Watching Too Much Television

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"Watching Too Much Television"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep407.jpg
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 7
Directed byJohn Patterson
Story by
Teleplay by
Cinematography byAlik Sakharov
Production code407
Original air dateOctober 27, 2002
Running time54 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Everybody Hurts"
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"Mergers and Acquisitions"
The Sopranos (season 4)
List of The Sopranos episodes

"Watching Too Much Television" is the 46th episode of the HBO original series, The Sopranos and the seventh episode of the show's fourth season. Its teleplay was written by Nick Santora and Terence Winter from a story by Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess, Terence Winter, and David Chase. It was directed by John Patterson and originally aired on October 27, 2002.

Starring[edit]

* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

Paulie gets out of jail and a huge party is thrown for him at the Bada Bing. The next day, Tony and Ralphie get an idea from Brian to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with bogus housing deals. Tony recruits Assemblyman Zellman and a friend of his, Maurice Tiffen, to put the plan into action. They also recruit Dr. Ira Fried as a straw buyer to initially buy derelict neighborhood property. After one of their clandestine business meetings at a sauna, Zellman privately confesses to Tony that he has been seeing Tony's ex-comaré Irina and asks Tony's approval. Tony claims he is happy Irina is no longer his problem. Later, during an unannounced visit at Zellman's house, Tony finds her making lunch for him and learns Zellman is paying for her English classes.

Adriana's meetings with the FBI continue. After seeing a crime drama on television, she learns that spouses cannot be forced to testify against each other. Believing the FBI will stop hassling her if they can't use her testimony, she asks Christopher to finally set a date for their wedding. However, she is forced to admit to Chris that she could be sterile, which sends him storming out in a fit of rage. Chris gets high on heroin and seeks advice from other mobsters, who urge him to marry Adriana regardless. Chris returns and agrees to marry Adriana. However, she learns from a lawyer that marital privilege only applies to conversations that take place after they get married, are not in the presence of a third party, and do not further any criminal enterprise. As no incriminating conversation she's ever had with Chris meets all these criteria, marriage will not solve her problems. This is reinforced by the FBI, who are marginally in favor of the proposed union. Adriana later cheerlessly unwraps her bridal shower presents in front of friends and family.

Tony takes A.J. for a ride, describing his family's proud history of dedication to work by taking him to see the run-down houses that he bought for the HUD scam. However, A.J. is only impressed when his father insults a drug dealer and his crack-addicted sister. Tony speaks out about his frustration with his son to Dr. Melfi, but she shifts her focus to warning Tony to control his anger during their psychotherapy sessions. Tony tells Zellman that the black crack addicts squatting on the property should be moved out, and threatens him with a lighter payment if the situation is unresolved. Zellman goes to Tiffen, who is black, with the same message. Tiffen demurs at the use of violence, but four armed teens are sent to raid the property and beat the squatters with baseball bats. Later, a crew led by Vito strip the houses of all the valuable copper piping. Fried sells the land to Tiffen's organization at three times his purchase price, based on fraudulent appraisals, and receives his sale price with funds loaned from HUD. Zellman and Tiffen get paid at the Bing. Tony rewards Brian with a Patek Philippe watch.

Elsewhere, Carmela and Furio's tentative flirtation continues, as he calls her with the pretense of looking for his missing sunglasses. The next morning, when Furio goes to pick Tony up, he refuses Carmela's offers to come inside for coffee, claiming he needs to sit in the car because it is having engine problems. Paulie gives up information on the HUD scheme to Johnny, while also seeking assurance from Johnny that their discussions are kept private. While driving, Tony hears the Chi-Lites' "Oh Girl" on the radio and becomes teary. He stops at Irina's apartment and goes upstairs, where he finds Zellman in the bedroom and beats him with a belt in front of Irina.

Title reference[edit]

  • Adriana watches the TV series Murder One and learns that she doesn't have to turn state's evidence against Christopher if they get married. But, her friend tells her that according to an episode of Murder, She Wrote, that is not always the case.

Other cultural references[edit]

  • Silvio makes a reference to the movie Papillon to Paulie when they first meet each other after he gets out of jail, naming Paulie after the eponymous character who was sentenced to live in a penal colony on Devil's Island.
  • Paulie tells Johnny Sack he missed Good & Plenties while in prison.
  • In separate scenes Adriana watches Murder One and The A-Team on television.
  • Tony listens to WCBS-FM.
  • The restaurant at which Paulie and Johnny eat is the River Café

Connections to prior episodes[edit]

Music[edit]

External links[edit]