Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sopranos episode guide #16: Toodle-Fucking-Oo

US Transmission Date: 30 January 2000
UK Transmission Date: 26 October 2000

Writer: Frank Renzulli • Director: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Michele De Cesare (Hunter Scangarello), Diana Agostini (Miriam), Getchie Argetsinger (Yoga Instructor), Leslie Beatty (Nancy), Ed Crasnick (Comedian), Catrina Ganey (Nurse), Marc Freeman Hamm (Party Goer), Linda Mann (Joint Copper), Joe Pacheo (Policeman), Charles Sammarco (Joey), Antonette Schwartzberg (Beansie’s Mother), Mike ‘Scuch’ Quicciarini (Big Frank), Deirdre Sullivan (Hospital Patient), Craig Wojcik (Pizza Kid)

Storyline: Tony goes to his mother’s vacant home late at night, after a tip-off from a cop. The house has been used as the venue for a teenage party and the police were called. One youth is taken away by ambulance after overdosing on drugs while another is under arrest. Tony finds Meadow inside, looking drunk and sorry for herself. He takes his daughter home and she stumbles off to bed. Adriana gives a lift to her uncle, Richie Aprile, who has just been released after ten years in prison. He is the brother old of acting boss Jackie Aprile, who died of cancer. Richie wants to visit his old neighbourhood. In bed Carmela and Tony discuss how they can punish Meadow for what happened. They both feel powerless.

Richie confronts Beansie Gaeta, who owns three pizza parlours. Beansie used to deal heroin for Richie, but he refuses to be intimidated. Richie smashes a glass coffee jug in Beansie’s face, smashes a chair over his back and savagely beats him. Next morning Carmela and Tony berate Meadow for the party. Janice says they should ignore her transgression. Meadow denies any blame and volunteers to surrender her credit card for two weeks. Tony says three weeks. Meadow walks away, smiling to herself. Richie and Tony meet outside Satriale’s Pork Store. Christopher arrives and gets a warning from Richie about hitting Adriana. Richie tries to talk business with Tony, who just walks away. Silvio explains that Tony has to be very careful about where he talks business, due to Government surveillance.

Dr Melfi has dinner with two friends. As they leave the restaurant, she bumps into Tony and his crew having dinner. They exchange small talk and Melfi says ‘Toodle-oo’ as she leaves. At a therapy session with Dr Elliot Kupferberg, Melfi wonders why she said ‘Toodle-oo’ to Tony. She concludes that she regressed into the speech of a girl to escape responsibility for abandoning a patient. Richie and Janice meet each other at a yoga class. Tony and Richie meet to talk business at a mall. Tony asks Richie to back off Beansie, whose pizza parlours earn good money as cash businesses. Meadow is furious when she sees what Meadow’s friends did to Livia’s house. She has a blazing row with Tony and Carmela about how they punished Meadow. Tony storms out and Carmela tells Janice to mind her own business. All this is overheard by Meadow.

Junior meets Richie at Dr Schreck’s office. Richie pledges his loyalty to Junior – whatever, whoever. Tony and his crew have a party for Richie at the Bada Bing. Afterwards Richie hunts down Beansie and tries to shoot him, but Beansie escapes. Carmela and Janice apologise to each other. Richie smashes his car into Beansie, backs up, runs over him again and then reverses over Beansie’s twitching body. Next day Richie takes some flowers to Livia at the rehabilitation unit. He is really there to see Janice – 20 years before they were lovers. They have a drink in the hospital cafeteria and Richie asks Janice out to dinner. Dr Melfi has a dream about Tony passing out and crashing his car.

Tony visits Beansie in hospital. The doctors says he may never walk again, but Beansie pledges not to rat on Richie. Richie and Tony meet at the mall again. Tony is furious about Richie crippling Beansie and warns him to start listening to orders – or else. Tony goes to Livia’s house so a locksmith can change all the locks. Inside he sees Meadow cleaning up vomit from the party.

Mobspeak: Richie talks about wrapping up a dime (finishing ten years in prison). Beansie says he moved a lot of ‘H’ (heroin) for Richie.

Mamma Mia:
Livia complains about being shifted out of a private room at the hospital. She says Janice changed name to Parvati just to shame her mother. Richie tries to job Livia’s memory by saying she used to yell at him for beeping his car horn. Livia’s reply is short and sour: ‘Pimps beep.’ For good measure Livia announces that she wishes the Lord would take her.

Bright Lights, Baked Ziti: Beansie orders a free veal parmigiana sandwich for Richie who beats him senseless, breaking Beansie’s cheekbone. When Meadow comes down to breakfast she pours a bowl of Cheerios but leaves the kitchen before eating them. Melfi recommends the veal when she meets Tony and his crew at a restaurant. They are eating pasta. At the mall Richie bitches about a kid spilling fried rice all over him. Meadow and Hunter Scangarello make themselves French toast and hot chocolate at the Soprano’s house, trying the kitchen into a pigsty. The Sopranos have sandwiches and cold meat for lunch.

Mobbed Up: Tony compares Meadow to the ‘Bride of Frankenstein’. Tony asks Beansie if he can pick up the BBC on the elaborate metal harness holding his broken body in traction.

How Do You Feel, Doctor?: Dr Melfi feels so embarrassed that she said ‘Toodle-oo’ to Tony she can’t sleep all night. She says she never talks to patients that way. She believes it was a way of hiding from a patient she never wanted to see again. She thinks she regressed into the persona of a girl to escape responsibility for abandoning a patient.

I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano: Melfi has a dream in which Tony drives through pouring rain. He becomes groggy and reaches for a bottle of Prozac, but it’s empty. In the background music from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ plays. He passes out and crashes head-on into a large lorry. Dr Melfi dreams of herself driving by the accident. Tony is lying on the front on his car, having smashed through the windscreen. His face is bloody and the empty bottle of Prozac is lying beside his head. When Melfi wakes up, she makes brief notes about her dream which describe Tony as Patient S.

Quote/Unquote: Tony warns Carmela not to over-play her hand when punishing Meadow: ‘If she finds out we’re powerless, we’re fucked.’ Tony decides to clear the air with his sister: ‘You come riding into town like some Vishnu-come-lately and try to play the concerned daughter, who the fuck are you kidding?!’ Junior complains about house arrest: ‘Federal Marshalls are so far up my ass, I can taste Brylcreem.’ Tony helps Beansie blow his nose, but the badly injured pizza parlour owner worries he may never be able to wipe his own ass again. ‘Your nose is as far as I’m willing to go,’ Tony replies.

Soundtrack: ‘Holla Holla’ by Ja Rule. ‘Never Miss The Water’ by Chaka Khan. ‘No Scrubs’ by TLC. ‘You’re Out of the Woods/Optimistic Voices’ from the Wizard of Oz soundtrack. ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’ by Dionne Warwick. ‘Viking’ by Los Lobos. 'Lily Maebelle' by The Valentines. 'Prince of Peace' by Pharoah Sanders. 'Theme from Turnpike' by Deus.

Surveillance Report: Pussy says that Dr Melfi has nice, pipe-fitter lips which could give world-class blow jobs. Richie tells Christopher he can hit Adriana all he wants when they get married, but not before. Janice changed her name to Parvati Wasatch in 1978. She has a son called Harpo, but he changed his name to Hal. He lives in Montreal with his father, Eugene. Janice has petitioned the State Department for custody but believes she is on their enemy radicals list. Richie Aprile is played by David Proval, who previously appeared in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and Martin Scorcese’s ‘Mean Streets’. Melfi’s psychiatrist, Dr Elliot Kupferberg, is played by Peter Bogdanovich, a well known film director whose credits include ‘The Last Picture Show’. This episode features the sole Season Two appearance of Hunter Scangarello, played by David Chase’s daughter, Michele De Cesare. This episode is directed by New Zealand helmer Lee Tamahori, best known for directing the award-winning ‘Once Were Warriors’.

The Verdict:
‘You and I weren’t good for each other twenty years ago. What makes you think it’s gonna be different now?’ Old school mobster Richie Aprile gets out of jail after a decade and immediately starts causing agita for Tony. He also makes a move on his former lover, Janice Soprano. This episode puts the last piece in place for Season Two with the arrival of Richie. With Junior sidelined by house arrest, Richie takes over his role as chief irritant for Tony in the Family. Janice has already usurped Livia as Tony’s major irritant within the family. The combination of these two highly volatile individuals will produce most of the conflict in the coming episodes. Even Dr Melfi makes a comeback. Previously Tony was talking to her in therapy, now it’s Melfi in therapy talking about Tony. After a couple of mediocre episodes, Season Two is now firing on all cylinders…

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