The Happy Wanderer (The Sopranos)

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"The Happy Wanderer"
The Sopranos episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 6
Directed byJohn Patterson
Written byFrank Renzulli
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code206
Original air dateFebruary 20, 2000
Running time50 minutes
Guest appearance
see below
Episode chronology
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"The Happy Wanderer" is the 19th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the sixth of the show's second season. It was written by Frank Renzulli, directed by John Patterson, and originally aired on February 20, 2000.


Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]


Tony tells Dr. Melfi that he is angry with everybody, but doesn't know why; he wants to hit her, and the happy-looking people he sees in the street. He despises the weaklings who run to psychiatrists and tells her, as he has told her before, that he admires the strong, silent type, like Gary Cooper.

Tony is told by Uncle Junior that he and Tony's father had another brother, Ercole, long dead, who was, in Junior's words, "slow". He also tells him that his father left a "package" of money to his mother. Tony is uncomfortable when he sees his mother at a funeral and later at Meadow's high-school cabaret night.

An old school friend of Tony's, David (Davey) Scatino, owns a sporting goods store. His son, Eric, is a classmate of Meadow's and they are going to sing a duet at the school's cabaret night, although Meadow asks to perform a solo instead.

Davey is a compulsive gambler — he owes Richie Aprile $8,000 and has been banned from Richie's small poker game until the debt has been paid. Tony has taken over the high-stakes "Executive Game" from Junior, who is under house arrest. Davey asks Tony to let him play in it but he refuses, saying, "These people play deep." The game begins at the motel that Tony's crew have taken over. Davey knocks at the door and again tries to persuade Tony to let him play. After a few moments' thought Tony agrees and loans him $5,000. The game goes on through the night, and Tony falls asleep on the bed.

When Tony wakes in the morning Davey is down $45,000. Richie comes to the room, sees Davey playing and chokes him, breaking up the game. For this act of disrespect, Tony tells Richie that he is not permitted to collect his debt from Davey until Tony has collected his. Janice tells Richie he has a right to stand up to Tony.

When Davey does not meet the first deadline for payment, Tony goes to his office at the store and beats him. Davey finds a pretext to take Eric's SUV away from him and gives it to Tony as partial payment. Tony presents it to Meadow, but she realizes it was Eric's car and tearfully rejects it. At the cabaret night, Eric refuses at the last minute to perform with her and walks out, leaving Meadow to perform a solo as she had always hoped.

First appearances[edit]

  • Vito Spatafore: Richie Aprile's nephew, who is also in his crew.
  • David Scatino: Tony's childhood friend and compulsive gambler.
  • Dr. Ira Fried: A player in the Executive Game and doctor specialized in treating erectile dysfunction. Also performs emergency surgeries for mob-related injuries.


  • Tom Giglione, Sr.: Tony's brother-in-law's father, who died after falling off a roof.

Title reference[edit]

  • The episode's title refers to a "happy wanderer", a person who walks around with no worries in the world, whom Tony despises.


  • Though this is Joseph R. Gannascoli's first appearance as Vito, he previously had appeared briefly as Gino, a bakery customer, in a scene during the first season episode, "The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti."
  • Tony Sirico's real-life older brother Carmine appears as the nameless "Dealer" in Aprile's small-stakes poker game. His few words of dialogue are spoken off camera.[1]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Junior says Ercole was a derivation of Hercules, and that Ercole was strong like a bull and handsome like George Raft.
  • Silvio becomes increasingly agitated during a losing night of poker, finally explodes after Matt Bevilaqua sweeps up crumbs near him, and yells at Tony: "I'm losin' my balls over here. This fuckin' moron's playing Hazel?" Hazel was a hit 1960s TV show starring Shirley Booth as a maid.
  • When Eric Scatino opts out of performing the "Sun and Moon" duet with Meadow, the emcee announces that Meadow will, instead, sing the solo "My Heart Will Go On", from the 1997 film Titanic. Also, during the "Executive Game" of poker, Paulie makes a joke about Viagra being used to "raise" the real Titanic.
  • Tony once again mentions his role model, actor Gary Cooper, to Dr. Melfi.


Filming locations[edit]

Listed in order of first appearance:[2]


James Gandolfini won his first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode.


  1. ^ Tomaso, Bruce. "Paulie and the priest". The Dallas Morning News Inc. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  2. ^ Ugoku. "The Sopranos location guide - Filming locations for". Retrieved 2020-03-31.

External links[edit]