Episode 10 “A Hit Is A Hit”
The title of this episode features one of those great play on words that The Soprano’s writers were always throwing at us. When you look at the title, “A Hit Is A Hit”, you automatically think that a lot of people are probably going to get whacked in this episode, but you’re wrong. The title is referring to hit songs in the music industry. While I’m on the subject of The Soprano’s episode titles, I want to state that I really love how the writers named the titles. Most of the episode titles are spoken at least once during an episode, not all of the time, but most of the time.
The first scene in this episode is the kind that we’ve come to know and love – we’re thrown right into the action. We don’t necessarily know where we are or who we’re looking at, at first, but as soon as Big Pussy, Paulie & Christopher rear their ugly heads, we know that shit is going down! These early types of scenes setup a lot of tension on this show, I mean think about it, before The Sopranos, which TV show would have a character killed in less than sixty seconds from the start? You never know what to expect.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the drug dealer we’re introduced to in this first scene also get’s the privilege of being Paulie Walnut’s first on screen Sopranos shooting. Paulie really does look like a mean mofo with gun in hand, does he not? A lot of times we take Paulie for granted, but I think he was one of The Soprano’s biggest secret weapons, not only was he played by a great actor in Tony Sirico, but his lines were so hilarious in even the most darkest of times for Tony & their crew. I still get excited when I see Paulie pop up in a stupid Denny’s commercial or an episode of NBC’s Chuck.
We’re introduced in this episode to Dr. Bruce & Jean Cusamano, neighbors of Tony & Carmela. Bruce was the man who referred Tony to Dr. Melfi. Tony wants to thank Bruce with a box of cuban cigars. It’s quite awesome how Tony gives away illegal cigars to a doctor as a thank you for a simple referral. The look on Bruce’s face says it all.
During a celebration where Paulie & Tony have goomar’s by their sides, we learn that Christopher really takes Adriana serious. At this point he’s not like the other guys running around with goomars, of course then again he’s not married so his relationship with Adriana is probably quite new to him. Either way, she’s the one that he wants to celebrate his earnings with.
It’s quite hilarious that Christopher ends up taking Adriana to see Rent, a broadway musical. Imagine a mobster at a musical? Unfortunately we don’t get to see the look on Chrissy’s face when they are in the audience. Christopher mentions that things are starting to work out in Tony Soprano’s crew for him. He also starts to mention that he was starting to wonder about something else, but he stops himself. A sign once again that Christopher’s head isn’t always into this lifestyle that Tony Soprano is molding him into. Christopher enjoys the benefits, but is he really cut out for this?
We get to hear Adriana talking trash on Carmela Soprano, who doesn’t use her brain, and who’s “husband who can’t even tell ya where the money comes from”, when Christopher mentions that Adriana should stay with him. Obviously Adriana isn’t sold on this lifestyle either and would prefer another line of work for Christopher if she chooses to stay with him.
To be honest it seems like the whole Massive Genius storyline felt like filler material in this episode. The fact that nothing really comes out of Massive G’s request to Hesh and that we never hear from Massive G again, after this episode, really does nothing to move season one’s arc forward.
However don’t get me wrong, the scene featuring Christopher giving Adriana’s ex-boyfriend Richie Santini a beatdown with an acoustic guitar as well as forcing him to do some cocaine while having struggles recording a vocal track (after 62 takes) is so hilarious, I had to post it to YouTube as my favorite scene from this episode (video is included below).
Regarding Richie’s band, Visiting Day, it doesn’t seem like anyone besides Adriana actually likes their music. Here are a few great quotes regarding Visiting Day’s music. “You wanna know what the problem is? WHERE ARE THE FUCKING CHORUSES?” “There’s one constant to the music business, a hit is a hit. And this, my friend is not a hit!” “I think you should mentally prepare, for the fucking possibility, that Visiting Day sucks.”
Some interesting references in this episode; one of Massive G’s men call Christopher Moltisanti Donnie Brasco. In an ode to Little Steven, Christopher makes note that, “Silvio, he owned rock clubs in Asbury,” when referencing some expert he let listen to the Visiting Day demo. Sure it’s not my favorite storyline, but even a lackluster episode in The Soprano’s universe contains many a gem. One other thing that this storyline serves to introduce is Adriana’s interest in some sort of career involving music. This will eventually lead to the nightclub that she takes over in season 4.
During this episode the writer’s continue to give The Godfather movies a Sopranos nod, as Massive G comments on all three installments in a meeting with Christopher. I’m beginning to think that I should start counting episodes of The Sopranos that do NOT contain Godfather references, instead of the ones that do.
It’s interesting how Christopher starts to state his resentment towards his mafia lifestyle & compares it to Massive G’s, “He’s got the fly Hampton’s house, Alec Baldwin comes over, Whitney Houston. What do I got? I sit in a fuckin’ pork store for Christ’s sake.” Not only is this line comical, but it reveals a part of Chris that wants to move up quickly and he’s really not interested in keeping his mafia life a secret. “Junior in his moldy old sweaters and he’s a fuckin’ boss!” On a side note, Christopher makes mention to Frankie Valli in this scene, who would later appear in seasons 5 & 6 of The Sopranos as one of the New York mobsters.
For the first time Tony mentions the words to Carmela that we’ll come to hear so many times, “You’ll be taken care of.” Throughout the years Carmela will constantly worry about Tony’s fate and the effect it would have on her and their children. Tony always assures her that she’ll be taken care of. I still wonder to this day if he really had a plan in mind if something did happen to him, or if he was just giving Carmela some false hope. In response to Tony, Carmela constantly questions, “by who?”
There’s nothing like a scene of Christopher stepping out of line while at a sit down to put a smile on my face. During the Hesh & Massive G sit down, Christopher chimes in and earns one of Paulie’s infamous, “whoaaaa!!!” lines, as well as a remark from Hesh, “You’re way out of line kid, let’s get some cold fuckin’ fizzy water on your head.”
Another scene that always stands out to me from this episode is when Jennifer Melfi is over the Cusamano’s house and she goes into their bathroom and looks through the window, to get a glimpse of Tony Soprano’s house. I’m still trying to decide if that is something her character would really do or not, but I guess the fact that she keeps Tony Soprano as a patient for almost a decade lends itself to the theory that she has to have some other interest in him as a mob boss and not only as a patient. Tony’s grunts in the distance really get me hooked into this episode, because I want to know if he’s whackin’ somebody, having sex or what the hell he’s doing to make those grunting sounds? Dr. Melfi wants to know too (she asks Tony about the noises in their next psychiatric session).
I’m still pondering the moment when Tony asks Melfi if she saw his house while visiting the Cusamanos. Tony is walking out of the session, asks Melfi, “You saw my house?” and then he gets this quirky smile on his face. Perhaps he’s still wondering if Melfi has any interest in him outside of being a patient (and little does he know, but she, somewhat, does).
It’s truly interesting to see Tony hanging out with the ‘medigon’s’ in this episode. Tony really feels out of place and every scene of him with Bruce Cusamano and his friends make’s that awkwardness evident. Tony get’s questions regarding Al Capone, The Godfather, the Mafia’s blood oath, “the picture of Galante dead with the cigar hanging out of his mouth”, and John Gotti all the while getting more annoyed and pissed at Bruce Cusamano for bringing him around these guys. Finally Tony gets so fed up that he makes up a story about meeting John Gotti and he give’s Bruce Cusamano the nickname “Coos”.
It was interesting to see people using Tony Soprano, because usually, it’s the other way around and people are kissing his ass. Not only does this storyline play into the fact that Tony Soprano is in the mafia and he really only feels right hanging around with other mobsters, but he’s also alone at the top, which he’ll finally admit years later. He’s not the kind of person that can just reach out and find new friends in life. He’s stuck inside of a circle and a lifestyle, the one he was born into. It’s worth to note that Adriana also tried to branch out to make some new friends and business acquaintances in this episode as well, which didn’t work out for her either.
It’s also worth noting that towards the end of this episode, during a fight, Christopher reveals to Adriana that he loves her. I believe it’s the first time that he has the courage to say those three words to her.
Finally, I love the trick that Tony plays on Coos at the end of this episode. Tony even chirps in with a Godfather impersonation when telling Carmela of his plan. The box of sand that Tony gives to Coos is also one of the first ‘unfinished’ Sopranos storylines that we’ll experience on the show.
The final scene of the Cusamanos staring at the box while Tony grunts loudly next door (he’s actually benching weights) is priceless. Cue the Visiting Day music to play us out to the credits!