Michael Imperioli in The Sopranos, via HBO

Pod Yourself A Gun 8: El-P From Run The Jewels On ‘The Legend Of Tennessee Moltisanti’



Michael Imperioli in The Sopranos, via HBO

Episode eight of The Sopranos, “The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti,” premiered on February 28th, 1999. More than 20 years later, we’re discussing it with El-P, rap veteran and one half of Run The Jewels. And, as it turns out, a huge Sopranos fan. This episode is that perfect combination of great guest and great episode to discuss.

Perhaps remembered as “the one where Christopher tries to write a screenplay,” episode eight is one of the best episodes of season one and certainly one that hits on all cylinders — comedy, drama, character psychology, and moving the story forward. It has the best dream sequence of any Sopranos thus far, the funniest AJ moments, amazing malapropism, delightful racism against the Irish from Livia, and takedowns of intellectuals and stand-up comics as brutal as any comment on the mafia.

Some of the firsts in this episode include our first glimpses of Dr. Melfi’s family, including her self-hating Italian ex-husband and her insufferable son, who “just moved into a smoke-free dorm room at Bard.” In a show full of vicious thieves and murderers, Melfi’s son manages to stand out as the least likable. It’s also the first time we see Joseph R. Gannascoli as Gino, later to be recast as Vito Spatafore, who starred in one of the all-time great Sopranos episodes, “Johnnycakes,” which was incidentally directed by the same director as this episode, Tim Van Patten, brother of Dick.

Enjoy, and if you like the show, rate us on iTunes and wherever you get your podcasts. You can help keep the show ad free by subscribing to our other show on Patreon, at Patreon.com/Frotcast.

Vince Mancini, El P, Matt Lieb

 


Pod Yourself A Gun 7: ‘Down Neck,’ With Justin Halpern



TV and book writer Justin Halpern (Shit My Dad Says, I Suck At Girls, Powerless, iZombie, Surviving Jack, the upcoming Harley Quinn series) joins Vince and Matt this week to discuss episode seven of the Sopranos, “Down Neck,” released February 21, 1999. Among other things, this episode was the only episode of the Sopranos directed by a woman and was the first ever screen credit for future Creed star Michael B. Jordan. It also consists partly of flashbacks to Newark in 1967, the reported setting of the Sopranos prequel movie, The Many Saints Of Newark.

Tony will be played by his son, Michael Gandolfini in the film, which is interesting considering Gandolfini is 19, and in this episode, with the flashbacks set in the same year, the actor who plays Tony is about 10. Marone, talk about a discrepanzool, am I right??

Incidentally, the actor who plays Tony in this episode, Bobby Boriello, also played young Howard Stern in Private Parts and young Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. We dive into all the episode’s themes, including your favorite recurring segments, Bada B Stories, Gabba Vafongool, Malapropism Corner, It’s the 90s, and the Wayback Machine, where we travel back to 1999 and see how mean people were to Monica Lewinsky. Enjoy, and don’t stop believin!


Pod Yourself A Gun 6: ‘Pax Soprana,’ With Sopranos Sessions Co-Author Matt Zoller Seitz



In this episode of Pod Yourself A Gun, we’re talking episode six of The Sopranos, “Pax Soprana,” released February 14th, 1999 (happy belated Valentine’s Day to all the lovers out there).

At Tony’s suggestion, Junior is made acting boss after Jackie dies. In therapy, Tony surprises Dr. Melfi with an admission. Carmela and Irina (Tony’s mistress) both suffer as Tony’s libido takes a nosedive.

Lots of topics to dive into in this episode, including Tony’s most overt come on to Dr. Melfi to date (ever?), and some of his creepiest interactions with his poor goomar, Irina. Meanwhile, Junior is torn between being a Godfather and being a grumpy ass Fox News grandpa, Livia is manipulating Junior, Junior is taxing Hesh, Carmella is sweating Tony, Mikey Palmice is throwing people off of the bridge at Patterson Falls to make it look like a suicide, and Father Phil even gets a brief bit of screentime, reprising his role as the king of all f*ckboys.

Our guest this week is New York Magazine television critic and RogerEbert.com editor at large Matt Zoller Seitz, who co-authored The Sopranos Sessions with Alan Sepinwall and originally covered the series for the Newark Star-Ledger.

Enjoy and please give us a review and rating on iTunes! (Unless you hate it, in which case don’t do that).


Pod Yourself A Gun 5: ‘College,’ With Francesca Fiorentini



In “College,” The Sopranos basically became the critically acclaimed blueprint for future prestige TV dramas that makes it worth doing a whole podcast about. It’s when the show first came into its own. After a series of sitcommy, lighter-but-solid episodes, Tony takes Meadow to tour colleges in Maine, where he sees an infamous snitch. Meanwhile, Carmella tries to come to terms with the guilt of being a mob wife during her emotional one-night stand with Father Phil.

Francesca Fiorentini from The Bitchuation Room and The Young Turks joins Vince Mancini and Matt Lieb in the studio this week to discuss the episode, with all your favorite segments: the Wayback Machine, It’s the 90s, Bada B-Stories, and Gabba Va Fongool. We get an explanation of “Ugotz” from Stevie B, and for the first time ever on Pod Yourself A Gun, your voicemails. You can leave us a voicemail at 415 275 0030, support us at Patreon.com/Frotcast, and don’t forget to rate and review on iTunes! It really helps our visibility. Thank you all for listening, and as always, va fongool.


Pod Yourself A Gun 4: Meadowlands, With Felix Biederman From Chapo Trap House



Felix Biederman (@ByYourLogic), Chapo Trap House’s premiere Sopranos enthusiast, joins Pod Yourself A Gun this week to discuss Sopranos episode 4, Meadowlands. The Sopranos is still finding its voice in this episode, though there are glimpses of what it would eventually become. Our discussion brings us to such topics as the Three 6 Mafia, the size of polo shirts in the late 90s, the coolest Jewish kid in middle school, AJ’s taste in Gnu Metal, the merits of the N64 controller, and the first appearance of crooked detective Vin Makazian. There’s also pager pranks, 90s websites, the ouvre of Ulver, a real-life mafia hit this week, and the question of whether today’s gangsters are modeling themselves on The Sopranos the way the Sopranos characters modeled themselves on The Godfather. Oh, also, it’s 16 minutes of riffing before we actually start discussing thE episode. You all should probably know that going in. They were pretty good riffs though.


Pod Yourself A Gun 3: Denial, Anger, Acceptance, with Adam Tod Brown from Unpopular Opinion



Hey all you Sopranos fans out there who are also fans of the Frotcast. It’s time for your third exciting episode of Pod Yourself A Gun, a Sopranos podcast where Vince Mancini and Matt Lieb discuss every single episode of the Sopranos. This week we talk Sopranos episode 3, “Denial, Anger, Acceptance,” with Adam Tod Brown of the Unpopular Opinion podcast. We discuss anything and everything about this episode from Jackie’s cancer, to Meadow’s meth problem, to a very Anti-Semitic storyline involving Hasidic Jews jewing each other out of money and then jewing Tony down in a depiction that would make Jerry Lewis cringe. It’s very possible that Italians hate Jews more than I suspected. Anyway, listen to this episode immediately and please give us 5 stars and a review on iTunes. We will love you forever if you do.


Episode 2: 46 Long, With Julia Prescott



This week on Pod Yourself A Gun, our guest is Julia Prescott, television writer and co-host of Everything’s Coming Up Simpsons, on MaxFun. We’re all discussing Sopranos episode two, “46 Long.”

In episode two, we see some of the growing pains of the show. It’s the first episode that’s truly a TV episode, David Chase having originally envisioned The Sopranos as a movie, and we see the show finding its voice. This episode is a bit broad. They telegraph the jokes and ham it up more than they would in future episodes. Television was still a broad, hammy medium in 1999, and episode two has some writing that feels much more sitcommy than it The Sopranos would eventually come to — creating the sort of “prestige TV” format that’s now so ingrained.

Despite its slight shtickiness, it’s also an important episode in establishing that these mobsters are operating in a world where their conception of what it is to be a mafia guy (and just a man in general) has been influenced by depictions of mafia guys in pop culture. Mafia figures became movie characters, movie characters influenced later mafia figures (like John Gotty, referenced in the opening scene of this episode), and then Tony and his crew come along at a moment when the movie mafia guy has already sort of eaten the real mafia guy and spat him back out again, to the point that they’re sort of indistinguishable. Plenty of references to the Godfather and Scorsese movies ensue, including a cameo by “Marty” himself.

We also talk about Tony’s mom, toxic masculinity, how hard it is to find good help in the mafia, and whether the racism of the characters actually turns into racism of the show itself a little bit in this episode. We revisit our segments, Malapropism Corner and Gabbavafongool, and introduce a brand new one (complete with bumper music), “It’s The 90s.”

Enjoy it, like and subscribe, and leave us a (positive) review on iTunes!


Pod Yourself A Gun – A Sopranos Podcast EPISODE 1



Welcome to Pod Yourself A Gun – A Sopranos Podcast, where every week comedians Vince Mancini and Matt Lieb (of the Filmdrunk Frotcast) take you through each episode of the most important TV show ever made. In this pilot episode of Pod Yourself A Gun, we discuss the pilot episode of The Sopranos with TV critic Alan Sepinwall who has written multiple books about the Sopranos, most recently “The Sopranos Sessions” available now at book stores everywhere. We dissect every facet of the pilot, from the original Father Phil Intintola, to the objectively terrible Sopranos theme song. It’s just plain awful. It’s barely music. What does “born under a bad sign with a blue moon in your eyes” even mean? Anyway, hope you enjoy the episode as much as we enjoyed making it. And if you don’t enjoy it, va fangool.