Episode 20 “D-Girl”
Just when we thought Christopher Moltisanti was done with Hollywood, they pull him back in; Christopher & Adriana join Chris’s cousin Gregory Moltisanti and his fiancée Amy Safir for some drinks in the city. Amy works for Jon Favreau (who plays himself in this episode) and they are both interested in reading Christopher’s movie script. A few episodes prior, the writers had us thinking that Christopher was through with big screen distractions, however he now wants to dive back in. The Sopranos writers were always great at delivering diversions like that.
When this episode first aired in 2000 this fact didn’t exist, but if you watch this episode in the year 2010, you keen eyed observers will notice that Christopher’s cousin Greg Moltisanti is played by Dominic Fumusa who is currently acting in Nurse Jackie as the love interest of Edie Falco. Edie, of course, played the one & only Carmela Soprano on The Sopranos. It’s a small world after all.
Christopher’s distractions will land him in bed with his cousin’s fiancée Amy. I can’t help but think forward to the fifth season of the Sopranos, episode 57, Irregular Around the Margins. It’s in that episode where Christopher accuses Tony Soprano of fooling around with his fiancée Adriana la Cerva. Christopher goes ballistic and almost shoots his own boss and cousin, Tony Soprano. The irony being that Tony & Adriana never even layed a kiss on each other. Jumping back to this episode, I can’t help but think of how much of a hypocrite this makes Christopher Moltisanti, who has sex with Amy several times throughout the episode. Chris’s cousin Greg never does find out about these indiscretions (as far as we know), but who knows what would’ve happened between the two of them if he ever did.
I can’t help but always wonder what Christopher whispered to that guy in the bar. Obviously it scared the shit out of him, resulting in Amy being impressed by Christopher’s power & authority. Christopher jokes about that moment later in the episode, but never truly comes clean about what was spoken. Any guesses?
“Death just shows the ultimate absurdity of life.” Signs of teenage angst are surfacing in AJ Soprano. Tony & Carmela begin to feel confused as hell about AJ’s new outlook on life. The seeds of AJ’s future are being set, and it appears that he shares The Soprano depression gene that Tony is so anxious to shake.
Dr. Melfi touches upon Tony’s mentions of his mother, “she’s dead to me”, and wonders whether the way that Tony treats his own mother, AJ’s grandmother, is having a negative effect on AJ. Tony shrugs it off and is leaning more towards his own genes being the cause of AJ’s newfound thoughts on life.
This leads Tony to turn to one of his best friends, Big Pussy, for help with AJ. The storyline works perfect, as Pussy’s character is well underway working with the feds, he’s now asked to put aside business and help his supposed “best friend”. Lucky for Tony & AJ, Pussy still has something of a heart left in him. Notice the scenery behind Pussy as he meets with Agent Skip Lipari outside of his own house; the cemetery in the background looks like it could just swallow Big Pussy right up. The allusion to death is right next to door the rat.
“D-Girl” features three celebrities who play themselves, namely Jon Favreau, Sandra Bernhard & Janeane Garofalo. Jon Favreau takes the biggest beating in the episode from Christopher who constantly rags on the movie Swingers throughout their meetings, which makes for some great comedic relief.
Notice when Christopher & Jon Favreau discuss Christopher’s lead character from his script, Frankie, Favreau describes Frankie as a contradictory character that is also complex. I couldn’t help but think of the character of Tony Soprano when this scene plays. Jumping ahead to the final season of The Sopranos, in episode 79, Stage 5, Christopher’s movie Cleaver premieres wherein one of the characters (the boss in the movie) draws a major comparison to Tony Soprano. Seems Christopher’s ideas for his script didn’t stray too far from real life at all, with Tony Soprano being his main inspiration.
Much like the ‘medigons’ did to Tony Soprano in the season 1 episode, A Hit is a Hit, both Jon Favreau & Amy Safir both use Christopher in this episode. They both seem more interested in hearing Christopher’s mafia stories than really divulging into his script. After Jon ends up stealing Christopher’s story and using it in his own script, this becomes apparent. Finally this leads to Christopher breaking his ties and losing his temper, with both Jon & Amy. Christopher calls Amy a “D-Girl” – short for development girl. He downgrades her career. The origin of the episode title is revealed.
During an amusing scene regarding marriage and fresh produce, Adriana la Cerva reveals to Tony Soprano that Christopher has been working on his screenplay (again). Much like the story that was hinted to us in the pilot episode of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano realizes that Christopher is again facing major Hollywood distractions and he doesn’t like it. I should also mention that Christopher’s first mentions of his cousin Gregory were also made in the pilot episode when he started discussing Hollywood and movie scripts with Tony (shortly before Tony lost his temper).
Big Pussy’s work for the feds is coming to an impasse, as they insist he wear a wire to AJ Soprano’s confirmation party at The Soprano’s house. The feds aren’t happy at all with the information that Pussy has been feeding them as it’s getting them nowhere closer to a RICO case against Tony Soprano. I really love this scene in particular, the way that it was shot at night with the sounds of helicopters overhead. It’s very short, yet very effective because we can really feel the pressure that’s being put on Big Pussy by Agent Skip Lipari and the FBI. This scene also features another one of the recurring FBI agent characters, Agent Frank Grasso.
The stress of “leading a double life” is getting the best of Big Pussy at home as well. While trying to shave his chest (in order to strap on a wire), Angie Bonpensiero insists Pussy let her into the bathroom. Soon a fight breaks out and luckily their son, Matt Bonpensiero, intervenes and stops the fight. One has to wonder whether Pussy might’ve killed his own wife in that moment if their son wasn’t at home. The blood on Pussy’s chest is a wonderful touch to this scene; it’s as if Big Pussy’s true colors are starting to “shine through”.
Throughout the season, Pussy has had a lot of questions for Tony Soprano, however in the scene during AJ’s confirmation party at home, we know that this time Pussy is definitely wearing a wire. Pussy has truly betrayed Tony Soprano and the whole gang and sold out to the feds. Tony still feeds him nothing and laughs off his questions. I’ve got to figure that Tony Soprano’s friendship with Pussy through the years is the only thing keeping him from accepting the truth about his friend. The signs are all there for Tony. Vin Makazian confirmed it in season 1. Yet it seems as if Tony Soprano is still in denial.
In direct contrast to his betrayal, Pussy soon crosses back to the path of being a friend as he talks to AJ, who just got caught smoking marijuana in the garage by Tony & Carmela. Pussy assures AJ that his father is a “stand-up guy” and that he’d “take a bullet for you.” It’s in this moment that Pussy seems to realize that what he’s doing to his friends is wrong, no matter how convoluted his lifestyle has become. Pussy’s advice to AJ is to enjoy everything he’s got, “while it’s in his hands”. Pussy feels out of control and his advice is the total opposite of how he is treating his own family. He breaks down alone in the bathroom as everyone else celebrates. Whether it’s with the mob crew, his family or the feds, he feels alone and he’s got no one to turn to now.
Tony wants Christopher to be loyal and to stay focused on his “job”, yet Christopher’s passion for movies has distracted him once again. Tony delivers a final ultimatum to Christopher, either walk away and never show himself to Tony again, or put all distractions aside and show his loyalty to Tony Soprano 100% of the time. Christopher chooses Tony Soprano. We all know that Christopher should just go off and finish his script and follow that lifestyle he desires, yet at the same time, we know that he won’t leave Tony. Tony & Christopher’s relationship is on shaky ground, but Tony manages to reel Chris back in. The tragedy that is Christopher Moltisanti’s life is in the making.
The themes of loyalty and betrayal are all over the place in this episode. Big Pussy moves a step further towards betrayal and Christopher is trying to catch up a few steps up the loyalty ladder. Tony Soprano deals with Christopher after his distractions are revealed to him. It’s going to take another type of revelation for Tony Soprano to realize what Big Pussy has done.
My favorite scene from this episode was a brief exchange between Tony & AJ Soprano, driving through New Jersey and discussing God.