Tagged: The Sopranos

The Sopranos: The Don Wearing Shorts

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.01: “Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist’s Office…”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

North Caldwell, New Jersey, Summer 1999

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist’s Office…” (Episode 2.01)
Air Date: January 16, 2000
Director: Allen Coulter
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

“A Don doesn’t wear shorts.” Yeah, yeah, every fan of The Sopranos knows the story… but after the record-breaking heat last month, I think we can all agree that Tony Soprano would get a pash for that as we head into August.

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Tony Soprano’s Mint-and-Black Bowling Shirt in “Members Only”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.01: “Members Only”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Spring 2006

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Members Only” (Episode 6.01)
Air Date: March 12, 2006
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

Ten years ago today, James Gandolfini died suddenly of a heart attack after a day spent sightseeing in Rome with his family. To commemorate this brilliant, influential, and beloved actor’s legacy, I want to revisit the style from his iconic, Emmy-winning performance as Tony Soprano.

The two-part final season of The Sopranos begins with “Members Only”, an episode rich with themes that set in place the series’ endgame—with some even citing its title as a significant clue to the finale episode. Despite its gangster characters and depiction of the underworld, The Sopranos was always far more philosophical than just a show about the mob, reflecting on themes of identity, masculinity, and mental health, or, as Tony so eloquently describes to Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) during this episode’s therapy session:

The circle jerk of life.

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Tony Soprano’s Depressed Dad Duds in “Isabella”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.12: “Isabella”)

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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!

Background

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 GoodfellasCasino, 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

The Sopranos: Saying Goodbye to Paulie Walnuts

Tony Sirico as "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in "Made in America", The Sopranos' series finale.

Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in “Made in America”, The Sopranos‘ series finale.

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Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, mob captain and Army veteran

Kearny, New Jersey, Late Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Made in America” (Episode 6.21)
Air Date: June 10, 2007
Director: David Chase
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This weekend, fans of The Sopranos mourned the death of Tony Sirico, who had played the eccentric gangster “Paulie Walnuts” in addition to appearances in movies like GoodfellasDead Presidents, and Cop Land.

Sirico was born July 29, 1942 in Brooklyn, beginning a colorful life that would be paralleled by his character’s succinct autobiography as shared in a third-season episode:

I was born, grew up, spent a few years in the Army, a few more in the can, and here I am: a half a wise guy.

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The Sopranos: Tony’s Cookout Camp Shirt and Shorts

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.01)

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.01)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob chief

North Caldwell, New Jersey, Summer 1998

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “The Sopranos” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: January 10, 1999
Director: David Chase
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Father’s Day today often means cookouts and looking ahead to the start of summer. From its first episode, The Sopranos centered around the two “families” beleaguering Tony Soprano: the network of gangsters comprising the DeMeo crime family and as the suburban dad at the head of his biological family.

On a day celebrating dads and to honor James Gandolfini on the ninth anniversary of his death, let’s revisit the final scenes from the pilot episode as the actor ably balanced both of Tony’s “family” roles during a backyard cookout ostensibly for his son Anthony Jr.’s birthday. Continue reading

The Sopranos: Tony’s “Kevin Finnerty” Navy Blazer

James Gandolfini as Anthony Soprano on The Sopranos

James Gandolfini as Anthony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.03: “Mayham”)

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James Gandolfini as Anthony Soprano, precision optics salesman with an uncanny resemblance to heating systems merchant Kevin Finnerty

Costa Mesa, California, Spring 2006

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “Join the Club” (Episode 6.02, dir. David Nutter, aired 3/19/2006)
– “Mayham” (Episode 6.03, dir. Jack Bender, aired 3/26/2006)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Who am I? Where am I going?

Sixteen years ago this week, The Sopranos first aired what became one of my favorite arcs from TV, exploring the mysterious, mythical adventures of the unconscious Tony Soprano, reborn as a de-Jersey-fied defense optics salesman on a surreal business trip in Costa Mesa. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Nautical Vacation Shirt in “Remember When”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, Episode 6.15: “Remember When”

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

Miami Beach, Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Remember When” (Episode 6.15)
Air Date: April 22, 2007
Director: Phil Abraham
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

Even gangsters get to go on spring break! Of course, being gangsters, Tony Soprano’s trip to Florida with Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) is less about tequila shots on the beach and more about laying low to avoid the heat after an old murder resurfaces from 1982… but the two wiseguys still get plenty of time to relax in the sun while the remaining arm of the DeMeo crime family scrambles to control any potential damage. Continue reading

The Sopranos: Johnny Boy’s Red Knit 1960s Shirt

Joseph Siravo as "Johnny Boy" Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: "Fortunate Son")

Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: “Fortunate Son”)

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Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano, gregarious gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Fall 1969

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Fortunate Son” (Episode 3.03)
Air Date: March 11, 2001
Director: Henry J. Bronchtein
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The highly anticipated Soprano saga prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, will be released tomorrow, expanding on the universe of the fictional DiMeo crew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Michael Gandolfini has already received impressive notices in his portrayal of a teenage version of the role originated by his father, with Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga playing the young future capo’s parents, Johnny Boy and Livia Soprano.

David Chase has acknowledged that the prequel will be retconning some of the timeline that had been outlined in episodes of The Sopranos, specifically the flashbacks in episodes like “Fortunate Son”, which starred Joseph Siravo and Laila Robins as the parents of a pre-teen Tony (Mark Damiano II).

A veteran of stage and screen, Siravo died just over five months ago on April 11, 2021, at the age of 66. The actor had appeared in five episodes of The Sopranos as Tony’s charming but violent father.

As the first episode set after Livia’s death, “Fortunate Son” focuses on the respective roles of young men reacting to new responsibilities, including the recently “made” Christopher Moltisanti, Jackie Aprile Jr. trying to live in the shadows of his late “fawtha”, A.J. Soprano seemingly inheriting his father’s panic attacks, and Tony himself recalling the moment in his childhood when he was first made aware of his own father’s dangerous profession. Continue reading

The Sopranos: Tony’s Taupe Rhombus-Print Shirt

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.02: "Proshai, Livushka")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.02: “Proshai, Livushka”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Fall 2000 and Spring 2002

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “Proshai, Livushka” (Episode 3.02, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 3/4/2001)
– “Whitecaps” (Episode 4.13, dir. John Patterson, aired 12/8/2002)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As spring gets warmer during the march toward summer, I wanted to revisit some of the festive fashions worn by TV’s favorite mob boss on #MafiaMonday with the help of my friend Gabe, who curates the must-follow Instagram account @tonysopranostyle.

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Tony Soprano’s Golf Club-Printed Shirt in “House Arrest”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: "House Arrest")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: “House Arrest”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Spring 2000

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “House Arrest” (Episode 2.11)
Air Date: March 26, 2000
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

It’s been almost six months since we last checked in on some of James Gandolfini’s costumes as the powerful mob boss at the center of The Sopranos. Considering that the 2021 Masters Tournament begins one week from today, which also happens to be the day Wallace Beery was born in 1885, I think the time is right to look at how Tony Soprano dresses for hobnobbing on the green during the Garden State Carting Association’s 13th Annual Couples Invitational Golf Classic!

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