A Hit Is a Hit
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|"A Hit Is a Hit"|
|The Sopranos episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Matthew Penn|
|Written by||Joe Bosso
|Cinematography by||Phil Abraham|
|Original air date||March 14, 1999|
|Running time||53 minutes|
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr. *
- Vincent Pastore as Pussy Bonpensiero
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr. *
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- and Nancy Marchand as Livia Soprano *
* = credit only
Also guest Starring
- Oksana Lada as Irina Peltsin
- Bryan Hicks as Orange J
- Nick Fowler as Richie Santini
- Gregg Wattenberg as Vito
- Chris Gibson as Bass Player
- Ned Stroh as Drummer
- Bray Poor as Squid
- Robert LuPone as Dr. Bruce Cusamano
- Jim Demarse as Jack Krim
- James Weston as Randy Wagner
- Phil Coccioletti as Eric
- Terumi Matthews as Rita
- Dan Morse as Mullethead
- Alexandra Neil as Wendy Krim
- Ken Prymus as Manager
- Saundra Santiago as Jean Cusamano
- Jessy Terrero as Gallegos
- Elizabeth Ann Townsend as Barb Wagner
- Cedric Turner as Police Officer
Paulie Gualtieri, Christopher Moltisanti, and Big Pussy kill a drug dealer in a hotel room as a warning to his organization to stay away from the DiMeo crime family's territory around the ports in Newark. They steal cash from the scene, a big score that Tony states should be used legitimately, such as an investment in an IPO.
Tony gives Dr. Bruce Cusamano, his neighbor and family physician, a box of Cuban cigars as a gift for his referral to Dr. Melfi. As part of the follow-up conversation, Cusamano invites Tony to play golf with him and friends at the private country club where Bruce is a member. After some initial hesitancy, Tony does so. Later, at a barbecue with Dr. Cusamano and his friends, while Tony is looking for stock tips, Carmela receives one from one of the wives, and invests in the company. The company's stock soon splits 3-for-1 and Carmela is pleased.
Tony regrets his decision to play golf with Cusamano and his friends, as they ask Tony about Al Capone's winter home in Biscayne Bay and the famous murder of Carmine Galante, and pester him for stories about life in the Mafia. They even ask him if he has ever met John Gotti, which he jokingly says he has. He tells them a story, completely made up, about Gotti's fondness for a certain kind of ice cream truck. Cusamano and his friends are enthralled by the story. Later, Tony discusses the incident in therapy with Dr. Melfi, saying he felt used for the amusement of others. He recalls a high school classmate, Jimmy Smash, who had a speech impediment due to a cleft palate. Tony and his friends made fun of Jimmy because of his speech impediment. Tony learned years later that Jimmy was crying himself to sleep every night and is currently serving prison time for robbery and was easily identified because of his speech impediment. Tony exacts a revenge of sorts on Cusamano, in reference to the scene in The Godfather Part II when a young Vito Corleone holds a bag of guns for a young Peter Clemenza. Tony fills a parcel with sand and asks Cusamano to hold on to it, in an attempt to worry the doctor and his wife. The box is a source of concern to the Cusamanos, who fear it contains drugs or some other illegal substance.
Christopher and Adriana La Cerva dine at Le Cirque and attend the musical, Rent, in the theater in New York. After the show, while waiting for fast food, Christopher makes racist comments about the clientele of the restaurant. This draws the attention of rapper Massive Genius, who is also present at the burger joint. When it appears there might be violence, a cop tells Massive's friend, Orange J, that Christopher is an associate of the Soprano crew. Massive Genius dispatches Orange J to invite Christopher and Adriana to a party at his mansion in Englewood Cliffs. Adriana recognizes Massive Genius, respects his work, and urges Christopher to take her to the party. Christopher and Massive Genius talk business and while Christopher admires Massive Genius' gun collection, Massive Genius is similarly taken with Adriana. After the encounter, Adriana proposes that she should pursue a career as a music producer, and Christopher agrees, given her experience in listening to music. Her ex-boyfriend, Richie Santini, is the singer in a band called Visiting Day. Christopher agrees to put up the money for her to produce a demo for them.
Richie has some problems of his own: He's a recovering addict and never fully recuperated from an injury sustained while trying to use a downed power line to grill a trout (and is perhaps intellectually challenged as well). The demo recording progresses slowly and the producer and Richie argue, eventually leading a furious Christopher to beat the musician with his own guitar. Christopher starts to realize that the band may not be a wise investment. He nevertheless takes the demo to Hesh Rabkin, who has a history in the music business and tells Christopher that the song has no potential ("A hit is a hit, and that's not a hit", he says). Massive Genius meets with Christopher and Adriana to listen to the demo and claims to be impressed. However, Massive Genius seems more interested in Adriana than in the music, something Christopher notices and angrily mentions to Adriana. Adriana, in return, accuses Christopher of trying to hold her back and storms out of their apartment.
Massive Genius later has Christopher organize sit-downs with Hesh. Christopher tells Hesh that Massive Genius is a relative of a deceased artist with whom Hesh once worked and claims Hesh owes $400,000 in music royalties to the artist's elderly mother. When Hesh refuses to pay, Massive Genius responds with a threat of litigation. Hesh mentions a counter-suit over the unauthorized sampling by Massive Genius' music label of a song that Hesh's record label still controls, leaving them at loggerheads. As Massive fumes over the impasse, Tony and his crew comment on the irony of modern-day celebrities like Massive Genius being idolized as "gangsters", with Paulie summarizing it as "fucking depressing".
- Dr. Bruce Cusamano: Soprano family physician and next door neighbor
- Jean Cusamano: Wife of Dr. Cusamano and friend of the Soprano family
- The title refers to the slang term for a mafia-ordered murder, or a "hit". The episode opens with a hit on a Colombian drug dealer, and while hosting Tony in a golf game at his country club, Bruce Cusamano refers to mobster Carmine Galante's assassination as a "beautiful hit".
- Giving the title a double-meaning, "Hesh" Rabkin mentions to Christopher that he knows a hit song when he hears one, saying "a hit is a hit" and that the band Visiting Day's song is not a hit, and they are not particularly talented.
Other cultural references
- A jealous Christopher complains to Adriana that Massive Genius lives in The Hamptons where he is visited by Alec Baldwin and Whitney Houston.
- Christopher names what he considers to be "great Italian singers:" Frankie Valli, Dion, and The Rascals. Adriana then puts on a Bon Jovi song as "Paisan pride."
- When Adriana asks what "experts" Christopher discussed the Visiting Day demo with, he names Hesh and also Silvio, who he says used to own "rock clubs in Asbury". Steven Van Zandt is a Springsteen side-man and a key figure in the Asbury music scene.
- The song played when Tony, Christopher and Paulie celebrate their big score at a hotel with their goomahs is "A Dreamer's Holiday" by Ray Anthony.
- The song played when Christopher and Adriana come to a party at Massive Genius' mansion is "DJ Keep Playin' (Get Your Music On)" by Yvette Michele.
- Earlier in the episode, while Christopher and Adriana talk about their tastes in music, she plays "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi.
- When Christopher and Adriana hatch their music management plan over dinner, the background song is "Decara a la pased" from Lhasa De Sela's album "La Llorona".
- The song played when Christopher and Adriana take Massive Genius to a club to watch Visiting Day perform. Also later, when Visiting Day try to cut their record; and later still, when Adriana plays the song for Massive Genius, and Christopher plays the song for Hesh is "Erase Myself" by the fictional band Visiting Day.
- The song played when Hesh looks over his mementos from his days running a record label is "Fools Follow Angels" by Little Jimmy Willis.
- The background song when Adriana is modeling her black dress for Christopher near the end of the episode is "Why" by Annie Lennox.
- The song played in one of the closing scenes, which Hesh hears and then says to Christopher, "Now that is a hit", is "Nobody Loves Me But You" by Dori Hartley.
- The songs performed by the episode's fictional band, Visiting Day/Defiler, were created and performed bespoke by Gregg Wattenberg and Nick Fowler, and "Defiler" is played over the end credits.