Tony Soprano’s Depressed Dad Duds in “Isabella”
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, depressed New Jersey mob chief
Montclair, New Jersey, Fall 1998
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Isabella” (Episode 1.12)
Air Date: March 28, 1999
Director: Allen Coulter
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month. The first day of May aligning with the informal BAMF Style observance of “Mafia Monday” feels fortuitous as it was The Sopranos that helped me get more in touch with my own anxiety and depression.
I was starting college when I first watched The Sopranos, just months after the final episode stymied audiences when it cut to black. I had long loved movies like Goodfellas, Casino, and The Godfather, so I was excited when my roommate introduced me to this acclaimed HBO series centered around the mob… and I was instantly intrigued when it pulled me into a deeper exploration of identity, masculinity, and mental health. Tony’s psychiatric treatment with Dr. Melfi helped me recognize symptoms that I thought were just “normal” sadness as brought me to a point where—with the added help of real-life professionals (of course!)—I was more comfortable with healthy expression than repression.
The twelfth episode, “Isabella”, arguably presents Tony Soprano at his lowest point—heavily medicated to the point of hallucination, barely dressing himself, and hardly enough wits to fight back during an attempted assassination as two gunmen corner him on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. Continue reading