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The Sopranos: “Remember When” Monday, April 23, 2007

Posted by cdnmoose in CDNMoose, Poppin' Willies, The Sopranos, Things too long to read, TV.
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Yep. Only six more episodes of “The Sopranos” after tonight…God dammit, sometimes life just ain’t fair.

Bada Bing!The main storyline this week has Tony and Paulie heading out on a road trip to Miami (hooray for (in order) mojitos, Shaq, coke, and whores!). The boys are leaving town in case there’s trouble– seems as though the feds are doing some digging over at Branford Avenue, final resting place for a bookie named Willie Overall who met his demise at the hands of one Anthony John Soprano, Sr. on Labour Day, 1982.

Actually, poppin’ Willie was Tony’s first “job” (in addition to being an awesome euphemism for an accidental erection, don’t you think?). The hit was directed by Tony’s dad and was overseen by Paulie, and if the feds are sniffing around, well…it’s probably a good time for the two of them to skip town ’til it blows over.

So come on in if you want your eyes to glaze over at something that takes longer to read than it would take to actually watch the show…

So the boys pack to leave (p.s. Carmela does a positively *terrible* fucking job “folding” Tony’s collection of fat guy shirts– she may as well be balling them up, tying them in knots and shoving them into a duffel bag). Across town, Paulie packs for himself. Looks like he’s got all the essentials…if “the essentials” are three pair of near-identical white loafers, that is…and I like to think that they are.

They “frappez la rue” as they say in the provinces, and are enjoying the drive down south. “This is nice, all things considered“, Paulie says. “Just like the old days“.

They reminisce about the night of the killing and then driving around for a week with poor Willie in the trunk (euphemism alert!). Fun fact: The hit went down the week before Meadow was born. They shoot the shit along the way as they drive (Paulie: “Chevy Chase. What the fuck ever happened to him?“).

The conversation comes around to Tony asking Paulie who told Johnny Sack about Ralphie making some joke that Ginny had a huge mole on her ass. Paulie denies it, but Tony is suspicious (as we’ll find out later) that Paulie talks too much.

In storyline #2, Junior is dealing with life at the mental hospital. He gets a visit from George Burns and Art Carney and they’re gonna go on a bank robbing spree. Oh, wait– that was “The Sunshine Boys”. Actually, these guys say they can spring Junior from the home if he would just book an appointment with an outside dentist. You know the plan is going go to well with the addle-minded Soprano when this exchange takes place:

Dude: What do you think, Junior?
Junior: Enchiladas tonight.

Yep. That plan is gold, baby. Gold!

Junior arranges a card game for later that night with the assistance of Carter Chong aka Angry Asian Dude aka AAD. They play with buttons instead of chips, Junior takes a rake as well as selling Coke and candy to people who aren’t supposed to have sugar.

At the card game, it’s a regular WSOP. Two guys are in on a hand, lots of buttons in the middle. It’s a huge pot. The suspense. The intrigue. The drama. Time for the showdown: old guy #1 as a flush (“no you don’t”– oops, he misread all those black cards in his hand to be a flush when it wasn’t). and old guy #2 has Alzheimer’s and a pair of jacks. He wins the hand despite not knowing what cards he was holding, or probably where he is sitting. Damn I wish I could get in on that game.

Junior is holding court and being a good host– he’s totally the shit in that room, cracking ancient, foul jokes that are only funny to 8 year-olds…and the criminally insane.

The game soon gets narced on by Bernie (a Rutgers prof who killed his wife), so the interns bust up the game. Later, AAD brings Junior his tea in his room. Junior gives AAD a mittful of buttons as a taste of the action that night. They talk, they bond. AAD tells Junior about how once his Dad was disappointed in him once when he took a spelling test and scored a 96 (best in class), but Dad was only concerned about the missing 4%. Something tells me “Dad” isn’t around anymore and that’s why AAD is in the facility with Junior.

Back on the road, Tony and Paulie stop in Virginia and try to find their old standby motel (and hopefully some of them “Hillbilly hooers” they used to bang). Unfortunately, the motel was paved over in favour of a newer hotel, but they check in anyway (Tony checks in as “Mr. Spears”. Heh).

They head to the hotel bar and Paulie talks. And talks. And talks. Back in the 60s, Tony’s Dad and Paulie used to make this trip. Paulie’s first trip was in a ’59 El Dorado (“with the fins”) which, when you think about it, is not entirely unlike his hair.

Before they head out in the morning, Paulie has let it slip to some stranger in the buffet line that they’re heading to Miami. They’re supposed to be laying low, but he’s apparently filling everyone in on their plans. Tony is…not amused.

Tony gets a call from Silvio. Yep, the feds did indeed dig up a body. This could be trouble. But what’s more troubling to Tony is that Paulie’s talking too much. To emphasize his point, as he’s telling Silvio this, he looks over to see Paulie joking with the valet guys (probably telling them the “Did you hear the one about the dead bookie on Branford Avenue?” joke).

They make it to Miami, and the boys meet up with Peter “Beansie” Gaeta (the guy Richie Aprile ran over in Season 2 in a spat over money– he’s now a parapalegic).  They give him some “Cleaver” schwag and they shoot the shit about the old days with Paulie and Tony’s Dad. Beansie has a pic of Paulie as a young stud back in ’63. He’s totally got the Sha Na Na look going with the same hair he has now– just without the whitewalls.

Beansie excuses himself from the table to take a call and empty his pee-bag, Paulie looks at Tony and comments…”He pisses in a bag now? Jesus Fuckin’ Christ, kill me now!”. Yeah, Paulie, Tony has noted that comment.

Over dinner, much reminiscing of the good old days continues which is starting to agitate Tony. Before Tony can get too upset, Paulie tries to compliment Beansie by pointing to him and telling the group “You want to talk about a stand-up guy?”


Yep, nothing more awkward than calling a dude in a wheelchair a “stand up guy”. It’s like giving him one of them there ironic names, like calling Tony “Kitten”.

Anyway, the only thing more awkward than that is Tony having enough of the good old days talk. He gets up and leaves the table saying “‘Remember when?’ is the lowest form of conversation“, which I guess makes it the “pun” of non-humourous speech. Ouch.

Back at the home, one of Junior’s escape accomplices calls (yes, you guessed it– he calls from a Bingo hall). Junior puts the kibosh on the whole “The Great Escape 3” thing. He says “the time just isn’t right”…as he sips his tea and noshes on a Kit Kat watching an infomercial for http://clickmc.com. (I wonder how much they paid for that?)

The next day, Junior and AAD get to work on a different way to spring Junior from the facility. They write a letter to Dick Cheney asking him to use his influence to get him out of there (“like yourself, i was involved in an unfortunate incident when a gun I was handling misfired“).

Jameel (Junior’s “inside man” at the hospital) comes into the room and let’s Junior know that the prof snitched on them, so no more card games. In exchange for his services, Jameel gets another autographed picture of Junior to put up on Ebay.

A short while later, Junior and AAD are in the common room and are playing some checkers when the Prof comes to their table (“Ahh, checkers. The thinking man’s game”). As the Prof continues to agitate Junior, he leaves his legs open to attack. Yep. He gets nutted but good by Junior. I hope he wasn’t using those.

Though it is not mentioned in the episode, I have every confidence that at this moment, somewhere, Blanca is peeing.

Storyline #3 finally comes around and we see what’s happening in NYC. Phil is having dinner with Doc Santoro. Phil says that Doc is the #1 guy. Perhaps to show Phil his place, perhaps to send him a message, or perhaps because he wishes he ordered what Phil did, Doc reaches across the table and grabs something on Phil’s plate with his fork. Phil and Butch (who is sitting nearby reading a paper) react silently to this show of disrespect.  Uh-oh.

Back in Miami, Tony gets a bridge loan for $200K from his bookie to get him through his dry spell (yeah, remember last week when Tony picked St. Louis, Minnesota and Baltimore to win and I hoped for his sake that he was talking about baseball? Yeah, looks like he was definitely picking football after all. D’oh…)

Tony has sex with a young blonde girl from dinner the other night, who asks about Paulie.

Tony: He used to work for my dad.
Girl: Yeah, I know, he told me.


Later that night, Tony and Paulie wait for some guys who “found” a truck full of power tools. They show in a group of 5, Paulie gets out and asserts himself to the Cubans: “So everybody come tonight except Charo?“. Yeah…uh…good one, Paulie.

After the deal is done, Tony talks to Beansie later that night and tells him that Paulie’s yapping concerns him lately. He talks about the horse/general painting that Paulie had in his house. Tony now thinks it wasn’t a joke. Beansie reminds Tony that all Paulie has is Tony, the guys, and his image.

Tony gets the call from Silvio about the dead body investigation. Looks like the Feds have been (mis-)informed that Willie’s death was Jackie Aprile’s doing. Tony’s ass is covered– “for now, but what’s next?”, he wonders.

He goes out to the balcony to grab a breath of fresh air and hears Paulie in the next room laughing his ass off. He looks in to the room to see that Paulie is watching “Three’s Company”. Perhaps laughing so hard at that Jack and Crissy is his true sin, and is the reason he must now be killed.

The next day, Tony tells Paulie that they should treat themselves before they head back. You know, maybe rent a boat. Go sportfishin’.

Paulie says “yeah, sure”, but the look on his face shows that he knows what’s happening.

They rent the boat (the “Sea Vous Play”….heh) and Paulie starts having flashbacks of when they took a boat out a few years back and…well…whacked Big Pussy (there is no other way of saying that, I swear).

Back at the home, Junior gets a PFO letter from the Veep (damn!) and AAD tells Junior they’re drugging him to calm him down after “The Nutting of the Prof” (great name for a musical, I think). They come up with a plan where AAD distracts the interns and Junior doesn’t have to take his medicine.

In the common room though, Junior tells his jokes but now forgets the punch line. Oh, and he pisses his pants, too. Maybe those meds were good for something after all.

He’s back in his room now taking the meds, watching Pyramid…you know, having a pretty good Saturday. AAD comes in and is angry since Junior’s taking the meds, there is no card game, etc. He leaves Junior’s room all pissy.

Junior later goes to AAD’s room to more-or-less apologise. They decide to write Haliburton direct. Good thinkin’. Junior leaves the room and parts with the statement:

Junior: You’re very smart, Anthony. I’m sure you’re very good at spelling, too.

Great lines. Mixing up Tony, doing the father-figure love thing that AAD never had, really apologizing to both of them…all at once. Nice.

On the boat, Paulie makes Rigatoni ala Paulie for lunch and as he chows down, Tony looks at different killing instruments on the boat. He brings up the Ginny Sack joke in that not-at-all-subtle way that Tony does. He’s interrogating Paulie about it and the yapping.

Tony: Seriously. You ever have yourself checked for Tourette’s?

The seas get rougher. Paulie ultimately says no, it wasn’t him that told Johnny Sack about the joke.

Tony gets up to get a drink. He’s clearly struggling with what he thinks he has to do. He looks out to sea for an answer. Paulie, maybe accepting it all, stands up and turns to face the ocean.

After much contemplation, Tony leans down and reaches for something…he yells out “Think fast!” and playfully throws a bottle into Paulie’s gut. Whew. Looks like Paulie is sticking around after all.

At the home, they are in the middle of a “Delta Dawn” sing-along (yes, really). AAD is tossing crumpled pieces of paper at people. Junior turns and mouths his displeasure at AAD for disrupting the Tanya Tucker.

In response, well…AAD kicks some Corrado ass and Junior is left bloodied on the floor. AAD is not an old skool country music fan, apparently.

Back at home, Paulie comes in to a presumably empty house, opens the door and says “What does it take to get something to eat?”. Ah, but he’s not alone: Big Pussy is cooking in his kitchen. Ah. He’s dreaming. He asks himself: “When my time comes, tell me– will I stand up?” He awakens and pumps some iron with a crazy look on his face. Cool.

At the Soprano house, Paulie has sent over an espresso machine (earlier in the episode, he noticed it was broken). Carmela asks what’s wrong with him, sending over a $2K machine. Tony says “nothing“.

Across the river, Doc Sontoro is getting into his car and is shot by three punks who flee the scene. Butch is driving one of the getaway trucks. Looks like Phil is starting to take things personally. He’s now the man.

We close with Junior sitting alone in the yard at the hospital, silent, contemplating who knows what as he stroke a cat in his lap, apparently auditioning for his role as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the mental institution’s summerstock version of “Thunderball”.

It’s like every character sees the end coming, surely all in different ways.

Man, I love this show.


1. Weed Against Speed - Monday, April 23, 2007

Great post. I really enjoyed this episode. It seems things are really starting to pick up.

2. MitchKayak - Monday, April 23, 2007

This episode was freaking sweet.

I was rooting for the death of Paulie. I never liked him. Sack up Tony.

3. cdnmoose - Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Indeed, the last 6 are gonna be a sprint.

I *love* Paulie. He’s just so…random.

That being said, much of me wanted Tony to go through with it because I can’t imagine what he would go through after killing his childhood hero/(arguably)best friend…

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