All posts by podyourself

204: Commendatori, With Drew Magary Formerly Of Deadspin



And we’re back! Pod Yourself A Gun: A Sopranos Podcast has returned from our self-imposed hiatus to discuss episode four of season two (204), “Commendatori.” Or, as it’s known in It’s Always Sunny naming convention, “The Gang Goes To Italy.”

Joining us for this episode is columnist/writer/author Drew Magary, formerly of Deadspin, currently of GenMag and Vice. Drew was a semi-regular guest on our other podcast, the FilmDrunk Frotcast, though this is the first time we’ve had him on since his brain exploded and he almost died, and since his company got bought by private equity ghouls and the entire staff quit in protest.

2019 was an eventful year for Drew! But mostly he’s just here to discuss “Commendatori,” one of my personal favorite episodes of Sopranos. Reportedly this episode was one of David Chase’s least favorite (even though he wrote it) and in fact it was the first (and only) episode Chase brought up in this 2019 interview when asked if there were any episodes he wishes he could do over. Apparently he thought Sofia Milos was too sexy as the mob boss.

Whatever the case, I love this episode (I made an entire dish based on it for this cooking challenge), partly because the episode is peak Pauly Walnuts. Here he’s been basing basically his entire life and persona on this idea of coming from Italy and being Italian and then he finally goes there and the food is weird and the people are kind of rude and everyone thinks he’s a dumb asshole.

When he sees the old man on the waterfront and says, “Commendatori, buongiorno!” and the old man asks “Are you with NATO? You cut our ski lift cable,” (in Italian, which Pauly can’t really understand) it’s one of the best moments in the entire series.

It’s also the first time we meet Furio, and it opens with a car jacking scene in which the actor who plays the annoying rich kid went on to write Pan and Wonder Woman.

As always, if you like the show, leave us a review, and maybe even throw us a few bucks on Patreon. If you don’t, well, va fongool.


Pod Yourself 16: Toodle-Fucking-Oo, With Shereen Younes (S2E3)



Pod Yourself A Gun, the world’s only Sopranos rewatch podcast, is back with another fresh and wholly original hour of thoughtful Sopranos critique/offensive impressions of Italian-Americans and jokes about dick sucking lips. This week Matt and Vince watched season 2, episode 3 “Toodle-Fucking-Oo” or as Vince titled it “Hey We’re Old School, Right?”

This episode introduces Richie Aprile and Beansy into Sopranos lore and we see three generations of Soprano women (Meadow, Janice and Livia) flex their manipulation muscle.
General themes include:
-Old school vs new age
-Dr. Melfi vs Jennifer Melfi
-Lips vs tits
-Can you beat a woman if she’s not your wife?
-You can’t even beat your kids anymore!
Matt and Vince welcome the hilarious Shereen Younes (of the Ethnically Ambiguous podcast) who offers a MIND BLOWING theory regarding the relationship between Beansy and Richie. It honestly will change the way you watch the rest of season 2. Enjoy this episode you worthless bookyaks. GABAGOOOOOL!

Pod Yourself 15: Do Not Resuscitate, With Alison Stevenson (S2E2)



Pod Yourself A Gun’s Sopranos rewatch continues with episode 15 (season 2, episode 2), “Do Not Resuscitate.” First aired January 23rd, 2000, this episode sees Tony deal with a race strike at one of his construction sites, Livia dealing with Janice, and Livia being caught in the web of one of her own manipulations (or is she??). Oh, and we also get the first appearance of Tony’s long-suffering punching bag, Bobby Baccalá, and find out that Big Pussy Bonpensiero actually is working with the Feds after all.

I watch all the episodes at least twice for this show, and this one probably gained the most so far from the second viewing. “Do Not Resuscitate” is easily the most subtle Sopranos episode up until this point and arguably one of the most subtle of any episode. As such, there’s lots to debate and discuss!

Do we believe, for instance, as Matt Zoller-Seitz speculates, that it was Livia who told Junior that the director of the Green Grove Retirement Community was spreading Sopranos secrets? And that when Junior told Tony and got the guy whacked, which became an excuse for Livia not to go back there, did she become the victim of her own plans, and thus the choking sequence when she found out about it? This is by far the most complex “fan theory” I will ever engage with but in this case I think it actually might be true.

Our guest this week is Alison Stevenson, wonderful comedian and long-time friend of the pod who also has her own podcast about relationships and a Wednesday night gig on Adult Swim. As always, please enjoy this episode, and if you don’t, va fongool.


Pod Yourself A Gun 14: Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist’s Office



In episode 14, season one of The Sopranos is over and season 2 begins!

“Season Two opens with the aftermath of the federal crackdown: Junior’s in jail, Melfi refuses to see Tony, Christopher’s expanding into new business ventures, Pussy is still missing…and Tony’s adjusting to life as the new boss. To complicate matters even more, Tony’s free-spirited sister Janice arrives to take care of Livia.”

In “Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist’s Office,” which originally premiered January 16th, 2000, sees Tony making nice with Big Pussy, Christopher running a pump and dump scheme while getting deeper into heroin, and the first appearance of Aida Turturro as Tony’s sister Janice, one of the all-time great TV characters and very triggering according to Matt. I think we all know at least one Janice.

It’s also the first time we meet Matt Bevilaqua, played by Lillo Brancato Jr., previously of A Bronx Tale, who would go on to do eight years in prison for his part in a botched burglary during which an off-duty police officer was killed. That’s pretty dark, but the important thing to remember is that this episode is full of important trivia, some of which we remember. Give it a listen or va fongool.


Pod Yourself A Gun 13: I Dream Of Jeannie Cusamano, With Laremy Legel



This week on Pod Yourself A Gun, we’re discussing episode 13, “I Dream Of Jeannie Cusamano,” the season one finale of the Sopranos and thus the season one finale of Pod Yourself A Gun. In this episode, all of the Sopranos biggest season one storylines come to a head, and many to a resolution. Tony finds out his mother and uncle conspired to try to have him whacked. Carmela realizes Father Phil is a fuckboi. Dr. Melfi puts her cards on the table and tells Tony what she suspects about his mother. Tony becomes a physical threat to Dr. Melfi. Tony removes a suspected snitch from his crew and comes clean to his remaining guys about seeing a shrink.

In one of season one’s best episodes and arguably one of the best season finales of any show, we get a culmination of the themes introduced with a few intriguing questions left to explore. It seems to come from a time when prestige TV seemed to think it owed us more in terms of catharsis and closure. It ranges from dramatic and thrilling (Jimmy Altieri’s death, Tony flipping the table on Dr. Melfi) to introspective and psychological (Carmela calling out Father Phil, Livia’s psychosomatic dementia) to the kind of comedy that really only the Sopranos could do and maybe hasn’t been done the same since (Mikey Palmice’s death scene, one of the greatest in TV history, and one of the best lines in the show, “cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this!”).

To discuss this week’s episode, our guest is Laremy Legel, former critic at Film.com, author of Film Critic, long time friend of the pod and Matt and Vince’s co-star in Whoop Dreams, a documentary about the Gathering Of The Juggalos. He joins your regular hosts, Matt Lieb from Good Mythical Morning, The Star Wars Show, and Newsbroke on AJ+ and Vince Mancini, Senior Film And Culture writer at Uproxx. Please enjoy, but if you don’t, as always, va fongool.


Pod Yourself A Gun 12: Isabella



This week on Pod Yourself A Gun, we discuss episode 12 from season 1 of the Sopranos, “Isabella” – where Tony is deep in depression about the disappearance of his friend (and possible snitch) Big Pussy. As we near the end of the first season of the Sopranos, and the first season of Pod Yourself A Gun, Matt and Vince have decided that all of you listeners out there deserve an episode of this show with NO GUEST and just the pure, unadulterated analysis of your loyal PYAG hosts. Just the raw shit, no filler. And what better episode to do this than Isabella, which has zero nudity. That’s right, ZERO.

Bada B-stories:

-Tony is depressed

-JR puts a hit out on Tony

-Livia is losing her mind

-Tony meets Isabella, who may or may not be Tyler Durden

Enjoy, please review and comment, email us at frotcast@gmail.com, voicemail 415 275 0030, and donate at Patreon.com/frotcast. We love you, and don’t stop believin.

 


Pod Yourself A Gun 11: Nobody Knows Anything, With Joey Devine



It’s time for another hilarious, informative, and not-nearly-frequent-enough episode of the world’s premier Sopranos podcast, Pod Yourself A Gun. This week Matt Lieb and Vince Mancini are talking season one, episode 11, “Nobody Knows Anything.” Our guest is Joey Devine from the world famous NBA podcast, Roundball Rock.

In episode 11, which premiered March 21st, 1999, Pussy has a bad back and might be a snitch, dirty detective Vin Makazian is sick of the way Tony has been treating him, Junior learns new secrets from Livia, and we meet a smattering of new characters — including Debbie, the madame with a heart of gold, Mikey Palmice’s wife, the mysterious and wonderful bordello doctor known only as “Dr. Mop and Glow,” and a reference to “the Jonas Salk of backs.” This episode also marks the first time we hear Pauly Walnuts’ Godfather theme car horn. So many things to discuss!

Download it now and tell all of your friends.


Tony ringing the bell

Pod Yourself A Gun 10: A Hit Is A Hit, With Miles Gray



Miles Gray from The Daily Zeitgeist podcast joins Matt and Vince this week to discuss Sopranos episode 10, “A Hit Is A Hit,” released March 14th (Pi Day!), 1999. In this episode, Pauly, Pussy, and Christopher kill a drug dealer for a big score, and everyone has their own ideas what to do with the money. Tony wants to fund an IPO, Carmella wants to play the stock market, and Christopher bankrolls Adriana’s music producing ambitions.

Meanwhile, “gangsta rapper” Massive Genius (played by Bokeem Woodbine) finagles a sitdown with Hesh, who Massive G believes owes royalties to a distant relative. Adriana signs up an old friend for some studio time, and Tony decides to play golf with his neighbor, Dr. Bruce Cusamano, an Amerigan, or a Wonderbread Wop, hoping for some hot stock tips but instead becoming a dance bear for the country club squares.

A lot people have said this is one of the Sopranos worst episodes, but notwithstanding some poor writing of the black characters, I (Vince) think this is actually one of the better episodes of this season. I read it as foreshadowing all the dumb bullshit people blew their money on in the early aughts, when everyone suddenly decided they were a stock picker and real estate speculator. It also, yet again, is unsparing towards all the characters, gangster or straight, Wonderbread Wop or goombah. Everyone is their on distinctive flavor of A-hole, and isn’t that just like life?

We finish things off discussing which of the Sopranos characters, if any, wouldn’t have voted for Trump.

If you like the show, give us a review! Donate at Patreon.com/Frotcast. Email us at frotcast@gmail.com, leave us a voicemail at 415 275 0030.


Sopranos lady with Pie in her face

Pod Yourself A Gun 9: Boca, With Anna Hossnieh From Daily Zeitgeist



For episode nine, Anna Hossnieh from The Daily Zeitgeist and Ethnically Ambiguous podcasts joins Pod Yourself A Gun to talk “Boca,” episode nine of The Sopranos. Released March 7, 1999, “Boca” is allegedly a double meaning title, referring both to Uncle Junior’s trip to Boca Raton with his girlfriend Bobbi Sanfilipo, and as in Italian/Spanish for mouth, since this episode is all about loose lips. Junior’s loose lips because he likes to perform cunnilingus, and Bobbi’s because she loves cunnilingus and loves to gab to all her friends about Junior’s cunnilingus skills. Which is a problem for Junior because apparently in the mafia, doing oral sex on a lady makes you gay. Doing the last thing any gay man would want to do is one of the gayest things you can do, as we know. Eventually he pulls a modified Cagney on her which seems extremely rude.

Other plotlines include Meadow’s soccer coach abandoning the team to coach at Rhode Island, and Meadow’s soccer coach having sex with one of the players, which leads her to slit her wrists on the swingset, which is where everyone loves to slit their wrists, obviously. Meanwhile Artie and Charmaine bicker over what to do about Tony, and Artie and Tony bicker over what to do with the soccer coach, and Junior and Mikey Palmice bicker over what to do about the feds. Silvio just nods a lot. Supposedly he wore his own golf hat for this episode. Incredible.

If you love us, leave us a review, or even better pay us for our time over on Patreon. Email us at frotcast@gmail.com, voicemails at 415 275 0030. We love you, don’t stop believin.


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