All Happy Families...

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"All Happy Families..."
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep504.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 4
Directed by Rodrigo García
Written by Toni Kalem
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 504
Original air date March 28, 2004
Running time 52 minutes
Guest actors

see below

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Where's Johnny?"
Next →
"Irregular Around the Margins"
Episode chronology

"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.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

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.

First appearances[edit]


Title reference[edit]

  • 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."[1] 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.


References to other people, characters, and popular culture[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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 "Happy Birthday" (the actual title of this song from the White Album is "Birthday").



  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). ""Once You're in this Family, There's No Getting Out:" Meet the Sopranos". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4. 

External links[edit]