Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Now that the fat lady has sung for 'The Sopranos', I'd like to take one last look back at some of the other TV shows that have theoretical links to the mobster drama in the TV Universe. I should highlight that word "theoretical", because none of the following examples were ever proven to be legit crossovers between the shows.

There are a couple of dramatic series in the list, but far more of the shows involved are sitcoms. Not sure if that should be seen as having any meaning.....

The main source of income, as far as legit paperwork goes for Tony, was Barone Waste Management. The trash-hauling business could have been owned by a cousin of Frank Barone from Queens, whose son Robert was a cop and son Raymond was a sportswriter.

Jimmy "The Rat" Altieri, a turncoat captain in the Soprano family, was played by Joe Badalucco, brother to Michael Badalucco, who played Jimmy "The Grunt" Berluti on 'The Practice'. The resemblance between the two was enough to make me think that the two of them could be cousins; both of them named after some other James in the family, a grandfather, perhaps.

Jimmy Berluti, growing up in Boston, entered the legal profession while his cousin Jimmy was raised in New Jersey and traveled down the opposite path in life.

Here's another example of a possible family connection, one that's an example of the "identical cousin" phenomenon to be found in Toobworld. GiGi Cestone, a captain who took over the construction concerns after the death of Jimmy Altieri, looked exactly like Detective Tony Profaci of the 27th Precinct in Manhattan. Yes, I know that's because the same actor (John Fiore) played them both in the real world - stay within the realm of the TV Universe, huh?

GiGi died of heart failure while trying to squeeze one out on the can in the back office of the Bada Bing strip club. His cousin Tony didn't fair much better - Profaci was arrested for murder in the TV movie "Exiled", which brought Detective Mike Logan back to the 'Law & Order' corner of the TV Universe.

In the last installment to be filmed in the 'Columbo' series, "Columbo Likes The Night-Life", the rumpled detective was visited by a reputed mobster from the East Coast. He had been sent to oversee Lt. Columbo's investigation into the murder of a high-level "Family" member's brother, and to make sure the killer would be brought to justice.

As this mobster was played by Steve Schirripa, it's my theory that he was in fact Bobby Baccalieri, using an assumed name, "Freddie". He was undertaking the job as a favor for that New York family so that they could keep their distance from the case publicly.

When Christopher Moltisanti and Paulie Gualtieri turned on each other in "Lord Of The Flies" fashion while stranded in "The Pine Barrens", Christophuh called Paulie Walnuts "Grandpa Munster". This was due to the wings of silver hair that adorned Paulie's temples, and at the time they were flayed out to resemble the hairstyle of the vampiric patriarch played by Al Lewis.

This might have been considered a Zonk, that Christophuh was referring to 'The Munsters' as a TV show; at least that was probably the original intent by the author of the script. But within the "reality" of Toobworld, The Soprano family and the Munster family both exist in the same dimension.

By the year 2000, at least, perhaps even far earlier, the general public had become aware of the existence of the bizarre family that lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Too many people had come to call at their home - leaving with their hair on end, their eyes bugged out, and their hats in mid-air - to leave them a secret for very long. I would imagine that sooner or later the Munsters came under the scrutiny of the FBI's X-Files department; if they weren't investigated by Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, then by their predecessor, Arthur Dales.

When Larry expressed a desire to move the show back to New York, his producer Artie made it clear that he would not be going back with hiim, as he would not be welcome back there by certain parties. Although they were not named, it was definitely suggested that these parties probably had mob ties.

I think Arthur ran afoul of Carmine Lupertazzi who used to be head of the Brooklyn crime family. And whatever the slight he had caused, Artie couldn't go back even after Carmine passed away - memories run deep in those crime families, and Carmine's edict banishing Artie from ever returning was probably upheld by John Sacrimonte when he assumed leadership.

Whatever Artie had done, I guess the Brooklyn family knew not to confuse him with his identical twin brother Don Geis, one of the bigwigs at NBC as seen on '30 Rock'.....

"Don't you guys watch 'The Sopranos'?"
"What? Don't you watch 'The Sopranos'?"
'The Knights Of Prosperity'

'The Sopranos' has been mentioned as a TV show on several other TV shows - among them 'Huff', 'Weeds', 'Gilmore Girls', 'Family Guy' and 'The Simpsons'. (Christopher Moltisanti even has an animated presence in the Tooniverse thanks to the "Sibling Rivalry" episode of 'Family Guy'.)

Ignoring the Tooniverse to focus on Earth Prime-Time, there's an easy splainin as to why these other TV shows referred to 'The Sopranos' as a TV show itself: they were watching one of those so-called "reality" shows. I'm not sure what form the show takes, whether it's a personal look at people connected to the mob, like the real world's 'Growing Up Gotti', or an in-depth examination of organized crime which chose to focus on a smaller mob family (a "glorified crew", as Carmine Lupertazzi called the Sopranos). But it could have been sanctioned by those involved due to the involvement of Little Carmine Lupertazzi who may have produced the program as part of his movie production company.

(It's through Little Carmine and Christopher Moltisanti that we have the only legit crossover for 'The Sopranos' - an HBO featurette looking at the making of "Cleaver", the slasher flick they produced in the last two seasons of the show.)

Those are just a few of the examples of where 'The Sopranos' resides in Toobworld (aside from northern New Jersey). Over the last eight years, I'm sure there are other instances which could be cited. So if you can think of a good example of another TV show that could be hypothetically linked to 'The Sopranos', send them along. I can always use the help in piecing the tele-mosaic together!

Toby OB

1 comment:

Sean said...

My take on the final ten seconds is this:

The reason that the camera goes black is the Electromagnetic Pulse, or EMP, that had just washed across the Diner.

Tony Sporano is looking up just in time to see a mushroom cloud rising up before the whole family is wiped out.

The screen goes to dark, and the only thing missing is morse code tapping out "Made in America" ...

That's right, the whole show was just a lead into Jericho.

Puts it all into perspective, huh?

-- artisans, open fire