The Toxic Mofos of the Sopranos
Tell Me About Your Father’s Sopranos series continues with the second episode of our four-part deep dive into the heart of darkness of our favorite TV dad Tony Soprano, with our guests Matt Zoller Seitz (New York Magazine) and Alan Sepinwall (Rolling Stone), authors of The Sopranos Sessions.
On this episode, Erin and Elizabeth talk about seasons 3 and 4’s plunge into the ugliest instincts of Tony Soprano and his mob family members, with show creator David Chase seemingly shaking us by the shoulders and telling us to snap out of it: These men with bad toupees and funny malapropisms aren’t meant to be loved. Chase and co. are successful because as Zoller Seitz tells us, he almost gave up on this show following its third season, and James Gandolfini considered not renewing his contract.
We discuss the show’s portrayal of violence against women, the breakdown of Tony and Carmella’s marriage, Tony’s fraught connection to his daughter (and her tip-toeing towards an awakening about who her father is), his disdain for his misunderstood dumb-dumb son and heroin addict nephew, and misplaced love for a horse. All this seems to underline the generational cycle of abuse, bathed in the harsh light of Tony’s hypocrisy and pathological self-centeredness. What does it mean for a father to betray his family for the Family? Could Tony even begin to know?
This episode is 90 minutes long so listen to it while you’re smoking a cigar in your Suburban or preparing a London broil to later throw at someone’s head in a rage.