Over the years....

#61
We've seen Carmela manipulate others over and over. From her POV, it's her asking a favor. From the others, they see it as being strong armed. Not once do any of Carmela's "friends" confront her and say "no" or accuse her of using her ties to the Mafia as the tool to get what she wants.

In, short, as I stated earlier, she's clueless about her manipulation. She thinks she's just a good person that gets her "friends" to do things for her out of love, while the truth is, people do things for her because of who she is.

The manipulation of people, unconsiously, continued with Wegler. The most telling aspect of just how deluded Carmela is is at the end, where she blame's her problems, even now, on Tony, when it is clear she's making her own bed this time. Consiously or unconsiously, it was ok for her to use Tony to get what she wants out of people, but when things go wrong, it's the first thing she blames. Not once during the affair with Wegler did Wegler exhibit any fear or trepidation of who he was screwing, or the power Carmela held, or the danger of crossing a mob's wife. He wasn't blinded by the mob, or Carmela's access to it. If he truly was worried about Tony whacking him, I doubt he would've gone that far to begin with.

Thus, Carm resorted to using sex as the motivational tool, as it's all she had. She may have done it unconsiously, but she did it. And in the end, laying on her bed at home, she still blames Tony for her life. Just goes to show how delusional she is.

I don't agree that Tony is some sort of saint, or hold Carmela up to higher standards. As I said before, in order to be held to some standards, you have to have some to begin with. Tony has none, except for his old school adherence to honor "the code". That's the only thing he really values, even though at times he's violated it himself.



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Carm

#62
All you need to know about Carmela occurred in the previous episode, when Tony asked her if she really and truly thought he would have sex with Ade. She said nothing, he said thank you, then asked her to attend dinner with some of the others, "for the sake of the kids."

She saw right through it. She said, "There's no end to your bullshit," or something like that, then trotted up the stairs.

She absolutely knew what he was doing. She called him on it. She knew it had nothing to do with the kids.

So what does she do?

She attends the dinner.

She's too paralyzed to really change, and that's why she's in such despair, not just because Wegler gave her the boot. She moans that people judge her because of Tony, knowing the whole time that she can't do what it takes to make that change.

She kicked him out of the house -- yes -- but he's there more now than he was before.

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Re: Carm

#63
chaseisgod, I guess I had a different interpretation of what happened between Tony and Carm at the end of "Irregular . . .".

To me, the reason Tony came in the house with the pizza excuse and then later with the naked agenda of asking her if she believed the rumor was because the only person's opinion he really cared about was Carm's. He was pretentious with everyone. But no one else even hesitated to believe he was fully capable and guilty of the rumor.

Since we know he did privately at least struggle with the propriety of what he was doing and that it was against his own moral convictions, I think he was feeling a need for vindication of that bit of "goodness" in him, which he was getting from nowhere outside the clinical setting with Melfi. We've seen him retreat to Carm on past occasions when rejected because of who and what he is (Melfi in season 2 opener and season 5 opener), and I think he's always felt that she knows and sees the good parts of him better than anyone else, otherwise she'd never have married him, money notwithstanding.

Burned as she's been by endless permutations of his infidelity, she was certainly giving great possibility to the rumor. But when he kept on with his pretension that it was beyond him to even consider doing what he was accused of, and when he demanded that she tell him whether she believed him, she started crying. She clearly wanted to believe him and must have still felt moved by vestiges of faith that even HE couldn't be that low. So when she agreed to go to dinner, I think it was with at least a faint belief that in this one case, he was not guilty as charged.

I also think she knew a lot more was at stake than Tony's womanizing reputation or "the kids". She knows that people could die over this and that Chris was threatening to kill Tony, which she certainly knows means Tony was a threat to kill Chris and that Chris could also kill Ade. She knows that if Chris' damaged macho image weren't rehabilitated by squelching all appearance that the rumor was true, Chris would be a ticking time bomb that would inevitably explode or be involuntarily and permanently diffused.

So I don't think she had much choice in this case, not if avoiding as much carnage as possible is deemed imperative or "right". But I agree with you that it certainly seems she is doomed to always be in Tony's orbit.

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Remember Ada at the movie screening

#64
Remember Ada at the movie screening, almost comming out about something then leaving? Maybe Carm thought Ada was going to say something about having an affair? This may have caused Carm to have second thoughts of the rumors of Ada doing Tony, believing Tony and going to dinner to support Tony in that the rumors were false.

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Response to SofiaGiovanna

#65
Sofia wrote: "Cowbell, I think no one really goes into a love relationship entirely selflessly. We're always looking out for ourselves...not necessarily for financial support, but for support--emotional, moral, whatever. The "ho's" (or whoo-ahs, as Ralph called them) aren't in love relationships, they're in business relationships."

I think you missed my point. I agree that love relationships aren't entirely selfless and that both parties want something out of it. It is emotional as you say, and not tangible, though there are, as I have said, some women and men who do engage in relationships for financial gain and do it under the color of love. In the case of Carmella, she was looking for tangibles from Wexler (actions that would benefit her and her son) which in my opinion is what whores do. When you are exchanging sexual relations --tacit or not, unconscious or not -- it becomes a business relationship a la prostitution and it isn't anything else, despite what a lot of people would like to think. It can be called a lot of things but it is in essence prostitution, whoring, ho'ing, slanging ass, whatever a person wants to call it.

My point from the start of this discussion has been that Carmella is in such deep denial of her behavior due to the fact that it is such a part of the mob culture that she doesn't think it improper to ask a man that she barely knows and is engaged in a sexual liasion with, to do a huge and impactful favor. She is a user as Wexler said. That is the nature of the beast, of the mob. You don't make friends with mobsters. There is no such thing. Friendship with mobsters cost something as we have seen time and time again in this show. An example of this is Tony and David Scatino. Here is a guy that Tony said repeatedly that he liked a lot and considered a long-time friend, but at the same time, he uses the guy up totally. Until there is nothing left for Tony to get from him. Tony's simple favor to the guy -- letting him sit in on a card game -- ends up causing Scatino endless pain and misery.

We've seen Carmella involved in this kind of trade also. Her ricotta pie wasn't a gift at all, remember?

Same with her sexuality with Wexler. It was a trade.

The most telling action of hers was how she dressed when she went to her teenaged son's high school to meet with his guidance counselor about her son's future. She bought 'The Girls' to that meeting, and even sent them into Wexler's office first. That to me signals that she was fully aware of his (sexual) interest in her and that she was a willing and reciprocal participant.

Whether she consciously intended to or not, isn't even important in this equation as I believe the writer was attempting to demonstrate the depth of her denial as well as the level of involvement in the mob life and mentality. Of course she was going to deny that she was trading ass for favors, most certainly. Of course, she was going to show indignation at the suggestion. Absolutely. But what I came away from this episode of the Sopranos seeing was who and what Carmella is and how it is that she has stayed Tony's wife all these years.

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Re: Carmela's Denial Of Her Own Behavior

#66
Thanks for that explanation, we need. It was thoughtful and I appreciated it. One clarification if you please. You wrote,

"In the case of Carmella, she was looking for tangibles from Wexler (actions that would benefit her and her son) which in my opinion is what whores do."

Is that in your opinion the sole (or predominant) reason why she began this sexual relationship with Wegler?

My own idea is that she is love-starved, romantically and sexually--no one in her life wants to have a conversation with her, and that includes Meadow who is too busy making out with Finn (circa All Happy Families), let alone act lovingly-- and that is what drives her--emotions, not tangibles.
But feel free to disagree. <img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/smile.gif ALT=":)">

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Re: FlyonMelfi'sWall

#67
Great point re Tony. I think he was there for both -- some affirmation of his "goodness," but also to get her to go to the dinner. It's why the show is so great. Motives are not always what they seem at first blush. The other thing that backs you up is his painful question to Junior: "Don't you love me?" If Carmela rejects him totally, who does he have left?

You said:
"I also think she knew a lot more was at stake than Tony's womanizing reputation or "the kids". She knows that people could die over this and that Chris was threatening to kill Tony, which she certainly knows means Tony was a threat to kill Chris and that Chris could also kill Ade. She knows that if Chris' damaged macho image weren't rehabilitated by squelching all appearance that the rumor was true, Chris would be a ticking time bomb that would inevitably explode or be involuntarily and permanently diffused. "


This is Carmela's great dilemma, and to me the most interesting thing going on in the series right now. There's ALWAYS a reason for her not to cut off Tony completely, whether it be fear of finances, fear of repercussions, unintended consequences, his rage, etc.

Yet she must if she is ever going to realize that absolution/redemption she so clearly seems to want. I think she's had both a priest and a rabbi tell her that. But they're not telling her anything she doesn't already know.


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Re: Carmela's Denial Of Her Own Behavior

#68
The "truth teller" to Carm was the shrink she saw in I forget what season...the old, Jewish guy who told her to "take the children and leave" and at the end of the session "You can't say you weren't warned". In throwing Tony out, Carmela wasn't rejecting Mob life (and all its power) but was pushed to the breaking point by Tony's philandering..She was/is desparately lonely and if Tony had just paid her even a little attention she probably would have settled for that and put up with his womanizing. Her instinctive threat to Wegler "You better watch your back" shows she still thinks of herself as "connected" to Tony and the power he wields..the fact that she has stayed in the house and made no effort to disentangle herself from Tony financially is also telling - she likes the lifestyle...

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Carmella's Motivation with Wexler

#69
SophiaG wrote: "In the case of Carmella, she was looking for tangibles from Wexler (actions that would benefit her and her son) which in my opinion is what whores do."

Is that in your opinion the sole (or predominant) reason why she began this sexual relationship with Wegler?

I do believe that, yes, it was her reason for beginning to see Wegler. And I believe in this case, it was unconscious to a certain degree, i.e., Carmella wasn't fully aware of her behavior in this situation, unlike with the Cusamano's/ricotta pie and Meadow's recommendation letter. The convincers for me are 1) her two discussions with Wexler about who Tony is and the consequences of his involvement with her, 2) her choice of clothing in visting his office, 3) the content of her post-coital talk with Wexler, 4) her leaving his house so suddenly and giving the excuse that she chose, 5) her parting statement to Wexler.

Sophia wrote: "My own idea is that she is love-starved, romantically and sexually--no one in her life wants to have a conversation with her, and that includes Meadow who is too busy making out with Finn (circa All Happy Families), let alone act lovingly-- and that is what drives her--emotions, not tangibles. But feel free to disagree."

I do agree that she certainly is starved for meaningful companionship and that she is a lonely woman. But as I said, for this group of people, for this woman, feelings and motives are fueled by the mob mentality and way of life; love and companionship comes with a price. It is ingrained in the mob culture which is why this is such a closed culture. As Tony pointed out at the end of the episode, 'doing business (having sex in Carmella's case. Being employed or going into business in Tony B's case, Dr. Melfi in Tony S's case) with strangers (outsiders, non-mob people) is hard'. Why? Because non-mob people don't share the same mentality, have the same interpretation of behavior nor prescribe to the same value system as mob people.


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Was Wegerley "used"?

#70
I'm referring to the episode "Sentimental education" in series 5. This question caused much debate with a female work colleague, to the point where we had to let it drop and just agree to disagree. Because of AJ's poor grades Carmela can't "sleep" with Wegerley and rushes home. He then "leans" on Mr.Fisk ( I think that's his name ) to give AJ the requisite grade and Carmela is all over him. He accuses her of being "a user". That she used sex to get what she wanted from him. Now while I'm not saying this was the case by any means, surely he at least has a point or it's understandable he might feel that way,no? Notice though, it's only after he sleeps with her he has this attack of conscience in "getting to " Fisk.
Later, Carmela tells her father about it. She tearfully says that because of her marriage to Tony, people "will always question her motives". But she's kidding herself here IMO. This wasn't anything whatsoever to do with her marriage to Tony, Wegerley never said that. He accused her of using sex to get what she wanted, saw an opportunity in him and took it. I believe she uses her association with Tony rather than face the reality that Wegerley may, in fact, have had a point. In fact, it is SHE who vicariously brings Tony into it. When she grabs her things to leave she spits at him "watch your step"! This is a clear threat on her part that she could set her husband on him.
Again, I'm not saying Carm did use him but I think he had legitimate grounds to FEEL that she did. I'd be curious as to other people's take on this, especially any female perspective.

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