The Sopranos is a psychologically complex TV series, the depth of which is part of what made it such a popular and historically significant show. It may not only be the best HBO show ever released but potentially the greatest show of all time.
Jarring juxtapositions of humor and cruelty are a prominent characteristic of the crime show, which countless others have since emulated. The following scenes were some of the funniest of the series, demonstrating the believable humanity of the characters, and also the saddest, sharply bringing the audience back to the harsh realization that most of the leading gangsters of the show are violent psychopaths.
Sad: Tracee’s Murder
In Season 3 Episode 6, Ralphie is shown meeting with his mistress Tracee, a pole dancer at the Bada Bing! They’re out behind the club discussing Tracee’s pregnancy as well as the life Ralphie will build for her, coming in the form of a little house on a cul-de-sac.
He then delivers his cruelest tirade throughout the whole series when he reveals his sarcasm and begins belittling and denigrating Tracee. She begins to strike him and he murders her in cold blood in one of the show’s most harrowing scenes.
Funny: Girls Soccer
Meadow, Artie’s daughter, Ally, and Silvio’s daughter, Heather, are competing on the soccer field for the local school. Silvio’s emotions get the best of him after the ref makes a few questionable calls.
His rage exceeds any ability to keep his composure, and he walks out on the field in the middle of the girls’ game. Silvio amusingly calls the ref a zebra and his heckling is emblematic of how loud and impassioned parents can get at youth sporting events.
Sad: Sal Is Dealt With
Sal leads a complicated life in Season 2, having to work as an informant for the police after being pinched for trafficking heroin. While Sal works with FBI agent Skip Lipari, Tony grows paranoid of the feasible possibility that a rat is working in his crew.
A slew of bizarre dreams at the end of Season 2 eventually leads to Tony connecting the dots and strategizing his longtime friend’s murder. Tony and Silvio drive Sal to the boat docks for a final outing on the sea. The scene where Sal is confronted is tense, arresting, and ultimately tragic.
Funny: Tony’s Odd Dream
In the series’ pilot, Tony comes into Jennifer’s office and describes a peculiar dream. Gandolfini’s deadpan delivery is terrific as he utters, “I had a dream last night. Uh, my belly button was a Phillips head screw, and I’m working on screwing it. Then when I get it unscrewed, my penis falls off.”
Jennifer stares at him, perplexed by the dream, but Tony continues on, “I pick it up and I’m holding it and I’m running around… looking for the guy who worked on my Lincoln when I drove Lincolns, so he could put it back on.” Tony is very serious as he delivers his account of the dream. Not only does the sequence offer a jolt of humor, but also a subtle product placement.
Sad: Christopher Comes To Tony About Adriana
Season 5 gets dark fairly quickly when Christopher finds out his fiance Adriana has been cooperating with the FBI. The writers of the show fractured the timeline of events for Adriana’s “hit.” Hence, the scene where Christopher comes clean to Tony in the basement chronologically occurs after Silvio drives Adrianna out to the woods.
The scene between Christopher and Tony is some of the most vulnerable, passionate acting performances throughout the whole show. The finale of their romantic side-plot is undeniably heart-wrenching once it comes full circle.
Funny: Makings Of A Varsity Athlete
In Season 5 Episode 3, Tony joins the family at Uncle June’s house for dinner. Things go off-the-rails even before Tony’s other sister, Barbara arrives, when AJ begins talking about his football season. Uncle June fills in the table on how Tony never had the makings for a varsity athlete.
The comment makes Tony boil, and Uncle June continues to ‘poke-the-bear,’ but Barbara arrives, and tension begins to settle down. Then, Uncle June slips-in the insulting observation again and Tony becomes amusingly irate until abruptly leaving with AJ.
Sad: Tony And Bobby Talking On The Boat
When Tony and Camilla join Bobby and Janice at their lakehouse, their stay is cut short after drinks, and competitiveness becomes too much, and Tony and Bobby end up in an all-out brawl. Earlier, however, there’s a poignant moment between the two.
While casually talking on a boat on the lake, Bobby makes the observation, “You probably don’t even hear it when it happens, right?” (Referring to being shot.) The actual scene on the lake isn’t very sad, but its subject matter is fairly moving when one considers the cut-to-black nature of the series’ final shot.
Funny: Roadside Worker Picks Up Vito’s Phone
In Season 6 Episode 6, a hilarious exchange occurs between Tony and a random roadside worker when they find a strange phone ringing in the worksite. They answer and Tony asks for Vito, who has fled the crew in fear of his life, dumping the phone in the process.
The roadside worker is confused and upset with Tony’s harsh language and demands, so he fires back in kind before tossing the phone under a nearby drum roller.