A Coach Molinaro Dream

Hi all,

Long-time lurker, first time poster. I've always enjoyed reading the witty, intellectual, and insightful discussion and speculation on these boards, a welcome change of pace from most other discussion boards on the internet.

Anyway, at the end of this episode, Tony tells Carmela that he had one of his "Coach Molinaro dreams." Then, in All Due Respect, he tells Melfi that he had a dream about his High School Football coach.

So, the question that comes to mind is, does Tony remember anything that came before him going to hit Molinaro, and that everything else we see takes place in Tony's unconcious, unknown to Ton'y conscious self? I don't know about anyone else, but if I had that dream, I'd sure as hell talk about a lot more than having my football coach berate me!!

But then, watching the episode again to test the theory, Tony's asks Carm about Artie, as "He was the only alive guy in this car full of dead guys." So is it one of those cases where people remember only fragments of a dream, but not anything else? Was Tony so weirded out by the dream that he didn't even give it a second thought? Or, does Tony realize the implications of this dream, and what it's telling him about his "real," unconcious desires (to my mind, either to kill himself, or to turn to help and salvation in the form of the FBI), realizes that it's not feasible or acceptable in his life, and so he totally keeps it to himself?

Would love to hear what other people think about this.


Re: A Coach Molinaro Dream

Welcome to the forum, LarryJordi.

Those are good questions you ask. You pointed out that Tony remembered at least the parts of the dream where Artie was riding in the car(s) with dead gangsters. There was also his remark to Carmela that she "was in the dream too. I was on this horse . . ." Given the intensity of the dream for him, I think it's safe to assume that he remembered a good bit of it. But I'm sure he also forgot parts, because that's the nature of dream recall.

If I were a betting person, I'd wager that he also remembered being in bed with Carmine, losing teeth, seeing Gloria in Melfi's office, meeting Finn's parents, that those parents were Makasian and Annette Benning, Makasian singing the Lionel Ritchie song, taking a copy of the "Valachi Papers" from behind the toilet, screwing Charmaine while Artie urged him on and told him to "rub her muzzle", running from a bunch of angry people that included Carmela, and that Tony B shot Phil with his finger. Those just seem like the kind of wierdo occurrences that would definitely leave a waking impression.

I'm less certain about him remembering watching "A Christmas Carol" and "Chinatown" in the kitchen with Carm or recalling any number of specifics that we, as audience members, know are significant in terms of figuring out Tony's unconscious and subconscious mind. Like I'm not sure he'd recall getting a phone call from "God" telling him "our friend has got to go" or hearing Carmine talk about how much he missed his wife or laughing hysterically with Gloria about his mother threating to poke his eye out with a fork or seeing the "EXIT" sign prominently above the TV screen showing "High Noon" at Vesuvio, having his tie cut after running from the crowd, his dream immediately flipping perspectives while banging Charmaine, etc. That kind of stuff is immensely helpful to the audience but less likely IMO to leave as lasting an impression on Tony as the other stuff.

Other than the Valachi papers, I think the stuff that suggests his desire to either kill himself (literally or just his gangster half) is much too symbolic and encoded for Tony to have consciously realized what it meant. I don't think he'd put those clues together even if he had perfect recall because it would require too much thought, perhaps a different kind of thought than he's able to muster. He's just not that introspective or given to self analysis.

I think back to his Calling All Cars dream. He related most, but certainly not all, of the important aspects of that dream to Melfi. Some of the omissions were probably due to a lack of recall and some to his usual dishonesty about things that paint him in an unflattering light. He lied about Ralph "not changing" recently, for example, because he didn't want to tread too close to the fact that he'd just killed him. But even though the desire to change his life and take honest stock of himself are powerfully suggested by nearly everything in that dream, he failed to consciously, analytically appreciate that fact and seemed to really want Melfi to tell him what the dream meant. So I'm not optimistic he has unraveled very many layers of his Test Dream either and certainly not the parts that were telling him to "get out of the mob (or life)".

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p196.ezboard.com/bsopranolandfor ... fisWall</A> at: 12/9/05 3:45 am

Re: A Coach Molinaro Dream

I have been re-watching all of the episodes as they have been played on HBO as a lead up to the new season (also watching DVD collection and the on-demand episodes over and over again). Anyway tonight I saw the "Test Dream" again. I never really noticed it before, but Tony tells Carmella "I had one of my coach Molinaro dreams" implying that he has had similar drems (at least involving coach Molinaro) before. Also, these dreams seem to involve Tony "not being prepared" (remember that when he tells Carm about yet another Molinaro dream she asks him "Were you unprepared this time?"). And, Tony also replies, "as usual".

I know that we have not seen them on any episode before, nor had Tony even hinted at them in previous episodes, so I am left wondering about how to percieve this recurring event.

If the coach Molinaro dream is a recurring event in Tony's subconcious and he is always unprepared for the "test" does it signify Tony's unconcious fear of being unprepared for just a single event (perhaps a future event like his eventual death or his eventual need to make a decision about "the life") OR is it a "harbinger" type of dream that arises when Tony feels stress about diffrent and various events currently occuring in his life (such as the possible need to whack Tony B)?

Re: A Coach Molinaro Dream

That's a good question, billymac. I can't venture a definitive answer. Honestly, the Coach Molinaro part of the dream is the one that I still feel the most confused about . . . the double speak and self contradiction, the way that much of what the coach says subtly subverts the overt message that Tony screwed up his life by joining the mob.

For example, why did the coach say it was a "damn shame" that Tony was in therapy? Was it a shame that he followed a life that made therapy necessary or was it a shame that he still possesses enough of a conscience that he can't fulfill that life without deep psychological conflicts?

Why would the coach advise Tony to distance himself from Artie when Artie, the son of a chef and restaraunt owner, was likely among the least corruptible of friends Tony had in high school? Was he really telling Tony he needed to distance himself from his own humanity, from his capacity to love other people so that he could be a less conflicted, better mob leader?

When the coach says that Tony had all the "perquisites" to lead young men on the field of sport, is he really talking about football or the other game that Tony is in? Is he chastising Tony for not fulfilling his leadership potential as a mob boss (e.g., reluctance to whack Tony B because of his personal feelings for him) or for squandering the talent to actually have been a football coach?

When he says "look at the stress you live under", does he mean that Tony could have avoided the stress if he'd followed a legit life or does he mean he could have avoided the stress if he had "cleaved himself away from the bums like Artie", i.e., from his own conscience?

All this sport/mafia metaphor further begs the question about Tony's exceptional sensitivity all these years regarding Junior's "you don't have the makings of a varsity athlete" insult. Did that damage the confidence he otherwise might have had in himself as a sportsman or his inclination to follow Coach Molinaro's vision for his life? Does Tony feel that his life might have taken an entirely different trajectory had his uncle encouraged rather than discouraged his efforts in sports?

Think back to the season 1 scene where Melfi is asking Tony about his father. Instead of picturing Johnny Boy, Tony flashes back to Junior, an interesting fact all on its own, and moreso because the memory was of Junior throwing him a ball, Tony missing the catch, and Junior chastising, "Heads up!". Or recall the way Junior's excavation of an old sports failure, Tony missing a fly ball catch, touched off the hostilities in Boca that escalated into Junior's botched hit on Tony. And of course Tony admits in the pilot that Junior's varsity athlete insult was "tremendously damaging" to his self esteem. It's as if Junior's opinions and influence as a father figure were of greater weight than Johnny Boy's.

But back to why the Coach is a recurrent figure in Tony's dreams . . . perhaps there is some significance in the fact that this coach was a strong male role model for Tony in his youth, probably the only one from the legitimate world that had any real power to influence him. Maybe he pops up in Tony's dreams whenever Tony is unconsciously yearning to be free of the mob, with Tony always failing the test because he never feels he can find success in a "normal" life.

I find it significant that the coach was a school figure, that Tony confronts him at his old high school, and that, earlier in the dream, Tony says he's studied his "homework", which was a copy of the Valachi Papers. The test, then, was that of flipping on the mob, but, as usual, he was unprepared to actually take or pass the test.

One thing no one's discussed that I found very significant in All Due Respect was the noticeable turn in Tony's verbalization, albeit vague, of some of these heretofore unverbalized feelings. He looks at the yardman's son hard at work in the yard and wonders if he and Carmela gave AJ too much. Carmela at first wants to agree but then absolves them of responsibility by contrasting how Meadow turned out. Tony then implies that AJ ?took after? him more and Meadow more after Carmela, a direct contradiction to how he spoke back in Season one during the ADD/stolen wine crisis when he tries to deflect Carmela's unspoken accusation that AJ's behavior was a reflection of Tony's.

Back then he defended, "Like father like son right? What about Daddy's little girl?" He was equally unwilling to confront how his choices in life were influencing his son's evolution during Army of One when he bellows, "He thinks the world owes him a f---ing living," to which Carmela sarcastically returns, "What ever gave him that bizarre idea?" In that episode?s therapy scene, Tony blames AJ?s panic attack and consequent forfeit of the military school option on that ?rotten, putrid f---ing Soprano gene?. He?s tearful because he believes his son is heading irrevocably on a Jackie Jr. course of increasing lack of discipline, lawlessness, and eventual self-destruction. Melfi tells him that blaming the gene is an unconscious way of blaming himself and tries to get Tony to actually verbalize that blame. It?s one of the most emotionally intense moments between them ever. Tony seems on the verge, and she pleads with him to ?Make me understand,? but in the end he still won?t acknowledge that his actions -- being a gangster ? have influenced his son?s development far more than the empty words he?s used to try to steer AJ?s life in a different direction than his own.

But in the Melfi scene from All Due respect, Tony continues with his first acknowledgement of blame earlier in the episode. In the course of a discussion about AJ?s setbacks in football, and the realization that even the one legitimate avenue he saw for himself at the same age is closed to his son, he laments quietly, ?All my choices were wrong.? It wasn?t played on a trumpet, but it was still a different song than Tony has ever sung before. Pretty significant, I think.

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