Funhouse (The Sopranos)

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"Funhouse"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep213.jpg
Tony in his dream
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 13
Directed by John Patterson
Written by David Chase
Todd A. Kessler
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 213
Original air date April 9, 2000 (2000-04-09)
Running time 59 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
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"The Knight in White Satin Armor"
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Episode chronology

"Funhouse" is the twenty-sixth episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos. It is the thirteenth and final episode of the show's second season. It was co-written by series creator/executive producer David Chase and co-producer Todd A. Kessler, and was directed by frequent The Sopranos director John Patterson. It originally aired in the United States on April 9, 2000, attracting about 9 million viewers.[1]

It was nominated in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

Starring[edit]

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Shortly after Janice's departure, Tony and younger sister Barbara arrive at Livia's home to discuss her permanent living arrangements. When Barbara says her husband won't allow her to live with them, Tony hands Livia two stolen airline tickets to Arizona (one for herself and for her sister Quintina) and warns her to leave for good.

Later, Tony discusses a calling card credit scheme with Silvio Dante and Big Pussy Bonpensiero at Artie Bucco's restaurant, immediately after eating at an Indian restaurant. During the night, Tony dreams that he is walking on the boardwalk in Asbury Park and meets up with Paulie Walnuts, Silvio Dante, Christopher Moltisanti, Philly "Spoons" Parisi, Hesh and an oddly silent, stoic, Big Pussy. Tony has just received word that he has a terminal disease and six months to live and accepts the information as if he had already known this and come to accept it. He further informs his friends that he is going to kill himself instead; his friends commend his bravery and appreciate the favor he will be doing them, sparing them multiple visits to the hospital and the grieving. Tony douses himself with a plastic container of gasoline and Paulie ignites a Zippo lighter. Christopher suddenly asks, "What if these doctors are wrong?" everyone stares at him and Tony only gets a split second to process this information before the gasoline explodes in a fireball. Tony awakes with a start and tells Carmela that he's never been so depressed and that life is "a big nothing" he then runs to the bathroom with intense diarrhea and vomiting.

Tony also has a minor fever dream about Uncle Junior wandering on a factory site. Furthermore, he sees himself through a coin-operated tower viewer at a distance playing cards with Paulie, presumably at a transportation depot. When Paulie says something, Tony shoots Paulie in the chest, killing him.

The following morning, Artie Bucco comes over to review with Carmela and Tony the menu for Meadow's graduation party only to learn that Tony has severe food poisoning. He and Tony argue about the quality of his food and Artie quickly learns that Tony ate at an Indian restaurant, which he believes is the culprit. Eventually, Artie calls up Big Pussy to see if he is sick as well, he says that he's alright and Artie leaves. Tony then becomes delirious after receiving a house call from his next-door neighbor Dr. Cusamano and eventually manages to fall asleep. Tony then begins to dream about having sex with Dr. Melfi during a therapy session.

The dreams caused by the fever finally lead Tony to confront an issue which lays heavily on his subconscious, namely his suspicions that Big Pussy is a government informant. In the dream, Tony speaks to Big Pussy, who has taken the form of a dead fish, this dream-version of Pussy hints, "You know I'm working with the government, right Ton?" and makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to "sleeping with the fishes". Awakened, Tony gets out of bed against Carmela's wishes. He and Silvio soon go to Pussy's house, and invite him to go check out a new boat with them. Feigning diarrhea, Tony manages to use the master bathroom, and while searching Pussy's bedroom instead, he finds Pussy's wire hidden in a false bottom of a cigar box — proof that Pussy is indeed an FBI informant.

Silvio, Tony, and Pussy drive together to meet Paulie Walnuts at the docks. Tony has his final "fever dream" during the journey, which involves Meadow's announcing over dinner she is planning to attend Columbia University and Tony's informing his family he has just purchased a new boat. After setting out for a ride on a yacht, Tony confronts Pussy below decks, and asks how long it has been since he "flipped". Pussy initially denies the accusation, but quickly confesses under pressure. He claims not to have given any major information to the Feds and in fact to have supplied them with disinformation, but Tony does not believe him. Silvio excuses himself, claiming to be seasick.

To break the mood, Pussy asks for some tequila, and Paulie pours for Tony, Pussy and himself, clicking glasses. As Silvio returns, Pussy brags about the girl he used to have sex with at the clinic in Puerto Rico. Tony asks if she even existed, and Pussy retreats to a corner, resigned to his fate. He asks not to be shot in the face, to "keep [his] eyes." Paulie says "you were like a brother to me," then Tony adds: "To all of us." Tony, Silvio, and Paulie pull out their guns; then Pussy becomes lightheaded and asks to sit. Tony takes the first shot; Paulie and Silvio follow suit and shoot Pussy to death, honoring his wishes to not be shot in the face. Paulie removes his identifying jewelry, and together they bind his body in chains and weights, throw him off the back of the boat, and watch his body slowly sink into the ocean.

Hours later, Carmela receives a phone call from Livia, who is being detained in the Newark Airport security office for possessing stolen airline tickets. Within minutes, FBI agents arrive at the Soprano home with a warrant, and ask to search the residence. One agent reveals he has already searched Tony's car and found the stolen tickets. Tony is handcuffed and taken to FBI offices for questioning, right in front of Meadow, who has suddenly arrived with her friends, and is now mortally embarrassed. Tony becomes unbalanced at one point and almost falls, appearing weak in front of the FBI agents. The agent in charge notes that mob boss Tony Soprano is "weak in the knees," but instead of his usual bravado to the agents, Tony angrily responds that he's got food poisoning and is led into a holding cell. Soon after, his lawyer Neil Mink, has him released on bail, in plenty of time to attend Meadow's graduation the next day.

Later, at Dr. Melfi's, Tony goes off on a rant about Indian people, because of his food poisoning, and even more against his mother. Dr. Melfi challenges him to confront the recent sorrow which she suspects he may be harboring underneath his pose. Tony stubbornly refuses to delve into his state of mind, and continues with distractions by bluntly talking about his sexual dream with her, before finally leaving the session, smugly and tauntingly singing.

The following day at Meadow's graduation ceremony, Tony proudly watches his daughter accept her high school diploma. There he also tells Christopher that he is proposing him to get his "button" and become a made man. Tony then sees David Scatino, who tells Tony he and his wife are getting a divorce, that he will be living and working out west with a cousin in Nevada, and that his Georgetown University-bound son, Eric, could only afford to get into a state college (since his father had blown Eric's college fund gambling with Tony). Later, Tony and Carmela throw Meadow a graduation party at their house, and the episode ends with a montage of Tony's two "families" celebrating together, interspersed with the images of the various illegal enterprises through which Tony makes his living: Barone Sanitation, an adult movie theater, a person selling calling cards on the street, Teittleman's motel, the now-abandoned, empty office where the "Webistics" stock scam took place. Carmela looks for Tony among the guests, and sees him, as we do, standing by himself in a corner of the living room, slowly lighting a cigar and blowing out the smoke, with a faraway look on his face. This then fades into a shot of the ocean at sunset, the waves crashing on the shore.

First appearances[edit]

The episode marks the first appearance of:

Deceased[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • In the scene when Tony's mother calls his home for help about the stolen airline tickets. Carmela answers the phone. When she hands the phone to Tony, she says: "Here, the fun never stops".
  • In Tony's dream, he is on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, near the Palace Amusements funhouse with the famous wide-eyed clown painted on it known as "Tillie".

Production[edit]

  • David Proval and Aida Turturro are no longer billed in the opening credits, although Turturro returns next season as a full-time cast member.
  • Just as in the season opener, "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office...", Silvio does his The Godfather Part III Michael Corleone impersonation in the dream, only in the dream he is referring to Pussy: "Our true enemy has yet to reveal himself".
  • In his dream, Tony sees Pussy as a fish who notes that two other fish on either side of him are sleeping. The reference is to death, as in "sleeps with the fishes" from The Godfather, and it foreshadows Pussy's ultimate resting place, the ocean.
  • Every time Tony dreams in this episode, there is a creaking sound in the background. This is the same creaking sound the boat at sea makes when Pussy is shot.

Music[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Entertainment Weekly placed "Funhouse" #5 on their list of the 10 greatest The Sopranos episodes;[2] TIME placed it at #9.[3]

Awards[edit]

  • This episode was one of two viewer's choice winners on A&E, along with "Pine Barrens".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ryan, Maureen (2006-03-14). "The comeback". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  2. ^ Snierson, Dan. "The Hit Parade - 5. FUNHOUSE (Season 2)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  3. ^ Poniewozik, James (2007-04-04). "Funhouse - The Sopranos - TIME". TIME. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 

External links[edit]