In The Sopranos, Bobby Bacala distinguishes himself being reserved in a world where everyone is egotistical and aggressive. Thanks to his humility and general likability, he is spared when every other member of Junior’s crew gets whacked during the elderly mobster’s war with his nephew Tony. He eventually rises to be Tony’s Underboss.
It’s impressive that Bobby gets to rise up the DiMeo crime family ladder so quickly yet his personality would be better suited for an ordinary career. Before he gets killed during the second half of the last season, he is granted some of the best dialogue on the show. Whether ridiculous or well-thought-out, his comments always leave fans impressed.
While Discussing World Events With Tony
“You Know Quasimodo Predicted All This.”
As Bobby chats about the World Trade Center and the Middle East war with Tony, he claims that Quasimodo predicted it all. Tony quickly reminds him that the prophecy is credited to Nostradamus, not Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dam.
There are many great pop-cultural references on the critically acclaimed show and this is undoubtedly one of the best ones. Bobby has never been one of the smartest mobsters in New Jersey so it’s interesting that he would have some knowledge about Quasmumodo and Nostradamus. It’s also understandable that he would confuse Notrasdumus with Notre Dame since the two nouns sound alike.
Recounting His Hunting Days With His Dad
“One Time We Saw A Sign That Said ‘Bear Left’… So We Went Home.”
When Paulie and Christopher get stranded in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Bobby, and Tonny head over there to find them. Recalling his early hunting days, he tells Tony how he and his dad once saw a “Bear Left” sign so they went home.
It’s a very intelligent joke because Bobby is implying that he and his dad were so badass that they hunted bears instead of deers. The “Bear Left” sign is meant as a warning to hunters that they ought to be careful since a bear might pop up from the left. However, Bobby and his dad took it to mean that the bear had left hence they had nothing to hunt.
When A.J. Tries To Kill Junior
“You’ve Got To Channel That Rage Elsewhere, Like Golden Gloves.”
A.J. goes on a misguided quest for vengeance when Junior accidentally shoots Tony. Before he can get to Junior, Bobby and Christopher stop him.
A.J.’s decision to try and whack Junior reminds viewers of The Godfather, where Michael Corleone decides to kill Captain McCluskey and Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo for the attempted hit on his father. But unlike Michael, A.J. doesn’t have the expertise or toughness to pull off a retaliatory murder. Bobby is sure of this hence the reason why he stops him.
When Janice Gets Angry At Him For Taking Cake To His Dead Wife’s Grave
“What Are You, Marge Higenbrinder Now? What Do You Know About The Mud?”
On his dead wife’s Karen’s birthday, Bobby takes a cake to her grave and buries it. Janice calls him out for it, pointing at the has cemetery mud on his shoes and insisting he should move on.
Bobby and Karen made one of the best couples in The Sopranos because they were ever peaceful. It’s therefore makes sense for him to miss her so deeply. Angry that Janice won’t let him mourn in peace, he compares her to actress Marge Helgenberger (he totally mispronounces the name) who is best known for portraying the mud-loving investigator Catherine Willows in the CSI franchise.
While Imagining How Mobsters Get Killed
“You Probably Don’t Even Hear It When It Happens.”
As Tony and Bobby hang out at a boat in the second part of the final season, they talk about how mobsters get killed. Bobby figures it always comes so abruptly that one never realizes it when it happens.
The chat between the two is a movement of foreshadowing since two Lupertazzi hitmen later ambush Bobby as he is purchasing a vintage train set and shoot him. Many other key figures such as Phil Leotardo and Tony Blundetto never see their deaths coming either. One of the clues that prove Tony Soprano died also hints at the fact that he didn’t see it coming in the few final minutes of the show.
When Paulie’s Cheap Driver Causes An Accident
“Everybody Wants To Get Rich, But You Don’t Scrimp On Safety.”
The DiMeo crime family organizes a teacup ride at a Newark street festival but an accident occurs because Paulie hired a cheap driver. Bobby’s children almost get injured so he confronts Paulie.
Paulie never likes spending money as much as he likes making it. His apartment only has a few items and he rarely visits expensive restaurants such as Da Giovanni’s and Vesuvio either. That he would hire a cheap drive is something to be expected of him. Since there were children involved, he ought to have put a pause on his miserly tendencies during the festival. But that didn’t bother him because he doesn’t have children of his own.
When Tony Makes A Disrespectful Joke About Janice
“You Sopranos. You Go Too Far.”
Tony makes an insensitive joke about Janice as he, Bobby, and Carmela are playing monopoly. This angers Bobby who goes on to punch him.
It’s during this incident that Bobby proves he is one of the best fighters in The Sopranos. No one had ever beaten the New Jersey Don in a fight before but Bobby does it all too easily. It’s impressive that he chooses to defend his wife’s honor against her own brother, who also happens to be his boss.
Recalling How His Father Had Second Thoughts About Being In The Mob
“He Wished He Coulda Just Stayed In The Shop Full-Time, Just Cut Hair.”
Bobby is devastated after his father’s death and as he mourns, he recalls how the old man regretted being in the mob because he constantly had to look over his shoulder.
There is rarely a peaceful day for members of the Cosa Nostra but quitting is never an option since that would be seen as a weakness. Even though Bobby’s father had plenty of fears and regrets, it could be concluded that he did well for himself since he grew to old age without getting whacked.
As He Intimidaes Hoffman’s Chief Campaigner
“To Waste My Votes On Somebody Like Dick Hoffman? I Might As Well Put A Bullet In My Head. Here, Here And Here.”
Ahead of the union elections, a man named Dick Hoffman emerges as the frontrunner for President. The problem is he isn’t a friend of the mob so Tony sends Bobby to intimidate his chief campaigner, Teddy Genaretti. In an indirect threat, Bobby states that he would never vote for Hoffman because that would be suicidal.
There’s always plenty of money for the mob to make from the unions hence the reason the DiMeo family is very keen on having the right person as the President. It’s interesting that the mobsters responsible for the least homicides on the show are actually the best at making threats. Patsy Parisi, who never takes a life, does a good job of threatening Gloria Trillo earlier in the show. Bobby, who has the lowest kill count, does the same to Genaretti.
When He Eats Junior’s Manicotti
In what could be considered one of the funniest moments in The Sopranos, a hungry Junior rushes to the refrigerator to get the manicotti tray he left there but finds it missing. When he asks Bobby, the street soldier simply explains that it’s gone.
Bobby’s love for food has been a source of jokes throughout the show. Watching him struggle to explain to Junior why his manicotti is missing triggers plenty of laughter. Since he and Junior are close, the elderly mobster forgives him for gobbling everything up. There’s no doubt that another person would have been severely reprimanded since there’s nothing Junior enjoys more than giving people a piece of his mind.