- The Sopranos had many filler episodes that lacked substance and significance in the overall story, which can be boring and irrelevant to viewers.
- The show did not address the uncomfortable age gaps in certain romantic relationships, including older men dating much younger women, which can be uncomfortable to watch.
- Tony Soprano showed no remorse when indirectly hurting children, such as ruining his son’s life for his own benefit, highlighting his lack of empathy and disturbing behavior.
Not many television shows can say that they changed television to the degree that The Sopranos did when it aired from 1999 to 2007, but even so, some of the show’s elements are a little problematic to watch now. The Sopranos was the first modern prestige show to make its main character an antihero. While Tony Soprano was a hardened gangster for the Dimeo family, he struggled to balance his work life with life as a family man. The show delved into how Tony’s hectic lifestyle, whether it be murdering an insubordinate or cheating on his wife with a “goomar,” negatively affected his mental health to the point where he went to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Lorraine Melfi, to treat his problems.
The Sopranos made it the point that being involved with organized crime and difficult family members, like his toxic mother, Livia Soprano, gave him severe panic attacks, further humanizing him. While the therapy sessions helped him, he embraced more of his darker side as the boss of the family as time went on. The show never had any second thoughts about displaying just how sickening mob life is in every facet, but even then, there are some tough realities when watching what many consider the greatest series of all time.
10. There Are Many Filler Episodes In The Sopranos
Although there aren’t any bad episodes of The Sopranos, there are a lot of episodes that will make viewers going through a rewatch wonder what the point was. There’s nothing wrong with character studies, as they can help audiences understand who they’re watching, but if it doesn’t lead to much long-term, then they can come off as pointless. The Sopranos was certainly not exempt from this. From beginning to end, episodes from season 1, “A Hit Is A Hit,” to season 4’s “Christopher,” to season 6’s “Chasing It” are considered among the worst Sopranos episodes because they’re inconsequential, boring, or irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
9. The Age Gap In Certain Romances Never Gets Addressed
A recurring theme in The Sopranos is mafiosos sleeping with much younger women, whether they were married or not. To each their own, but the show never addressed that Irinia Yeltsin, one of Tony Soprano’s many lovers and mistresses, looked like she was half his age. The same case goes for Tracee, who was Ralph Cifaretto’s sidepiece before he brutally murdered her. This didn’t just go for the older men in this series. AJ Soprano dated Blanca Selgado, a single mother nearly a decade older than him. In season 1, Brendan Filone flirted with Meadow and her friend, Hunter, who were high school juniors. The show never confronts the fact that there is a considerable age gap in many of the romances, which can be quite uncomfortable to watch.
8. Tony Was Never Above (Indirectly) Hurting Children
One of The Sopranos‘ most haunting plotlines in season 2 was the self-destructive downfall of Davey Scatino, a childhood friend of Tony that suffered from a crippling gambling addiction. Tony took advantage of Scatino’s addiction, as the store owner accumulated around $45,000 in debt to the mob because of his gambling. Part of the $45,000 he gambled away was his own son Eric’s college fund, and in his efforts to pay Tony back, Davey gave him Eric’s car. Without having met Eric, Tony took no issue ruining his life. Worse yet, he rubbed it in his daughter’s face when he did. Even if Tony didn’t intend to hurt Eric, he felt no remorse, which was sickening, especially knowing he’s a father himself.
7. The Show Never Shied From Showing The Mob’s Blatant Racism
While none of the main characters on the show were bigoted toward other races as a whole, they primarily had problems with the notion of their Italian culture mixing with others. They also had no problems using racial slurs and mocking other races. Case in point, in one of the show’s more well-known racist scenes, Tony showed his outright hatred for Meadow’s half-Black boyfriend Noah Tannenbaum for no reason other than he hated Meadow dating someone who wasn’t Italian, calling him several racial slurs and demanding he end it with her.
6. Livia Soprano’s Scratched Season 3 Subplot Changed The Show’s Direction
Tony’s relationship with his mother is not only one of the more pivotal plots of the show but also plays a direct role in his struggles with mental illness because of how she raised him. Livia’s toxicity and ability to get under everyone’s skin no matter what they’d do for her made her so easy to despise. Sadly, Nancy Marchand’s death halted her story for The Sopranos season 3, in which she was supposed to testify against Tony for stolen airline tickets. Since Livia had indirectly ordered the hit on Tony, there’s no telling what she would have done had she lived to testify against him. While the show managed without her, Livia’s potential actions in season 3 could have changed everything.
5. No Matter What, Carmela Is Sentenced To A Life Of Misery
Carmela’s story is easily among the most tragic in the show. While she is a loving mother and wife, she knows that Tony is a ruthless gangster capable of killing anyone at the drop of a hat and also that he cheats on her regularly without a care in the world. Though this clearly destroys her inside, Carmela tries her best to put on a happy face. What makes her story sadder is her knowing that either Tony lives and continues to do whatever he wants without worrying about what she could do, or if he dies, then she may be saddled with nothing. Carmela may be materialistic and aware of the situation, but her life is still outright depressing.
4. No One Was Punished For Committing Domestic Violence
The show makes it a point that these hardened criminals are human, but also that they’re monsters to their partners. While Christopher Motisanti, for example, would get punished for his recklessness and drug use, he never faced any repercussions for beating his fiancé Adriana de la Cerva. Actor Michael Imperioli admitted that portraying Christopher’s domestic abuse was the hardest thing to film in The Sopranos. While he was a repeat offender, he wasn’t the only one. Tony, for example, grabbed Carmela to maintain dominance in their relationship. Pussy Bonpensiero almost assaulted his estranged wife, Angie. Ralph killed Tracee for bruising his ego. Even when the abuse came to light, long-term consequences rarely, if ever, ever happened.
3. Tony Never Answered For What He Did To Ralph And Christopher
Even though Tony directly killed people in The Sopranos, his descent into full-blown sociopathy became more apparent once he showed a willingness to kill his own members if needed. At times, it was necessary to kill some of his associates, like Tony B to prevent war with New York or Pussy when he found out he was a rat. However, he killed Ralph, his biggest earner, based on a hunch. Then he killed Christopher for reasons not entirely clear. It’s scary that Tony could kill his own mob family – which is a major mafia no-no – and not have to worry about the consequences.
2. Tony Drove Christopher Moltisanti To His Grave
Tony was the closest thing Christopher ever had to a father in the show. Though Tony clearly cared for Christopher, his fast rise led to others not respecting him. Worse, Christopher turned to drugs with no actual nurturing parent to cope with the horrible deeds he would commit. Tony would scold and/or abuse him when he messed up but never bothered to help. Even after Christopher sobered up, Tony mocked him for his efforts to maintain his sobriety, adding more strain to his life. Christopher then turned back to drugs, leading to the car crash ending in Tony finishing him off. While Christopher may have been a time bomb, Tony lit the fuse.
1. Tony Was Always Extremely Problematic In His Sessions With Dr. Melfi
From season 1 onwards, because of Tony’s secret obsession with Dr. Melfi, he was more than happy to violate the boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship during his visits. Whether that was because he wanted to sleep with her or because he wanted to attack her, Tony had no shame in his desires with Dr. Melfi, no matter how often she told him no and how uncomfortable he made her when he acted out. Tony’s trouble controlling his urges around her, whether it’s out of love or hate, makes for some of the show’s most unpleasant scenes. That’s impressive, given that The Sopranos is a show about murder, violence, and betrayal, among other things.