Saturday, July 15, 2023

Rewatching The Sopranos S2 E1 "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office"

Family Events:
 Oldest sister Janice Soprano shows up, when she asks about Livia, Tony says, "she's dead to me" and that he's selling her house. Meadow visits Livia in the hospital; Livia gives her two of her own grandmother's rings so that she won't be forgotten. Tony arranges a house party for Janice and their other younger sister, Barbara. When he finds the "for sale" sign for Livia's house hidden in Janice's car, Tony rages to Carmela about Janice's intentions.

Mafia Events: Junior's "Boss" standing in the FBI's photo lineup is downgraded; Tony's picture remains in its place but is relabeled "Street Boss." Pussy returns, surprising Tony as he gets his morning newspaper. He admits to Tony he knew they all suspected he was the rat but that he had been away for his back problems in Puerto Rico. Tony forgives him but pats down his body to check for a wire. 

Junior's guy, Philly Parisi, is assassinated, apparently for being "a bigmouth fuck," and spreading rumors about Tony's treatment of Livia and seeing a female psychiatrist. Christopher is given a SEC compliance officer role in a brokerage office; two younger guys he brings in use physical threats to force everyone to push "Webistics" stock.

Mental Health Events: Tony crashes into a telephone pole when he has a panic attack; he sees a new male therapist who refuses to treat him for more than a single session. Tony continues to have issues with controlling his anger over Janice's actions and seems to struggle with further panic symptoms during the party at his house. Eventually he surprises Melfi, who is not receptive to seeing him. He attempts to discuss his recent panic attacks with her but she refuses to talk to him about it or anything else. She snaps, "How many more people need to die for your personal growth?" 

That was a different time for us.
Significant Ideology: The passage of time is shown in both the beginning of the episode (the montage of everyone going about their activities to Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year,") as well as the end (acknowledged through a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Time is on My Side"). Changes in Tony's life are part of the importance of the passage of time, including his fallout with Livia, professional breakup with Melfi, concerns over Junior in prison, Christopher launching off on his own as a broker, and Pussy's possible involvement with the feds. The one constant, reliable figure in his life throughout these changes is Carmela. Her montage footage was wholly focused around the delivery of lasagna from oven to table, just as she closes the episode by presenting Tony with a bowl of spaghetti after he comes home confused and upset from being rejected by Melfi. She helps Tony regulate his emotions over Livia's house and Janice's meddling and encourages him to find pleasure in being with his friends. Knowing Melfi had been helpful to him in the past, Carmela insists Tony resume therapy, citing among other reasons that they have not had sex in "God knows how long." 

Though there have been no such scenes between Carmela and Tony, Tony has what is assumed to be frequent relations with his goomar, Irina. Without reading too much into what has been shown thus far, (Tony admits to offering Carmela oral sex only once a year on her birthday, Tony does not do much other than lie there with Irina, Tony has had sexual fantasies about Melfi) it seems as though there might be specific expectations for his relations with Carmela that either don't come easily to him (emotion, genuineness, consideration for her needs) or that he just doesn't make the time for when he can use Irina for his own needs without any further provisions. Carmela wants him, physically, and is doing everything else she can to manage the house, the kids, and feeding everyone, but Tony seems to need her nurturing more than anything else. Carmela's mother in criticizing Livia (and it seems her own daughter's marriage) reminds her that Livia told her on their wedding night that marrying Tony was a mistake, that he'd only get bored with her; whatever he is currently, bored or something else, he needs Carmela more than ever. In some scenes, ("you mope your way through this and I will cut your throat," and he LISTENS TO HER) she actually seems to wield more power than anyone.


Tony tells Janice that a doctor told him Livia's "stroke" was actually a conversion reaction; this is a mental health disorder and would typically prompt treatment from a psychologist. Surprise, Livia should be in therapy! 

Chris hits Adriana in the club (as in, full public with onlookers) in front of his two broker associates. For this and various other reasons, Christopher could also benefit from some psychological help.

Italian Language: Batiamo le mani - I kiss the hand; my respects (when the crew explains to Pussy that Tony arranged his pickups while he was away). 

Schifosa (you fucking) unsatisfactory/trashy re: Silvio's performance of Kay Adams asking Michael Corleone "is it true, Michael?"

Streg (re Livia, she's the devil, said to Janice) strega, witch