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  • Writer's pictureHannah Pearson

Being Tony Soprano

How One Show Made Me a Mad(e) Man


Spoilers For: The ending and a hide-n-seek game with the best quotes from the show. Find them all!

Recently I finally crossed off a big bucket list item. It wasn’t skydiving or swimming with the dolphins but it was equally life-changing. I binged all 6 seasons of The Godfather to the Golden Age of Television. I’m talking about The Sopranos, you ubatz!

But Hannah, The Sopranos has been out for 20 years, why are you JUST now watching it if you say you love Television?

With all due respect, you got no fucking idea what it’s like to be a nine-year-old without access to HBO. But hey I’m making up for it now and I’m working my way through the classics. And The Sopranos is like the War & Peace of episodic dramas. Last Thursday (the 14th anniversary of its airing) I watched “Made in America” and closed the book. Time to reflect…

Originally I thought I’d write about the importance of watching old shows or some in-depth piece about what Tony did for normalizing therapy. I could have gone cheap and pointed out the problematic jokes, racism, and homophobia that would never hold up in a 2021 TV arena. But what are you gonna do?

But watching this show did something to me, something more than providing the usual entertaining hour that distracts me from the existential worries of the world that plays constantly in my head like Muzak playing in the background at a Midwestern shopping mall.

This show woke my inner cigar-smoking, robe wearing, rage monster.

That’s what great television can do, right? You don’t watch the characters, you become them. And for the last few weeks, while I ate my lunch and watched the Satriale Gang run North Jersey, pop caps, and bang whooo-res, a Tiny Tony was growing inside me. I’ve been Hannah and Tony Soprano like a very polarizing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

But why? Why would this West Coast White-Bread Blonde Becky need or want a Tiny Tony? Because Tony showed me what it is to be a human wielding their rage like a weapon. Here was a man who didn’t run from his anger, didn’t compartmentalize it, he let it bubble over like one of Karen’s Zitis and splatter the walls of every room he entered.

I’ve spent my life being told not to show that emotion. Be happy. Be worried. Be sad. But never be angry. Gotta be the sad clown, laughing on the outside. I know— Oh, poor baby. What do you want, a Whitman’s Sampler?

But how could I or anyone on this planet for that matter not be choking on the rage buried in my belly? I’ve spent much of this year internally angry. About everything. People are divided, little kids get bombed in their homes, the planet is on fire, cops murder people while they sleep, and a pandemic turned everyone’s family into science-denying lunatics.

I don’t want to be Gary Cooper, the strong silent type. I want to be Tony Soprano, the strong loud type. So how did this new lease on life go for me? Well, the F word stopped being a featured player in my lexicon and got bumped to a regular cast member. Not a wise decision when you have a toddler in the house.

Furthermore, I've yelled at telemarketers, flipped out over messed up orders, and gone to the mattresses with my insurance company. On the outside I'm sure it looked like I was being a real Karen, but on the inside I was really Tony.

But probably the worst moment of my Tiny Tony was when an old acquaintance from High School started posted anti-vaxx rhetoric on Instagram. Oh Madone, normally I ignore this gabagool of insanity but not with Tiny Tony in me. I unleashed on her a verbal diatribe that would make Paulie Walnuts blush.

It felt good at the moment but afterward in my word carnage was not satisfaction, but the rage monster still hungry.

Tony’s unbridled acrimonious nature was his undoing and it cost him his life. Sorry, all you #tonylives folks out there but no one enjoyed their diner dinner after the screen went black. Each season his morality sinks lower and lower to the point that his story arc looks more like a valley. For him the constant vexation was cancer and cancer don’t respect nothing.

He was like King Midas in reverse. Everything he touched turned to shit.

Thankfully by the time I reached the 6th season, I stopped idolizing the Don of temper tantrums. I realized that I don’t want to be like that. Not really. At least not all the time. I want to be like Sun Tuh-zoo! The Chinese Prince Matchabelli!

It’s nice sometimes to watch a show and wear it for a day. God knows watching Sex and the City pulled me out of many breakup slumps and got my ass to dress up, go out, and order a cosmo… or the Chili’s equivalent when I was still in college. But be aware, don’t let it go too far. Remember everyday is a gift, even when it's just socks.

“Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky.”

So what’s next? The Wire? Or maybe something a little light-hearted?

Now let’s get back to that gabagool!

What Shows have played with your Emotions?


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