Shades of Gray: Tony Soprano in “The Telltale Moozadell”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.09: "The Telltale Moozadell")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.09: “The Telltale Moozadell”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, December 2000

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “The Telltale Moozadell” (Episode 3.09)
Air Date: April 22, 2001
Director: Dan Attias
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

In a late second season episode of The Sopranos, Christopher Moltisanti warns his fellow Italian-American mobsters about his vision of hell, “an Irish bar where it’s St. Patrick’s Day everyday forever.” Thus, let’s take a look at a stylish outfit from this seminal HBO drama on the first #MafiaMonday after St. Patrick’s Day!

Penned by series regular Michael Imperioli—Christopher himself—exactly one season after Christopher’s premonition, “The Telltale Moozadell” is a tale of animal instinct and the dangerous consequences of childlike impulsivity, anchored by the central plot line of mob boss Tony Soprano in the midst of the exciting “honeymoon phase” of his affair with Mercedes-Benz sales rep Gloria Trillo (Annabella Sciorra).

The only complication? (Well, other than Tony’s marriage and career and Gloria’s unfortunate penchant for self-destructive behavior.) The two met in the waiting room of their therapist’s office, and now each have to lie to the good Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) about the source of their uncharacteristic happiness.

Melfi isn’t fooled by Tony’s weak explanations that “that’s how life is, I guess, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad,” and presses on when she notices his attitudes suspiciously mirroring the neo-Buddhist Gloria.

Tony: You have to joyfully participate in the suffering of the world.
Dr. Melfi: Your thoughts have a kind of eastern flavor to them.
Tony: Well, I’ve lived in Jersey my whole life…
Dr. Melfi: I mean eastern in terms of Asian. Like Buddhist or Taoist.
Tony: Sun Tzu. I told you about him.
Dr. Melfi: (a beat) We have to stop now.

After an exuberant Tony tosses her a few extra bills in appreciation of “the good results”, Melfi complains to her son that she “hates them all” for lying to her… until she catches sight of her newly received benjamins that could help buy the young man some textbooks.

Tony’s glee is short-lived, however, as his next stop takes him to a mob-run gambling den where he encounters his daughter’s irresponsible boyfriend Jackie Aprile Jr. (Jason Carbone), a hotheaded young man a little too comfortable on the fringe of organized crime.

What’d He Wear?

As spring nears after a long, hard winter that brought us yet another polar vortex, you too may be tempted to be wary of expressing your happiness. Tony tries to restrain his abundant happiness by entirely wearing shades of gray in an increasingly familiar getup of a textured or patterned sport jacket with solid-colored shirt, silk tie, and pleated pants.

In this case, his jacket is the gray flannel single-breasted sports coat that he also wore in “Employee of the Month” (Episode 3.04) to Johnny Sack’s housewarming, in “Another Toothpick” (Episode 3.05) for dinner at Vesuvio, and several episodes across the fourth season, though it’s only for these scenes in “The Telltale Moozadell” (Episode 3.09) that he wears this interesting all-gray ensemble.

Tony makes the rounds of an illegal casino when he spots someone who decidedly should not be there.

Tony makes the rounds of an illegal casino when he spots someone who decidedly should not be there.

Tony’s dark gray flannel sport jacket has a single-breasted, three-button front that he wears with the top two buttons fastened. As the show—and James Gandolfini’s size—progressed over the course of the show, Tony’s wardrobe would evolve from three-button suit jackets and sports coats to single-button jackets.

The ventless jacket has natural shoulders and four-button cuffs. The straight hip pockets are jetted with no flaps, and Tony dresses the welted breast pocket with a gray silk pocket square that continues the monochromatic theme.

The blissful mob boss.

The blissful mob boss.

Tony’s dress shirt is warm gray with a slight purple cast. The shirt has a point collar, front placket, and button cuffs.

Tony tries to convince Dr. Melfi to accept "a little extra for good results" on top of the co-pay he owes, unaware that therapy isn't the kind of service where one tips.

Tony tries to convince Dr. Melfi to accept “a little extra for good results” on top of the co-pay he owes, unaware that therapy isn’t the kind of service where one tips.

Tony’s silk tie is “uphill”-striped in black and gray, though the gray section is comprised of hairline stripes that create the effect of a solid gray stripe from a distance.

Tony gives Jackie Jr. one of many unheeded warnings to "smarten up".

Tony gives Jackie Jr. one of many unheeded warnings to “smarten up”.

Tony wears pleated wool trousers in a medium gray more achromatic than his top layers. They are  finished on the bottoms with turn-ups (cuffs) and have belt loops for his black leather belt that coordinates with his black leather derby shoes.

SOPRANOS

Given the context—the last episode featured Thanksgiving, the following episode is set at Christmas—we can deduce that “The Telltale Moozadell” is set sometime in December, a month that plunges north Jersey into wintry climates and thus calling for the outer layer of a warm topcoat as Tony is briefly seen wearing when he arrives at the gambling den.

This black wool knee-length coat also made an appearance earlier in the episode when Tony wears it for his memorable zoo trip-and-tryst with Gloria. The raglan-sleeve coat buttons to the neck where there is a turndown, shirt-style collar rather than the suit-like notch or peak lapels of a Chesterfield-style overcoat.

The kind of parking spot you only get in movies and TV shows...

The kind of parking spot you only get in movies and TV shows…

Tony’s full complement of gold jewelry includes his wedding ring and the pinky ring he wears on his right hand with diamond and ruby stones. On his right wrist, he wears his usual gold chain-link bracelet.

SOPRANOS

On his left wrist, Tony wears his standard 18-karat yellow gold Rolex Day-Date ref. 18238 “President”, which takes its moniker from its distinctive link bracelet. This chronometer has Roman numerals around the “champagne” gold dial with a long display for the day of the week at the top and a date window at 3:00.

What to Imbibe

Had too much Jameson this weekend? Give your palette a rest by taking it easier with a glass of nice Tuscan red wine, perhaps the Soprano family’s preferred chianti: Ruffino Riserva Ducale.

Tony and his cohorts enjoy multiple glasses of Ruffino in "Another Toothpick" (Episode 3.05).

Tony and his cohorts enjoy multiple glasses of Ruffino in “Another Toothpick” (Episode 3.05).

Per the Ruffino winery, “this wine offers complex aromas of cherry, violet, tobacco, white pepper and a touch of flint. On the palate, it is well-balanced, with velvety tannins, firm acidity and a lingering finish of rosemary.”

Ruffino transcends character on The Sopranos and, from the time it is first spotted on screen in the hands of Carmela (Edie Falco) and her sister-in-law Janice (Aida Turturro) in “Do Not Resuscitate” (Episode 2.02), the easily identifiable Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico can be seen drank by everyone from New Jersey and New York mobsters and their families to even decidedly non-OC characters like Dr. Melfi and the suburbanite Larry Arthur in “Bust Out” (Episode 2.10).

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.09: "The Telltale Moozadell")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.09: “The Telltale Moozadell”)

How to Get the Look

Tony Soprano can’t hide his newfound happiness under his layers of gray, a monochromatic and quietly elegant outfit that—jewelry aside—avoids some of the excesses that befall certain gangsters on The Sopranos when dressing up in coat and tie.

  • Dark gray flannel single-breasted 3-button sport jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and ventless back
  • Gray shirt with point collar, front placket, and button cuffs
  • Black with hairline-striped gray “uphill” diagonal stripes silk tie
  • Gray wool pleated trousers with turn-ups/cuffs
  • Black leather belt with squared steel single-prong buckle
  • Black calf leather derby shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • Black wool winter topcoat
  • White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Rolex President Day-Date 18238 yellow gold wristwatch
  • Gold open-link chain bracelet
  • Gold pinky ring with ruby and diamond stones
  • Gold wedding ring
  • Gold open-link chain necklace with round St. Jerome pendant

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the entire series.

The Quote

Sometimes you gotta get away and stop and smell the gorilla shit.

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