Carmela's Denial Of Her Own Behavior

I am new to this board but not to the Sopranos. I really like this board by the way, of all the ones that I have read.

Jumping right in, I want to comment on Carmella's denial of her own behavior. She certainly is a user as the Professor told her. This isn't the first time we've seen her manipulate people to get what she wants for her children (the Cusamano's and the reference for Meadow). I certainly felt she was using the Professor. She is post-coital and talking about her child which just isn't done. She certainly has been out of the game for a while as she said but she is no young ingenune and knows how to be with a man. I do believe she got busted. And her parting shot to him, 'you'd better watch you step' pretty much sealed it.

Carmella has been around the life so long that she doesn't realize how much it has rubbed off on her. She has survived in that life for a long time and she knows the game and the tricks. She's a player and I don't think she is really realizes it. She wants to believe that she is above it all but in fact she is a product of her envinroment. I think that denial keeps her safe and allowed her to stay in her marriage. I don't see it lifting as her denial is so deep. She has been told over and over by Tony that she is a part of it but she doesn't get it. Now someone else tells her and she still chooses to deny her behavior.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... ressIvy</A>
at: 4/12/04 11:39 am

Re: Carmella's Denial

You make some good points.

What was very telling was her father's deafening silence when she was baring her soul saying that her life and her decisions are colored by her marriage to Tony.

If I were her father I would've tried to comfort her at this point; yet he instead got up and left -- it was a resignation of the inevitable.


Re: Carmella's Denial

Well, this question really is the most interesting aspect of this episode. I'm not really sorry that Wegler accused her of this because, even though I don't think she earned the accusation in this instance, she's certainly showed a manipulativeness on a few occasions in the past, principally regarding the college letter for Meadow. It's good that she might be prompted now from a totally outside source to do a little introspection, to see the mote in her own eye.

Still. I need to rewatch the ep to be sure, but, at this point, I just don't think that Carm did anything particularly manipulative. We have a benefit Wegler did not have, namely of seeing her private reactions to Wegler. The scenes with Ro, Father Intentola, and the later one when she's peeling a cucumber (a tad suggestive!) show that she was genuinely interested in and attracted to Wegler and wasn't risking her life (and his) just to get AJ into college.

Furthermore, I don't recall her ever asking Wegler to intervene, although it's half implied that she did so offscreen(??). (Another reason I think this script was weaker than most.) He seemed to suggest that her turn off/turn on sexcapades were INTENTIONAL, deliberate. I just don't think they were.

Did she hope he'd help? Yes. Was her disinterest in sex on that one occasion an unconscious effort to get him to help? Maybe. Or maybe she was genuinely preoccupied about a lot of things. To me, she seemed to be interposing AJ as an excuse in that encounter because she was feeling twinges of guilt over "cheating" on her husband and didn't want to say that. But whatever the reason, she absolutely didn't consciously withhold sexual favors in order to get what she wanted.

And I think when she went back to him the second time and was all over him, she was genuinely thankful that he had helped, apparently of his own volition. She felt gratitude, and so perhaps the waxing, waning resolve she felt at skulking around in an affair waxed that night whereas they'd waned the previous time.

It's the height of hypocrisy for Wegler to blame his decision to corrupt the grading system on Carmela. Where is HIS freaking autonomy and personal responsibility? She screws the guy a couple of times and all of a sudden her pu$$y is a WEAPON, forcing him into compliance???

Like I said, I'm glad Carmela heard this because it may serve a larger purpose in her personal growth, or lack thereof. But I don't feel it justified in this narrow context. I felt sorry for her on the bed when she said that no matter what her real intentions are, the worst will always be presumed and attributed to her because of who she married.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... fisWall</A> at: 4/11/04 10:00 pm

Re: Carmella's Denial

Ah, Fly, you're one perceptive motherf---er. I agree completely with everything you said in this outstanding post. You're totally right, I believe, about everything you said about Carmela's conduct with Wegler.

See, I was deeply irritated by Father Intintola's commentary in this episode. I totally sympathized with Carmela when she asked him pointedly, "Why am I the only one expected to hold myself to that standard?" or something to that effect. What--the woman has to stay faithful to her husband, but he has no such obligation? How sexist is that? Especially after they're separated!

Anyway, I've spilled my belly juice about that subject enough times in this forum, so I won't elaborate too much more on that point. One thing I will say, I think people harp WAY too much on Carmela using Tony's mobster status to get what she wants! She does that ONCE (before tonight's episode), and even then only for the sake of getting her daughter into a good college--far from the least noble goal I've ever heard of--and everbody sh!ts on her for it for seasons afterward. Why IS Carmela obliged to hold herself to such a high standard?


Re: Carmella's Denial

aalleyne, Carmela (and all the women on the show, frankly) are held to an entirely different standard of moral judgment by a large percentage of the viewers I've interacted with online. Apparently it is deemed more sinful to "nag" and "b----" and accept stolen jewelry and furs than it is to unrelentingly betray your spouse and hijack trucks of furs and jewelry in the first place. Apparently not asking one's spouse how many murders he's committed this month is worse than committing those murders in the first place.

Even my hero, David Chase, often comes across as more harshly judgmental of Carmela than any other character on the show. He has said on at least a couple of occasions that she would be the first of the characters to go to hell. He was probably joking for effect in one instance (in front of a live audience), but the fact that he said it at all counts for something in the Freudian sense.

My own hypothesis about why Carmela is held to such a different moral standard than Tony and his band of Neanderthal sociopaths is that, besides being female, she IS clearly "better" than them, is clearly a good woman in many respects. And it seems that because she's basically decent, she is therefore expected to be entirely infallible, entirely without her own faults and character weaknesses. She isn't permitted the luxury of having shades of grey.

When she consumes the life of luxury Tony provides, she's a gold-digging hypocrite. Yet when she opens up and exposes the full range of her own guilt for profiting from Tony's crimes, as in College, Second Opinion, and Amour Fou, she's some how a "whiner", a "nag". She's expected to miraculously, overnight, rectify all that is wrong about her character . . . leave Tony, get a job, and embark on a totally independent life. Yet she's rarely given credit for the fact that LOVE for Tony and her family and genuine desire to obey Catholic Christian doctrines were also considerations in her inability to break away.

Meanwhile, few ever ask that Tony show even a glacier's pace of moral or emotional growth. And in fact, quite a few viewers would be vehemently disappointed if he did change for the better.


Tony and Carm

Tony doesnt ask a priest for forgivness. Hes a mob boss, and he just wants to make $ and stay out of jail. That is why Carm is held to a higher standard. If T went to Monsignor Jughead for confession, I am sure M J would refuse to forgive him if T made it known he was going to be commiting crimes in the future. Tony has said it before. Carm is a good Catholic when it suits her needs, and a good mob wife when it is convenient.


Carmella is full shit.

This woman is oblvious to her own corruption. What kind of person after sex talks about there kids every freaking time? Conscious or not she is full of shit. Of course those threats at the end at the teacher was that she was hurt by his comments. But what do you expect from these people. There savages.


Father I./Melfi

aalleyne:<blockquote>Quote:<hr>See, I was deeply irritated by Father Intintola's commentary in this episode.<hr></blockquote>I saw Father I's attitude towards Carmela to be rooted in exactly the same kind of jealousy that Melfi had when Tony called Adriana "drop-dead gorgeous." In both cases, the professional advisor feels rebuffed and acts quite unprofessionally.

Take it away, FlyOnMelfisWall...


Re: Tony and Carm

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Tony doesnt ask a priest for forgiveness. Hes a mob boss, and he just wants to make $ and stay out of jail.<hr></blockquote>

Is that supposed to make Tony more admirable than Carmela, less morally contemptible? Is the fact that he's an overgrown infant who demands instant gratification of every whim and urge something that should entitle him to less reproach from viewers? Or that he wants to possess as many "things" as possible and steals to get them, or that he rarely gives more than a moment's thought to anyone else's needs or feelings? Is Carmela's sin of "hypocrisy" worse than Tony's sins of hypocrisy, murder, theft, and near-daily episodes of adultery? Because you'd sure think so by the sheer volume of posts denouncing Carmela as evil incarnate by posters who concomitantly think Tony is one cool dude.

As Meadow so presciently said in season 2, "sometimes we're all hypocrites." And I issue that reminder to anyone who contends that Carmela is in any way the moral equivalent or inferior of Tony.

The only reason Tony, whose own hypocrisy DWARFS Carmela's, hasn't sought "forgiveness" for his sins is that he almost never consciously admits he's sinned! Every single time Melfi has tried to confront him on the immorality of his conduct, rare as those occasions are, he sits in defensive silence, changes the subject, evades, or eschews personal accountability by angrily attacking the immorality of other people (Richie, Ralph, large corporations "dumping toxic waste", you name it). Of course the other reason he doesn't seek forgiveness is that he doesn't really believe in God or in an absolute code of morality, of good and evil. He has no use for forgiveness since he doesn't fear the consequences of not receiving it.

Don't get me wrong. I think Tony does have a conscience, buried as he keeps it most times, and this is one major factor that makes him so interesting. But all his conflicts of conscience are largely unconscious, percolating upward in panic attacks, depression, displaced fits of violent rage, and the like. His conscious mind can't or won't let his conscience permeate the "straw house that shelter's his base criminality", as Richard La Penna put it.

However hypocritical Carmela has been and remains by continuing to live in that house and accept Tony's money, she is at least conflicted at a conscious level about issues of sin and good and evil. She has at least on several occasions openly acknowledged her own culpability for willingly profiting from Tony's crimes, displaying a truly profound level of inner torture over that fact.

And I didn?t see Carmela ANYWHERE in this episode go looking for unconditional forgiveness. Quite the contrary. She invited Father Inentola to dinner and later went to confession because she was conflicted, spiritually and intellectually. She didn?t demand absolution and could not have realistically expected it. But because she?d put up with 20 years of incorrigible, remorseless, increasingly flagrant betrayal by her husband, part of her wanted to hear that she shouldn?t be bound by sham marriage vows. She hoped he?d see what is obvious to any decent thinking person who?s not hiding behind the thinly veiled sexism of Catholic doctrine: that a party to a contract (in this case, a marital contract) is not obliged to keep her end of the bargain when the other party has been in flagrant breach for 20 years.

So I have to ask again: why, when Carmela's sins (by any rational standard) are mole hills next to the mountains of Tony and company's sins; why, when she is at least willing to admit that there is such a thing as sin and that she's committed her share, is Carmela subjected to such relatively unearned and disproportionate viewer contempt?

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>what the hell, are you a psychiatrist?<hr></blockquote>

Not by a long shot. That's ObservingEgo's territory.:-)

But I'm a contemplative person whose parents were incredibly insightful about human behavior and human nature. So I like to think I've learned a few things about people.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... fisWall</A> at: 4/12/04 3:33 am

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