– The Sopranos Episode #1 – Pilot – Sopranoland – As Seen on E! True Hollywood Story
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Episode #1
(original air date 1/10/1999)
Episode #1 Closed Captions Transcript
Episode #1
Screen Captures



Centanni's Pork Store

"Big" Pussy and Paulie


Tony and Uncle Junior


Tony, Silvio, Christopher and Hesh at the Bada Bing



Meadow and Tony Soprano


Livia and Uncle Junior

Writer: David Chase
Director: David Chase

Guest Stars:
John Ventimiglia – Artie Bucco
Jerry Adler – Hesh Rabkin
Alton Clinton – MRI Tech
Phil Coccioletti – Nils Borglund
Michele de Cesare – Hunter Scangarelo
Drea de Matteo – Hostess
Elaine Del Vallle – Sandrine
Giuseppe Delipiano – Restaurant Owner
Siberia Federico – Irina
Justine Miceli – Nursing Home Director
Katherine Narducci – Charmaine Bucco
Joe Pucillo – Beppy
Michael Santoro – Father Phil Intintola
Bruce Smolanoff – Emil Kolar

Tony Soprano, mobster in therapyOur first glimpse of Tony Soprano shows him sitting in a room, staring quizzically at a statue of a nude woman. We quickly discover he is waiting for his first appointment with a psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, because he collapsed at his son’s birthday party, possibly due to a panic attack. In a flashback we are introduced to the members of Tony’s family. Carmela, his wife, doesn’t understand her husband’s obsession with the ducks that are living in their swimming pool. Anthony Junior, his son, has just turned 13 and his daughter, Meadow, doesn’t get along well with her mom, plus Carmela doesn’t really like Hunter, Meadow’s best friend.

1-02-melfiTony introduces himself as a Waste Management Consultant, but when he starts to relate a story regarding an outstanding loan Dr. Melfi is prompted to interrupt and explain some ethical ground rules, such as how she would technically have to alert the authorities if someone’s life were to be in danger. Tony skirts the issue by telling her that they just had coffee. What really happened is that Tony chased Mahaffey onto the sidewalk in front of the HMO building he works in and ran him down with his nephew Christopher’s $60,000 Lexus. Having dealt with this degenerate gambler, Tony and Christopher go to a breakfast meeting at Centanni’s Pork Store where they discuss a garbage hauling contract and a competing Polish company. Chris shows a bit of initiative and volunteers to work on the situation. After lunch, Tony visits Livia, his mother. She appears to be a little senile and Tony tries to get her to move into a retirement community, but she calls it a nursing home and refuses to consider it. He tries to be a good son, bringing her presents and trying to cheer her up, but she is consumed with the passing of her now-beloved husband, Johnny Boy Soprano. As Tony later tells Dr. Melfi, he feels angry because Dad was a strong guy and Mom wore him down, but now that he’s gone she regards him as a saint.

AJ's BirthdayLater, while Tony is lighting the barbecue for A.J.’s birthday party, the ducks fly away. He drops the lighter fluid on the grill as he crashes to the ground. He’s out cold when everyone comes running and the barbecue explodes into a ball of fire. The Sopranos’ neighbor and family physician, Dr. Cusamano, puts him in the hospital and orders a bunch of tests. Carmela is frustrated by everything; her marriage, a need for spiritual enlightenment and the fact that she and Meadow don’t get along anymore, but through it all she still loves Tony. And speaking of exploding, Carmela breaks out the heavy artillery when she hears someone trying to break into the house. Turns out it’s Meadow attempting to sneak back in, and her punishment is that she can’t go to Aspen with Hunter. Meadow is old and wise enough to understand that what her father does isn’t legal, so it’s pretty difficult to lecture her about right and wrong.

1-49-greengroveDr. Melfi confronts Tony about depression but he doesn’t want to address it. He changes the subject and tries to charm her, but she won’t have any of it. He finally tells her that his idea of a real man is the strong, silent type, not someone who is in touch with their feelings. After admitting he’s felt depressed since the duck left, he walks out of the session. During a visit to the Green Grove Retirement Community, Livia freaks out about the on-site nursing unit which causes Tony to collapse again. He ends up back in Dr. Melfi’s office, discussing the problems caused by RICO and how no one in the business has values anymore. He says everyone is all too willing to turn government witness when the going gets tough. Dr. Melfi prescribes Prozac.

1-38-chrisMeanwhile, Chris takes even more initiative and kills Emil Kolar, so they can hold on to that garbage hauling contract. Pussy helps him dispose of the body on Staten Island. Tony finds out that Uncle Junior is planning a hit in Tony’s childhood friend Artie’s restaurant. This has the potential to ruin Artie’s business, so Tony decides to do something about it. Uncle Junior, his father’s brother, was jealous because Johnny Boy was a made man before him and now he doesn’t like Tony being the boss. He even hints to Livia that he would do a better job of running things. Tony tries to convince Uncle Junior that the hit should take place elsewhere, but that fails. Then Tony’s father’s longtime friend, Hesh, advises him that perhaps if Artie were to go on vacation, then Vesuvio would be closed. Hesh and Tony also come up with a money-making scam that they force the indebted Mahaffey to participate in. They will set up phony MRI clinics and the HMO company will pay the claims. Tony’s plan to get the Buccos out of town seemed foolproof, but Artie’s wife, Charmaine, doesn’t care for the gangster clientele and is even less willing to accept a gift from the Don of New Jersey. Tony and Silvio come up with another way to get the restaurant to close. Torch the place and make it look like a faulty stove, so insurance will pay.

Edie Falco as Carmela SopranoTony skips his third session, but does confess to Carmela over a romantic dinner that he is in therapy. She is thrilled; it’s just a start but she think maybe there’s hope for him yet. Tony has his fourth appointment with Dr. Melfi and tells her he’s cured then she gets him to describes a recent dream that is troubling him, in which a duck flies away with his penis. Their discuss leads to the conclusion that Tony is afraid of losing his family and he weeps. However, he is back in tough guy mode later and he almost throttles Christopher when he threatens to sell his story to Hollywood.

Notes: This episode was filmed approximately 2 years before the series was picked up by HBO, hence the age difference of some characters compared to the subsequent episodes. Also, Father Phil and Irina are portrayed by different actors and the Pork Store is known by a different name and is in a different location.
Episode #1 SoundBytes

Dysfunction this, dysfunction that…

My uncle adds to my general stress level

What’s different between you and me is…

Anthony Jr.
So what no fuckin’ ziti now?

Uncle Junior
I’m all agita, all the time!

Listen to him, he knows everything

Dr. Melfi
What line of work are you in…

Hey, garbage is our bread and butter

Artie Bucco
Tony is a labor leader

Father Phil
Jeez Louise

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