In real life, the New Jersey mob situation is subservient to New York in a couple of ways. I did a column last year that detailed how New York's Five Families ordered the DeCavalcante family to re-induct virtually all its members because for the last 20 years or so, New Jersey inductions did not include props like a gun and knife (the so-called tools of the trade) and the pricking of the wannabe mobster's trigger finger as part of the ritual ceremony (shown even in B-grade movies). And it was the New York FBI and federal prosecutors in Manhattan that were responsible for decimating the Garden State family over the last few years.
Another obvious problem vis-à-vis reality was something you mentioned earlier, the New York crew's use of a woman loanshark, although maybe the script writers are on to a new trend that will soon occur in the real world. In the last year or so, there have been a couple of bookmaking and gambling indictments in which grandmothers were involved, albeit in relatively minor, less brassy roles than HBO's version, who, we learned, bedded Tony Soprano on her way up. Rather than point to alleged similarities in other reputed industries, I'll simply point out that the scenario enabled Tony to utter a pretty good line when Johnny Sack brought it up, something about nothing being "secret" any more, or was it "sacred"?
I don't know about you, or other viewers, but there were a bunch of scenes that had me laughing hysterically. The one in which an obviously mentally troubled Junior watches HBO's bespectacled Larry David on TV and thinks it is him. (There is an amazing resemblance.) And later, Junior sitting on a park bench with an aging black woman, asking her if they ever had relations after she comes on to him. And the scene in which Tony attacks sister Janice and tells new hubby/soldier Bobby Bacala that she was popping acid and making it with "roadies" had me in stitches, especially at its conclusion, when Artie gets punched in the eye trying to break up the fight and the scene ends with him holding his hand over his right eye, an incredulous look on his face.
All in all, a memorable episode that occasioned several lasting conclusions. Like Johnny Sack, Christopher doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut, and is half a moron. Uncle Junior, who we learn has some medical problems, now at least has an excuse for being a moron. Janice has always been a moron. Artie is a moron to move in with Tony. Lets hope he lives to regret it. Moron of the night is Christopher's stool-pigeon girlfriend, who naively asks her handling FBI agent, "How long will I have to do this?" The script writers had the strait-laced agent say nothing, in much the same manner a real agent might have handled the query. The correct, unspoken, answer would be: "Forever, or until you go to jail, you jerk."
Until next week,