla was used in the montage scene in Goodfellas when they found all the dead bodies after the Lufthansa heist. Carmela furious that he banged Svetlana because she actually liked her and discussed Moma Sopranos bowel movements. Tony called her out for stealing 40K after she listed his different side pieces (that she knew about). Carmela threw him out of the house and he moved into the beach house... Carmine and Tony finally had a sitdown in Queens. Carmine wanted 20% or to split the difference on 40%, but Tony countered with 15%. They agreed and hugged it out...Tony told Chris to call off the hit on Carmine. Chris paid the hitmen a 50% kill fee on the contract. They were about to drive away until they got whacked themselves by Vinny Delpino... Johnny Sack was wicked pissed off that Tony called off the hit. Tony said no hit was necessary since they hugged it out. Sack said some thing to Tony he shouldn't have said... Alan the attorney caught Tony squatting at the beach house. Tony told him about his marital issues and Alan suggested he see the top divorce lawyers in the area so Carmela couldn't hire them due to a potential conflict of interest. Tony wanted to balk on the home sale. Alan played hardball. His wife told him not to fuck with Tony because he was a mobster. Alan said he'd keep the 200K deposit. Tony installed home theatre speakers on his boat and blasted Dean Martin in front of Alan's beach house. Alan called them goomba trash. He tried to pretend it didn't bother him to his guests. He called the Coast Guard but Tony turned music down whenever they water cops showed up... Meadow asked Carmela if they were breaking up because of Furio. She said she had never been unfaithful. Meadow asked her how she could eat shit from Tony all those years... Tony's phone rang the entire episode. He missed the old days before cell phones... Tony returned home and wouldn't leave. He decided to shack up in the pool house. AJ helped him clean out pool house... Tony and Carmela had it out again. Every fight they had were short spurts. Almost like boxing matches. Three-minute rounds. What did she think was gonna happen when she married a wiseguy? Side pieces were part of the package and in exchange she got materialism up the wazzu. Carmela told him about having feelings from Furio. Tony punched the walls. She called him a hypocrite and walked out...  AJ asked Tony if he could move into pool house with him. Tony told him to support his mother. Meadow also felt responsible for failed marriage.

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Season 4 is dunzo. Here's other binge-recaps from The Sopranos Season 1 and Season 2 and Season 3.