All Happy Families...
|"All Happy Families..."|
|The Sopranos episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Rodrigo García|
|Written by||Toni Kalem|
|Cinematography by||Alik Sakharov|
|Original air date||March 28, 2004|
|Running time||52 minutes|
"All Happy Families..." is the fifty-sixth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and is the fourth of the show's fifth season. It was written by Toni Kalem and directed by Rodrigo García and originally aired on March 28, 2004.
- 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. *
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Jamie-Lynn DiScala as Meadow Soprano
- Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano Baccalieri *
- John Ventimiglia as Artie Bucco
- and Steve Buscemi as Tony Blundetto
* = credit only
Also guest starring
- Ray Abruzzo as Little Carmine Lupertazzi
- Chris Caldovino as Billy Leotardo
- Patti D'Arbanville as Lorraine Calluzzo
- Frank Fortunato as Jason Evanina
- Robert Loggia as Feech La Manna
- Joe Maruzzo as Joey "Peeps"
- John Pleshette as Dr. Ira Fried
- Joe Santos as Angelo Garepe
- David Strathairn as Robert Wegler
- Frankie Valli as Rusty Millio
- Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo
- Joseph R. Gannascoli as Vito Spatafore
- Carl Capotorto as Little Paulie Germani
- Max Casella as Benny Fazio
- Peter Bogdanovich as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg
- Will Janowitz as Finn DeTrolio
- Dennis Aloia as Justin Blundetto
- Kevin Aloia as Jason Blundetto
- Cameron Boyd as Matt Testa
- Michael Pemberton as Supervisor Jimmy Curran
- John Marinacci as Dealer
- Adam Rose as Todd
- Stewart J. Zully as Alan Ginsberg
- Terence Winter as Tom Amberson
- Leon Wieseltier as Stewart Silverman
- David Lee Roth as Himself
- Lawrence Taylor as Himself
- Gina Lynn as Stripper
- Bernie Brillstein as Himself
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In New York, Lorraine Calluzzo and her boyfriend, Jason Evanina, are murdered by Billy Leotardo and Joey "Peeps" after they refused to give their collections to Johnny Sack. Little Carmine is shocked by the news, but is advised by fellow capo Rusty Millio to take aggressive action and defeat Johnny Sack.
Tony hears the news of Lorraine Calluzo's murder and advises his captains and soldiers not to get involved in the New York feud. Feech La Manna then comes to the meeting and captures younger mobsters' attention and admiration by his stories "down the memory lane," including one when Tony and Jackie Aprile, Sr made their first major move by robbing his card game. Tony laughs at this, but Feech asks if he can run the executive card game once again. Tony considers the offer, since it is now run by his Uncle Junior's crew, and allows Feech to supervise it and get 20% of its profits. When Feech leaves, Silvio warns Tony that the old man is a notorious egomaniac.
Anthony Jr. is having a difficult time in school and is being disrepectful to his mother. Tony and Carmela go to a conference with A.J.'s guidance counselor, Mr. Wegler. The counselor advises him to improve his SAT scores and to do better with his classwork. A.J. learns he was once almost diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). A.J. suggests that he could get into college with a learning disability angle. If he did have ADD, then he would get unlimited time to complete his SATs. A.J. is sent back to class, when Wegler begins to talk to Tony and Carmela privately about his academic record. Carmela puts part of the blame on the separation, but says that A.J. should be devoting more time to his studies. After they leave the office, the secretary informs Mr. Wegler that two students were involved in a car accident coming to school that morning, with one being killed and the other left in a coma. A.J., still in the office talking to a friend, overhears the news.
Dr. Melfi finds a basket of expensive Dr. Hauschka toiletries and a bathrobe in her office waiting room from Tony. Later, she reads the gift card to her psychotherapist Dr. Elliot Kupferberg about the basket which was an apology for using a certain word -- "cunt"—to her the last time they spoke in person. He tells her it represents ablution.
Tony decides to buy A.J. a new Nissan Xterra, an SUV Tony feels his son would be safe in after his schoolmates' death in an accident, and which would act as a "motivational tool" to get better grades. Tony then tells A.J. that Carmela will keep the keys until his grades are up. Later, in an argument with Tony, Carmela points out that he doesn't have many friends, just "flunkies" who would laugh at his jokes only because he is the boss and they fear him.
At the card game, Feech continues to recall events from the past and makes jokes, generating uproarious laughter from Tony's crew. This causes Tony to become annoyed. To test Carmela's suggestion, Tony makes a primitive joke to the card players to see if they laugh, and they indeed do.
The following day, A.J. asks his mother if he can attend a Mudvayne concert in New York City with a few friends. Carmela refuses because A.J. and his friends are planning on staying overnight at a hotel. Angered, A.J. gives Carmela the silent treatment. Carmela gives in on the condition that after the concert he must go to Meadow's apartment and be back at home by 10:30 AM the following day. A.J. agrees.
On the night of the concert, A.J. calls Meadow to tell her that he will not be coming to her apartment afterward. Meadow reluctantly tells A.J. she will cover for him if his mother calls her. A.J. and his friends then arrive at the hotel, where they get high and drunk afterward. The next morning, A.J. and his friend Matt both wake up when a worried Carmela rings A.J.'s cell phone. A.J. doesn't answer it; his face is Krazy Glued to the carpet, and his eyebrows have been shaved off and redrawn with a permanent marker. Matt helps A.J. pry his face off the carpet. A.J. and Matt manage to get themselves cleaned up and leave the room.
Carmela becomes extremely worried and frantically calls Tony to go look for A.J. Almost at that same moment, A.J. arrives back home, with his eyebrows shaved off and cartoon ones drawn in their place. A.J. refuses to explain to his mother what happened. When he tries to go to his room, Carmela tries to hold him back. He shrugs her off saying "fuck you" and runs up the stairs. Carmela runs after him, but she trips and bangs her shin on a step. A.J. stops to look back, but continues to his room. Tony arrives and Carmela, upset, gives a rundown on what happened between her and A.J. Then A.J. comes down taking out the trash (after seeing his father pull up). He has washed off his cartoon eyebrows but Tony notices "something different about him." Carmela points out that his eyebrows have been shaved off. Horrified, Tony says A.J. should come clean with whatever "sexual proclivities" he may have with "that teacher", meaning A.J.'s tutor. He also questions his son about drug usage. However, A.J. comes up with a false alibi. He denies he was taking drugs and only had a few beers. Tony believes A.J.'s story, and starts to side with A.J. about Carmela's "overreaction." Tony states that it's normal teenage behavior. Carmela is resentful for Tony taking up A.J.'s side. After Tony sends A.J. outside, Carmela discusses how it may be her fault A.J. is misbehaving - because she tries to compete with Tony for his affections by indulging him as Tony does. Tony denies it, but Carmela then says that Tony should take A.J. to live with him. At Tony's, A.J. seems to be enjoying himself, bonding with his father, Artie Bucco and Tony Blundetto when watching TV, but Tony sends him to do his homework after a while.
When Feech's hired goons carjack a wedding of the daughter of Tony's close friend, Dr. Ira Fried, by robbing a valet parking service (in which only foreign cars were stolen) and sell the cars to Johnny Sack's men, Tony recalls the joke he told at the card game, and that the only person not laughing was Feech. Tony reluctantly decides that Feech—although well liked and respected—must go since he is causing problems, and he is worried that Feech will try to usurp his authority, just as Richie Aprile had done. However, Tony is unwilling to kill him.
Christopher Moltisanti and Benny Fazio visit Feech at his home and ask him where they can hide a truckload of flat screen televisions. Feech recommends that they store them in his garage, and charges them a TV for the service.
Carmela has lunch with Mr. Wegler. They discuss A.J.'s troubles as well as her own. He recommends the novel Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, given some apparent parallels between Carmela and the book's protagonist.
The following day, Feech is surprised when a substitute parole officer, Supervisor Curan, arrives at his house, even though an inspection had occurred only a week before. The officer asks Feech to show him his garage, and Feech has no choice but to comply. For violating his parole for keeping stolen merchandise, Feech is immediately returned to prison on a bus. On the bus, Feech looks forlornly at the last glimpses of the outside world through the bus window's wire.
Carmela, while unlocking the door to her house carrying groceries, has a flashback of the time when A.J. careened down the driveway and out into the street on his Big Wheel. She frantically screams "Anthony!" snapping back to the present. She turns and opens the door and enters. She stands in the foyer, groceries still in arm, alone in the big house with Meadow, Tony, and now A.J. gone.
- Rusty Millio: A capo in the Lupertazzi family and ally of Little Carmine.
- Robert Wegler: A.J.'s school guidance counselor who also goes out with Carmela for lunch.
- Justin and Jason Blundetto: The twin sons of Tony Blundetto.
- Dante Greco: an associate/Soldier in the Aprile crew.
- Lorraine Calluzzo: shot by Billy Leotardo on orders from Johnny Sack
- Jason Evanina: shot on orders from Johnny Sack
- Dominica (Nica) Payalini: killed in a car crash offscreen.
- The episode's title is taken from the famous opening sentence of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina: "All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." It refers to the breakup of the Soprano household.
- It may also refer to the inner struggles within the Lupertazzi crime family following Carmine's death, as well as to internal strife within Tony's family with Feech La Manna.
- The episode's script was written by Toni Kalem, who also plays Angie Bonpensiero, and serves as story editor on several episodes of season five.
- The character of Dr. Ira Fried was recast in this episode with actor John Pleshette. The role was previously played by Lewis J. Stadlen.
- This is the first time that singer Frankie Valli portrays Lupertazzi capo Rusty Millio. Valli himself was mentioned before - in the season four episode "Christopher" - and had his songs played in some episodes.
- Bernie Brillstein, who plays himself at the card game, is the business partner of Sopranos executive producer Brad Grey. Also appearing in the card game is New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor and, in a separate card game, Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth.
- Leon Wieseltier, longtime literary editor of The New Republic, takes a rare acting turn playing car-theft victim Stewart Silverman.
References to other people, characters, and popular culture
- As Christopher and Benny pay a visit to Feech, he called them "Olsen and Johnson". This was in reference to the popular vaudeville duo in the first half of the 20th Century.
- Tony's greeting to white-bearded, portly, Brillstein, upon entering the card game, likens Brillstein to Santa Claus.
- Meadow and Finn are watching the film Frida on TV.
- When the parole inspector asks Feech to open his garage, Feech quips, "that's where I make my weapons of mass destruction", in hopes the inspector will be dissuaded by the humorous reference to the United States' inability to find Saddam Hussein's WMDs in Iraq. This is unsuccessful.
- Tony, Artie, Tony B. and A.J. watch "The $99,000 Answer" episode of The Honeymooners on TV.
- While trying to connect with A.J., Carmela references the "drum solo" from The Beatles' song "Birthday", which she mistakenly calls "Happy Birthday".
- Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" is played in the background, probably on a radio, while Lorraine is murdered.
- As Tony and Carmela see Mr. Wegler about A.J., Tony asks what A.J. did: "Did he call the teacher 'Daddy-O'?" This was based on a line from The Coasters song, "Charlie Brown".
- One scene in the Bada Bing features The Cars' "Moving in Stereo" — an appropriate song for a topless bar, as it featured in a famous fantasy sequence featuring a topless Phoebe Cates in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. There is also a brief discussion about the cars Feech's crew stole that takes place during this scene.
- In the scene where Tony is arguing with Feech, Jimi Hendrix's "Who Knows" can be heard in the background through the entire scene.
- As A.J. and his friends smoke marijuana in the hotel room, "Trouble" by West Coast rapper Roscoe can be heard playing in the background.
- The music played over the end credits is "La Petite Mer" by Thierry Robin.
- "Beat Connection" by LCD Soundsystem can be heard in a scene set in the Crazy Horse.