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 appearance(s)

see below

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

"Johnny Cakes" is the 73rd episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the eighth of the show's sixth season. Written by Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, and directed by Tim Van Patten, it originally aired on April 30, 2006.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Uninterested in his job or in going back to college, A.J. spends most of his time hanging out in New York nightclubs with his high school buddy Hernan O'Brien 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 and implies he will take revenge on Junior for shooting Tony. To afford more clubbing, A.J. 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 Junior; Tony tells A.J. he should not concern himself with Junior. In session with Dr. Melfi, Tony complains about A.J.'s laziness and asks for advice. Melfi says modern youth are overwhelmed with information and reach maturity later than previous generations, and suggests that Tony and Carmela impose concrete rules. A.J. asks his parents to provide him a nightclub to manage but gets little support from them. Carmela wants A.J. to study event planning and Tony offers to get him a place at Beansie's pizzeria.

One day, A.J. tries to get up early but ends up sleeping past noon; at Carmela's urging to do something important as he planned, A.J. takes a knife and visits 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 orderlies as he tries to escape. After arranging for Assemblyman Zellman for a favor to have A.J. released from custody without criminal charges, Tony picks up A.J. 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 to never tell Carmela about the incident. During A.J.'s next night out clubbing, one of Hernan's friends asks him to get Tony to intimidate his landlord. Retreating to the restroom, A.J. has a panic attack.

Vito, pretending to be a writer named "Vince", spends more time at Jim's diner in New Hampshire. One evening, he witnesses Jim 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 steals the cell phone of a fellow guest at his bed-and-breakfast and calls his wife, Marie. She begs him to come home and tells him that Phil wishes to put him through "treatment" for Vito's homosexuality. Vito tells her not to trust Phil, and instructs 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 other firefighters at a local roadhouse. Later, after admiring Jim's motorcycle in the parking lot, Vito rejects his sexual advances. The two throw punches and Jim leaves Vito beaten.

Days later, Vito goes back to the diner to reconcile, telling 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 having gay sex in a secluded field. Back in Jersey, Chris suggests to Tony that Carlo should kill him if he is ever found to appease "the crews." Phil pressures Tony to find Vito, and warns that he will not swallow his pride on this issue like he did when Tony B killed Billy. Phil tells Tony that if his father was around, there wouldn't be any discussion about Vito's fate. Phil then reiterates that Vito shamed his family. Tony responds by walking away in a huff. Meanwhile, during Melfi's own psychotherapy session with Dr. Kupferberg, she becomes annoyed by Kupferberg's interest in Tony's therapy. Melfi blurts out her belief that Tony's unwillingness to talk about his feelings to Junior will eventually make him "decompensate."

While collecting their take, Burt and Patsy find themselves unable to extort money from the manager of a major coffee chain. Julianna Skiff, a real estate agent representing Jamba Juice, approaches Tony and asks if he is interested in selling the building he rents to Caputo's Poultry, one of the other businesses Burt and Patsy take collections from. Tony rejects the deal, stating that the poultry store is part of the neighborhood. 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 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 affair to Melfi, but then tells her he could not bring himself to do it because of Carmela's affection to him during his recuperation.

Julianna calls Tony with a third offer on the building of about $495,000, 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.

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]

  • 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 was when Rocky Marciano fought Joe Louis. Jim correctly identifies the year as 1951.
  • 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. A poster of American metal band Tool (band) can be seen in A.J.'s room.

Music[edit]

External links[edit]