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Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano
|First appearance||"Down Neck" (episode 1.07)|
|Last appearance||"Made in America" (episode 6.21)|
|Created by||David Chase|
|Portrayed by||Aida Turturro|
|Family||Johnny Soprano (father)
Livia Soprano (mother)
Tony Soprano (brother)
Barbara Soprano Giglione (sister)
Carmela Soprano (sister-in-law)
Anthony Soprano, Jr. (nephew)
Meadow Soprano (niece)
Junior Soprano (uncle)
Bobby Baccalieri Sr. (father-in-law)
|Spouse(s)||Eugène (1st husband)
Richie Aprile (ex-fiancee)
Ralph Cifaretto (ex-boyfriend)
Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri (2nd husband)
Domenica Baccalieri (daughter)
Bobby Baccalieri III (step-son)
Sophia Baccalieri (step-daughter)
Janice Soprano Baccalieri, played by Aida Turturro, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. She is Tony Soprano's elder sister. A young Janice has appeared in flashbacks, played by Madeline Blue and Juliet Fox.
After graduating high school, Janice joined an ashram in Los Angeles, changing her name to "Parvati Wasatch" in 1978. "Parvati" also travelled across Europe and Sri Lanka, married a Québécois, bore him a son Harpo ("Hal", later revealed to be living on the streets), worked as a furniture mover, and worked at an espresso bar in Seattle (where operating the steamed milk machine supposedly caused her to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, for which she claimed disability benefits) before finally moving back to New Jersey. Her relationship with Tony is often strained, as he still holds her responsible for abandoning the family and leaving him to deal with their abusive mother, Livia, alone.
While in New Jersey, she gets engaged to her high school boyfriend, Richie Aprile, then recently released from prison. She then drastically refashions her appearance from that of an aging hippie to that of an upscale, materialistic, North Jersey Italian housewife.
When Tony and Richie begin feuding, Janice exacerbates the situation by telling Richie that he is being unfairly treated — soon after, Richie and Tony's relationship deteriorates drastically. Tony orders Silvio Dante to have Richie killed after Uncle Junior had informed him of Richie's plan to "move against him". However, after an incident of domestic violence in which Richie punches her in the face for defending his son's potential homosexuality, Janice shoots and kills Richie and calls on her brother to dispose of the body. Tony has Christopher Moltisanti and Furio Giunta dismember Richie's body using a band saw at Satriale's Pork Store. After a time back in Seattle, Janice again returns to New Jersey following the death of her mother.
After Livia's death, Janice becomes obsessed with acquiring her mother's valuable record collection, which Livia gave to her nurse, Svetlana, shortly before her death. Janice, feeling that she should rightfully have the records, absconds with Svetlana's prosthetic leg. She tells Svetlana that the leg would not be returned until she received the records. Svetlana, however, has friends connected with the Russian Mafia physically assault Janice until she reveals the location of the leg. When Tony arrives at the hospital, he is visibly upset with his sister; he angrily tells her that since she had been assaulted, he is now faced with the choice of retaliating, thereby risking a mob war with the Russians, or not retaliating, and losing respect. Bewildered by the sudden turn in her fortunes, she briefly becomes a born-again Christian. Janice's next phase is marked by a brief interest in a Christian music career, as well as an equally brief live-in relationship with narcoleptic boyfriend, Aaron Arkaway.
After the death of Jackie Aprile, Jr., Janice embarks on a clandestine relationship with Ralph Cifaretto, who is engaged to Jackie Jr.'s mother, Rosalie Aprile. With the help of her feminist therapist, Janice soon reaches the conclusion that her affair with Ralph is a mistake, and after Ralph happily tells her that he is no longer seeing Rosalie Aprile and plans to move in with her, Janice responds by flying into a rage, pushing him down a flight of stairs and screaming at him to leave.
Sometime later, Tony asks Janice about Ralph's bizarre sexual fetishes, of which he had recently become aware. She refuses to tell him anything at first, ostensibly to protect Ralph's privacy. When Tony offers her money, however, she immediately tells him everything he wants to know.
Following Ralph's disappearance, Janice sets her sights on the newly widowered Bobby Baccalieri, another of Tony's caporegimes, whose fidelity to his wife while she was alive, and obvious adoration of her after her death, makes him especially appealing. Initially, Janice cooks Bobby's dinners (often claiming other women's plates as her own) and informally dates him. Frustrated with Bobby's refusal to commit, she sends Bobby's children instant messages via her Mac, choosing a user name that appeared satanic, and indicating that she was watching them by referring to objects in their living room (which she could see from her window). This ploy scares them badly, in response to which she subsequently rushed over to help comfort them and curry favor with their bewildered father. She and Bobby eventually marry and have a daughter together, Domenica.
She attacks a player's mother at Sophia's Peewee soccer match and injures her badly enough to require hospitalization, garnering her an assault charge and, to Tony's displeasure, unwanted TV news coverage mentioning his name and line of work. Bobby also insists that she attend anger management counseling, although it is unclear whether or not it has the desired effect.
In the episode "Moe n' Joe", Janice confronts Tony about his treatment of Bobby, and Tony refuses to say what the siblings both knew: Tony blames Bobby (and Janice, to some extent) for his near-fatal shooting by Uncle Junior, because Bobby should have been watching Junior but Janice made him pass the task on to Tony. He angrily confides to Dr. Melfi that Janice "gets nothing" because she didn't have the scars he did from growing up full-time in the same house as Livia. Later in the episode, Tony compensates Janice and Bobby by convincing an imprisoned John Sacrimoni to sell them his home at half price.
Janice and Bobby inherits the late Bobby, Sr.'s cottage in northern New York state, to which they invite Tony and Carmela for Tony's 47th birthday. At the party, Janice gives Tony a gift of Soprano family home videos and tells Carmela an anecdote that embarrasses Tony when it is raised again during a heated, drunken game of Monopoly; Janice and Tony's father once angrily shot a bullet through Livia's beehive hairdo. Bobby later loses his temper and punches Tony in the face after Tony makes an offensive remark about Janice, leading to a fight which Bobby wins (much to Tony's chagrin). Tony then orders Bobby, who admits to Tony that he has never killed a man, to go to Canada and carry out a contract killing. Ironically, defending Janice increases Tony's regard for Bobby, as he is soon elevated into Tony's inner circle (largely displacing Christopher Moltisanti).
Janice suggests to Tony that he help pay to keep Uncle Junior — whose money has run out — in a private care facility, but is rebuffed by Tony, who makes it clear Junior is dead to him. Angered by Janice and Bobby's perceived disloyalty, Tony tells her that he is also going to exile Bobby from his life, although it is likely he is not fully serious.
Soon after that conversation, Janice becomes a widow; Bobby is murdered by two of Phil Leotardo's hit men while buying a model train in a hobby store. Although she claims that her stepchildren have bonded with her and she wants to continue raising them (a dubious claim considering the contempt and disgust Bobby, III and Sofia have shown for her), Janice's primary focus seems to be on whatever assets she might receive such as those from Uncle Junior, prompting Tony to make a deal with "Uncle Pat" ensuring Junior's estate will go into a trust that will benefit Bobby's children and not Janice. Tony also extracts a promise from Phil Leotardo's men to pay a settlement to Janice, after Phil's vendetta against Tony led to Bobby's murder.
Janice is also a chronic malingerer. Simply put by her sister-in-law, Carmela, "she has no work ethic". She conveniently claimed she had the Epstein–Barr virus to justify sleeping, as an escape from performing her duties as Bobby Baccala, Jr.'s wife and his children's stepmother. Janice also claimed she developed carpal tunnel syndrome while operating the steamed milk machine at a Seattle espresso bar, in order to claim disability benefits. Later, Janice relied upon the latter excuse to avoid cooking Sunday dinner from scratch (when Tony and Carmela were separated). Her complaint to Tony that the physical attack by the Russians, who had intimidated her into returning Svetlana's prosthetic leg, had exacerbated the pains in her arm gave Tony sufficient ammunition to obtain Slava's blessing to retaliate against Janice's attackers.
Although she would never admit it, Janice's personality is very much like her mother's; they are both manipulative, violently tempestuous, and suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Janice was manipulative towards Richie Aprile, telling him he deserved more than he received from Tony. During sexual encounters, she made suggestions that Richie take over as boss, and she goaded him into the power play he attempted against Tony. She also manipulated Bobby Baccalieri, after his wife's death, by pretending she had cooked meals other women had sent him and by scaring his children. She knew Baccala would call after being unable to cope with their fear and confusion.
Janice, like Livia (and Meadow), also tends to want what she cannot have. She wanted a bigger house than Tony and Carmela's, with a pool, an expensive wedding, and an affluent lifestyle, even though Richie struggled to afford such luxuries and his attempts to make the necessary income caused conflicts with Tony. She lost interest in Ralph Ciferetto after he dumped Rosalie Aprile for her, although to get what she wanted she indulged both men's sexual fetishes. Later, although Janice went to quite extraordinary lengths to woo Bobby Baccala, she appeared to lose interest in him, too, after they married.
Janice is like Tony as well, in that she is competitive and motivated by the chase. Even before resorting to underhanded tactics when competing with other women for Bobby Baccala's affections, trying to extort Livia's vintage record collection from Svetlana (by stealing Svetlana's prosthetic leg), and desiring a bigger house than Tony's, Janice demonstrated her competitive nature, as a child, in Tony's memory flashbacks and in the family home movies she gave Tony for his 47th birthday.
Janice's personality was likely shaped by both nature and nurture. In addition to sharing the above-described traits with her relatives, Janice was brutally berated by Livia over the years; Tony alluded to this when the morning after Richie was killed, telling his mother: "Janice never had a chance." Additionally, as the oldest child in a household financed by crime, Janice was not only aware of her parents' activities (as Meadow was aware of Tony's), she was complicit in them. For example, "Johnny Boy" recruited Janice to participate with him and other mobsters in using their daughters as "fronts" to justify the men's presence at an amusement park, where the men conducted criminal activities.
Tragedies of men in her life
Similar to the Aprile crew capos, all of whom succumbed to the ostensible "Aprile Curse", all the men who have been romantically involved with Janice on the show (with the possible exception of Aaron Arkaway) have met horrible demises, one for which she was directly responsible. Janice fatally shot Richie after he punched her. Her brother, Tony, beat Ralphie to death after Ralph and Tony's racehorse died in a suspicious fire. Phil Leotardo's hit men gunned Bobby down during Phil's "decapitation" of Tony's New Jersey mob family.
Janice's close male relatives all suffered dire fates, as well. The fate of her son's father is unknown, but Janice's son Harpo ("Hal") was said to be living on the streets, her father "Johnny Boy" died of cancer, her Uncle Junior suffered from Alzheimer's disease after being committed to life imprisonment in a mental institution, her cousin Tony Blundetto was murdered by her brother Tony S., and even her distant cousin, Christopher Moltisanti, was murdered by Tony S. after being seriously injured in a car accident. Tony Soprano's ultimate fate, in the series finale, is never made explicit, but he is seriously injured when Uncle Junior shoots him, in season 6.
Murders committed by Janice Soprano
Richie Aprile: Gunshot to the chest and then in the head after punching Janice after an explosive quarrel in which Janice defended Richie's son's possible homosexuality (in "The Knight in White Satin Armor").