Sentimental Education (The Sopranos)

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"Sentimental Education"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep506.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 6
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Written by Matthew Weiner
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 507
Original air date April 11, 2004
Running time 55 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Irregular Around the Margins"
Next →
"In Camelot"
Episode chronology

"Sentimental Education" is the fifty-eighth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the sixth of the show's fifth season. It was written by Matthew Weiner, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and originally aired on April 11, 2004.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

When Tony Soprano finds it increasingly difficult to take care of A.J., he sends him back to Carmela to ask for her permission to live with her again. His mother lets it be known that she first expects A.J. to address his study shortfalls, be more respectful of and more involving with her, before she would allow him back in. A.J. accepts the conditions. In order to make sure her son's priorities are in the right place, she has a visit with Robert Wegler, his guidance counselor. However, their discussion quickly turns from A.J. to having dinner together. The following evening, they dine at a fine Italian restaurant and afterwards passionately kiss in his car. Carmela then begins to have guilt when she tells Father Phil Intintola about her lust for Mr. Wegler over a meal. Father Phil advises her not to act on her feelings, since in the eyes of the Church, she is still considered to be married to Tony. Carmela sleeps with Wegler nonetheless (her first sex with another man since marrying Tony), and spends the night at his house. She later confesses this to Father Phil, but still continues the liaison: Carmela finds herself sneaking back home at night avoiding A.J. noticing her, talking about her secret relationship with her friend Rosalie Aprile and even keeping a gun under her pillow for protection, after remembering Tony. After their next date, Carmela ends up back at Wegler's house again, but expresses concern about A.J.'s poor marks and says that she can't sleep with Wegler because she is too worried about him. She leaves abruptly, leaving Wegler frustrated. The next day Wegler pressures one of A.J.'s teachers to raise his grade for a poorly written essay. When Carmela next sees Wegler, she is very forward and they have sex again. Afterwards, Carmela talks about A.J. again. Wegler comes to the conclusion that Carmela is just using him to get A.J. better grades, and tells her that he wants to end the relationship. Carmela is hurt by this, and, after an argument, threatens Wegler that he should "watch his step" as she storms out. When her father later comes to her house to fix a broken door lock mechanism and finds her lying in bed, despondent, he tries to suggest her to seek other relationships with men in her life, as he says she is still an attractive woman, to which Carmela replies that her status as Tony's wife has forever branded her to be perceived by others as one always seeking to gain some benefits.

Tony Blundetto is still trying to adjust to life as a civilian but is becoming quite impatient with his employer, Kim, who is strict, demanding, and distrustful. With the help of Gwen, a girlfriend he met via the Internet while in prison, and after intense studies, Tony B passes his state massage board exam and is hopeful to open his own massage facility. When Kim hears about Tony B's plans for the future, he wants to help him, because he happens to have an empty storefront in West Caldwell he had originally intended for his daughter's physiotherapy practice, a career path she has now abandoned. Tony B delightedly agrees to the partnership proposal. He then one night comes across a bag containing $12,000 which has been abandoned by fleeing drug dealers - everything appears to be going his way. Tony B manages to start fixing the storefront up, but then goes on a self-destructive tear, staying out nights and blowing much of the remainder of the money on gambling and expensive clothes. After fighting on the phone with Gwen, he takes his anger and frustration out in a beating he gives Kim, ostensibly because he has been doing all of the work setting up the parlor. Tony B then meets his cousin, Tony Soprano, at Nuovo Vesuvio for a meal. After hinting that he has screwed up, Tony B asks if he still needs someone to cover the airbag scheme. "It's hard doing business with strangers," responds Tony, smiling.

Title reference[edit]

  • Sentimental Education is a book written by Gustave Flaubert, who also wrote Madame Bovary, which Mr. Wegler recommends to Carmela.
  • It may be a reference to Mr. Wegler, one of the key players in A.J.'s education and his romantic involvement with Carmela.
  • It may be a reference to A.J.'s high school education itself, which Carmela is so concerned about, and to Tony Blundetto's massage therapist exam studies.
  • The title could also refer to the lessons learned by 1) Carmela with her affair - that her worth as a person might be biasedly judged by others--even in such intimate circumstances--due to her husband Tony's infamy, and 2) Tony Blundetto, who finds out that trying to make a living the honest way and doing business with outsiders may prove to be too demanding.

Production[edit]

  • The episode was directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who also has a recurring guest role as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg (Dr. Melfi's psychotherapist) on the show, although he does not appear in this episode.
  • Although the sixth episode of the season, it was produced as seventh, due to scheduling availability of director Peter Bogdanovich, as the following episode was directed by cast member Steve Buscemi, who wanted to direct an episode that his character was minimally featured in.[1]

Cultural references[edit]

Music[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DVD audio commentary for "In Camelot" by Steve Buscemi

External links[edit]