The Sopranos/A Hit Is a Hit
A Hit Is a Hit is the tenth episode of the first season of The Sopranos.
Starring: James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi), Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti), Dominic Chianese (credit only), Vincent Pastore ("Big Pussy" Bonpensiero), Steven Van Zandt (Silvio Dante), Tony Sirico (Paulie "Walnuts"), Robert Iler (credit only), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano)
and Nancy Marchand (credit only)
Also Guest Starring: Oksana Babiy (Irina), Bryan Hicks (Orange J), Nick Fowler (Richie Santini), Gregg Wattenberg (Vito), Chris Gibson (Bass Player), Ned Stroh (Drummer), Bray Poor (Squid), Robert Lupone (Dr. Bruce Cusamano), Jim Demarse (Jack Krim), James Weston (Randy Wagner)
Co-Starring: Phil Coccioletti (Eric), Terumi Matthews (Rita), Dan Morse (Mullethead), Alexandra Neil (Wendy Krim), Ken Prymus (Manager), Saundra Santiago (Jean Cusamano), Jessy Terrero (Gallegos), Elizabeth Ann Townsend (Barb Wagner), Cedric Turner (Police Officer)
Tony's crew makes a big score when they take out a Latino mobster in New York who has been muscling in on their territory and take his drug money. To celebrate, Christopher takes Adriana to see a Broadway show. However, while waiting in line at a restaurant popular with black people, Christopher's racist comments draw attention, but nothing happens because word gets around he is connected. Instead, Christopher is approached by famous R&B musician Massive Genius, who invites Christopher and Adriana to his house to appeal to Christopher to grant him an audience with Hesh, whose record label, he claims, owes back royalties to a relative of his for her dead husband's estate. Christopher is impressed by Massive G's lavish lifestyle, and Adriana gets him to agree to allow her to try to become a record producer and promote her ex-boyfriend Richie Santini's band Visiting Day.
When Massive G and Hesh get together, Massive G requests $400,000 in back royalties for his aunt. Later that night, Christopher and Adriana take Massive G to see Visiting Day perform. Although their live performance is booed by the audience, Massive G agrees to let them cut a record, but he watches Adriana more intently than the band. At the recording session, Richie's vocal performance is lackluster, and he argues with both Christopher and the recording engineer Squid about what makes a hit until at last Christopher loses his temper and beats Richie with a guitar. Nonetheless, Massive G claims to like the song Adriana plays for him, although again, he seems to like Adriana's dancing to it more than the music. To get a second opinion, Christopher plays the same track to Hesh, who tells him the song is not a hit.
Meanwhile, Tony is making friends with his more reserved Italian-American neighbor and family physician Dr. Bruce Cusamano, while Carmela worries about what will happen to her and her children should anything ever happen to Tony. At a dinner party at which Dr. Melfi is invited but Tony is not, Dr. Cusamano tells his guests of his fascination with Tony's dangerous and forbidden lifestyle, but Melfi is offended by the way the guests at the party look down on Tony. Nonetheless, she, too, is secretly fascinated, and she sneaks into the bathroom to get a peek at his house, although she is startled to hear what sounds like moans of pain coming from its direction. When she confesses having seen his house and asks him about the moans the next day, he does not seem to know what she is talking about.
The Cusamanos invite the Sopranos to a backyard barbecue, where Tony tries to become involved in a conversation about "legit" jobs, but he is shut out by Cusamano and his white friends. Meanwhile, Carmela receives a hot stock tips from the wives at the barbecue. When she plays it, it pays off big, and she treats Meadow to a day out to keep her mouth shut. At golf, Cusamano and his friends treat Tony more like a curiosity than like an equal and ask him about the accuracy of gangster movies, his thoughts on famous mob hits and his relationships with well-known mobsters. At therapy later, Tony compares himself to a "dancing bear" and to a childhood friend of his whom he treated like a circus freak.
Hesh decides not to pay the back royalties, and although Massive G pretends to be a gangster, he ultimately threatens to do nothing more than sue. Meanwhile, Christopher breaks the news to Adriana about Visiting Day, and she is angry and hurt and accuses Christopher of not respecting her. And Tony gets his revenge with a prank in which he gives Cusamano a box of sand and asks him to hide it for him. As the Cusamanos stare at the box and wonder what could be inside, they are startled to hear the same "moans of pain" Melfi heard, which are really just Tony working out in his basement.
- A Dreamer's Holiday, performed by Ray Anthony & His Orchestra: Tony, Christopher and Paulie celebrate their big score at a hotel with their goomars.
- DJ Keep Playin' (Get Your Music On), performed by Yvette Michele: Christopher and Adriana come to a party at Massive Genius' mansion.
- You Give Love a Bad Name, performed by Bon Jovi: Christopher and Adriana return to Christopher's apartment after meeting Massive Genius.
- De Cara a la Pared, performed by LHASHA: Christopher and Adriana wait for a table at her restaurant (background).
- Defile You, performed by "Defiler": Adriana plays her ex-boyfriend Richie Santini's old metal music for Christopher. Also later, over the closing credits.
- Erase Myself, performed by "Visiting Day": Christopher and Adriana take Massive G to a club to watch Visiting Day perform. Also later, when Visiting Day try to cut their record; and later still, when Adriana plays the song for Massive G, and Christopher plays the song for Hesh.
- Fools Follow Angels, performed by "Little Jimmy Willis": Hesh looks over his mementos from his days running a record label.
- Why, performed by Annie Lennox: Christopher breaks the bad news to Adriana about Visiting Day's single.
- Nobody Loves Me but You, performed by Dori Hartley: Christopher listens to music at the Bada-Bing after Adriana has stormed out on him.
- Killed by: Paulie Gualtieri
- Method of death: Shot through the forehead
- Ordered by: Tony Soprano
- Notes: Gallegos is a drug dealer for a Latino gang in New York, but he dresses as a businessman. Paulie, Big Pussy and Christopher disguise themselves as refrigerator delivery men as he is coming home to his apartment, but they grab and gag him and throw him inside. There, Paulie tells him his friends are not to come into New Jersey again. Gallegos promises to pass on the message, but Paulie says, "They've been told. Twice. Now I'll tell 'em," and he shoots Gallegos in the forehead with a silenced gun. Paulie, Big Pussy and Christopher find hundreds of thousands of dollars in small bills in Gallegos' apartment, which they claim for themselves.
Total Episode Body Count: 1
Hesh says the title when explaining to Christopher why Visiting Day's song "Erase Myself" is not destined to be a hit single. It may also ironically refer to Dr. Bruce Cusamano's description of the murder of notorious gangster Carmine Galante as a "fuckin' beautiful hit," when in fact to mobsters like Tony, hits are just a part of business, as the straightforward hit in the beginning of the episode on Gallegos confirms.
- Tony: Tony attempts to make friends with people who are not "connected." However, they are more interested in hearing mob stories than in really being friends with him.
- Christopher and Adriana: Christopher and Adriana cut a deal where Master G allows Adriana to recruit a band and produce their album using his facilities. However, Christopher is convinced the real reason Master G agrees to this is to get closer to Adriana, and his statement of this creates a rift in their growing relationship.
- 1x01 - The Sopranos: Tony gives Dr. Cusamano a box of Cuban cigars to thank him for referring Tony to Dr. Melfi.
- MIA: Although credited, actors Dominic Chianese, Robert Iler and Nancy Marchand do not appear in this episode.
- First Appearance: Although he was referenced in the first episode as Tony's family physician and next-door neighbor, this episode marks the first appearance of Dr. Bruce Cusamano and his wife Jean.
- Family Connection: While talking with Adriana at the burger joint, Christopher refers to Carmela as "my cousin," the first reference in the series to his actual blood ties to the Soprano-DeAngelis family. Although Tony calls him his nephew, he is actually Carmela's first cousin once removed as well as a cousin of Tony's cousin Tony Blundetto.
- Same Actor, Different Roles: Eric, Dr. Melfi's date at the Cusamano's dinner party, is played by Philip Coccioletti, who previously played Melfi's date Nils Borglund in episode 1x01 - The Sopranos.
Behind the Scenes
- Awards and Nominations: Supervising sound editor/supervising dialogue editor Raymond E. Spiess III; supervising sound editor William H. Angarola; supervision ADR editor Cindy Rabideau; ADR/dialogue editors Anna MacKenzie, Mike Marchain, Robert Guastini and Benjamin Beardwood; assistant ADR editor Warren Smith; production mixer Mathew Price; re-recording mixer Adam Sawelson; ADR mixers Robert Deschaine and Paul J. Zydel and ADR recordist Tami Treadwell won a Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing - Television Episodic - Dialogue & ADR, and music editor Kathryn Dayak and re-recording music mixer Ron Evans won for Best Sound Editing - Television Episodic - Music for their work on this episode. Also, production mixer Mathew Price and re-recording mixers Todd Orr, Ron Evans and Adam Sawelson were nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
Allusions and References
- Pablo Escobar: Notorious Colombian drug lord who rose to power during the 1970s and '80s but was gunned down in 1993 by a task force trained by American Special Forces.
- Paulie: Any hinky shit and you'll be refryin' beans with Pablo Escobar again.
- Little Caesar: To tease Christopher about finding true love, Paulie references the famous last words of the titular antihero from this 1931 classic gangster movie starring Edward G. Robinson as Caesar "Rico" Bandello.
- Paulie: Mother of mercy, could this be the end of Rico?
- Rent: Broadway musical which opened in 1996 and became one of the biggest hits of the decade. It follows the lives of several artists and musicians in New York City struggling to pay their bills and rent while many of them are dying of AIDS.
- Christopher: Rent. Fuckin' Broadway musicals. I mean, we're supposed to get all fuckin' weepy-eyed 'cause they turned off the heat in some guy's loft?
- Bon Jovi: Extremely successful rock band fronted and named for New Jersey-born Italian-American Jon Bon Jovi. Along with Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi is generally considered one of the three all time top New Jersey musical "favorite sons."
- Adriana: Talk about paisan pride. Go, Jovi.
- Casino: One of the most famous and grisly scenes from this Martin Scorsese-directed 1995 cult classic gangster film occurs after a hood named Tony Doggs has shot up a diner belonging to the boss of the brutal and violent mob enforcer Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci). To get information as to who ordered the shooting, Santoro and his men torture Doggs for two days, but Doggs refuses to talk. At last, they put his head in an industrial vise, and Nicky tightens the vise until one of Doggs' eyeballs pops out of his skull, at which point Doggs gives up the name of the man who gave him the order, and Nicky agrees to kill him.
- Dr. Bruce Cusamano: That scene where Pesci sticks the guy's head in a vise, and then he fuckin' pops his eye out, I mean, I thought I was gonna die.
- Berry Gordy: American record producer and executive who founded Motown Records in 1959, where he found several influential successes, but his top-selling act of all time was three young schoolgirls who were originally named the Primettes, but whom he signed (after resisting for two years) provided they change their name to the Supremes.
- Adriana: It's art. Berry Gordy, w-w-whatever. He had to see it in the Supremes.
- W.C. Fields: After hitting a shot in golf, Tony does an impression of this legendary red-nosed comic film star of the 1930s and '40s.
- Tony: Ball runs like a frightened fawn.
- Carmine Galante: Notorious gangster and boss of the Bonnanno crime family in the 1970s. In 1979, he was whacked by rival mobsters, who shot him in the chest with a shotgun as he walked out of a restaurant. A famous photo of his body showed him with his trademark cigar in his mouth.
- Jack Krim: Hey, 'dyou ever see that picture of Galante dead with a cigar hangin' out of his mouth?
- Massive Genius and his people sit down with Hesh and his "people" (Tony and his crew) on Hesh's front porch, where they are served iced tea by Hesh's white servant. Massive G refers to the decades of exploitation of black artists by Jewish-run record labels, but Hesh is unmoved. At last, Massive G requests $400,000 for his aunt. Rising, he says, "What was it that she called him? Oh, yeah. 'That nice man,' I think she said."
- After three days of trying, Visiting Day's recording session has failed to produce a usable recording of their song "Erase Myself." Christopher, however, is paying for the studio by the day, so he tries to get Richie to play better by offering him heroin, but Richie says he no longer does drugs, and the song is "not supposed to rock." Richie tries to blame the problem on the sound engineer, Squid, who counters Richie's songs don't have choruses like the Beatles. Richie dismisses the Beatles, however, and picks up his gear to leave, calling Christopher a "fuckin' jerk-off" as he does. Christopher picks up a guitar and threatens him with it, but when Richie just taunts him, Christopher smashes the guitar over him and orders him to get back to work. "Use the ukulele," he says.
- While playing golf, Dr. Bruce Cusamano and his friends Jack Krim and Randy Wagner ask Tony about life in the mob. At last, Jacks asks Tony if he knows John Gotti. In a grim voice, Tony tells them how Gotti outbid him in an auction for an ice cream truck and, to make it up to him, gave Tony a ride home. Still poker-faced, Tony says, "You know he rang that bell the whole way home?"
- Tony gives the box of sand to Dr. Cusamano, whom he calls "Cooze," although he assures him it has no negative connotations.
- Carmela: You know, Tony, it's a multiple choice thing with you, because I can't tell if you are old-fashioned, paranoid or just a fuckin' asshole.
- Hesh: You're talking to the wrong white man, my friend. My people were the white man's nigger when yours were still painting their faces and chasing zebras.
- Tony: Let me share wit' you what I suspect about this gangsta rap shit. I think you probably got a degree in sociology from a city college.
- Massive Genius: I grew up in the projects, Delta-13, killed a man. Later on I got a degree, but urban planning.
- Carmela: You're kinda cute when you're bein' a bad boy.