Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>But I was disturbed he put AJ down for failing at the Junior killing (how does one read that anyways?).<hr></blockquote>

It's pretty straightforeward.

While it's true that Tony doesn't want AJ to follow in his footsteps, of organized crime, he's also ashamed of AJ for being weak.

The two items are not mutually exclusive at all.

Tony has repeatedly stated, mostly to Melfi or Carm (rather than to AJ, himself), that AJ is a failure and weak. Tony certainly wishes that AJ was a stronger person, a more intelligent person.

AJ's botched murder attempt was stupid and poorly executed. Just another reminder, to Tony, than AJ is a failure. It's a double gut-punch to Tony. 1. AJ doing something he doesn't want him to do and 2. AJ not even being able to do it right.


Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

I totally agree on that jayduck. The two do go together in Tony's conflicted mind. Not only does he wish his son to go on to greater and better things, but realizes that he may not be capable of such. This also probably brings back conflicted feelings of his own father than did much the same to him, but Tony was actually an able person, even if not able to grow beyond the life that was passed down to him.

There really is much riding on what and how Tony deals with AJ, and before he can do the right thing by his son, he must first understand how he was not done right by his own father. For all the bitching he (and Melfi) has done about Livia, Johnny Boy is the person to look to if Tony desires to cease the cycle.

I hesitate to go further, because some or all of what would follow would belong in the change thread, and honestly, I am still feeling my way around those thoughts.


Re: The confrontation between AJ and Tony

Yes, you're right. I recall Tony rolling his eyes when he told Melfi that AJ "would never make it" in the mob. Also he dreamed that AJ/Finn would "never amount to anything".

Part of Tony feels toward AJ what his mother felt toward him ... contempt. But then part of him loves AJ with all his heart and wants to help him. He is the one who is willing to bankroll a club for him. I'm not sure why Carmella was so against it. What else is the kid going to do?

They made this monster through spoiling and being a bad example of the work ethic. I love their righteous instance that he get a job or go to school ... they're both college drop-outs who never worked a real job in their lives.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

AJ has been incompetent from season one. Everything he's ever tried to do, he's failed at. When he's tried to get away with something, he has consistently been caught.

But on the flip side, even though he never manages to do anything right, he never ever has to suffer the consequences of his failures either.

AJ has always showed a complete disregard to the impact of his actions to others. His family, his friends, it doesn't matter. He doesn't step in to help his friend when he gets in a fight (when they hosted a kegger). He doesn't care about his mother's feelings when he fails in school. He never tries to win the support of his dad - and Tony makes things worse by either ignoring the issues, contradicting Carmela, covering it up, bailing him out, or even finding it funny (kids will be kids).

To top it all off, AJ has lived a very pampered life, given just about everything he wanted.

Didn't anyone find it completely interesting that AJ, sitting in the hospital room, his father in a Coma - and all AJ talks about is a new car he wants? AJ has just about zero empathy for others, and only considers himself in everything that happens.

Finally, AJ's attempt to "avenge" his father is very out of character - after all, AJ has never shown any violent behavior before, nor has he ever shown any real love for his father. I doubt he has ever been in a fight as far as I can tell. He hasn't ever displayed any capacity to use force. The only thing I can get from all of this is that his "display" in the video store about knife fighting was nothing more than stuff he "learned" while watching movies.

Thus, his failed murder attempt, and discussion with Tony after getting out of jail simply reinforces his walter mitty life, projected though "acting" as if he's connected to the mob, that he's a tough guy, that he can do things he thinks he's supposed to be able to do, that he doesn't consider all of the ramifications of anything he does. He thinks he will succeed, and doesn't really consider what would happen to him if he fails (which is inevitable) - because no matter what, Dad will bail him out.

When you don't have to suffer the consequences to anything you do, you tend to ovelook the consequences in the first place.

I don't feel sorry for AJ's character at all. He lacks any social or moral constraints, lives a completely pampered lifestyle, and no matter what happens around him - he ultimately doesn't care.

AJ isn't "smart" - there has been absolutely nothing in the show to support that theory. He's a self centered, little boy with zero motivation (internally or externally) that lives in a fantasy life where no matter what happens around him, he's pretty much bullet-proof.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

Jayduck, DH, Mizmoon and AWPilot:

Could not disagree more.

Having watched the scene multiple times, I'm on board with Splishak (please don't think I am denigrating your opinions, just going to make an attempt to let you see things my way!)

Tony tells AJ that it is wrong to try to kill Junior, then says:
Tony: I told you, that was my FUCKING business...and what did you do, NOTHING, a big FUCKING jerk-off!


Tony: I ought to break your fucking neck!"

Well, shit, sorry to curse when not quoting the show, I believe I haven't done that before, but this is CONFOUNDING. What does Tony mean?

I, unlike the posters I cited above, believe this to be Tony's outrage at himself to creating even the conception within AJ that killing Junior was a solution. Tony SAYS he wants to break AJ's neck because he believes threatening that extreme is the only way to SAVE Aj's neck.

Some have said that Tony is ashamed of AJ's ineptitude. I see that point, and it has valid support. But I believe that Splishak had it right when he said that Tony was using it as evidence that AJ didn't have it in him. There is a lot of anger when Tony says "what did you do, NOTHING!"....but I see that as anger that Tony is directing internally, wishing that he too had done nothing when he robbed that card game. There's too much going on with Tony right now to believe that he wishes AJ had succeeded in killing Junior. Tony HIMSELF is struggling with a desire to escape this life, and I can't possibly contemplate a situation where he wishes his own son (who he has actively KEPT AWAY from the mafia life) had succeeded in a murder. Doesn't work for me, and doesn't work with the direction the show is taking.

I'm sorry guys, this line is almost totally incomprehensible, and I recognize that. But I just don't see Tony throwing out one of the few lines he throws to his son indicating a desire for AJ to have killed Junior. It's just a puzzle piece that doesn't fit.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

With respect to Tony's yelling at his son for doing nothing, here is his point as I see it.

Tony saw the whole fiasco as incredibly stupid and clear evidence that Anthony is not capable of a career in OC and was trying to drill it into that pea brain.

Anthony could not have behaved more stupidly if he had a PHd in Dumbass.

Sometimes the only way to get through to someone like that is to get in their face and shake them up. Carmella keeps trying to be persuasive and logical and understanding when what the kid needs is a strong slap in the face to wake him up. The most surprising thing in the scene is that Tony didn't actually put a dent in that thick skull.

Tony's bitter disappointment was not that Anthony had failed to murder Junior, but that Anthony had made such an enormous mistake in judgement. Tony desparately wants to keep both children insulated from his business and on track for successful lives in the legitamate world. This incident was the manifestation of Tony's worst nightmares so of course it brought out a lot of emotion.

By the way, I admire the scene very much.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

I think it's a credit to the writers that this scene, Tony's dialogue, is open to different interpretations, each valid in its own right.

Tony is ashamed of AJ's ineptitude....
Tony is saying that AJ didn't have it in him....
Tony is directing internally, wishing that he too had done nothing when he robbed that card game.

The way I see it is that first Tony is p*ssed off that AJ acted so stupidly, that he could have been thrown in jail. He's mad that AJ didn't think things thru, didn't plan, acted on emotion.

Then when Tony says, "I told you that's MY business, not yours. And what did you do? Nothing. Zero. A big fuckin jerkoff!" I think he COULD have been talking about AJ's behavior while Tony was in the coma. However, he really is disappointed in and embarrassed by AJ doing yet another thing wrong. Tony was speaking in anger, as he was when he said he'd break AJ's neck. It's not that he wanted AJ to succeed in murdering someone, but that his disappointment in his son burst to the surface in an ugly tirade.

But when AJ starts to cry, Tony sees that he's just a little boy who tried to be a man, tried to defend his father. He softens up and brings forward his new, more compassionate self. He sees the goodness in AJ and wants AJ to see it as well.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

my first read of the 'nothing' comment was that it was a comment on AJ ignoring his dad's wishes. 'i told you it was my fucking business and what did you do? nothing' - as in you did 'nothing' to respect my wishes and not only that, but you did something really stupid that could have put you in prison - like a 'big fucking jerk off'

i realize that may seem like too literal an interpretation -but it's how i heard it the first time and on subsequent viewings. I don't think Tony at that point would be commenting on AJ's ability to be in his world. it was a much more 'in the moment' scene than that - Tony is still digesting the fact that AJ just attempted murder.

I don't think Tony has ever given any real serious thought to AJ wanting to follow his footsteps, in part because he's already decided that there's no way AJ would survive his world. And like a lot of parents, he sees what he wants to see with his kids and even with the screwups, he sees AJ as firmly in the straight world (maybe a total slacker, f&ck up in the straight world, but straight nonetheless)

if his eyes were a bit more open with AJ (which of course would require him to look at himself also) maybe AJ wouldn't be so confused about real life vs. a movie


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

I'll echo some other's thoughts - Tony's comments were (to me) strictly "you stupid SOB, I told you it was my problem, you ignored me, and to top it off, what you tried to do was so stupidly planned that it was almost comical, but with serious ramifications". In other words, can't you see how utterly stupid you were?

How did AJ ever expect to get away with it? In his single defining moment of resolve even beforehand, getting up at a specific time - he fails miserably. Like I said, AJ has never succeeded at anything, and when he fails, his mommy and daddy are there to prop him up.


Re: Blockbuster fight & sympathy for AJ

That line "How did he expect to get away with it" struck me, awpilot.

Thinking back, even Jackie Jr and Brendan, both of whom were major f-ups in their own special ways and who were trying to "come up" in the family, had more planning for the robbery of the crew-hosted poker fest. Bad planning, sure, to try to mimic old times, but more planning than AJ on how to get in and out, no matter how poorly they fared.

Of course, they were older than AJ but by how many years? It is scary to think of how badly it could have gone for AJ were Junior NOT in the safe, controlled atmosphere of the mental hospital.


Return to “Episode 6.08: Johnny Cakes”