Watching Too Much Television
|"Watching Too Much Television"|
|The Sopranos episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||John Patterson|
|Cinematography by||Alik Sakharov|
|Original air date||October 27, 2002|
|Running time||54 minutes|
"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.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr. *
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr.
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano
- Federico Castelluccio as Furio Giunta
- Vincent Curatola as Johnny Sack
- Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri
- and Joe Pantoliano as Ralph Cifaretto
* = credit only
- Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
- Oksana Lada as Irina Peltsin
- Carl Capotorto as Little Paulie Germani
- Max Casella as Benny Fazio
- Vondie Curtis-Hall as Maurice Tiffen
- Matthew Del Negro as Brian Cammarata
- Joseph R. Gannascoli as Vito Spatafore
- Lola Glaudini as Agent Deborah Ciccerone Waldrup
- Dan Grimaldi as Patsy Parisi
- Marianne Leone as Joanne Moltisanti
- Richard Maldone as Ally Boy Barese
- Anna Mancini as Donna Parisi
- Patty McCormack as Liz La Cerva
- Frank Pellegrino as Bureau Chief Frank Cubitoso
- Richard Portnow as Harold Melvoin
- Peter Riegert as Ronald Zellman
- Matt Servitto as Agent Dwight Harris
- Lewis J. Stadlen as Dr. Ira Fried
- Lauren Toub as Liz DiLiberto
- Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
- Vanessa Liguori as Terri
- Karen Young as Agent Robyn Sanseverino
- Malcolm Barrett as Angelo Davis
- Nichelle Hines as Felicia
- Victor Matamoros as Attorney
- Sally Stewart as Lenore Tiffen
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.
- 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
- 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
- Like he did with Meadow in the pilot episode, Tony takes A.J. to see the church Corrado Soprano, Sr. built when he first came to the U.S. from Avellino.
- The song played to welcome Paulie back ("Paulie's song") is "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" by Frank Sinatra; it's never explained why it's significant to him.
- The song which is played over the end credits is "Oh Girl" by The Chi-Lites. The song was also heard earlier at the Russian bath house, where Tony, Zellman and Tiffen discuss it.
- In the diner scene where Brian, Tony, and Ralph discuss the HUD scam, a muzak version of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" by Steely Dan plays in the background.
- When Zellman and Tony are talking in the changing room after the sauna, the Booker T. & the M.G.'s song "Green Onions" is playing.
- During a discussion between Tony and Christopher, the Foghat song "Slow Ride" is playing in the background.
- On Tony's car radio, en route to Assemblyman Zellman's house, "Oh Girl" is preceded by "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" by Bachman–Turner Overdrive.
- At the Bada Bing, the song "Drive" by Nashville Pussy is playing.