Johnny Cakes (The Sopranos)

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"Johnny Cakes"
The Sopranos episode
Ep73 01.jpg
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 8
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by Diane Frolov
Andrew Schneider
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 608
Original air date April 30, 2006
Running time 54 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Luxury Lounge"
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"The Ride"
Episode chronology

"Johnny Cakes" is the seventy-third episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the eighth of the show's sixth season. It was written by Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on April 30, 2006.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

A.J.[edit]

Uninterested in his job at Blockbuster or in going back to college, Anthony Soprano, Jr. is spending most of his time hanging out in nightclubs in New York City with Hernan, who he went to high school with, and his new friends, some of them underage girls. His club acquaintances are impressed with him because of who his father is. A.J. brags to one of the girls who inquires about revenge against his uncle Junior: "I'll probably have to do something," he says.

To get more money for clubbing ("living expenses"), A.J., to his father's disappointment, sells the drum kit Tony gave him as a gift. While the pair are fishing on Tony's boat, A.J. asks what they are going to do about uncle Junior shooting Tony. Tony tells A.J. he should not concern himself with Junior, saying, "He's incarcerated for the rest of his unnatural life."

At Dr. Melfi's, Tony complains about his son, saying all he does is "vegetate." He asks for advice about A.J. Melfi says the youth nowadays are overwhelmed with information and reach maturity later than previous generations. She suggests Tony and Carmela impose some concrete rules.

A.J. raises an idea for his parents to provide him a night club to manage but gets little support from them, especially Carmela who says he is not even of legal drinking age. His mother wants him to study event planning and his father offers to get him a place at "Beansie"'s pizza parlor to gain experience with the food service industry.

One day, A.J. tries to get up early but ends sleeping past noon; at Carmela's urging to do something important as he planned, A.J. takes a knife with him (with which he practiced combat moves at work) and visits Uncle Junior in the mental hospital. When Junior sees A.J., he begs him to take him home. Petrified, A.J. drops the knife and is tackled by several hospital staff members as he tries to escape. After calling on Assemblyman Zellman for a favor to have A.J. released from custody without criminal charges, Tony picks up A.J. at the police station and violently confronts him. In tears, A.J. calls his father a hypocrite because Tony admires Michael Corleone for avenging the attempted murder of his father in The Godfather. Tony, although touched by his son's intentions, tells him that he needs to grow up and that The Godfather is only a movie. A.J. almost throws up and Tony instructs him not to tell Carmela about the incident.

At A.J.'s next night out clubbing, one of Hernan's friends asks A.J. to get his father to intimidate his landlord. Retreating to the restroom, A.J. has a panic attack.

Vito[edit]

Vito Spatafore, pretending to be a writer named "Vince" writing a book on Rocky Marciano, spends more time at Jim's diner in Dartford, New Hampshire. One evening, he witnesses Jim (aka 'Johnny Cakes') performing a heroic rescue of a young child while working as a volunteer firefighter and later compliments him on his heroism. Jim, who is revealed to also be a father, takes an interest in Vito's book and questions him about the lonely life of a writer. Meanwhile, Vito manages to steal the cell phone of a fellow guest at the bed-and-breakfast where he has been staying and calls his wife. She begs him to come home and to get "treatment." Vito refuses and tells her not to trust Phil Leotardo. He also tells her where to find $30,000 cash in the house. Marie puts their son on the phone, and Vito has a brief, pained conversation with him.

Vito spends an evening with Jim and some of his volunteer firefighter colleagues at a local roadhouse. Later, after admiring Jim's motorcycle in the parking lot, Vito rejects his sexual advances. The two throw punches (Vito also attempting to use a metal pipe as a weapon), and Jim leaves Vito beaten. Days later, after some contemplation time, Vito goes back to the diner to make an attempt at reconciliation. Vito tells Jim that "sometimes you tell a lie so long, you don't know when you are safe" and the two decide to patch things up. They then take a motorcycle ride together that results in a romantic picnic and them making love in a secluded field.

Christopher Moltisanti reports lack of leads of Vito's location to Tony and suggests that Carlo Gervasi should kill him if he is ever found to appease "the crews." Phil Leotardo meets with Tony and asks what he is doing about finding Vito. Tony tells him he will take care of it his own way. This elicits a warning from Phil that he will not swallow his pride on this issue like he did when Tony Blundetto killed his brother Billy. Phil tells Tony that if his father "Johnny Boy" Soprano was around, there wouldn't be any discussion about Vito's fate. Phil then reiterates that Vito shamed his family by betraying his wife, Phil's cousin, and his young children. Tony responds by walking away in a huff.

Dr. Melfi[edit]

Melfi has her own psychotherapy session with Dr. Elliot Kupferberg. She tells him about her father's failing health, but is annoyed by Elliot's interest in Tony Soprano's therapy, accusing him of being interested in him on "tabloid level" only. Melfi blurts out her belief that Tony's unwillingness to talk about his feelings to his uncle will eventually make him "decompensate."

Julianna Skiff[edit]

Burt Gervasi and Patsy Parisi visit their controlled area's stores, including Caputo's Poultry, for their protection racket take. The pair then visit the neighborhood's new Starbucks-like coffee store, offering similar "protection". But when the manager explains that they are required by corporate to account for every dollar spent and that the company won't care about vandalism or loss of staff due to its many locations, Patsy and Burt retreat outside. "It's over for the little guy", Patsy says.

Tony, Silvio, and Christopher talk about Tony being able to have sex again and check out a woman outside Satriale's Pork Store. The woman is Julianna Skiff, a Century 21 Real Estate agent representing Jamba Juice who asks Tony if he is interested in selling a building he owns, the one he is renting to Caputo's Poultry. Tony rejects the deal, stating that the poultry store is part of the neighborhood.

Tony then takes a stroll through the neighborhood of the poultry, interacting with an elderly resident and learning that the domesticated fowl business is "better than ever."

Skiff next seeks out Tony at the Bada Bing! and makes an increased offer on the building. Tony again declines, but tells her he is interested in Skiff sexually and asks her out to dinner. Mentioning the new outlook on life brought about by the shooting, Tony tells her that he knows what he wants in life. Stating that she is engaged to another man, she turns him down.

Tony hints ideas about having an extramarital affair to Dr. Melfi, but then tells her he could not bring himself to do it because of Carmela's affection displayed to him during his recuperation after getting shot.

Julianna calls Tony with a third offer on the building of more than $400,000, which he accepts, but asks her to let him come to her apartment that evening, ostensibly to complete the paperwork. In his bedroom, while Tony is dressing for the encounter, Carmela helps pick out a shirt for him and assists him in buttoning it up. At Julianna's, after Tony signs the paperwork, the two start kissing passionately, and Julianna starts unbuttoning Tony's shirt. Tony makes her stop and abruptly departs, heading home to Carmela where he is on a tear, claiming his anger is due to the lack of smoked turkey in the fridge.

Burt and Patsy later revisit Caputo's Poultry to collect the weekly take, and Caputo, furious, informs the pair that Tony has sold the building to Jamba Juice. Outside, Patsy laments, "What the fuck is happening to this neighborhood?"

First appearances[edit]

  • Julianna Skiff: a real estate agent with whom Tony almost has an affair.
  • Rhiannon: an ex-girlfriend of Hernan O'Brien, hanging out with A.J. and others at the nightclub.

Title reference[edit]

  • The episode's title refers to a jonnycake, type of pancake that is a local specialty at a diner frequented by Vito.
  • "Johnny Cakes" also becomes Vito's pet name for Jim.
  • As Vito and Jim try to get to know each other over johnnycakes, the title may refer to similar scouting and bonding experiences displayed by characters in the episode (their johnnycakes), such as Tony and A.J. on board the Stugots II over beers and Tony and Julliana over drinks at the Bada Bing!, relationships all of which eventually took a turn for the worse during the episode.

Production[edit]

  • The setting for the East Haledon Police Department was filmed at the police headquarters in West Orange, New Jersey. It was filmed in the back of the building to give the look of a more rural and suburban town in Northern New Jersey.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • When discussing the revitalization of Newark, Julianna Skiff mentions a glove factory renovated into condominiums. This is likely an homage to American Pastoral, also based in New Jersey.[how?]
  • The film A.J. and his co-worker are watching and studying for the knife fight is The Hunted.
  • Jim's diner patron asks Vito what the year when Rocky Marciano fought Joe Louis was.
  • In a scene where Julianna Skiff enters the Bada Bing! to meet with Tony, a UFC event is playing on the TV.
  • One of Jim's firefighter friends teases another about emitting an "Yma Sumac scream" when a roof fell in.
  • The girl massaging A.J. and Dr. Elliot Kupferberg both erroneously reference the Omertà, the Mafia code of silence. The girl believes it instructs who exactly should carry out a revenge hit for an attacked Mafia member and Elliot thinks the Omertà precludes mobsters speaking out about their personal feelings.
  • In a scene where A.J. spends the afternoon being lazy at home (despite asking his mother to wake him at 10 AM), he watches Aqua Teen Hunger Force on the living room TV.

Music[edit]

  • The song playing in the New York club is "E Talking" by Soulwax.
  • The song that is played at the Bada Bing! during Julianna and Tony's conversation is "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige.
  • The song played during the end credits is "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" by Ray Charles.

External links[edit]