The Telltale Moozadell

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"The Telltale Moozadell"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep309.jpg
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 9
Directed by Dan Attias
Written by Michael Imperioli
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 309
Original air date April 22, 2001
Running time 55 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"The Telltale Moozadell" is the thirty-fifth episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the ninth of the show's third season. It was written by Michael Imperioli, directed by Dan Attias and originally aired on April 22, 2001.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Fifteen-year-old Stefani Germanotta, who would later become famous as Lady Gaga, makes an uncredited appearance as a classmate of A.J.'s. She is seated on the swimming pool bleachers, smoking a cigarette.

Episode recap[edit]

On Carmela's birthday, each member of the Soprano family presents her with a gift: Tony, a very large and expensive sapphire ring, A.J., a DVD of The Matrix, and Meadow, a gift certificate to a day spa, which she put on her mother's credit card as well as purchasing one for herself. At Carmela's birthday party, Jackie Aprile, Jr. arrives late, just as they are about to sing "Happy Birthday" and apologizes for his tardiness. Afterward, A.J. is invited to a friend's house to spend the night and Meadow and Jackie go out to a movie. In bed, Carmela asks Tony why he did not buy the Mercedes SL that he had been considering. Tony replies that driving that car would make him "look like a douchebag".

Tony continues his affair with the Mercedes saleswoman, Gloria Trillo, who--according to Dr. Melfi and unbeknownst to Tony--has a suicidal past as well as an unhealthy relationship streak. They visit the Bronx Zoo on their next date. As they watch a gorilla, they passionately kiss and eventually end up in a deserted reptile house, where they have sex with their clothes on. On their next outing, they caress on a couch in an upscale hotel room where Gloria finds Tony's gun strapped to his ankle, which fascinates and arouses her. At her therapy session, Gloria is taken aback by Dr. Melfi's questioning, in particular, Melfi's invitation to elaborate on the male voice that was heard during their last phone conversation. At his own session with Melfi, Tony tells her that he has had a very successful week and gives her a bonus on top of his regular payment. Melfi senses that Tony is being dishonest in part, and tries to refuse the extra money, but Tony insists on leaving the cash. Melfi then answers her son's phone call. She confesses that she "hates all them" (referring to her patients) for lying to her. Her son tells her that he needs to buy some expensive books for college and Dr. Melfi looks down at the extra cash Tony left.

On the night of Carmela's birthday, A.J. and some of his friends break into their high school and swim in the pool. When they are finished swimming, a few people begin to throw things from the gym teacher's room in the pool, which escalates to garbage cans and trophies obtained when one of A.J.'s friends smashes the glass trophy case. Later, at the crime scene, the police find a pizza whose box has a recognizable logo. They question the owner of the pizza parlor, who says it's a special order. Upon being threatened with legal action if he withholds the name of the customer, the owner reveals it was the Soprano family's standing order. A.J. is sent home due to his involvement in the vandalism, and his parents attend a conference with the school principal and A.J.'s football coach the next day. The principal expels A.J., but, due to his importance to the football team (and purportedly his academic record), suspends his sentence and opts to put A.J. on probation instead. Not feeling that the school's punishment was harsh enough, Tony and Carmela ground A.J. for a month with no television, DVDs, computer or Nintendo, and force A.J. to clean out the rain gutters. Tony and Carmela are slightly appalled when A.J. doesn't even know what a rain gutter is.

The Soprano family takes over The Lollipop Club, a night club in Long Branch, New Jersey. Christopher Moltisanti gives the club to Adriana to manage, and she renames it "Crazy Horse". The former owner suffered financial problems and lost the club in a bet on a Minnesota Vikings game, and Christopher has agreed to clear the debt if the owner stays on to run the day-to-day aspects of the club while Adriana is the figurehead. Furio Giunta and Christopher own a large percentage as "silent partners"; Christopher also sees the club as an opportunity for the gang to run their business in a safe environment without FBI interference. However, at the opening, an ecstasy dealer named Matush is caught conducting his business in the bathroom and is soon thrown out; Furio warns him to stay off the property. Jackie, Jr. steps in to help his friend, and asks Christopher to let Matush continue his dealing inside the club. Christopher flatly refuses, wanting to avoid any attention from the FBI. Not wanting to be embarrassed, Jackie lies to Matush and tells him that Christopher approved Matush's making deals, but only outside the club. Matush does so, and is severely beaten by Furio and his men. While they prepare dinner at Rosalie's house, Jackie asks Ralph Cifaretto for a "piece" and, without much questioning from Ralphie, is given a .38 revolver.

Carmela is concerned about Meadow's relationship with Jackie Jr., but Tony assures Carmela that Jackie has his act together and will treat Meadow with respect. Carmela must hide her true feelings to remain friends with Rosalie Aprile, who is ecstatic about the arrangement. Meadow writes Jackie's English assignment, a paper on Edgar Allan Poe, and he receives an "A". After Tony has a heart-to-heart with Jackie, and stresses how, although he has always expected the best out of Jackie, this is different and far more serious now that Meadow is involved, Jackie promises Tony that he will work hard and be faithful to Meadow, taking credit for the paper that Meadow had in fact written for him. Tony warns Jackie that he will be keeping an eye on him. Tony then runs into Jackie at a local illegal casino, angrily scolding him and telling him to stay away and focus on his school work if he wants to continue seeing Meadow. The next morning at breakfast, Carmela tells Tony that Jackie took Meadow to see Aida in New York City, which makes her rethink her original impression of Jackie, as he is on his best behavior around the Soprano residence, and even bonds with A.J., mentoring him in football.

First appearances[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • The episode's title is a play on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart". Moozadell is rough Italian-American slang for mozzarella cheese (which is commonly used on pizza), but can also be used as a derogatory name for an Italian man, according to Michael Imperioli.[1]
  • The title also refers to Jackie Aprile, Jr.'s dishonest dealings with Tony and Matush.[1]
  • The title also refers to Jackie's essay on Edgar Allan Poe, which Meadow wrote for him.
  • The title also refers to A.J.'s custom made pizza with extra mozzarella cheese — leaving the pizza at the high school led to the police to determine that A.J. and his friends were responsible for the vandalism.

Cultural references[edit]

  • When Jackie Aprile hears the petition of Carlo and Matush, he strikes a pose apparently modeled on that of Marlon Brando in the opening scene of The Godfather.
  • When Meadow is at home asking her parents for a car, the NPR show Car Talk can be heard in the background.
  • The band Fear Factory is referenced both on a poster in Crazy Horse and on a hat worn by AJ. He also wears Machine Head and Pantera hoodies.
  • As Gloria unbuttons Tony's pants, he says "Her name is G...", referring to the Them song Gloria.
  • The scene in which the police officers question the pizza shop staff is a gentle spoof of the old Dragnet TV series.



  • Con te partirò ("With you I will leave" or sung in English as "Time to Say Goodbye"), by Andrea Bocelli, is heard during the dinner after the singing of "Happy Birthday" to Carmela. It is a recurring song throughout the early seasons of The Sopranos.
  • The Miami Relatives band, heard at The Crazy Horse, is portrayed by SCOUT.
  • The song heard at the gambling club is "Black Hearted Woman" by the Allman Brothers from their first album.
  • The song heard while Tony is with Gloria in the hotel room is "Make No Mistake" by Keith Richards, from Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988.
  • The song played over the end credits is "I (Who Have Nothing)" by Ben E. King.


  1. ^ a b c The Sopranos: The Complete Third Season (2002) — DVD audio commentary
  2. ^ "Lady GaGa guest-starred on the Sopranos when she was 15". The Sun. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 

External links[edit]