Carmella the Dumbbell?

#1
Many people refer to Carmella as a strong, smart woman. I don't just mean we people who post in this forum. I recall Tony telling someone that Carmella is a very clever lady. I think he was referring specifically to a couple of things she did with some money - perhaps in the stock market. It also seems to me that she handled the episode with Vito and Paulie and the quarter million dollars (I think it was a quarter million) very well. A person with less street smarts could have easily lost that money.

But, it seems to me that DC has clearly let it be known that Carmella is quite a dumbbell in certain areas - most notably in the scholastic arena. I know that won't sit well with many of you. I'm only referring to one or more narrow arenas in life and I'm wondering if any of you have spotted any other areas in which Carm is actually quite a dope. If so, I'm wondering what the impact of that might be. I surely don't think that she is weak or a dummy in general. The scene in epi 53 "The Two Tonys" in which AJ is out by the pool with the bear snivelling like a baby, "Mommy! Help Me! Mommy!" Carmella doesn't think twice. She races into the kitchen and grabs a couple of pots and races back outside to save her little baby. That one scene filled me with a tremendous sense of admiration for Carmella and a true appreciation for AJs character (he's a snivelling little baby and nothing is going to work out very well for him - at least not for a long time). By the way, this is no swipe at AJ. I'm sure that if I was in his place, I'd be lucky to handle it as "bravely" as he did. I'm sure I'd probably wet myself at the very least.

I re-watched Eloise yesterday and I must say it has become one of my very favorite episodes. For some reason, it seems to be a much longer epi than most - maybe 90 minutes? Or maybe I just got fooled into thinking it was longer than most due to its very large content. Please excuse me if the following scenes did not occur in Eloise. Some of them may have occurred one or two episodes before or after Eloise.

But let's go back to AJ's report on Billy Budd. Do you remember how Carmella "helped" AJ with it? She was shocked to learn he only got a "C" while Tony seemed pleased because AJ usually gets Ds and Fs. I think part of the reason for her shock was either that she thought it was a good report or that she actually helped him with it and couldn't believe her help was only worth a "C" in a class of 15-year-olds. We don't ever see her doing anything more than listening to him read the report. But even if she did nothing more than that, she was still helping him and was very shocked that he did no better than a C. This evidences the fact that she is not a very good scholar. But, even more to the point, remember when Tony & Carm go for dinner at Meadow's apartment? Carm was clearly out to lunch about the book and the entire discussion as to its relevance to gay culture.

I think DC made it very clear that everyone in the room had a better academic understanding of the book and literature in general. Remember the lunch with Carm and Meadow? Meadow:(paraphrasing):"Mother, I was just pointing out to you what current professional literary scholars have to say about the book." When Meadow said that to her mother, it seemed that it was a mother speaking to a daughter and not the other way around. It also seemed to me that Meadow was in no way trying to be condescending to her mom, but was, in fact, embarassed for her mother. Same goes for the dinner with her mom and dad. Every time Carm opened her mouth, she just revealed herself to be a dumbass about literature. Every time Tony opened his mouth, Meadow's roommates seemed to genuinely enjoy his presence and sense of humor.

Finally, remember the lunch or dinner that Carm had with AJs teacher? He suggested she read the novel Madam Bovary by Flaubert. It was very strange how Carm acted like a child trying to write down the title and author. I have very little experience with literature but even I have heard of Flaubert and wouldn't have needed to write down the title and author in order to buy the book. But that's not the point. My point is that Carm came across like a child in Kindergarten when the teacher told her about this book. It seemed so awkward that she would have to put so much effort into remembering the name of the author and book in order to buy it. It was almost as if she was hiding some terrible secret - like she couldn't read or something? Anyone have any guesses as to what that might be?

There are many different kinds of intelligence and Carm seems to be very strong in many areas (Street Smarts, Emotional Smarts, Financial Smarts, Interpersonal IQ, etc) but when it comes to "book smarts" or the traditional kind of IQ, I think it may be fair to describe Carm as a bit of a dumbbell. I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed other things that support this, or even better, can you think of other areas in which Carm is a bit of a dope? If so, what impact might that have on the future story line? Perhaps there may be something about Carm's fixation on Angie (Pussy's wife) and her businesses and Carms lack of initiative in doing much of anything for herself in business.

Bottom line, I'm wondering what if anything, showing us this side to Carmella might have in the way of a future impact. If events occur such that Carm must invest in a business involving traditional smarts (like a high IQ), I think it is pretty clear what the outcome will be. Although it's funny how few businesses actually depend on that kind of intelligence. I wonder if anyone here sees any other possible impacts?

Finally, I'd like to say a few words in Carm's defense. Part of the reason she may not be so adept at English literature is that she spent a large portion of her life raising two kids and making a good life for them such that they could go to school and become good scholars. Meadow just gets the benefits of Carm's labor. If Meadow had to raise two kids, I'll bet that she wouldn't be nearly as good a scholar as she is. I just didn't want to present only one side of this issue. Carmella has some tremendous assets and much of her "dumbellness" comes because she has had to pay the price that many others never had to pay.

Re: Carmella the Dumbbell?

#3
Sweet! Very nice point.

Just consider what stupid Ade questions have caused so far. They've caused some major shit!

Her spec house was on again - then off again - then on again - just due to Ade questions.

Her questions seem to throw Tony and Chris into a serious panic. More questions could very well have a serious impact on future events.

One way or another - those questions have to stop. It should be very entertaining to see how that comes about.


As a matter of fact, she's not the only one, but she does often talk to people about Pussy, Ritchie and Ralph (among others) the "program" (witness protection program). Funny how those conversations often include people who know the truth but they just can't seem to connect their truths to anyone else.

e.g.
Janice knows that Ritchie isn't in the program. But she never seems to suspect that Pussy, Ralph, Ade, etc. may not be.
Chris knows that Ralph isn't in the program. But he never seems to suspect that Pussy, Ritchie, Ade, etc. may not be.
Syl & Paulie know that Pussy isn't in the "program". But they never seem to suspect that Ritchie & Ralph, etc. may not be.
Chris & Syl know that Ade isn't in the "program". But they never seem to suspect that Ritchie & Ralph, etc. may not be.

Despite everything that Carmella knows, can she really suspect that Ade left Chris for another man? Or has she figured out a brilliant tactic for making things happen?

Re: Carmella the Dumbbell?

#5
Spil I think you're kind of missing the point to way Carm is the dummy here. All those people that you mentioned (Chris, Sil, Paulie, etc, maybe not Janice) all know that they aren't in the "program," but they aren't dumb enough to question it because THE BOSS said it was so. Carm just thinks she can say whatever she wants.

Re: Carmella the Dumbbell?

#6
Then what about Rosie Aprile?


Hey Stu,

I'm not sure what you mean about Rosie Aprile. She has always been one of my least favorite characters. I find her voice so irritating that if I knew her in real life, I would dedicate my life to living at the opposite end of the earth from her so that I wouldn't have to hear her horrible voice or the stupid things she says.

She is a good friend to Carm and she seems to have learned some great life lessons. But, in terms of "the life", she can't be getting much income these days. Are you referring to the money that Tony probably gives her each month - kind of like a pension?

Re: Carmella the Dumbbell?

#7
Hey Splishak, Just like Carm Rosie Aprile. You talking about dumbasses. I thought of her good friend Rosie, similar idea, we don't have as much character development but we can guess. Same idea as a person.

I am referring to the fact she is still around these people after all she been through. She fell in love with 2 of them, 3 people she "loved" died in the due to a Soprano being angry with them. I guess they are all she has and all she knows. I am thinking nothing about money. Still around all those people after all the disasters. Is she clueless or what? Just like Carmella around all those people all these years, who came over their house, duh, does the average person lose friends and relatives that fast?

You are right, Rosie is kind of annoying, but she is reminds me of people in real life. She is someone I have ran into in this New York Metro area growing up in Brooklyn, working in New Jersey, living on Long Island, similar manerisms, similar accent. I just picture her playing mah jong with the other women on the block, all smoking their cigarettes in 1971, munching on Entermanns cakes.

To sort of get slightly off topic, sometimes I wish they do complete other shows or temporary spinoffs, not taking away from the Soprano plots on the side, with the lives of the various side characters like Rosie, perhaps Silvio what they do when the Sopranos are not around, just dreaming I guess.

Re: Carmella the Dumbbell?

#8
Hey Stu,

I was way off base with wondering what you meant by Rosie. But I should have known.

As far as her son Jackie Jr. goes, I can't imagine that she would even allow herself to consider the possibility that Ralph organized the murder of her son, with Tony's blessing and Vito performing the deed.

After all, she was living with Ralph at the time. How could she ever even consider that he might have been the one who gave the order? If she had found out, she would have lost her mind. Or at least she would have had to try and kill Ralph and/or Tony.

But I had completely forgotten about Jackie Jr. He was another one that died with a flimsy cover story.

So, for someone with so much experience with LCN, Rosie is definitely not the brightest bulb in the box. I don't think she can be faulted about her husband cuz he died of cancer. And ditto for her son, because her subconscious mind must be under temendous denial and preventing her from even considering the possibility that he was killed by a consensus of Ralphie (the guy she was living with) and Tony (her best friends husband and self-described brother to her late husband).

By the time Ralphie died, I think they were no longer an item. But she never seemed to consider the possibility that he was murdered. She just seemed to accept the fact that he disappeared somehow.

One interesting thing. Remember how some of the guys in Ralphie's crew were grumbling and one of them actually asked, "What's next? You get clipped for wearing the wrong kind of shoes?" He said something about Ralphie getting killed over a horse. So some of those guys seemed to know that Tony had Ralph killed because of the horse. But Rosalie never even tweaked to that. Did she have a fair shot at figuring that out? She was pretty far removed from the situation. So, I don't know whether she had a fair chance to figure that out or not.

By the way, my definition of Hell would be waking up to discover I had won a all-expense paid trip to Paris but had to go together with Rosalie. LOL. What a way to ruin a great vacation!

Re: Carmella the Dumbbell?

#9
[The following is a reply to Splishak's original post on this topic. His statements are in quotation marks and prefaced with a "-".]


- "But let's go back to AJ's report on Billy Budd. Do you remember how Carmella "helped" AJ with it? She was shocked to learn he only got a "C" while Tony seemed pleased because AJ usually gets Ds and Fs. I think part of the reason for her shock was either that she thought it was a good report or that she actually helped him with it and couldn't believe her help was only worth a "C" in a class of 15-year-olds. We don't ever see her doing anything more than listening to him read the report. But even if she did nothing more than that, she was still helping him and was very shocked that he did no better than a C. This evidences the fact that she is not a very good scholar."


I disagree to only the extent that you are assuming that the fact that her help could only squeeze a "C" , therefore she must not be a "very good scholar." AJ could have been tutored by Emily Bronte or Wm. F. Buckley and still made a C on that report. Now, this is not to say that I believe that Carmela is by any stretch a litterateur but she's not demonstrated that she is below the norm for Mafia housewives in this field.


- "But, even more to the point, remember when Tony & Carm go for dinner at Meadow's apartment? Carm was clearly out to lunch about the book and the entire discussion as to its relevance to gay culture."

Familiarity with "Billy Budd" has nothing, I think, to do with general or 'book-smart' intelligence.. I knew about it only in reference to an Opera bearing the same title by Benjamin Britten. I don't think any 'fact' can be gleaned from this putative evidence, least of all that Carmela should be (?), but is not, a "very good scholar." The story line of the Carmela character gives no suggestion that scholarly pursuits are part of her makeup. Of course we can assume that she is no fount of 'deep' knowledge, but being adjudged "smart" is wrapped in many other factors besides that which is found in books.

- "I think DC made it very clear that everyone in the room had a better academic understanding of the book and literature in general."


For some reason, I didn't interpret this scene in that way. If I remember correctly, the point seems to have been using discussion of the book as a vehicle for the illustration of Meadow's Liberal-Progressive attitude toward Gays as contrasted with those of her parents, particularly Tony.


"Remember the lunch with Carm and Meadow? Meadow:(paraphrasing):"Mother, I was just pointing out to you what current professional literary scholars have to say about the book." When Meadow said that to her mother, it seemed that it was a mother speaking to a daughter and not the other way around. It also seemed to me that Meadow was in no way trying to be condescending to her mom, but was, in fact, embarassed for her mother."


Typical. "Smart, spontaneously-wisdomed" college kid looking down on dumb, knowledge-barren parents stuck in 20th century mores. Never mind that these same parents are responsible (despite their 'woeful ignorance and non-progressive attitudes') for every item – large and small – proudly possessed by same kid and the very expensive college education that is partly fomenting this (temporary) anti-parent attitude.


"Same goes for the dinner with her mom and dad. Every time Carm opened her mouth, she just revealed herself to be a dumbass about literature. Every time Tony opened his mouth, Meadow's roommates seemed to genuinely enjoy his presence and sense of humor."

She could possibly be somewhat bright in mathematics and science! Of course, these subjects are not usually a home dinner table topic, not lending themselves well to the type of light chatter that literature, social sciences and the arts do. Here, just knowing the name of an Opera, author of a book or poem, composer of a symphony will generally get the table's attention, and if you can follow up with a couple more 'talking points', you're accepted as one of the "in the know" elites. Not all by any means, but some of that kind of knowledge is overestimated in the foundation of real intelligence and will not aid in pondering the origins of the universe. :icon_wink:



"Finally, remember the lunch or dinner that Carm had with AJs teacher? He suggested she read the novel Madam Bovary by Flaubert. It was very strange how Carm acted like a child trying to write down the title and author. I have very little experience with literature but even I have heard of Flaubert and wouldn't have needed to write down the title and author in order to buy the book."


But what if she knew Hugo's "Les Miserables" and/or Dumas' "The Black Tulip" and/or D'Souza's "The Virtue of Prosperity"? Not likely [:icon_cool:], but the point is: is her "intelligence" measured on the fact that she does not know this one particular book, but may very well know, e.g., one or more of the above or similar? Good intelligence and intellect is founded on a whole lot more than reading books.


"But that's not the point. My point is that Carm came across like a child in Kindergarten when the teacher told her about this book. It seemed so awkward that she would have to put so much effort into remembering the name of the author and book in order to buy it."


Although I consider a good memory a major component of good or high intelligence, I don't find this particular incident indicative of anything outside of itself: she just needed/wanted to write it down. I also get the feeling that Carm - in her original interest in this guy, an academic, – wanted to project the image that she was NOT an 'intellectual' because her childhood nurtured the idea that men don't like "intellectual women".


"...I think it may be fair to describe Carm as a bit of a dumbbell. I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed other things that support this, or even better, can you think of other areas in which Carm is a bit of a dope?"


Characterizing her supposed lack of 'book smarts' (which is not an indispensable of a bona fide high IQ) with the words "dumbbell" and "dope" is undeserving and inaccurate of the Carmela character.


"If so, what impact might that have on the future story line? Perhaps there may be something about Carm's fixation on Angie (Pussy's wife) and her businesses and Carms lack of initiative in doing much of anything for herself in business."


I guess she doesn't take much initiative in this direction because Tony makes more than enough for her to maintain her high profile and other family and societal needs (certainly more than Big Pussy did).

"Bottom line, I'm wondering what if anything, showing us this side to Carmella might have in the way of a future impact. If events occur such that Carm must invest in a business involving traditional smarts (like a high IQ)..."


Personally, I just don't think that these two necessarily go hand in hand. But then, I may not know exactly what you mean by "traditional smarts."

Re: Carmella the Dumbbell?

#10
Hello Janice,

AJ could have been tutored by Emily Bronte or Wm. F. Buckley and still made a C on that report.


Ah Ha Ha! Excellent point and deftly made. I sure have no defense for that. I've been skrewered! :icon_wink:.


I don't think any 'fact' can be gleaned from this putative evidence, least of all that Carmela should be (?), but is not, a "very good scholar."


My thinking was that Carm seemed to pride herself on her ability to participate in discussions about culture and the arts (like her movie club with the girls). It seems to me the way that club works is that they all watch a film while getting drunk, then they discuss the film and debate which one of their husbands is the biggest asshole.

However, when it came to discussing Billy Budd at Meadow's apartment (which I fully understand is not the same as Carmella's film club), I got the sense that Carmella just seemed to be making a fool of herself. It didn't seem like anyone was trying to insult her. Quite to the contrary, everyone seemed to be trying to help her. It seemed to me that people kept trying to give her a helping hand, but every time she reached out, it seemed that she just kept getting her ass handed to her. At the end of the evening, I got the feeling that most everyone felt embarassed for Carm. I think a lot of people will disagree with me on this. But that was the feeling I got watching this scene. It came through loud and clear.

Maybe Carmella got to experience the same thing of which she once accused Tony. Remember how she told him that he had no friends and all the guys just laugh at his jokes cuz he is the boss? Well maybe she is a star of her film group, but once she tries to hold her own in a discussion with people in the real world, she gets a rude surprise. Maybe it was because she is the boss' wife and so all her girls just agree with her and applaud her in the film group - but it's all just B.S. cuz she is the boss' wife?


If I remember correctly, the point seems to have been using discussion of the book as a vehicle for the illustration of Meadow's Liberal-Progressive attitude toward Gays as contrasted with those of her parents, particularly Tony.


True. But Tony sure didn't seem to have any difficulty participating in the discussion. He seemed to be enjoying himself just as Meadow's friends seemed to be enjoying themselves and enjoying Tony as well. Carm - on the other hand - seemed to be very uncomfortable. Would you agree that Tony seemed to be happy and comfortable while Carm seemed to be ill at ease? Do you have any idea why she was having difficulty while everyone else seemed to be having a very good time?


Although I consider a good memory a major component of good or high intelligence, I don't find this particular incident indicative of anything outside of itself: she just needed/wanted to write it down. I also get the feeling that Carm - in her original interest in this guy, an academic,


When you consider the amount of time DC seemed to have spent filming this sequence and all the furtive looks that Carm gave to the teacher, I can't believe that this particular incident is "not indicative of anything outside of itself and that Carm just needed/wanted to write down the title". Do you really think Mister Chase would have put so much time and effort into filming this sequence if it was just some "throwaway" scene that meant little or nothing? I'm quite willing to accept that may be correct and that the purpose of the scene may not have been to show how inept Carm was at handling a simple academic task, but surely Mr. Chase was trying to get some point across here. Don't you thik? Do you have any idea what it may have been? I'd truly love to understand what he had in mind with this scene.


But then, I may not know exactly what you mean by "traditional smarts."


Sorry. I just meant the tradional measure of IQ as in the IQ tests we all took back around age 10 - which is not the same as book smarts. But is pretty close. Perhaps it would have been clearer had I said "SAT smarts"?


P.S. In case I wasn't clear, I think that in life, street smarts, financial smarts, emotional smarts, relationship smarts, etc. are far more valuable than "book smarts" or SAT-type smarts.


On a personal note, I'm sorry to say this, but I found your post difficult to read because the quotes and dashes just didn't make it clear who wrote what - even though I wrote many of the paragraphs, I didn't recognize my own writing. That's hardly your fault. But I thought you might like to know how to make quoted text more readable.

Please excuse me if you feel offended by my saying this. I swear that I do not intend to offend you and hope you won't mind my saying this:


If you like the style I used in this post of indicating the difference between text that I wrote and text that I am quoting (that is text that you wrote), all you need do is preface the text you want to show as quoted with the character string:

(quote)

(but use the square brackets instead of the round parenthesis). Then place the following string at the end of the text you want to show as quoted:

(/quote)

(but, once again use square brackets instead of the round parenthesis). By "square brackets", I mean these: ] and [.

Sorry that I couldn't use the exact strings in this post because if I did, you wouldn't see them since they would get translated into quoting some text. If you have any questions about this or would like to practice this, please send me a private message and we can practice quoting by sending some private messages back and forth. Alternatively, you can click on the button labelled "Quote" at the bottom of the page and examine the strings used in the Message box. you will see they look an awful lot like the strings I showed you above.

If you want to attribute the quote to some one or something instead of a generic quote, just use an equal sign after the leading "quote" string like this:

(quote=Joseph) but once again, use square brackets instead of parenthesis. This will make the quoted string appear as if it were written by someone named Joseph.

Good luck and thanks for posting your thoughts. I very much enjoyed reading them.

Joseph wrote: something written by Joseph.
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