James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Spring 2000
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Funhouse” (Episode 2.13)
Air Date: April 9, 2000
Director: Alan Taylor
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Things are good. What the fuck?
Tony Soprano can’t quite seem to believe his luck at the outset of “Funhouse”, the iconic second season finale that aired 20 years ago tonight and is considered to be among The Sopranos‘ finest hours.
All of Tony’s enemies have been vanquished in one way or another, he’s making boatloads of cash due to a lucrative calling card scam, and his daughter is graduating from high school with a promising future at a number of prestigious colleges. And yet, there’s something nagging at Tony Soprano… and it isn’t just the unfamiliar combination of a full Indian dinner followed by Artie Bucco’s potentially tainted zuppa di mussels that’s troubling his stomach.
“Never been so fuckin’ depressed… it’s all a big nothin’, life!” Tony mutters as he awakens, sobbing and sweating from a troubling fever dream that would plague him over the course of the episode. In their masterful tome The Sopranos Sessions, Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall cite this aspect of “Funhouse” as the clearest connection of David Chase’s affinity for the David Lynch and Mark Frost’s surreal Twin Peaks, particularly “the way the show treated dreams, fantasies, intuition, and the uncanny as legitimate sources of information about our everyday world.” Seitz and Sepinwall draw many excellent conclusions that make the book a worthy read (and re-read), including:
“It’s not my fuckin’ head,” says Tony, right before the dreams begin. “It’s my stomach.” Read as: I’m not going to figure this out intellectually, I’m going to go with my gut. Tony’s actual guts—his digestive organs—are going to work through, process, digest the matter of the informant. Pussy is the toxin in the Mob’s body politic that caused this allergic reaction. The organization’s health will only be restored after he’s been puked up or shat out.
After two years of growing suspicion and denial, Tony’s tortured gut forces him to confront the truth: his close friend, “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero (Vincent Pastore) is a police informant, a “rat” in the parlance of these wise guys. Despite battling his near-crippling case of food poisoning, Tony rounds up his two most trusted confidants—Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) and “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri (Tony Sirico)—and lures their unwitting pal out to sea.
What’d He Wear?
The second act of “Funhouse” finds Tony not looking his best due to his illness—as well as a nagging sense of what he has to do—but he sensibly blends his usual mob-influenced sartorial tendencies with a practical layered look befitting a man with a job to do.
The Sopranos has nodded to its influences in classic gangster cinema, particularly the oedipal dynamic in The Public Enemy (1931) starring James Cagney. A fellow pre-Code crime drama, Scarface (1932), famously made use of an “X” motif to foreshadow violent gangland deaths, X marking the proverbial spot where mobsters would be rubbed out by their enemies. Thus, it’s fitting that a fevered Tony dresses himself in a shirt printed with “X” motifs, foreshadowing the trigger he knows he has to pull that day, arguably one of the most significant of The Sopranos‘ 62 murders and the one that would most haunt Tony through the end of the series.
Tony’s black silk shirt is abstractly patterned with beige, brush-stroked maze-like squares, each overlaid with a black “X” shape and shadowed by a similar slate-gray maze square. The loose-fitting silk shirt has a camp collar, plain front, and short, elbow-length sleeves. My friend @TonySopranoStyle has confirmed that the shirt is a product of Axis.
Tony wears a unique beige jacket that’s a fashionable evolution of the military bomber jacket of the ’50s and the utilitarian Derby of San Francisco jacket of the ’60s: a beige silk blouson made by Paul&Shark Yachting. This raglan-sleeve “yachting jacket”, as marketed by the Italian company, consists of a beige silk shell with ribbed-knit collar, cuffs, and hem like a classic bomber. (This is a contrast to the “yachting jackets” offered by brands like Tommy Hilfiger that are generally brightly colored windbreakers with standing collars, water-resistant polyester shells, and zippered pockets.) In addition to the zip-up fly front, Tony’s jacket has a tan button at the neck like a Derby jacket with two buttons on the bottom to firmly close the jacket at the waist.
Meant to be worn for luxurious yet practical comfort aboard a yacht, Paul&Shark lined its yachting jackets for additional wind resistance. In Tony’s case, this appears to be a dark navy silk inner shell with a nylon tab that extends from the inside right of the jacket, extending the full length of the zipper to provide an extra layer that keeps wind and weather out when the zipper is fastened. @TonySopranoStyle did some additional digging and discovered that this is also a reverse shell; thus, the wearer can also wear the navy silk side out (as Tony himself may be doing in the previous season finale, “I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano”) with a beige tab showing along the inside of the right zipper.
Paul&Shark was founded in 1976 by the Dini family, operating from the Magliofici Daco mill established in Italy in 1921. The brand was inspired by Paolo Dini’s trip to Maine, where he spotted the sail from an 18th century clipper inscribed Paul&Shark and thus launched the brand’s sports fashion center that specializes in an Italian-designed collection “inspired by the world of sailing and based on its elegance, performance and spirit of adventure.” Under the leadership of current president and CEO Andrea Dini, the Italian company recently made the decision to donate 20% of all e-commerce proceeds to buy ventilation machines for patients with pneumonia during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, a characteristic choice for the company that has made a commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.
Although yachting jackets like Tony wore in “Funhouse” do not appear among the brand’s current product lineup—as of March 2020—searching used or vintage retailers or sites like eBay often yields at least a few results for beige silk Paul&Shark Yachting jackets. (For example, as of March 19, 2020, here’s one, here’s another, yet another, and one more!) You’ll note that many of the eBay selections have set-in sleeves and patch pockets with button-down flaps as opposed to the raglan sleeves and open slanted welt pockets on T’s jacket.
I was able to identify the jacket thanks to the brand’s logo, a beige-embroidered crest on the left breast that reads “PAUL&SHARK” above an embroidered shark, with the word “Yachting” scripted below it.
Tony may not be feeling his best, but he overcomes the mental struggles that sent him slumbering through town in sweatpants in “Isabella” (Episode 1.12) and pulls on a pair of charcoal slacks, likely with double or triple reverse pleats and worn with a black leather belt. The trousers have side pockets and jetted back pockets, and the bottoms are finished with turn-ups (cuffs).
Tony’s black calf leather split-toe derbies are likely the same Allen Edmonds shoes that he wears with a black-and-cream glen plaid sports coat for his therapy appointment the following day, worn here with black socks to avoid any contrast between his shoes and the cuffed bottoms of his trousers.
The Sopranos makes clear that gold jewelry is a universal status symbol in La Cosa Nostra, with each mobster weighed down with pounds of gold jewelry and the stingy Paulie tellingly robbing Pussy’s corpse of his gold crucifix, diamond horseshoe ring, and diamond-studded Rolex “President” with its distinctive red dial before they send him off into the sea. (Paulie’s decision to rob his former friend of his jewelry was characteristically impulsive, greedily opportunistic, and ultimately tactless as all that gold would have given Pussy a little extra weight to ensure he remained buried at sea… not that he would need much more.)
Tony himself sports a regular complement of gold that remained relatively consistent from the end of the first season throughout the rest of the series, all of which has been featured extensively by my friend @TonySopranoStyle‘s excellent Instagram account. The “skip” wears his usual rings, a gold wedding band on the third finger of his left hand and his usual bypass ruby-and-diamonds gold pinky ring on the opposing hand, as well as his gold St. Jerome medallion on a thin gold necklace.
The 18-karat gold link bracelet on Tony’s wrist consists of a custom fancy curb link with what @TonySopranoStyle describes as “if a Cuban curbed link chain and an Italian Figaro link chain with a twist had a baby,” fastened with a safety clasp that provides more continuity than a “lobster”-style clasp. My friend Jeff, another BAMF Style reader and The Sopranos fan and enthusiast, purchased a very similar 14-karat bracelet from Braccio, a shop in East Rutherford, New Jersey, that—due to its proximity—may indeed have provided jewelry worn by Tony or his crew.
Throughout most of The Sopranos‘ run, Tony asserts his leadership with his Rolex Day-Date “President” in 18-karat yellow gold with a champagne gold dial. This luxury self-winding chronometer’s executive connotations have made it the choice of world leaders since its the refined President (or “Presidential”) three-piece link bracelet was presented in 1956 alongside the then-new Day-Date, and it has been associated with several American heads of state in the decades to follow from Tony’s own beau idéal JFK to LBJ. Upon its introduction, the Day-Date was the first watch to include both the full day of the week and the date, presented across the top of the dial and through a window at the 3:00 position, respectively.
Tony’s particular Rolex is ref. 18238, which BAMF Style reader Chris helpfully differentiated from the oft-misidentified ref. 118238 as Tony’s watch has polished lugs and a heavier bracelet. The watch is waterproof to a maximum depth of 330 feet, resistant to the waves splashing on the yacht’s deck in rough weather but ensuring its destruction had Tony been the one pitched into the sea off Monmouth Beach instead of his former friend.
For budget-minded readers looking to evoke the general look and functionality of Tony’s gold Day-Date, I tend to recommend either of these Seiko models: the quartz Seiko SGF206 with its similar fluted bezel or the automatic Seiko SNKK52 with its President-like bracelet. The gold-plated Peugeot 1029WT quartz watch goes the extra step of resembling the Day-Date President dial with its day window across the top and Roman numeral markers, though its affordable price tag comes at the cost of sacrificing the quality that makes a prestigious watch worth owning.
All of these watches tend to be available for less than $150… as opposed to the upwards of $10,000 (and often, much more!) that one should expect to drop for even a used Rolex President.
“Let’s go down below, check out the mahogany,” Tony issues when all is still convivial aboard the 50-foot craft. When down below, the two lines are drawn: in their black and tan color scheme, Tony, Silvio, and Paulie not only coordinate with each other but also echo the boat’s interior; on the other hand, the doomed Pussy is the clear outsider in his blue tracksuit, contrasting with the three friends with whom he used to be united that now face him as judge, jury, and executioner and also, sadly, echoing the colors of the sea into which his body would soon be disposed.
What to Imbibe
“We got any good tequila?” Pussy asks, possibly hoping to drunkenly charm his old pals into letting him go but more likely just wanting to take his inevitable punishment with a more blissfully altered mind. Tony smirks and nods to Paulie, who digs under the bar and slides out three shot glasses with a bottle of Jose Cuervo Especial Gold, one of the most recognizable tequilas in the world. It may not be the best remedy for Tony’s tummy, and he visibly hesitates but eventually takes the shot, steeling himself for the unthinkable task of having to murder his friend.
Counting all of its tequila entities, Jose Cuervo makes the best-selling tequila in the world, having captured more than a third of global market share and about the same in U.S. market share as of July 2013. While its Especial products are mixto tequilas made from at least 51% agave, Jose Cuervo also offers its Tradicional Silver and Reposado varieties, both 100% agave.
As Tony is riding with Silvio and Pussy to the boat, we get a glimpse—a fever dream? a forecast?—of Tony enjoying a Chinese takeout dinner with his family that evening, sharing the news of his boat purchase before Meadow announces her choice to attend Columbia. For this family dinner, Tony’s drinking the uncharacteristic choice of Miller Lite, poured from a long-necked bottle into a glass.
While we know Tony is a die-hard Scotch drinker, he’s no stranger to enjoying a beer at a barbecue or bar, most typically Budweiser or Heineken though we also see him drinking Beck’s, Bud Light, Budweiser Select, Coffaro, Dos Equis, Löwenbräu, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, Molson, Rolling Rock, and Sam Adams.
What to Listen to
As paralleled years later in “Kaisha”, the sixth season finale, “Funhouse” features the characters listening to fellow New Jersey-ite Frank Sinatra on screen while the episode itself is bookended by a mournful, non-diegetic track by The Rolling Stones. In this case, the Stones song is “Thru and Thru” from the band’s 1994 album Voodoo Lounge and notable for being one of the few songs by the band to feature guitarist Keith Richards on leading vocals. Despite being the first album without Bill Wyman, the band’s bassist for three decades since it was founded, Voodoo Lounge was considered a return to form and would be awarded a Grammy for Best Rock Album.
The Sinatra track is another relative “deep cut”. When the doomed Pussy descends into the boat’s interior quarters, he finds a stereo and puts on “Baubles, Bangles, and Beads”, the ninth track from the 1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim. Ol’ Blue Eyes had first recorded the Robert C. Wright, George Forrest, and Alexander Borodin in December 1958 for Come Dance with Me!, the swinging Capitol concept album that would be the crooner’s most successful, spending two and a half years on the Billboard charts and eventually winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. However, it wasn’t this boisterous and brassy version that underscored Pussy’s last few moments of relative peace but the leisurely paced, bossa nova-style recording that Sinatra cut with Jobim in early 1967.
An interesting coincidence is that both “Thru and Thru” and “Baubles Bangles, and Beads” were the penultimate track on their respective albums.
“Not in the face, okay? You’ll give me that?” Pussy begs when the small talk has run out and he knows his time is up. Tony, Silvio, and Paulie put down their shot glasses and and pull out their pistols to kill a man that had been a brother to them all. The two subordinates take their cues from Tony as he pulls the SIG-Sauer P226 from his waistband and thumbs off the safety. In addition to being the first draw, Tony takes the first shot, clipping Pussy in the right side of his chest.
While Glock pistols are arguably the most commonly seen on The Sopranos, SIG-Sauer models are also frequently carried and used by major characters. The German-based company formed in 1976, uniting Swiss weapons manufacturer Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) with German manufacturer J.P. Sauer & Sohn. SIG had just introduced its revolutionary P220 semi-automatic pistol as a replacement for the Swiss Army, kicking off a series of wildly successful pistols that would be adopted by military forces and law enforcement agencies across the globe.
Introduced in 1983, the full-size P226 was one of the most successful of this series. SIG-Sauer had hoped that the P226 would be a viable contender in the trials to adopt a new American military service pistol, which eventually went to Beretta, but the P226 and its compact P228 and P229 variants would all be swiftly adopted by many branches of the U.S. government and military as well as police departments from coast to coast.
The SIG P226 was originally chambered only for the universal 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge, though variants in .40 S&W and .357 SIG were also offered as those calibers were developed in 1990 and 1994, respectively. According to its listing on The Golden Closet, James Gandolfini’s screen-used P226 was chambered in 9mm—as is common for film and TV productions—and had serial number U124-137, indicating that it was an early model likely manufactured in 1985.
(For what it’s worth, Paulie is armed with a Beretta 92FS pistol while Silvio carries a flashier matte stainless Smith & Wesson 5946 pistol. Photos of all three screen-used firearms, courtesy of The Golden Closet, can be found on IMFDB.)
How to Get the Look
Tony Soprano dresses for another seagoing assassination in light silky layers that are contextually appropriate for an ostensible day of yachting as well as comfortably loose enough for a man whose guts are rebelling against him.
- Black with X-patterned beige-and-slate brush-stroked maze square-printed silk short-sleeved shirt with camp collar and plain front
- Beige silk raglan-sleeve Paul & Shark reversible “yachting jacket” with bomber-style ribbed-knit collar, cuffs, and hem, zippered fly-front with neck button and two waistband buttons, dark navy reversible shell lining, and slanted welt pockets
- Charcoal reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, jetted back pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Black leather belt with silver-toned square single-prong buckle
- Black calf leather apron-toe derby shoes
- Black socks
- White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
- Rolex Day-Date “President” 18238 chronometer watch in 18-karat yellow gold with champagne-colored dial and “President” link bracelet
- Gold curb-chain link bracelet
- Gold pinky ring with bypassing ruby and diamond stones
- Gold wedding ring
- Gold open-link chain necklace with round St. Jerome pendant
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Why you makin’ me do this, you fat fuckin’ miserable piece of shit?