The Sopranos: Boca   First Watch 
October 27, 2021 9:24 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The capos discuss what to do about the local soccer coach, while Junior's mouth causes him some embarrassment.
posted by overeducated_alligator (4 comments total)
- I kind of hated this episode. The plotline with the soccer coach seemed a bit formulaic, and it's so easy to go to emotional extremes where sexual abuse is the subject matter. He's gross but I'm glad they opt to turn him in to the police. Still, it doesn't seem like the girls get the support they really need through all this. Again, a product of the show's place and time. At least Carmela shuts Tony down when he tries the "misunderstanding" nonsense.
- Do you think the writer of this episode wanted to juxtapose the way The Guys think about women in the strip club, with their later reaction?
- I seriously do not get the oral sex thing. But at the same time, it's clear that Bobbi is not a model of discretion, and that is non-negotiable in business terms.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:33 AM on October 27, 2021

I have a lot of thoughts about how important (or at least revealing) this episode is WRT the overall creative project of The Sopranos, but I guess unpacking that would mean breaking the first watch code.
posted by COBRA! at 12:42 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Hmm. I'll keep that in mind as I continue to watch.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 12:48 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Re: the oral sex thing. I remember in middle school when the subject of oral sex started becoming a topic of juvenile discussion amongst my peers. A lot of guys thought the idea of being a "Bushman of the Kalahari" (as Tony puts it) was really gross and demeaning -- definitely a product of toxic masculinity, the idea that women's bodies are somehow inherently gross and/or that performing such a "submissive" act is emasculating. I think that's basically the same mentality at work here. As for Bobbi, I feel sorry for her -- I think she really does love Corrado, and to be fair to her, she does try to shut down the rumors when her friend starts talking to her about Boca. (Added thematic bonus: Boca is Spanish for "mouth," and this episode is all about what people do with their mouths.)

Do you think the writer of this episode wanted to juxtapose the way The Guys think about women in the strip club, with their later reaction?

Oh yes, definitely. The hypocrisy of their own misogyny and objectification of women (and their privilege to ignore it), the paternalistic response, Artie's very apt point about how killing the coach would only make them feel better and do nothing for the girls -- and the fact that, ultimately, the girls don't get the help and support they need, which sucks to see but I think is absolutely part of the point.

Regarding Tony's decision not to whack the coach, I think there are two things going on. One is that it shows that Tony is capable of acting unselfishly and "doing the right thing" -- IF he tries really hard. I think it is important for the show that Tony is complex and not totally irredeemable. Secondly, I think it is about the audience. Artie Bucco is the audience proxy here: he voices the kind of vicarious thrill that the audience gets from on-screen violence, especially when we get to feel self-righteous about it because it happens to a "bad guy" like the coach. But the show refuses to scratch that itch for us, and for all that Artie may be kind of a dorky weiner, he stands up to Tony -- nearly getting his ass kicked in the process! If Tony went through with the murder, then we'd be both complicit and ignorant about our complicity. When he decides not to go through with it, we as the audience have to consider our own desires: do we want revenge, or justice?

Dominic Chianese has said (on the Talking Sopranos Podcast) that this episode contains his favorite line of dialogue in the whole series, when he's sitting in the hotel room with Bobbi: "Pass me the red peppers."

Speaking of great lines:

Artie Bucco: "Fuck the world!" (Have I mentioned how much I love Artie?)

Dr. Melfi: Small cutting is the clinical term.
Tony: What's large cutting, O.J. and the missing track suit?

Junior: "I don't go down enough."
Carmela: "That's not what I hear."

Carmela: "Let's just say... your uncle has developed a taste for her."

Tony: "Hey, what goes on in this bedroom stays here and you know that."
Carmela: "Once a year? I can resist the urge to gossip."
(Poor Carmela!)
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:33 PM on October 27, 2021

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