Wednesday, February 12, 2020

TV Quote of the Day (‘The Sopranos,’ In Which Tony Distinguishes Nostradamus From Notre Dame)

Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri [played by Steve Schirripa]: “Mom started going downhill after the World Trade Center. You know Quasimodo predicted all this.”

Anthony 'Tony' Soprano Sr. [played by James Gandolfini]: “Who did what?”

Bobby: “All these problems—the Middle East, the end of the world.”

Tony [shaking his head, like a teacher correcting a very errant student]: “Nostradamus. Quasimodo's the Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Bobby: “Oh right. Notre Damus.”

Tony: “Nostradamus, and Notre Dame. Two different things completely.”

Bobby: “It's interesting, though, they'd be so similar, isn't it? And I always thought, okay, Hunchback of Notre Dame. You also got your quarterback and halfback of Notre Dame.”

Tony [exasperated]: “One's a f-g cathedral.”

Bobby: “Obviously. I know, I'm just saying. It's interesting, the coincidence. What, you're gonna tell me you never pondered that? The back thing with Notre Dame?”

Tony: “No!”— The Sopranos, Season 4, Episode 1, “For All Debts Public and Private,” original air date Sept. 15, 2002, teleplay by David Chase, directed by Allen Coulter

Over the last several months, I’ve been catching up on nearly two decades of TV shows on DVD—series like Foyle’s War, Monk, Game of Thrones. Last night, I started Season 4 of The Sopranos. 

In the past, watching prior seasons sometimes made me burst out laughing at its moments of dark humor, but nothing prepared me for this segment quoted here. Years ago, on a radio show, I recall Goodfellas screenwriter Nick Pileggi saying that Mafia kids in school were the type of guys who tripped other students walking toward the front of the class. 

Perhaps Tony Soprano was like this growing up, too. In fact, I’d say it was very likely.

But perhaps all those weeks watching The History Channel (before it became dominated by reality programs, mind you) improved his appreciation for knowledge. 

Who said television serves no educational purpose?

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