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  • Broken Base: Season four, which either sucked out loud or was a good season that got crapped on because the show took an introspective turn.
    • Too much yakking and not enough wacking, or plenty of character development and drama?
    • The finale split people into camps of "lifers" and "deadheads" for months after with people on one side occasionally claiming that if you didn't agree with their take you weren't a real fan and simply didn't get the show.
    • Creator David Chase didn't help the debate by first stating there was no hidden meaning, then saying "anyone who wants to watch it, it's all there," and then later commenting "there's more than one way of looking at the ending."
    • In other words: Tony's dead. Unless he isn't.
    • Go to IMDB's message board for The Sopranos and you'll see that half the threads are either "Lifers vs Deadheads" threads or turn into focusing on that question at some point or another.
  • Complete Monster: Richie Aprile, Ralph Cifaretto, Paulie Walnuts, Phil Leotardo, Livia Soprano, and ultimately Tony himself per the opinion of nearly a dozen psychiatrists within the show itself.
    • Jesus Rossi counts as one. He brutally rapes Dr. Melfi and shows no remorse over his crimes.
    • While there is no question that the mobsters in The Sopranos are clearly evil people, it's debatable whether Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts qualify for this trope.
      • While the psychiatrists in the show clearly diagnose Tony as an incurable criminal sociopath, there are several moments throughout the series when he is seen expressing true remorse for his crimes as well as acting on genuine feelings of altruism. This is perhaps best demonstrated when he learns that he cost a stalwart police officer his job in a dispute over a traffic violation. Feeling deeply remorseful for the harm he has cause, he clumsily attempts to make amends by offering the dishonorably discharged policeman with a hefty amount of cash.
        • Except of course, that Tony had a chance to get the man his job and overtime back and chose not to for no reason at all, only to go back and offer the man a temporary solution when he could have dealt with the root problem. A cynic could even point out that Tony offered the man money not just out of a sense of altruism but to prove to himself that all men were corruptible and would accept bribes eventually, even said stalwart cop, who made him feel small and petty.
      • To a far lesser extent, Paulie Walnuts also demonstrates a capacity to empathize with those around him. Upon discovering that Nucci is not his mother, he first reacts by disowning her. However, over time, he gradually finds it within his heart to forgive her and make amends with her before she dies. This is clearly demonstrated by his visible grief over her death during the course of her funeral. Moreover, he is also seen grieving (albeit restrainedly) over the death of Christopher Moltisanti and even expressing regret over his cruelty towards him during the course of their time together.
      • Even Ralph Cifareto, as despicable many of his actions are and much of an asshole he is, has one redeeming factor which doesn't show up until his last episode: his love for his son Justin.
  • Creator's Pet: Vito in season 6. Partly because his big arc was largely filler designed to pad out the first half of season six, due to Chase and HBO wanting to drag out the series for one final batch of episodes which had not yet been written.
    • Also Jackie Jr. in season 3.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Season four's finale "Whitecaps"; the scenes where Carmela and Tony confront each other over their respective adultery (Tony literally, Carmela figuratively in terms of her confessing to having fallen in love with one of Tony's associates) stands as one of the finest moments of the show's run.
    • Carmella and Hugh's respective rants against Livia during her funeral after party are two of the most satisfying scenes to watch in the whole series
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: "Woke Up This Morning" by Alabama 3, a song whose tone and lyrics are so perfectly suited to the show that you'll be astonished it wasn't composed for it.
    • Also the final scene.
    • The two sequences in the season three premiere where the Peter Gunn theme and "Every Breath You Take" are played over each other. The two songs have the exact same beat and mesh perfectly.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Increasingly so as the main characters becomes less sympathetic in each passing season.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Paulie.
    • Drea de Matteo as Adriana. She went from a being an extra in the pilot and a minor character in the first season to one of the most popular characters and a big hit with critics especially in season 5 when her storyline came to a head and fans were devastated by the death of the character. Drea de Matteo won the Emmy for her performance in that episode.
  • Fan Disservice: Tony in his robe and underwear. Especially his sex scenes.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: An argument about an Army career for A.J., before The War on Terror.

Carmela You wanna train him to be a professional killer?
Tony: Oh will you stop! They're soldiers. And the United States Army hardly ever goes to war anymore.

  • Gainax Ending: A subtler example than most, but damn.
  • Genius Bonus: Not so much "genius" as "location", for obvious reasons, Jersey people get a big kick out of this show.
    • New Jersey-based sportswriter Peter King bragged in his column that he interviewed Michael Strahan in the same booth where the show ended.
  • Genre Turning Point: Not only did The Sopranos make HBO universally known, it also established that high quality television drama that can compete with film, could be done.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the subplots of the final season was Tony losing a grip on his gambling addiction, culminating in a scene where he loses thousands of dollars on a NY Jets game. New York had the game in hand, until Buffalo Quarterback J.P. Losman fumbled the ball, picked it back up again, and ran it in for a touchdown to win the game. Flash forward to when that game was actually played in New Jersey: Buffalo has the game in hand, until J.P. Losman fumbles the ball to the Jets, who then run it in to win the game.
    • Once upon a time, Mad TV had a parody of the show that depicted just how disjointed the show would be if The Sopranos was shown on a non-premium cable channel and edited for all manner of violence, sex, and foul, abusive language. The actual syndicated version on A&E isn't as bad as the parody Mad TV came up with (which depicted The Sopranos on PAX, of all channels), but it's still pretty funny that the show predicted that The Sopranos would be Edited for Syndication.
  • Internet Backdraft: The web was a scary place to be after the series finale.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Almost all the main cast qualify at one point or another, but Tony and especially Paulie exemplify this.
    • Vito. He's a slimy, maneuvering worm, but some part of you just wants him to stay in New Hampshire and marry Nice Guy Johnnycakes.
  • Kick the Dog: The murder of Bobby and the grave wounding of Silvio certainly qualify for Phil.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Although Tony tried, it was his mother Livia who could have defined it.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Oh, so many. It is a show about the mob, afterall. In case the whole "lying, cheating, stealing and murdering" thing isn't enough, here are some specific ones:
    • The aforementioned incident involving Ralph and a stripper.
    • Paulie murdering an old woman... with his bare hands.
    • Christopher ratting out Adriana, leading to her murder.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: A video game entitled The Sopranos: Road to Respect was released for the PlayStation 2 featuring an original plotline based on notes by David Chase and voiceovers by the TV cast. Unfortunately, it was universally agreed to be horrible and a disgrace to the series.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Paulie Walnuts, though many of the mobsters display some shades of this.
  • Seasonal Rot: Varies depending on who you talk to. Seasons 1, 2 and 5 are generally agreed upon as being great. Season 6 (Part 1) and Season 4 generally receive the highest complaint value, though season 4 has its fans. Season 6 (Part 2) and Season 3.
  • Special Effects Failure: One episode has Tony and co. cheering at what is obviously stock footage of a horse race.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In Season 6, Junior is assaulted in the mental hospital by his violently unstable college-aged Asian-American protege Carter Chong; unfortunately, this episode aired only days after the violently unstable Asian-American Seung-Hui Cho killed dozens of his classmates and teachers at Virginia Tech. While the episode had obviously been filmed months before, its debut (with the massacre's aftermath still leading the news) was more than a little unsettling.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Adriana to Christopher. Tony says it himself: "She's a knockout. A Ten. And you're....average, at best." His looks aside, his demeanor in general was extremely creepy, and he certainly did not treat Adriana well.
  • The Woobie: Adriana. Almost a Butt Monkey but you'd have to be a cold bastard not to feel some sympathy for her...or a member of the mob.
    • For that matter Christopher can sometimes fall here when he isn't a complete psycho. For example, when he was being bullied by the two Tonies.
    • Carmela. Most of the time (due to Tony’s philandering, among other reasons), but particularly in Season 5 where she’s separated from Tony and constantly blamed, berated and generally pushed to breaking point by an adolescent and abusive A.J.
    • Bobby Baccala. Nobody else compares. Father killed off one season, his wife the next
      • And then he married Janice. Poor bastard.
        • And then Tony goads him in to punching Tony in the mouth. Then Tony forces Bobby (who is not Ax Crazy like his comrades) to commit a murder as a punishment.
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