What is your favorite episode of season 1?

The Sopranos (Pilot) (No votes)
46 Long (No votes)
Denial, Anger, Acceptance (No votes)
Meadowlands (No votes)
College
Total votes: 3 (38%)
Pax Soprano (No votes)
Down Neck (No votes)
The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti
Total votes: 1 (13%)
Boca (No votes)
A Hit is a Hit (No votes)
Nobody Knows Anything (No votes)
Isabella
Total votes: 2 (25%)
I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano
Total votes: 2 (25%)
Total votes: 8

Favorite Episode of Season 1

#1
Since things are kind of quiet around here while we await the return of The Sopranos in March of 2007, I thought we might pass the time with some polls. Everyone likes polls, right? Most likely this has been done before at the old Sopranoland site, and the discussions of this have certainly been had. But that doesn't mean we can't do it all over again. Besides, maybe your opinion has changed since the last time you were asked.

I figured we would start at the beginning on season one and then move towards season five and 6a (though we probably don't have enough time away from that season or closure yet to truly make the best choice.) I would ask that no one else begin a poll about this while we are in the process. I'll keep the polls open indefinitely so that newcomers can vote when they find it.

And what I'd like to see is some discussion on the merits of your favorite show - make your choice and then explain why. Hopefully by doing this, we can provide some consistent activity on the board rather than remaining as quiet as we've been. So once I have the poll set up, vote away and tell us why. :icon_biggrin:
"Leave the gun...take the cannoli." - Clemenza

Think Tony Died? Consider this...

Visit my Blog at Hear the Hurd

Re: Favorite Episode of Season One

#2
Okay, I voted for the pilot. I probably voted differently on this years ago when asked (thanks, DH!), but the more I think about it, the more I believe it does more than any other single episode to haul you in -- hook, line, and sinker. It HAS to do that because it is, afterall, the pilot. It has to do a lot of the expositional bit, it has to setup the core characters, it has to setup the fundamental conflicts in their relationships and personas, and it has to do all this so organically and naturally that you are engaged enough to return the following week. Even though it was not the first episode I saw, I believe it is the most narratively dense episode of the entire series.

The choices for the exposition to me are absolute genius, starting with having the series open in Melfi's office rather than in the obvious places of either his home or the Bing. I don't know whether it was Chase the writer or Chase the director that dictated that opening shot, but it's inspired, either way: Tony, trying hard to pass time the way we all do in doctors' offices, framed between the legs of a nude female statue. Is it the vise of Livia? Or perhaps a nod to his sexual "vice"? Or is it a precursor to this place, a shrink's office, as a place of rebirth for him . . . with a new "mother"?

None of these things really ocurred to me the first time I saw the scene. I was too engaged right off at the unusual, prolonged silence and stillness of the scene, such a contrast to most television and movies. But all these interpretations have been offered and have made sense at various times since. And the funny thing is I think they all might have been at work in the inspiration for that one opening scene.

When the first few seconds of a drama don't feature a word of dialogue yet are that dense and resonate that loudly with themes that would be expounded upon for the next 77+ hours, well . . .

It's all there in the pilot -- Tony's mother problems; his infidelity, marital, and general "women" problems; his "head-in-the-clouds, no-good nephew" problems; his Uncle Junior problems; his children problems; the complex friendship he has with Artie; his cold-blooded, murderously violent gangster side; his child-like sentimental side; his abiding fear of losing those closest to him; his calculating business side; his casually deceitful side; his "Gary Cooper" side; and even his very, very rare, completely candid, vulnerable side. Even as I type this, I'm still amazed that so much of what makes this show so great was able to be glimpsed in that first hour.

And it doesn't hurt that one of the greatest moments of offbeat, "Sopranos-esque" hilarity occurs when Tony narrates the bellybutton dream. How something with such serious portent and continuing thematic relevance in the show could, at the same time, be that freaking funny is just amazing. I never fail to laugh out loud at the visual of Tony's thing falling off while working a phillips head screw out of his navel and him holding it up in his hand while running to find the Lincoln auto mechanic to reattach it, only to have a swooping bird grab it and fly off with it. Matching the comic genius of the narrative itself is Gandolfini's note-perfect performance, punctuated at the end when he curses himself in the third person for crying. :icon_mrgreen::icon_mrgreen::icon_mrgreen::icon_mrgreen::icon_mrgreen: How can I vote for anything else?

Re: Favorite Episode of Season One

#3
There are so many good ones from the first season, including the pilot and the final two which stack up against any other episode in the show's enitre run. But for some reason, I have always had a special fondness for Boca.

Primarily as I found the relationship between Junior and Roberta so interesting and fun, and subsequent end so sad. For a character that we really only got to know in that one episode, she really brought a lot to the part and her anguish at the end was really heart-breaking.

And of course, there is a whole theme to the show of trying to find different ways to discuss "the act which should not be discussed." :icon_mrgreen: Carmela, especially, has a good time with it and her scene with Tony when she gives him the news gives us a nice example of their relationship, and somewhat foreshadows the breakdown of friendliness between Carm and Junior.

Certainly what happens has great bearing on the show, as Tony later states "Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this." It is this act which really finally sets Junior off for good as he feels marginalized as "boss."

All in all, a great episode that has humor, sadness and certainly adds the the buildup of the attempted hit. The acting by all is outstanding and may be some of the best work Chianese has ever done on the show. For that reason it ranks near the top of my favorites throught the show's run and gets my vote for favorite of the season.

* * *


I hope the rest of you will take the chance and let us know why you picked the episode you did. I'm truly looking forward to reading your thoughts. :icon_biggrin:
"Leave the gun...take the cannoli." - Clemenza

Think Tony Died? Consider this...

Visit my Blog at Hear the Hurd

Re: Favorite Episode of Season One

#5
Nice poll, DH! Keep them coming!

OK, I went for the Pilot.

The reasons are, well, living in the UK I didnt get interested in the Sopranos in any sort of sequential order, in fact by the time I picked up on it I think the aired episodes in the UK were season 3 (which probably explains why that season has some of my favourite Sopranos moments, inc Pine Barrens - "universal remote, put - on - docking - station", the whole Gloria Trillo relationship too) so there was a time when I decided I needed to catch up on all the episodes I'd missed (ie seasons 1 and 2). I think from Season 1 the pilot resonates most because I remember watching it and thinking "this is when it was fresh, and new, and nobody else had seen it", almost like I was going through the same feelings as everyone else did when they watched it the first time round in the States. And the scene that stands out the most is where Tony and Christopher chase that guy (McCaffey?) and Tony ends up hitting him with the car, gets out, gives him a sound beating on top of that, and as McCaffey is lying there groaning, Tony says "shut up"(!) then, "HMO, youre covered!". Brilliant. Makes me want to watch it again!!!

Re: Favorite Episode of Season One

#6
Only five votes so far. Come on folks...you know you love the show. I know it's got to be hard to pick just one but certainly there is a favorite among them. :smile: Choose and let us know why.

And I will probably start the poll for season 2 in the next week or two. I wanted to see what interest there was before moving on.
"Leave the gun...take the cannoli." - Clemenza

Think Tony Died? Consider this...

Visit my Blog at Hear the Hurd

Re: Favorite Episode of Season One

#8
Should we all vote twice, LMAO? Lord knows I could easily find reasons to name another ep my fav of season 1. It's so hard to pick just one.

I like your choice too, btw, and the reasons you stated. I also felt an unexpected amount of sympathy for Roberta (for some reason the name "Bobbie" is popping up in my head . . . maybe her nickname?). I liked the A story with the soccer coach. I loved the closing scene where Tony comes in stoned on liquor and prozac and on the knowledge that he'd declined to kill someone that he very easily could have. It was one of the exceedingly rare moments when it seemed that Tony was capable of impulse control and of listening to the reasoning of his shrink and others around him.

And the whole premise of the Junior/Tony stuff was just hilarious, brilliant, and so taboo . . . all at once.

Re: Favorite Episode of Season One

#10
"Nobody Knows Anything" is my vote for this season. I actually think the first season is overrated in the sense that there are those that think it was the pinnacle of the series, where I think the show gained more of a confident stride as it went on.

The scene where Tony tells Paulie that Pussy is a rat is a dark, brutally raw scene that was emotional in a way the show had only hinted at up to that point, and was a sign of the way the tone of the show would change in the seasons to come.
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