Wouldn't you need therapy?
"I'm in the waste management business. Everybody immediately assumes you're mobbed up. It's a stereotype, and it's offensive."The Sopranos
— Tony Soprano
is a deconstructive Criminal Procedural
series centered around North Jersey Mob Boss
Tony Soprano, who after a panic attack secretly begins seeing a therapist. Hilarious Reality Ensues
as his therapy coincides with him sending his troublesome, sociopathic mother Livia into a nursing home when it becomes apparent that she's no longer able to take care of herself.
The show focuses on Tony's problematic dual families: his biological family — long-suffering wife Carmela, his straight-A student daughter Meadow, underachiever son A.J., and his equally morally bankrupt sister Janice — and the organized crime family he is involved in, who include his bitter uncle Junior, his 'nephew' (actually his wife's cousin) Christopher, and more.
The series ultimately ended with one of the most infamous cases of No Ending
ever to air on an American TV show. See the WMG page
for various interpretations.
Created by David Chase, the Pilot Episode
was shot in 1997, the show premiered on the premium cable network HBO
in the United States on January 10, 1999, and ended its original run of six seasons and 86 episodes on June 10, 2007.
The series is noted for its high level of quality in every aspect of production and is particularly recognized for its writing, cinematic style, and the performances of its lead actors. The show is credited with bringing a greater level of artistry to the television medium and paving the way for many successful drama series
and ultimately launching what many consider a new golden age of dramatic television. It also won a multitude of awards, including twenty-one Emmys and five Golden Globes. Whenever serious critics and TV fans get together to determine the greatest TV drama of all time, the final showdown is almost invariably between The Sopranos
, The Wire
and Breaking Bad
Now has a Character Sheet
under construction. Due to the Loads and Loads of Characters
any and all contributions would be greatly appreciated.
This show provides examples of:
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- Abusive Parents: Tony is emotionally manipulated and terrorized by his difficult mother throughout his childhood and well into his adult life. One notable incident featured his mother threatening to stick a fork in his eye when he was only ten years old. Tony's father was outwardly friendly, but also a manipulative sociopath who indoctrinated his son into violent crime and the mob. It's implied that the various degrees of emotional manipulation and terror Tony suffered under his parents is what turned him into the violent sociopath that heads the New Jersey crime families. Oddly enough, Tony manages to become a better father to his kids than his parents ever were to him (despite being an aforementioned violent sociopath), and his children turn out relatively nice and normal, even if they have a few issues of their own.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg:
- Christopher in Season 1 when he suffers a mock execution. Reversed later in Season 5 when Tony is about to kill him and Chris doesn't back down from an accusation.
- Lorraine Calluzzo offers to blow the Leotardo brothers during what turns out to be a mock execution.
- Alas, Poor Yorick: Christopher holds a skull this way when he is relocating the bones of an old murder.
- Alas, Poor Villain: In a rare occurrence, Johnny Sack is given a touching and empathic death scene, dying after a long illness and surrounded by his anguished family. The show makes a point about a broken mobster dying of cancer is still a human being, a father and a husband. In-universe, even the mobsters who felt betrayed by the man mourn his loss and honor his memory.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played straight for almost all the female characters. Played with Melfi, who feels an unhealthy attraction to Tony but is able to fight it off.
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Played with. Tony Soprano cites Sigmund Freud (whom he learned about in his "semester and a half" of college) to explain to Melfi that he understands therapy "as a concept", but the show deals with psychology a lot, and it really isn't here. Often called the most accurate fictional depiction of what actually happens in therapy. Tony however is diagnosed with a compelling Freudian Excuse and Freud is also the Trope Codifier for Oedipus Complex, one of the Mommy Issues mentioned often by Melfi despite Tony's repulsion.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: In-universe; Christopher thinks the Cuban Missile Crisis was a fictional event made up for the film Thirteen Days.
- American Dream: One of many aspects of American life and culture that is critically examined in the show. Like most of the show's themes, it's dealt with in a manner complex and nuanced enough to defy a black-and-white answer.
- Amoral Attorney: Neil Mink and Harold Melvoin, traditional and very expensive mob-lawyers who reinforce the genre-savviness of the bosses and their ability to commit crime or get away with it.
- And a Diet Coke: Vito orders a Grande Nacho and a Diet Coke at Crazy Horse in "Pie-O-My".
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Patsy Parisi.
- Animal Motifs: Several used as symbolism throughout the series, e.g felines represent Adriana or Chris and migratory ducks the fragile family of Tony. A more concrete example is the parting gift Tony gives to his goomahs, a horseshoe-shaped jewel.
- Anti-Hero or Anti-Villain: Depending on your viewpoint.
- Anyone Can Die: Too recent to call it the codifier, but was probably the first series a lot of people thought of when they think of this trope, until another HBO series usurped that title. Many deaths are out of the blue, making wham episodes frequent.
- Arcade Sounds: Bobby Baccalieri's son plays a computer full of generic laser blasts, beeps, doots, and other such game noises. The game he's playing is Max Payne...
- Actually, he just watches the game's intro. Funnily enough, Max Payne is about a guy who wipes out New York mob (among other people).
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- Meadow catches Tony off-guard when she asks him "Are you in the Mafia?". Tony replies there is no Mafia and discloses that he's indeed into some illegal activities such as gambling.
- Tony asking "Don't you love me?" to Junior who is going through early stages of dementia and has behaved badly to Tony. Junior is left shaken, speechless and showing a Single Tear.
- "Hey Pussy...did she even really exist?"
- Carmela to Tony after he says he was attracted to the one-legged Russian because he could converse with her: "what about the thousand other fucking pigs you had your dick in over the years, the strippers, the cocktail waitresses. Were you best friends with all of them too?"
- Artifact Title: In-universe: the DiMeo Crime Family, of which the Soprano crew is a part, still bears Ercole "Ecky" DiMeo's name, even though he's been in prison for decades, and no one named "DiMeo" has any part in running the family.
- Ascended Extra: Many characters start out with minor roles and grow more prominent as the series goes on. Johnny Sack and Vito Spatafore are both barely seen in Seasons 1 and 2, but are major players later on; Bobby Bacala is another notable example. Adriana was promoted to main character and Chris' girlfriend only after the pilot.
- As Himself:
- Jon Favreau plays a manipulative version of himself who screws Chris out of his ideas.
- Janeane Garofalo in a movie directed by Favreau.
- Ben Kingsley and Lauren Bacall make a cameo when Christopher is pitching his own movie. The role finally goes to Danny Baldwin.
- Invoked in "The Test Dream". Annette Benning is playing Finn's mother in Tony's dinner dream. He recognizes her, and later in Tony's episode-long dream she appears as herself.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: While Tony recovers from a severe gunshot wound, he notices that his old lieutenants don't follow his orders as readily as they used to, and he suspects that they now see him as weak. Tony responds by goading his hotheaded, musclebound bodyguard into fighting him. He kicks the everloving shit out of the much younger man in front of his entire crew, to their visible shock, then calmly walks into the bathroom and coughs up blood into the sink. No one questions his orders after that.
- Ass Shove: It's mentioned off-handedly that Vito Spatafore was sodomized with a broomstick while they were murdering him.
- As the Good Book Says: Despite their dubious morals, the mafia members all appear to be Catholic, which is Truth in Television, and make occasional references to The Bible. Religion is also used as a plot point on occasion; for example, when Christopher recovers from his shooting he mentions he had a vision of going to hell (or possibly purgatory), and in another episode, Tony tries to persuade A.J. that God exists when he loses faith.
- Automobile Opening: Tony driving from New York to his home in New Jersey. His route is deliberately inefficient to provide more interesting visuals (nobody in their right mind would go from Manhattan to North Caldwell by going through surface streets in Kearny and Newark).
- Authority Equals Asskicking: All of the capos and bosses in the mob are either capable fighters and killers, or they used to be in their younger days before they rose so high that they no longer need to get their hands dirty.
- Authority in Name Only: Corrado Soprano (Junior) is the official boss of the family, but not the one calling the shots. Invoked by Tony in season 1 when he sets up Junior as a fall guy to shield himself. The FBI tries to use it as wedge against them, but Junior denies it.
Junior: My nephew running things? Not that strunz. Not in this life.
- Ax-Crazy: Several mobsters shown traits of this, especially Richie, Ralph, Feech, Johnny Boy and Phil Leotardo.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Zig-zagged. The mobsters like to wear plain sportswear, but they dress up according to their fancy businessmen status when the occasion requires it. Members of the Lupertazzi crew can usually be seen in suits, befitting their more successful and refined nature when compared to the Jersey crew. Carmine Lupertazzi also stated to Tony that "a Don doesn't wear shorts".
- Bad Boss: Tony is a successful manager but he verbally shreds his underlings on a regular basis. He is entitled by the hierarchical level of the Mafia but crosses the line once and gets called on it when he physically assaults Ralph, as beating another made-man is a violation of Mafia protocol. He later kills Ralph, which is also against the rules. Christopher is another victim of this kind of abuse.
- Ironically, while Tony was out of line when he beat the piss out of Ralphie Ciffaretto, he could have had the man killed at any time that he wanted, for any reaason Which is more or less why no one asked any questions about Ralphie's death; that, and no one was sad to see him go. The world of the Mafia, folks.
- Bad-Guy Bar: The Bing.
- Bad Guys Play Pool: The Bing's back room.
- Bambification: A minor character has a quiet moment with a deer. Then it runs away and Tony brutally garrotes him.
- Bears Are Bad News: In season five, a marauding bear drops by the Sopranos' compound a number of times, alarming Carmela and panicking A.J. At that moment Tony isn't living there, so he posts some of his underlings as guardians. Eventually he defends the fort himself, posted through the night with weapon in hand, emphasizing the necessity of a strong male family leader.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In Season 1, Chris is upset that he is too unestablished for the FBI to bother targeting him. In later seasons, the FBI actually does make Chris a major target...and it ultimately ruins his life.
- Being Evil Sucks: Though the series has a Do Not Do This Cool Thing element, it does also show the Mafia to be an insecure life of murder, violence, threats, paranoia, betrayal and relentless police investigations, that often ends in a sudden and violent death. It is suggested, particularly by Dr. Melfi, that Tony's business is actually the cause of his health problems.
- Being Personal Isn't Professional: One notable concept that Tony never neglects. Particular examples include David Scatino, Tony B, Vito and Christopher.
- Berserk Button:
- Tony always loses it when he learns of animals being harmed. Chris and Ralph learn it the hard way when they kill a dog and presumably a horse.
- Johnny Sack is usually calm and collected, unless someone makes a remark about his wife.
- Tony doesn't take it well when he is reminded on several times that he never had the makings of a varsity athlete.
- At one point Tony thinks Janice is acting way too nice and out of character so he deliberately invokes Janice's button by asking questions about her strayed son. Janice being Janice, it's malignant and amusing at the same time.
- Big Applesauce: The much larger NY families become major players in the final seasons.
- Big Bad: Not in the typical Once a Season fashion of many shows; season 2 has Richie Aprile and the final season has Phil Leotardo. Partial examples in Junior in season 1, in tandem with Livia, and Johnny Sack in season 5, as they stay agreeable for the most part and while there is some build-up or major conflict, it gets resolved or defused very quickly before becoming an arc.
- Alternatively, the show has three successive Big Bads, each lasting two seasons: Livia Soprano, Ralph Cifaretto, and Phil Leotardo.
- Big Fancy House: The Soprano McMansion. It turns out, it's only a modest estate compared to the houses of other rich, legitimate people of the state.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Sopranos, the two families (the criminal one also called DiMeo sometimes). Tony tries his best to avert it. The mere basis of the show.
- Bilingual Bonus: Too many to mention if you know Italian.
- Black and Gray Morality
- Black Comedy: A gritty portrayal of the mob life where the hypocritical nature and sociopathic deeds of the characters generate humor, sometimes bordering on the absurd while keeping the realistic feel. The show places such an emphasis on humor that David Chase is quoted as once having said that sometimes he and the writers weren't sure whether they were making a drama or a comedy.
- Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: Livia insists the home Tony put her in is one of these. From what we see of it, she's wrong.
- Born in the Wrong Decade: A constant source of drama. Tony and his pals are well aware that the mob's heyday is long over with, but they have a hard time coming to terms with it. Tony says it explicitly at one point.
Meadow: It's the 90s, parents are supposed to talk about sex with their kids.
Tony: No, you got it wrong. Out there, it's the 90s. In this house, it's 1954. 90s... (points to the open front door) ...1954 (points to the floor). Got it?
- Break the Cutie: Tracee gets no respect from anyone she tries to impress and is beaten to death by Ralphie.
- Broken Ace: Tony. Top of the line in his profession, wealthy, charismatic, powerful, ruthless, has keen business acumen, a beautiful family and drop-dead goomahs. Underneath it all, he suffers from some serious Parental Issues and other mental problems, which cause him to have panic attacks.
- Broken Pedestal: Chris and Tony, Tony with his father, uncle and other old-schoolers. Zig-zagged most of the time as things are never black or white and character's internal struggle is one of the dynamics of the show.
- Bungled Suicide: Anthony Jr. in "The Second Coming".
- Burial at Sea: After Tony Soprano and his gang kill Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero (a long-time friend who betrays them to the FBI), they wrap up his body, and with heavy hearts, give it a decent burial at sea. Overlaps with Cement Shoes, a common way of body disposal during the series. Chains and actual concrete blocks are used as an anchor.
- Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Tony angrily mocks this when Janice asks hims what was done with Richie's remains. "We buried him on a hill overlooking a little river, with pine cones all around. C'mon Janice, what the fuck? You want to know?"
- Butt Monkey:
- Artie Bucco and Georgie, who is often beaten up brutally for... well, no reason at all.
- A.J. too, though this is only in the later seasons. He's one of the dumbest characters on the show, but lacks the ruthless spirit that a mobster needs, so he has no real place in the world.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Meadow calls Tony out a number of times on his hypocrisy and line of work. Tony calls her back, pointing out he is the one who puts food on the table and that everything she enjoys is based on that. She gradually becomes less rebellious and more assimilated by the masquerade.
- Car Fu: Tony and Richie viciously rely on the pedal to enforce their wills over hirkers.
- The Cast Show Off: Dominic Chianese (Junior) is a talented tenor (having released at least two albums of Italian and American songs), and it's his voice we here when Junior sings Salvatore Cardillo's "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart") at the end of "Army of One."
- Tony has "You've gotta be fuckin' kiddin' me" and "End of story".
- "Fuhgeddaboutit" and an overuse of OH! for everybody.
- "Always with the drama!", recurringly used by Johnny Boy, Tony and AJ Soprano.
- Silvio's impersonation of Michael Corleone in the first seasons invokes "Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in."
- Celebrity Paradox:
- In one episode, Tony watches The Fugitive — oddly, he doesn't notice that Ralphie has a minor role in it.
- Goodfellas. It's mentioned quite a few times in the series, even though half of the major cast are in it, including but not limited to Michael Imperioli (Christopher), Vincent Pastore (Pussy), Tony Sirico (Paulie), Frank Vincent (Phil) and Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Melfi), who played a major supporting role in the film as the main character's wife.
- Similarly, The Godfather Part II is referenced a number of times, in which Dominick Chianese (Uncle Junior) has a supporting role as Johnny Ola.
- Christopher mentions Scarface (1983) as a film in the first season. In season 5 Robert Loggia, who played Frank Lopez in the film, appears as Feech La Manna.
- Frankie Valli is mentioned several times, is an acquaintance of Tony's and the names of some of his songs are used in a few episode titles. He appears in later seasons playing the New York underboss Rusty Millio.
- Chris references Bruce Springsteen in one episode, even though Steven Van Zandt (Silvio) is guitar player in the E Street Band.
- Noah Tannenbaum's father, a Hollywood attorney who frequently represents celebrities, claims to have met the actor Tim Daly before. Tim Daly would later go on to play the recurring character J.T. Dolan.
- The similarities between Tony's life and Analyze This don't go unnoticed, but no one seems to note that Benny Fazio (Max Casella) has a small role in it.
- The Chains of Commanding:
- Most of Tony's angst derives from his position of boss. He mentions the trope often, argues that his greedy underlings have no idea how hard it is to be a boss, and warns his friend Johnny Sack about it several times.
- In season 6 Silvio doesn't last more than a few days as regent because the responsibility quickly takes a toll on his health.
- Cell Phones Are Useless: Poor telecommunication service is the source of problems in "Pine Barrens", where Paulie and Chris get lost in a frozen forest. Tony gets gradually more and more agitated and has to give them orders very loudly and full of profanity while his parents-in-law are in his house. Justified to no small degree; if any part of New Jersey would have patchy/poor/nonexistent cell phone coverage in 2001, it would be the Pine Barrens.
- Characterization Marches On/Early Installment Weirdness:
- Carmela in the first season is a more of a gun moll than in later seasons. In The Pilot, after hearing a noise in the night, she expertly locks and loads an assault rifle, ready to throw down. In later seasons she's more of a sheltered suburban housewife. A later episode has her again looking for a possible intruder in the house, and she's much less prepared.
- In the pilot, shot a year before the dubious greenlight, Tony is already a peerless boss, not a mere capo and provides a voiceover. Some later recasts and several physical changes are noticeable.
- Bobby Baccala is hateful, cynical and outspoken in private towards Tony in his first appearances, in contrast with his Gentle Giant/Extreme Doormat usual behavior.
- Chiaroscuro : Used frequently in the lighting setup, to show the moral ambiguity of all the characters.
- Chronic Villainy: Played for tragedy in the case of Cousin Tony.
- Cliff Hanger: Notably averted. Creator David Chase considered them a cheap narrative device and the sequences are never split between episodes. One very rare cliffhanger is used at the end of Season 6 opener — Tony laying on the ground with a bullet wound — and the end of the second to last episode could be interpreted as one.
- Cluster F-Bomb: This video shows the nearly thirty minutes of Cluster F-Bomb employed throughout the series.
- Comedic Sociopathy: While the series on the whole is aimed at creating disgust with the mob's brutality, the violence is often played for laughs. Paulie is particularly a bit of a Comedic Sociopath.
- Comically Missing the Point: Christopher is the major offender, seconded by Paulie.
- Tony debriefs Paulie and Chris over the phone about a guy they have to deal with:
Tony: "He is an ex-commando! He killed sixteen Chechen rebels single-handed! He was with the Interior Ministry. Guy's like a Russian green beret. He can not come back and tell this story. You understand?"
Paulie: "You're not gonna believe this. He killed sixteen Czechoslovakians. Guy was an interior decorator.
Chris: "His house looked like shit."
- Silvio and Chris get Tony exasperated when he argues about his strong, silent type role model:
- Paulie during a dinner, trying to appear cultivated:
Paulie: "That's why dinosaurs don't exist no more."
Goomar: "Wasn't it a meteor?"
Paulie: "They’re all meat-eaters."
Christopher: "METEOR! METEOR!"
Paulie: "Take it easy."
- Christopher, discussing Johnny Sack's daughter's name:
Christopher: "Allegra? Ain't that a cold medicine?"
Paulie: "It means happiness in Italian."
Christopher: "...What the fuck's that got to do with cold medicine?"
- Subverted by Christopher when he punctures through a Young Earth Creationist theory.
Christopher: "What's he saying? There were Dinosaurs back with Adam and Eve?"
Tony: "I guess."
Christopher : "No way. T-Rex in the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve would be running all the time, scared shitless, but the Bible says it was paradise."
- Confess in Confidence:
- Discussed early in the show. In theory, everything said during therapy falls under doctor-patient privilege and is out of reach from the law, but there are instances where this doesn't apply so Tony remains cryptic in many conversations, hindering the effectiveness of his treatment and frustrating his doctor.
- The doctor-patient privilege is also used to have meetings with Junior in his doctor's office when he's on trial, as the government can't wiretap the doctor's office. The feds get around this by having a female agent pose as a nurse and listen in on Junior's conversations, as well as detail the people present in their meetings.
- Junior also uses his lawyer's office for the same purpose, as the same rules apply.
- Confessional: Carmela requires it during one of her crises of conscience.
- The Consigliere: Silvio Dante, and he calls himself that sometimes.
- Consummate Liar: Lying and deceiving is a second nature to most of the characters. Tony is so adept at it that he can smell most lies a mile away.
- Continuity Nod: Many episodes reference very minute details from several seasons ago. Unemphatic Continuity Porn. Some examples:
- In an early episode, Tony tells A.J., "There's an old Italian saying: you screw up once, you lose two teeth." Much later on, in season five, Tony has a lengthy dream and during it, he loses two of his teeth.
- Pussy Malanga, the enemy that Junior wants dead in the pilot episode, shows up again in Junior's mind in the first episode of the last season.
- In the season one finale, in a restaurant, Tony advises his children to "try to remember the times that were good". A.J. brings the phrase back in another restaurant in the series finale, but Tony doesn't remember his own counsel.
- Carmine Sr. dismissively calls the Jersey Family "a glorified crew" in Season 4. Phil Leotardo cites his words near the end of the show.
- Contrived Clumsiness: Paulie Walnuts drops Valery's universal remote and gives a sarcastic oops after Valery tells him sternly, in his thick Russian accent, that "remote goes on docking station". Unsurprisingly, the conflict escalates from there.
- Conversation Casualty: Christopher shoots Emil Kolar in the back of the head after a polite discussion.
- Cool Boat: Tony's yacht, The Stugots. Envied and praised by some characters, and a common place for Tony's escapades. The name is a derivative of stu cazzo, the Napolitan term for "these testicles" (or perhaps more fittingly, "deez nuts"), and an insult.
- Cool Car: Lots of them, as befits the lavish lifestyle of the mobsters. One of the primary Conspicuous Consumption objects. Examples with plot relevancy include:
- The Jersey crew steals high-end vehicles which are later sold to the Camorra in Napoli (yes, like in Italy), which then sells them in Eastern Europe.
- Gloria Trillo is a saleswoman for Mercedes.
- Johnny Sack buys a striking Maserati during his happy days. The car has to be sold later unofficially to Christopher and is finally impounded.
- Cool Horse: Pie-O-My, Ralph Cifaretto's racehorse. Tony grows immensely fond of the horse, referring to it as "our girl," in direct contrast to Ralph, who brusquely instructs the trainer to whip it good. Tony's growing expectation of an increasing share of the winnings creates tension between the two. The poor animal dies in a mysterious fire which ends up ruining a few lives and sending ripples through the entire criminal underworld.
- Corrupt Politician: Several examples, most notably State Assemblyman Zellman, who is Tony's equal partner in a major scam.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot:
- Tony's reflections about the struggle with his uncle.
- Little Carmine slides from pompous to pragmatist in late seasons and mentions the trope identifying phrase sometimes. Other New York bosses do the opposite.
- Country Matters: Regularly. It's generally not treated as a big deal nor used for shock value, with some exceptions.
- Season two has a scene where Tony applies the word to Big Pussy's wife, causing Carmela to stop him mid-sentence and shut him up.
- Tony insults Melphi with the term when she carefully refuses his advances. He gets called on it when he later apologizes.
- Silvio's Pre-Mortem One-Liner delivered to Adriana: "Come on, come on! Fuckin' cunt!"
- Paulie refers to the old lady who is mean to his mother as a "malignant cunt."
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Christopher could be this way with Adriana.
- Creator Cameo:
- David Chase is the Italian man who ignores Paulie in "Commendatori". He also appears as an extra in "Luxury Lounge" and is the voice on the phone in "The Test Dream".
- Matthew Weiner plays TV-pundit and mafia expert Manny Safier in "Two Tonys" and in "Stage 5".
- Criminal Procedural: Organized crime variety. A relatively "blue collar" gangster family overshadowed by New York. The focus is set on how the professional and personal issues tend to overlap and conflict.
- Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: In the first few seasons, Dr. Melfi gradually gets distraught by her therapy sessions with Tony Soprano, leading to weight gain, drinking, and needing therapy herself. In season 6, Dr. Melfi learns of a psychological study which discourages the use of traditional psychoanalysis with career criminals, as it too often validates the use of hypocrisy and deception for them; this is apparently a significant factor in her decision to end Tony's therapy.
- Cryptic Conversation:
- The mobsters actively avoid using incriminating words and have colorful euphemisms and Trouble Entendre for their illegal enterprises.
- Tony tells a guy that a job might involve "getting messy, real wet work". The FBI agents listening prick up their ears, only to realize a few seconds later he's asking a plumber to fix his burst water heater.
- Parodied in the last season when Johnny Sack's 'civilian' brother-in-law gives a shot at the Spy Speak, but his efforts comically complicate the conversations.
- Cure Your Gays: When Finn asks what is going to happen with Vito, Chris tries to ease his mind by telling him that they'll make Vito pay for some therapy. A classic mix of Blatant Lies with amusingly ignorant comments so prevalent in the show. Vito also tries to discuss it with Tony, to no avail.
Vito: It was the medication I was on. For my blood pressure. It fucked with my head, but I'm over that now. I could probably get a letter from my doctor
Tony: A note from your doctor saying you don't like to suck cock?
- Cut Himself Shaving: After the "intervention" for Chris' drug addiction (where he gets the crap beaten out of him), he is taken to the ER. Tony explains to the nurse that he sustained his injuries "slipping off the kitchen counter while spraying for ants". At her skeptical look, Tony elaborates, "Well, he was wearing socks."
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster : The main focus of the show is a thorough deconstruction of this trope.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tony, Paulie and Tony B., among others.
- Deadly Bath: Brendan Filone is in his bathtub when he is shot by Mikey Palmice.
- Death Equals Redemption: After his son is shot in the chest with an arrow, Ralphie starts to regret the bad things he's done; soon after he is killed by Tony during a fight over Ralphie's "possible" involvement with killing Pie-O-My. Tony even had a dream about him that showed a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next, all while perched on his bald head.
- Decapitated Army: Invoked by Phil in season six. Killing Jersey's leadership would make its crew assimilable or at least easier and cheaper to deal with.
- Demoted to Extra: Larry Barese, an important captain in season one, who only makes punctual appearances later.
- Did You Get a New Haircut?: A.J.'s eyebrows.
- Dirty Business / Necessarily Evil: Tony killing Tony B. to prevent a war with New York in the season 5 finale.
- Disposing of a Body: One of the 'professional challenges' that pop-up from time to time. Cement Shoes / Burial at Sea (after some body hacking) is the standard method of choice but straight ground burial is also used. It tends to generate problems in the long-term as the threat of unburial and discovery is always a possibility.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- Ralphie makes a joke about Ginny Sack's weight. Johnny Sack's reaction? He attempts to place a hit on him.
- "Doc" Santoro takes a piece of food off Phil Leotardo's plate during a very private meeting. Phil's reaction? He orders a few hitmen to shoot him and his bodyguard multiple times.
- Distracted by the Luxury: One of Carmela's main traits. For Tony, the standard way out of a marital problem is to bury it under gifts or loads of money.
- Divorce Is Temporary: The Buccos and The Sopranos. Tony basically bribes his way out.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- A small comedic subplot involved Tony meeting a gangsta rapper in the next hospital bed over during his recuperation. One of the guys' entourage is a fledgling rapper who realizes that surviving a shooting is key to getting famous, to which he hires Bobby Baccala to do it. Bobby shoots him in the ass. If the connection wasn't apparent enough, they dress the character in white pants, a white tank top, and a white hat at the time.
- This is done more seriously in an early subplot involving Carmela's "affair" with Father Intintola, her priest.
- The Don:
- Tony, who is nominally the acting boss for Junior and for the now jailed Don, Ercole DiMeo.
- Carmine Lupertazzi in New York. He scolds Tony for doing un-Don-like things like wearing shorts, and disregards the Jersey Family as "a glorified crew".
- Don't Ask / You Do NOT Want to Know: A rare instance where Tony slips some true information about whackings to Carmela, when she asks about the Janice and Richie situation.
Tony He's gone [...] Carmela, after 18 years of marriage don't make me make you an accessory after the fact. [...] Stop asking. I took care of it.
- Don't Explain the Joke:
- Johnny Sack describing the joke Ralphie made about his wife. "He said she was having a 90 pound mole removed from her ass. The implication was that her ass is so big she could have a mole that size removed from it."
- Paulie has a habit of repeating the setup and punchline to his jokes.
- Double Standard: The writers didn't really have any. The characters, on the other hand...
- Downer Ending: Nothing upbeat about the finale: even though Phil Leotardo is killed, ending the mob war between New Jersey and New York crews, most of Tony's key guys are either dead or otherwise incapacitated, making the future of the Soprano crime family pretty grim. Even worse, Carlo, one of the last trusted members of the organization, decides to testify against Tony and others. Meanwhile, while AJ finally gets his life back on track, Meadow essentially becomes her mother, with prospects of marrying a mob lawyer. Uncle Junior completely loses himself and is left to die in a mental hospital and Bobby's kids are stuck with Janice, who starts resembling her and Tony's mother Livia. Tony himself stops visiting Dr. Melfi as she realizes he cannot be saved and abruptly ends Tony's therapy, with no real conclusion. And, finally, the last scene of the series implies Tony might have been killed in front of his family... or not. Everybody loses. Paulie may be the dark horse winner, make of it what you will.
- Dramatic Drop:
- Meadow drops the phone after she's informed of Jackie Jr.'s death.
- The same situation happens again when Kelli is told the news about Christopher's death.
- Dream Sequence: Done several times over the course of the show, but exaggerated in "The Test Dream", in which the titular dream lasts a full 20 minutes. It's taken even further in "Join the Club" and "Mayham", where Tony falls into a coma after getting shot and has a long dream that extends over ''two episodes''.
- Dreaming The Truth: How Tony finally realizes that Big Pussy has been turned.
- The Dragon: Abundant. Paulie, Sil, and even Christopher serve in this role for Tony. Johnny Sack was Carmine Lupertazzi's, and later on Phil Leotardo was Johnny's.
- Dragon Ascendant: Phil Leotardo in the second part of season six.
- Driven to Suicide: Vin Makazian, Gloria Trillo, and Eugene Pontecorvo. Subverted with A.J..
- Drugs Are Bad: Chris struggles with heroin and cocaine addictions, and is berated and judged hopeless and unworthy by Tony and the gang. Paulie particularly. They resent more the weak nature of Christopher than the badness of drugs since the mobsters casually indulge in the habit too and selling'em is a regular source of income.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: A major issue for Christopher. He spends the entire show carving a status for himself, yet after deep personal sacrifices and a rank of Captain he gets and feels disrespected. Near the end of the show, after a long struggle he seems redeemed and happy, he is a captain, has a new and stable family and his long-awaited movie project is a reality. Then comes an ugly feud with Paulie, some disrespectful jokes and a general lack of empathy with Tony, which when combined make him snap and relapse into his drug habits, with fatal consequences.
- Epiphany Therapy: Subverted to hell and back; Tony mostly uses what he learns in therapy to be a more efficient mob boss. Dr. Melfi eventually realizes this and terminates the sessions for good.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
- Paulie Walnuts. And how. His love is fickle, though, as seen in "The Fleshy Part of the Thigh": turns out he only loves his mama as long as she really is his biological mama. He gets over it eventually.
- Tony. He literally goes berserk when Dr. Melfi diagnoses Livia with borderline personality disorder and reads the symptoms to him. It's zig-zagged many times, as Tony is full of love and hate.
- Christopher has also a soft spot for his mother, and Phil Leotardo harassing her comes out as one of the nastier Kick the Dog moments for Phil.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Tony and the crew are appropriately horrified and disgusted when Ralph beats a stripper, pregnant with his own child, to death.
- Phil Leotardo is disgusted that Tony would screw over his own uncle to become Don.
- The gang is downright appalled when they hear about Coach Don Hauser's affair with one of Meadow's high-school friends.
- The mobsters all express disapproval at Christopher's drug habits.
- Taken up a notch at his intervention. They freak out when it comes out that Chris accidentally sat on and killed Adriana's dog while high.
- Richie Aprile, who condones the beating of a woman if, and only if, the man is her husband.
- During the uproar within the gang after Vito gets outed, Tony is (or at least tries to be) the lone voice of tolerance, suggesting that perhaps Vito's sexuality is his own business and not sufficient reason to have him whacked.
- The gangsters seem themselves as this as well, one even goes so far as to claim that Vito's actions go against their principles and is "a sin". Tony doesn't hesitate to call him out on this.
- Everything Is Racist:
- The Coalition of Italian-American Associations issued a joint statement in 2002 condemning the show for perpetuating negative Italian-American stereotypes.
- Done in-universe as well, with Sil viewing Anti-Columbus Day protesters as racist against Italians.
- Evil Is Petty: The mobsters all do horrible things at various points but still find time to be complete dicks too. Brought to new levels when Tony forces the kind, gentle Bobby to murder someone over something trivial as he feels Bobby offended his pride by beating him in a fight. After Tony was antagonizing Janice and refused to stop when Bobby asked.
- Evil Matriarch: Livia. LIVIA.
- Evil Parents Want Good Kids:
- Tony is adamant that A.J. doesn't go into the life like him, partly because he's simply not cut out for it.
- Jackie Aprile also felt this way towards his own son, and arranged with Tony to make sure this wouldn't happen before he himself died in the fourth episode. Tony doesn't succeed and Jackie Jr. ends up dead later on, further strengthening his decision to keep A.J. out of it.
- Evil Versus Evil/A Lighter Shade of Black: Tony and his friends ain't no saints, but the other mobsters who are against them are much worse.
- Exiled to the Couch: Self-exile in "Army of One": In the midst of their fight about sending A.J. to Military School, Carmela starts picking up blankets and pillows; then Tony grabs them, and says, "leave it to me!"
- Done in-universe. The nasty boss from Cleaver is modeled almost verbatim after Tony, who fails to realize this at first. It becomes a major wedge between him and Chris. Chris, terrified by the implications, strong-arms the nominal writer into taking credit for the character. He claims that he stole the character from another movie, but Tony (who's on the fence about the thing) easily sees past the lie, checks the original movie and takes serious offense to the whole issue.
- Steven van Zandt takes Silvio on the road wholesale for the show Lilyhammer
- Eye Scream:
- Face-Heel Turn/Hazy Feel Turn: From Phil's point of view, "The Leotardo family has been taking shit from everybody the minute they got off the boat from Italy."
- Face of a Thug: Silvio always has a trademark, weird face expression.
- Family Business: The lack of an appropriate heir is a source of concern for Tony; since A.J. is not cut out for it, Christopher is groomed as one.
- Family Values Villain: Phil Leotardo.
- Fan Disservice: Tony in his robe and underwear. Especially his sex scenes.
- One of the season 5 "victims." She's in the shower when the hitmen go after her, and she runs through the house completely naked before they shoot her. It's not pretty.
- Fat Girl: The obese Ginny Sack is an acceptable target for the Jersey Crew, which is an issue for the husband and New York underboss Johnny Sack.
- Fell Off the Back of a Truck: Or, just stole the whole thing.
- Five Stages of Grief: Alluded to from time to time. One season 1 episode is titled "Denial, Anger, Acceptance".
- Fish out of Water:
- Chris and Paulie in "Pine Barrens", with some elements of Those Two Bad Guys.
- The visit to the Mother Country in "Commendatori".
- Five-Bad Band: Tony's crew in the first season.
- Flashback: Used occasionally to recall significant events of Tony's life.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Discussed. Tony quickly develops feelings towards his therapist, which are unrequited for pragmatic reasons.
- Foe Cooties: Tony was more than happy to have sex with his rival Ralphie's girlfriend, Valentina, but refused to make her his permanent mistress until he found out she never had sex with Ralph (due to sexual tastes being for S&M rather than conventional sex).
- Food Porn : They're eating elaborate meals in almost every scene.
- Food Slap:
- Carmela is about to throw a glass at Tony's face when he is making a confession. Subverted as soon as she hears the topic is the start of his therapy.
- Junior breaks up with his talkative girlfriend with a dramatic Pie in the Face. A shout-out to The Public Enemy.
- An enraged Gloria Trillo throws a steak against Tony.
- Follow the Leader:
- As discussed above, this show opened the door for a lot of shows that tried to show "gritty" depictions of crime families. Most of those shows only copied the shocking violence, and not the great dialogue, wicked sense of humor, complex themes and excellent acting that made this show a success, which is why they're all gone. The show itself isn't subtle in its attempts to pick up where Goodfellas left off in its demythologizing of the Mafia. A truly impressive amount of the cast of this show had parts of varying significance in that film. In case it wasn't obvious enough, their first choice to play Tony Soprano was Ray Liotta.
- An in-universe Real Life emulation. Jackie Jr. learns that Tony and co. had their major breakthrough in the criminal world when they robbed a poker game organized by a big shot mobster so Jackie decides to follow the example. It ends badly, a made-man is killed and Jackie gets whacked for it.
- Foreshadowing: After Johnny Sack confesses in court his involvement in the mafia and is sent to prison, a disgusted and infuriated Tony tells Silvio:
- French Jerk: The man who embarks Artie in a very bad business deal, if not an outright con.
- Freudian Excuse: Constantly explored. He hates the mere concept of the excuse yet he's diagnosed with a very powerful one; Tony was literally born into the mob and his abusive parents wrote the proverbial book about how not to rise a model citizen. His mommy issues are one of his major malfunctions. He still goes out of his way to please his miserable mother, a manipulative, self-pitying control freak who resents her children for being happier than her. The Moral Event Horizon comes when she tries to put a hit out on him. Despite this, Tony seems to be a much better parent. Janice, on the other hand, inherited her narcissism, self-pity and lack of empathy.
- Freudian Slip: Tony has one about Vito in the season six episode "Live Free Or Die."
Tony: This guy that got outed, look. The guys that work for me are asking for head. His head. What the fuck?!
- Gainax Ending: A subtler example than most, but damn.
- The Gambling Addict:
- Tony's friend David Scatino, who tragically gets Trapped by Gambling Debts.
- Chris's friend and sponsor J.T Dolan, in a very reminiscent way, but he manages to stay afloat.
- Tony himself ends up 'chasing it' after a bad luck streak. Being rich and powerful, he can afford it, but goes through it in a very unpleasant mood and insults his friend and moneylender Hesh with the All Jews Are Cheapskates trope.
- Gayngster: Vito Spatafore is a straight deconstruction; the other gangsters find it disgusting, Tony, his only defender, is given a hard time, the guy has to flee and is eventually killed for being gay. Vito essentially commits suicide by returning to the fold despite having found a new life and an attractive boyfriend.
- Genius Bruiser: Tony Blundetto's IQ was revealed to be 158. Given his line of work, he almost certainly qualifies for the bruiser aspect as well.
- Genre Savvy: In season 5, Tony gets Feech La Manna sent back to jail after realizing he shows the exact same signs of wanting to usurp his power as Richie Aprile did in season 2.
- Girls with Moustaches: In one episode, several of the wiseguys are sitting around their no-work jobs, "breaking balls" about each other's girlfriends. One teases another, saying his girl had a moustache so bad it must have been like kissing a fireman.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Once the FBI agent tasked to Tony's crew is re-assigned to anti-terrorism, he starts frequenting Satriale's, Tony's hangout, because the sandwiches are so good.
- Good Is Not Nice: The FBI are portrayed as manipulative, condescending jerks, but still unambiguously better than the mob.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Most of the mob executions are shown in their bloody entirety... except Adriana's.
- Gossip Evolution: Tony gets in a car accident with Adriana as a passenger. Rumors circulate into Tony crashing the car while Adriana was giving him a blowjob and go from there; the rumors aren't true, but the two did share a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension that they most likely would have resolved (if you follow) had they made it to their destination.
- Groin Attack: Mobsters fight dirty.
- Naïve Newcomer: The FBI sends a younger agent to "turn" Adrianna because they think she'll respond better to a young woman. When Adrianna is discovered and murdered by Silvio, Chris plants her car at the airport long-term parking to suggest that she ran away. Only the new FBI agent believes it, and the other agents' laughter at her gullibility is a serious Tear Jerker.
- Naked in Mink: Some ladies would wear a fur with nothing underneath.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Furio," lampshaded in his introduction.
- Native American Casino: Tony makes a deal with the owner of such an establishment (and even visits his casino) in an attempt to use backdoor politics to stop a Native American protest of a Christopher Columbus parade.
- Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters: Generally averted since the predatory nature of the mob is not hidden and the local business suffer regularly, but the Jersey mobsters throw a traditional Santa Claus party and occasionally organize activities for the community. Deconstructed examples:
- Junior liquidates a drug dealer for selling drugs to children. This is viewed as old fashioned and the other capos resent him, as it was a bad business decision.
- Paulie is appointed manager of an amusement fair. He is such a cheapskate that he cuts corners and security budget to the point one ride becomes hazardous and an accident ensues.
- Nice to the Waiter:
- Paulie and Chris kill a waiter who confronts them over a very low tip. They guy has a sudden seizure and Paulie, to resolve the issue simply shoots the poor bastard on the spot.
- Tony and Ralph's mistreatment of Bada Bing's bartender Georgie reaches absurd levels. Compilation
- Junor's behavior towards his devoted and kind-hearted assistant Bobby Baccala is unpleasantly harsh.
- Noble Bigot: Tony is more tolerant than many of his friends and colleagues, but even he freaks out when he discovers Meadow is dating a half-black, half-Jewish classmate from a wealthy New York family.
- He also spews a lot of homophobic slurs after finding out Vito is gay, but when Dr. Melfi points out that he doesn't sound like he means it, he admits that his true feelings are closer to "Who gives a shit?" He even initially tries to find a way to keep Vito in the fold, but the realities of mob culture conspire against him.
- No Dead Body Poops: Averted during the suicide of Eugene Pontecorvo, who also gets A Death in the Limelight.
- No Ending: Probably the most notorious example. Take a look at this, this, and this to see portions of the ending, as well as details that pop up in it. As for the actual ending itself: Tony and his family sit and eat in a restaurant, with Tony continually looking up at the door to see who walks in, obviously extremely nervous. Just as another person walks in, the show immediately cuts to black, and after a few seconds the credits roll.
- Non-Actor Vehicle: As mentioned above, Steve Van Zandt is primarily a musician. Silvio was his first acting role (it gets somewhat resumed in Lilyhammer). Van Zandt also served as music consultor for the show and picked songs for the soundtrack from time to time.
- The Nothing After Death: The last season in particular. The finale, if one interpretation is to be believed.
- Not in the Face!: Pussy resorts to this before being killed.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Chris gets this occasionally, an important one when he - long time Captain by then - brings a serious feud he has with Paulie only to be nagged by Tony for the interruption.
- Offing the Offspring: Tony's mother tried to do this.
- Once a Season: The first episode of a mid-season shows Tony walking to the front of his house in his bathrobe to pick up the newspaper. In later seasons he doesn't but there is a logical explanation for it.
- The unlucky barkeep at the Bada Bing will once a season, without fail, be beaten up by another character for no good reason.
- One Steve Limit:
- Completely averted, repeatedly. A lot of strange nicknames made up for it though.
- Even the nicknames start to overlap, though.. In the pilot, there is some consternation when rumors get around that Uncle Junior wants to kill "Big Pussy" - one of Tony's right hand men, and not "Little Pussy" - one of Junior's.
- The two Tonys, Soprano and Blundetto, were referred to as "Tony uncle Johnny" and "Tony uncle Al" as children, later simplified as Tony A. and Tony B.
- Also subverted. Tony and his son have the same first name, but the latter is always called A.J. to prevent confusion.
- This is actually a three-person case: Tony and A.J. are Anthony John Soprano, Sr., and Anthony John Soprano, Jr., respectively, so the natural choice of nickname for the latter would be "Junior;" however, "Junior" is already Corrado Soprano, Jr., Tony's "Uncle Jun."
- The name "Jason" has to take the cake for most common among satellite characters. You have Jason La Penna, Jason Blundetto, Jason Barone, the "two Jasons" Gervasi and Parisi, and Lorraine Calluzo's younger boyfriend Jason.
- Tony worries Uncle Jun might be going senile when Jun mentions meeting a long-dead friend earlier that day, and Jun has to angrily clarify that he meant Jr., not Sr.
- Overly Long Gag: Paulie's habit of repeating his jokes is a funnier quirk on its own.
- Papa Wolf: Never EVER threaten Tony's daughter.
- Parents as People: Tony, Silvio and Artie are understandably outraged that their daughters' soccer coach was having an affair with one of the other girls on the team.
- Tony and Carmela were incensed that Meadow, threw a party at Livia's house. To be fair, the house was utterly trashed and to make matters worse, was ecstasy, Ketamine and alcohol were found at the scene
- Passed Over Promotion:
- One of the factors that triggers a power struggle between Tony and Junior, acting boss and nominal boss respectively.
- Tony does this to Ralph, big earner but erratic, he gives a captaincy to Gigi, more docile.
- Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Played with.
- Tony deciding against his initial feelings during the Blundetto crisis. His crew is uneasy but Tony is a bit shielded as only Silvio manifests the opposition face to face. It's complicated as violent pressure from New York is a major consideration too.
- Tony deciding against his personal criteria during the Vito situation in season 6, his soldiers and captains are openly rebellious about it and he finally gives the go ahead basically because of peer pressure. A moot dilemma in the end because Phil beats him to the punch.
- Averted by A.J., who befriends some gangster wannabes who idolize him for being the son of the big man and make him accessory to some violent extortions, but he is unaffected.
- Pet the Dog: Literally. One of Tony's few virtues is a love of animals. It was was used against him via Melfi's fellow shrink friends, who point out that Tony's empathy for animals is also a sign of being a cold-blooded monster, since animals often mean more to such people than humans.
- Phony Psychic: Averted (apparently) by the one Paulie visits. Paulie freaks out when the psychic appears to be communicating with some of his victims.
Psychic: Charles Pagano.
Paulie: How the fuck do you know that?
Psychic: He says he was your first, but I feel many more.
Psychic: This one's laughing. Poison ivy? He wants to know if it still itches?
Paulie: Don't fuck with me! Who you been talkin' to?
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
- The mobsters all have "legitimate" jobs, which they never show up for, and don't actually work when they do. Getting such "no-show" jobs is an important point during negotiations.
- Christopher is the only one seen regularly earning, but then again he is a rookie while the rest of the characters we mostly see are bosses and spend most of their time hanging around Bada Bing or Satriales. Explained by the hierarchical system; senior mobsters have their own crews and do mostly managerial work or collections, but do perform delicate tasks or street jobs from time to time - Paulie assaults Columbian drug dealers in Season 6.
- Subverted during an episode after Tony believes the FBI is about to pinch him for executing one of the mooks who shot Christopher. While he doesn't get pinched, Tony's lawyer suggests he clock in at his trash collection company just to create the mask of "respectable businessman." The job bores Tony to tears and he even develops a rash from the change in routine. So he goes back to hanging out at his restaurant with his crew and everything goes back to normal.
- Begets major plot points later: When Meadow uses her dad to get Finn an allegedly "No Work" job at a construction site, he's not comfortable spending time with the mobsters so he actually works. And being the young go-getter that he is, he shows up early to see Vito and another man having sex in the parking lot. Later, the man who owns Barone Sanitation dies, and his son (unaware of his father's "arrangements") tries to sell, threatening Paulie's legitimate income cover. Paulie viciously attacks him.
- Playing Sick: Junior, feigning dementia to avoid criminal prosecution. Invoked and then twisted as Junior is really going senile.
- Police Are Useless: Apparently there is no law enforcement in the state of New Jersey. Tony and his crew are endlessly worrying about the FBI but there's never a hint of state and local cops investigating them for their various crimes. It's hinted and shown that the Mafia has influence and leverage over the civil servants who can control the local police (e.g. Zellman) and some cops are on the Mafia's payroll; Bobby mentions a local police as one of his sources of information. Season 1 explores this with Vin Makazian, the detective who feeds information to Tony, and yet Tony treats him with contempt and not as a valuable asset.
- This makes sense to anyone who knows New Jersey; the state gives local government a lot of power and has a very town-centric mindset; areas that might be one municipality elsewhere often form several in NJ.note Consequently, police forces are weakened by division: the areas with the most crime tend to be the poorest and most underfunded (and therefore most likely to be corrupt), while the areas with the cash to fund a good police force tend to be low-crime anyway, with cops mostly focusing on traffic violations and adolescent shenanigans rather than Mob business. More generally, organized crime had, thanks to RICO, really become a main focus for the Feds by the 90s, more or less preempting the local law-enforcement efforts.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Well, pretty much all of the male gangster characters are quite politically incorrect and are (obviously) professional criminals. Phil might count in particular, as he is a more homophobic/generally unpleasant person than Tony (although not necessarily much more evil). Nicely illustrated during a conversation about Vito's strayed son.
Phil: I guess the turd doesn't fall far from the faggot ass.
Tony (quietly disgusted): That's beautifully put, but you are family right?
- Porn Stash: When the FBI raids the Sopranos compound the main concern of the Soprano children is the discovery of A.J.'s computer, full of porn.
- Post Modernism: Very often, almost Once per Episode the show features some classic movies and songs relevant to the plot and references to other fictional works are common. Tony himself is a movie buff with a great VHS and DVD collection and at one point the roots of gangster cinema are discussed, including the The Public Enemy, the film cited by Creator David Chase as one of his major influences building the main characters.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Displayed numerous times, the level-headed mobsters know when to avoid high-profile crimes because being flashy is bad for business. One specific example has Tony berating Richie for selling drugs in the garbage routes, but only because it will draw the attention of the Federal Government, not out of any moral qualms. An issue explored in other works of the genre alluded to in-universe and Truth in Television.
- Pretty in Mink: Several ladies wear furs.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Several characters are debatable examples, but Paulie in particular exemplifies this trope. He has the petty self-centeredness and impulsivity of a spoiled child, and the callous disregard for human life of a stone-cold murderer.
- Put on a Bus:
- Finn, who put himself on a bus to San Francisco because he discovered Vito was gay.
- Also Furio, because of the Unresolved Sexual Tension between him and Carmela.
- Also Tony puts Janice on a bus to Seattle, after she shoots her fiance, Richie Aprile. Tony's solace is short-lived; she comes back 'for good' on a plane (that Tony has to pay for) the next season... two episodes later.
- Rape as Drama: Melfi is raped in a rather disturbing sequence and later finds out, due to the police screwing up when they arrested the man, that they can't bring charges against them. And then has the misfortune of finding out that her rapist is "Employee of the Month" at a coffee shop she frequents. Angry, full of rage and realizing that Tony would easily murder the scumbag rapist, with or without her permission if told about it, Melfi decides to keep what happened to her a secret.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Jesus Rossi, Melfi's rapist, may be one of the least-sympathetic characters in the whole series.
- Rasputinian Death: The Russian mobster from "Pine Barrens". After seemingly getting his throat crushed, he turns out to still be alive. After seemingly getting shot in the head, he simply disappears into the Pine Barrens. Paulie even compares him to Rasputin, and we never find out what happened to him or if he even died of his injuries.
- Rated M for Manly: Sex, drugs, violence, male bonding, fatherhood, and diatribes about the emasculated state of contemporary Western society abound. The show is a deconstruction and frequently subverts itself, though, by reminding viewers that most of the "manly men" in question are in fact morally bankrupt human beings whose inability to express themselves in any way other than aggression makes both them and their families miserable.
- Real Estate Scam: Tony and his associates scheme a very profitable one, whose boundaries cause some friction with New York.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: In contrast to typical Hollywood portrayals, the experience of being shot in the head at close range would in fact be very much like "cutting to black" - the bullet would pierce the brain before it could process the sound of the gunshot.
- Real Life Writes the Plot:
- Nancy Marchand (Livia Soprano) died between seasons. The writers gave her a final scene with Tony, cut from her previous work with him. It was terrible. Most jarring was that Livia's lines are pretty generic with Tony's dialogue made to fit. Not to mention that Tony probably wouldn't have visited his mother or even talked to her at that point.
- Tony Sirico (Paulie Gualtieri) underwent back surgery around season 4 and was thrown in a jail to reduce his appearances. His role was fully restored once the actor recovered.
- Vito's weight loss was written into the plot due to actor Joseph R. Gannascoli's actual weight loss. It's made surprisingly tragic.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Implied by an spiteful Tony when he assigns Bobby a mission to pop his cherry.
- Real Men Wear Pink:
- Bobby Baccala and his love of toy trains, though it goes toward characterizing him as something of a Man Child who happens to also be a mobster.
- Furio's Eurotrashy silk shirts, due to being a mobster raised in Italy.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One Mix)" by Alabama 3. A Thematic Theme Tune almost expository. Lyrics. Initially David Chase wanted a different opening music for every episode but the final theme changed his mind.
- Redemption Rejection:
- Reformed, but Rejected: Chris's sobriety makes him drift apart from his pals, as the Bada Bing and other work places are a source of temptation. The others resent him for this. He carefully explains in an A.A. meeting how his sobriety hinders him professionally. Very sad how his almost unbearable struggle and related problems, combined with some disrespectful jokes Paulie cracks about him and his daughter make him relapse, eventually leading to his fatal car crash with Tony.
- Red Herring Twist: During a food poisoning-induced dream sequence, Tony encounters a talking Red Herring that lays down some pretty hard truths Tony does not want to admit.
- Relationship Reveal: Chris tells Tony he doesn't bring around his new girlfriend, Kaisha, to spare her from the racist mafiosi. When he goes off to meet her, we see his real girlfriend is Julianna, who Tony has been unsuccessfully trying to get with for several episodes.
- Remember the New Guy:
- Ralph is in Miami during the first two seasons before he shows up in Jersey.
- Richie Aprile, Tony B and Phil Leotardo, who were in jail since '83. The Jersey crew avoiding their pinched guys (Paulie in season 4) is internally coherent; the big boss Ecole DiMeo is "a guest of the government" and he is rarely alluded to, if ever, after the first episodes. Lampshaded when Bobby Jr. mentions that he's never heard of Tony B.
- Avoided with "Feech" LaManna, released together with Tony B and Phil Leotardo at the beginning of season 5, but who was frequently mentioned and referred to in season 3, with Ralph recounting how "Feech's" card game was hit and inspiring his stepson to attempt to reenact it. The same anecdote is replayed once "Feech" is released.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Silvio literally recites this to Eugene Pontecorvo.
- Revealing Hug: Chris and Tony during Caitlin's baptism. Without any words, their chilling stares powerfully convey a primal fear and a bitter disappointment.
- Riddle for the Ages: What makes "Pine Barrens" such a well-known episode. What the hell did happen to that Russian mobster?
- Ripped from the Headlines: The dynamics between Tony, Phil and agent Harris in the last episode are identical to the DeVecchio FBI case. link
- Rogue Juror: A man is successfully threatened by Bobby to be this in Junior's trial.
- Rule of Three: Alluded to by Tony regarding his close encounters with death, after the second one.
- Running Gag: Silvio's Al Pacino impression.
- Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: While the New Jersey home team is not made of Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters, Furio from the old country is introduced as a fiercer type of enforcer and the antagonist mobsters from New York have an even nastier vibe, especially Phil Leotardo. Several strategic hits are outsourced to Professional Killers from Italy or to black Gang Bangers to maintain Plausible Deniability.
- Sad Clown:
- Tony describes himself as one, in the Stepford Smiler sense; putting on a happy, joking face to his family and friends while keeping his pain locked away. His claims -contested by Dr. Melfi - come across more as self-pitying than anything else, given his behavior throughout the series.
- Reversed with Christopher's death; for Tony a big liability is 'gone' and he is very happy about that, but has to put on a sad grimace in front of the families. Eventually he suddenly just goes to Las Vegas to enjoy himsef.
- Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: Gangsta Rap exec Massive Genius expresses (in "A Hit Is a Hit") his admiration for the Cosa Nostra by saying he had watched The Godfather "like 200 times."
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Fat Dom's voice noticeably goes up an octave or so after Carlo stabs him with a cooking knife.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Only implied. Given the realistic approach of the show, Tony making unilateral life and death decisions is a departure from the Mafia code, as a high-level sit-down is required before the liquidation of a made-man gets approved.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Matush when he hears a gunshot during Jackie Jr.'s card game heist. And then later, Jackie himself, who steals a car and leaves his friend Dino to get slaughtered.
- Secret Identity: Tony often conceals his real name to 'civilian' clerks and receptionists. This backfires soundly when he tries to use one of his usual aliases (Mr. Spears) with a new psychiatrist - aware of Tony's identity and line of work - who is Genre Savvy as he had seen Analyze This. Tony tries to argue that he is Wrong Genre Savvy as "Analyze This" is a comedy, but gets rejected anyway.
- Sexy Priest: Father Intintola, who also develops feelings for Carmela and needs to beat a hasty retreat out of town.
- Shown Their Work: In true Godfather style, Ralph gives pasta-cooking advice to his stepson Jackie. Writer Michael "Christopher Moltisanti" Imperioli learned it from a chef/fellow castmember, and advised people (on the commentary track) to try it. It works.
- Shout-Out: A staple of the show. Loads and loads of them, and then more. Examples include:
- Tony rates The Godfather Part II above the original and is not very fond of Part III. The gang starts to watch the movie after they steal some DVDs.
- In the first season Christopher is Wrong Genre Savvy and thinks any business-related problem is resolved with violence, bazooka in hand and More Dakka à la Scarface (1983)
- Junior comes across an episode of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and thinks it's a cheap Made-for-TV Movie about his trial. The resemblance is certainly there.
- A playful one when Johnny Sack, on the day of his daughter's wedding, asks Tony for a professional favour. Christopher casually points out that Tony can't refuse as the whole thing is identical to the one from The Godfather; Tony corrects him telling it's the other way around, the father of the bride is the one who cannot refuse.
- Ralphie is a fanboy of Gladiator who disregards Spartacus — a recommendation from Chris- - as unrealistic, and who reenacts one scene on Georgie's head.
- Tony is a fanboy of Gary Cooper, "The strong, silent type". Tony seems to blur the lines between reality and fiction with High Noon and the film appears in his dreams. Funnily enough, he also loves its Spiritual Antithesis Rio Bravo, specially the song "My rifle, my pony and me."
- Silvio and Tony have a Friendship Moment in which they mimic boxing moves while Cavalleria Rusticana plays.
- Numerous little nods and subtle references here and there to Goodfellas, a film defined by David Chase as "My Koran".
- Tony praises The Art of War, ranks it way above The Prince and gives practical use to the teachings that Sun-Tzu provides in it. Later on, Paulie tries to emulate Tony and reads it in audiobook form. On one occasion he tries to boast about it, but can't even say the author's name properly (he utters something like Soon-Tizoong) and gets mocked for being an obnoxious brown-noser.
- Sibling Yin-Yang:
- Distingished Meadow and lazy airhead A.J..
- Richie Aprile is covetous and bloodthirsty, while Jackie is benevolent and easygoing.
- Silent Credits: After the infamous finale. Executive Meddling vetoed an intended Fade to Black with no credits at all.
- Skunk Stripe: Paulie's trademark. It gets discussed and parodied.
- Slice of Life: The show is a character study rather than a thesis-oriented work.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very, very cynical. While there's some room for interpretation, by and large the show can be seen as an extended critical examination of human nature, and more often than not the conclusions aren't pretty. What unites people of all races, sexes and socioeconomic backgrounds, as far as The Sopranos is concerned, is selfishness, myopia and hypocrisy (though also love, family and moral agency).
- Smash to Black: The infamous No Ending ending, in the middle of a scene, hell, in the middle of a Journey lyric.
- Smoking Is Cool: Tony's signature cigars. It gets visually lampshaded when Winston Churchill, another badass Cigar Chomper shows up in a documentary that Tony is watching.
- Smug Snake: Jackie Aprile Jr., who is all cool persona and zero competence. Varying cases could be made for a lot of the main cast too. His step father Ralphie is probably the worst one in the series.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Non-diegetic music is relatively rare on the show, and when it does appear it's often incongruous.
- Sour Grapes: Many times when a character gets a rejection, he twists the facts around out of hubris and tells a fantasized version to his peers in order not to lose face.
Chris: "Fuck Ben Kingsley. Danny Baldwin took him to fucking acting school."
- Speech-Centric Work: Most episodes feature dialogue heavily, and Tony's sessions with his therapist are nothing but.
- Spiritual Successor:
- Staging an Intervention: There's an intervention to stop Chris from taking heroin. It's fairly hypocritical on the part of the mob guys calling Chris out on his addiction, which he doesn't fail to point out. It turns violent when Chris insults his own mother and Paulie beats his face in.
- The Starscream: Just about everyone. One of the episodes lampshades this completely.
- Stealth Pun: Phil coming out of the closet when he is handling the resolution of Vito's situation.
- Stiff Upper Lip:
- Ben Kingsley never loses his polite and calm demeanor when he is uncomfortably approached by some mafia men who are in fact deflected by his suave manners and refrain from further pressure. The mobsters however get frustated by it and they violently mug an 81-year-old Lauren Bacall so they don't leave their trip empty-handed.
- Kingsley gets to express some restrained disdain and profanity when he finds himself sharing a flight with the gangsters. It's implied he knows they are the ones behind his friend Bacall's incident.
- Stock Sound Effect: When Tony gets food poisoning, the noises coming from his bathroom are obvious generic farting sound effects.
- The Stoic: This is what Tony would like to be and sometimes laments that Americans - including himself - have gone soft, always whining, complaining and dominated by their emotions. His role model is Gary Cooper; the strong, silent type.
- Stolen Good, Returned Better: Dr. Melfi is having trouble with her car, and with the mechanics who are fixing it. When Tony learns this during one of his therapy sessions, he has her car stolen, fixed, and returned that night. She's grateful, but not happy about it.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: A lot of the released Mafiosi—including members of "the Class of 2004"—who were in the can for 20 years are jolted by the changes since The Eighties, particularly the increasing laxness respecting Mob tradition. Phil Leotardo is a particular example.
- Straw Nihilist: Anthony Jr. briefly becomes one in season 2. To his parents' dismay he suddenly starts espousing a nihilistic worldview, questions the purpose of life, name-checks Nietzsche, and declares that God Is Dead. It pops back up again in season 6 after his girlfriend dumps him.
- Succession Crisis: Happens in Jersey after the death of Jack Aprile Sr. and in New York after Carmine Luppertazzi and Johnny Sack pass away. It gets settled by the usual and ancestral methods.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Tony, near the end of the show's run, because all of his smart, capable underlings had died, fled, or turned witness.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands:
- The FBI bugs the nursing home where Livia is Junior's Lady Macbeth and plots against Tony.
- The FBI has A Day In The Lime Light episode where the procedure regarding how to plant a surveillance bug in Tony's house is shown in detail. Tony is a Properly Paranoid boss who regularly sweeps his headquarter for bugs, relies on Pay Phones and avoids talking shop inside his house but he is vulnerable in the noisy basement. The bug eventually has a very limited use and the trope is subverted because the judge is adamant and the FBI is only given one shot at this method that is never used again.
- An overall subversion is also justified.
: We've had every one of Tony Soprano's phones bugged for four years, but the guy says less than Harpo Marx
- Sympathy for the Hero: Tony eventually comes to feel this for Officer Leon Wilmore after seeing the damage he's done to Wilmore's life.
- Take a Third Option:
- In the pilot, Junior wants to kill Pussy Malanga, one of his underlings, and insists on doing it in Artie Bucco's restaurant. Tony, knowing that would destroy his friend's business, tries to stop Junior. When Junior refuses to be swayed, Tony burns the restaurant down so Artie can at least take the insurance and start over. After some time Artie gets suspicious and resents Tony for it, who feels victim of the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished syndrome.
- During the alleged Tony-Adriana affair the two suffer a car accident that arouses much suspicion and gossip. Chris refuses to believe Tony's innocence plea and Tony feels his only option is to kill the erratic Chris for it. Blundetto meddles and suggest and alternative; they go and ask the E.R. guy who treated the car accident. Blundetto, thanks to his medical knowledge asks the right questions that debunk the rumours about Adriana and Tony (the driver receiving a blowjob, mind you).
- Taking the Kids: Done in a consensual manner; A.J. moves quite happily with his father for a while, but it doesn't work as Tony is not exactly a pushover.
- Take That: When J.T. attempts to pawn his Emmy in order to pay Chris what he owes him, the dealer only offers him $15. "Maybe if it was an Oscar, you know, an Academy Award... but TV?"
- Tantrum Throwing: Tony is prone to this, a trait later recreated by the boss in Cleaver. Tony is also at the receiving end of a steak when he infuriates Gloria Trillo.
- Technology Marches On: Used in-universe to deconstruct several tropes:
- Therapy Is For The Weak: A recurring, discussed theme. Tony considers that therapy is for the meek and has to keep his a secret, because if a guy in his line of work is known to be talkative, he may very well end up dead.
Let me tell ya something. Nowadays, everybody's gotta go to shrinks, and counselors, and go on "Sally Jessy Raphael" and talk about their problems. What happened to Gary Cooper? The strong, silent type
. That was an American. He wasn't in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do. See, what they didn't know was once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings that they wouldn't be able to shut him up! And then it's dysfunction this, and dysfunction that, and dysfunction vaffancul!
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
- In retribution for an attempt on Christopher's life, Matthew Bevilaqua is shot over twenty times by Tony and Big Pussy.
- Christopher and another mobster shoot Dino Zerilli in the head three times... and then Christopher walks up to his corpse and shoots him in the head two more times. This happens after the Pine Barrens incident and Chris has valid reasons for making sure a dead body stays dead.
- A capo who disrespected Phil Leotardo is whacked by a few hitmen. One of them shoots him in the eye, and then riddles his abdomen with bullets.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Christopher and Paulie often fit this trope, especially in the "Pine Barrens" episode.
- Too Dumb to Live: Some of the minor characters are positively suicidal. For example:
- In season 2, two small players decide to try and kill Christopher in an attempt to please Richie Aprile, who despises him, with the hopes that they'll get promoted. It doesn't work.
- Then there's also Darwin Award winner Jackie Aprile Jr. who tries the same thing in season 3 by robbing Tony's gang.
- Also, in season 6, after Vito gets brutally murdered because it was discovered he's gay, one of the visiting New York guys openly implies in front of Silvio and Carlo that they had gay sex with him. Hilarity ensues.
- Tragic Hero / Tragic Villain: Tony does try to be a good person for his family and friends. The fact he's a a sociopath does kind of hinder that, though.
- Tragic Keepsake: Tony actively defies it with an artistic picture of Pie-O-My. He gets rid of it because it brings painful memories and gets very angry when he discovers that Paulie rescued it from the garbage and restored it. The picture is finally disposed of for good.
- Trouble Entendre: In the first episode, Tony is about to tell Melfi what he did to a guy who owed him money, when she interrupts by telling him that knowing the details of his crimes would put her in a very precarious legal situation. So Tony tells her that he took the guy out to coffee. The scene then cuts to a flashback of Tony running the guy over and beating him up. Tony slips some feeble truth in the story, as he was finishing a coffee in the meantime.
- Tropaholics Anonymous: Christopher occassionaly goes to a meeting on account of his drug addiction.
- Truth in Television: Junior's gradual descent into senile dementia was realistically done, including accurate depictions of the victim's good and bad days, and the eventual separation from reality.
- The depiction of Tony's depression is also excruciatingly realistic, with his condition rising and falling continuously even after he starts therapy and medication.
- Turn Coat: A disgruntled Paulie tries to defect to New York so he starts feeding sensitive information to a cajoling Johnny Sack. Paulie discovers he has been duped when he learns that the New York big boss practically doesn't know who he is.
- TV Never Lies: Adriana gets the idea from a TV legal show she's watching that married people can't testify against their spouses, and decides to marry Chris to gain this protection. But a real lawyer tells her it doesn't work that way, mentioning retroactivity and precedents where the Department of Justice circumvented the privilege.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Tony and Carmela in the episode "Marco Polo".
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Almost every single male character is married or in a relationship with insanely hot women, while usually also cheating on them with other even hotter women. Subverted with Johnny Sack: due to his high rank in the New York crew, it's assumed that like all the others he has a hot wife with affairs on the side. In season 4 we see however that his wife is a rather large woman who he loves deeply and does not cheat on.
- Undignified Death: Gigi Cestone, who suffers a heart attack while constipated on the Bada Bing toilet and surrounded by porn magazines.
- Unfortunate Names: Phil Leotardo openly complains that his legal family name used to be "Leonardo," like the painter. But an Ellis Island bureaucrat goofed it up, and now he's saddled with a name for a ballet outfit.
- The Unfair Sex: Averted. The two female characters who appear on the show are as ruthless as the male gangsters. Theres also Evil Matriarch Livia and immoral Janice. The wives on the show are depicted as hypocritical for claiming to be religious while living off blood money.
- The Unreveal: So did Ralphie really kill Pie-Oh-My? What happened to the Russian? Did Hadyu really kill Christopher's father? Was the psychic really communicating with Paulie's victims? And what about that ending?
- The Unseen: Janice's son Harpo, who is mentioned repeatedly but never appears.
- Vader Breath: Tony snorts heavily when he gets particularly agitated.
- Verbal Tic: Paulie's he-he. Tony gets annoyed by it and asks Paulie if he has ever been checked for Tourette's Syndrome.
- Villainous Breakdown: Tony's panic attacks are triggered by repressed phobias, thoughts and feelings and some unpleasant situations. He also can't go an episode without breaking down in anger or throwing a temper tantrum.
- Villain Protagonist: Tony himself isn't one of the shows' best protagonists. He is a thug who kills other mobsters, being a womanizer and adulterer who cheats his wife behind her back, have a gambling addiction in the form of horse races, not a nice mafia boss to work for, and not to mention, being an asshole who frequently curses.
- Villains Out Shopping: Omnipresent, since the show focuses on both the personal and professional lives of the mobsters.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Averted. Frequently. If someone pukes on this show, there's a 95% chance the bile will be shown. One messy example has the FBI guys affected by the splash.
- Vorpal Pillow:
- Tony grabs a pillow and is going to smother his mother, but he gets interrupted. Melfi makes a Call Back to it much later, but Tony is in denial.
- Paulie smothers an old woman with a pillow when she surprises him breaking and entering.
- Wake Up Makeup: Averted, Tony frequently rocks some impressive bed-head.
- We Used to Be Friends: Tony bitterly comments this regarding Johnny Sack as the New York boss gets more ruthless and less pragmatic and amiable. Still, Tony is very sad when Johnny passes away and still loves him despite some of his final actions.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
- Tony is this to Christopher, who regards him as a Parental Substitute.
- Tony goes out of his way to please his unreasonable and sociopathic mother. Since he's never able to reach some harmony, he's helplessly haunted by this failure long after her death.
Tony: our mothers are... bus drivers. No, they are the bus. See, they're the vehicle that gets us here. They drop us off and go on their way. They continue on their journey. And the problem is that we keep tryin' to get back on the bus, instead of just lettin' it go.
- Wham Line:
- What Does She See in Him?: Adriana and Chris. His looks aside, his demeanor in general was extremely creepy, and he certainly did not treat Adriana well. Tony says it himself:
Tony: "Frankly, you scored so far over your head. She's a knockout, a 10, and look at you. You're average at best."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Or to the Russian. It gets discussed briefly and handwaved in season 5 as David Chase deemed it unimportant.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: James Gandolfini's signature Joisey accent drops significantly during his season 6 Adventures In Coma Land.
- What You Are in the Dark: Melfi gets an awesome one of these in season two. After getting raped, she realises that she could tell Tony, and he would ensure that the rapist died screaming... and chooses not to.
- Wicked Cultured:
- Zig-zagged. As mentioned above, depending on the occasion the mobsters dress sharply or casually. They often enjoy luxury items, refined cuisine and Artie's restaurant is one of the usual hangouts. On the other hand, below the surface they are somewhat glorified ruffians.
- While Tony has moments of unsophistication he is not the average goombah, his "semester and a half of college" background really shows up from time to time, he is attracted to sophisticated women and can hold his ground intellectually with Dr. Melfi, understanding many references and complex concepts, e.g. he can cite Freud and Sun-Tzu. This particularly shows in his happiness that Meadow is on the path to a professional career, and his disappointment in A.J.'s...um...divergent...trajectory.
- Paulie tries too hard to emulate Tony and appear cultivated (he appropriates a fine painting made for Tony) but he fails many times, he is prone to malapropisms and misconceptions.
- With Due Respect: Done in the episode ''All Due Respect''.
- Witness Protection:
- A former associate turned informant and relocated via it is found and executed by Tony during a trip with Meadow.
- Chris and Adriana contemplate the option of joining it. They don't.
- The mobsters tend to use "witness protection" as an explanation for the whereabouts of many of the colleagues they murdered.
- Women Are Wiser: Played straight more often than not; while there are certainly a few dimwitted or crazy women in the cast the major female characters tend to be wiser or at least more mentally stable than the men.
- World of Snark: While some characters are more sarcastic than others, most characters make at least one memorable sarcastic quip. It's particularly notable in the "meeting of minds" between Tony and Phil, which features these exchanges:
Little Carmine: For whatever reason, certain incidents have expired lately, that, in addition to being dangerous, could have an adverse impact on our respective bottom lines.
Phil: I know Vito's bottom was impacted if that's what you're referring to.
- Then a few seconds later:
Phil: He's MIA, a lot of people are concerned for his well-being.
Tony: So what the fuck would I know about that?
Phil: Well as coincidence would have it, he was last seen in New Jersey.
Tony: So was the Hindenburg, maybe you wanna look into that too.
- Would Hit a Girl:
- Christopher and Tony. Subverted in the Season 4 finale, when Tony stops himself from hitting Carmela and punches the wall.
- Ralphie takes this to the extreme and not only punches a pregnant woman, but beats her to death.
- Hot-headed Richie Aprile hits Janice. She hits him back. With a bullet to the chest.
- X Meets Y: Chris summarizes his movie as "Saw meets The Godfather".
- You Always Hear The Bullet: Discussed and debunked by Tony, Bobby, Silvio and physically averted in the final scene, according to the main theory.
- You Look Familiar: Joseph R. Gannascoli played a random bakery client named Gino in a season 1 scene (the one mentioned in Actor Allusion above) before landing into his Vito Spatafore role in Season 2.
- Your Cheating Heart:
- Tony's extramarital affairs are naturally explored and generate a great deal of problems.
- Practically all the mobsters indulge in this, it comes with the job description to have a goomah.
- Carmela initially tolerates and rationalizes Tony's extramarital activities as a meaningless valve of escape and she longs for one herself until season 5, in which she has an affair with A.J.'s principal who identifies it as Sex for Services.
- You Remind Me of X: As pointed out by his shrink, Tony's goomahs bear a resemblance to his unpleasable mother - dark hair, contemptuous and with issues - and even to Dr. Melfi herself - interesting, independent and sophisticated women. Tony ask his first and simplest lover to dress more businesslike, with Melfi in mind. Later on Tony makes a explicit mother connection with the troubled Gloria Trillo.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Lost in Pine Barrens and fearing for his life, Chris draws a gun on Paulie, who tries to calm him down:
Paulie: All the shit we been through. You think I'd really kill you?
Chris: Yeah, I do.
- Your Head A Splode: In the series finale, the fate of Phil Leotardo after his head is run over by a tire. Off-screen. Given his nature, that was probably something the viewers wanted to see.
- You Talkin' to Me?:
is a Movie-Within-the-Show
written and produced by Christopher Moltisanti in season 6, but who has been working on and off on the project since season 1. It is about Michael, a Mafia hitman who gets set up and killed by his associates. This is done at the instigation of Michael's boss Salvatore, who is lusting after Michael's fiancée. Michael is then resurrected as the eponymous "Cleaver", an undead zombie who kills off all his former enemies one by one, including his boss and former fiancée.